HIGH school students with their hearts set on a career in baseball will be encouraged by the news that Grant Balfour, who once pitched for Sydney West at the NSW Combined High Schools (CHS) Baseball Carnival, now has a two-year, $12 million contract with Major League Baseball club — the Tampa Bay Rays.
Other graduates from the CHS carnival to grace the American "field of dreams" are Blacktown's Craig Shipley and Glenn Williams from Gosford.
NSWCHS Baseball convener Grant Clowes said that the path to success started at the carnival.
"From Monday, March 17, young baseball aspirants from seven NSW regions will take to the field at Aquatic Reserve in Frenchs Forest knowing that American major league scouts are judging their every move," he said.
"There are three to four CHS students signed each year as a result of their performances at this carnival and upcoming representative events. Making the big money is difficult but possible, and the 60 to 70 Australians currently playing minor and major league baseball in the US are giving it their best shot."
At the CHS Baseball Carnival, Sydney West are the defending champions and they will field a strong unit once again, with Sydney North, Sydney East and Hunter regions sure to be strong challengers.
Mr Clowes said that youngsters had a great opportunity to gain first-hand experience from the best in the world when players from both the LA Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks conducted clinics in the lead-in to the MLB season.
Apart from Balfour, the biggest names from Australia to make a splash in the majors are reliever Graham Lloyd, who won two World Series rings with the New York Yankees, and catcher Dave Nilsson, who was the Aussie pioneer in big league baseball in the US.
Details: Call Grant Clowes, NSWCHS Baseball Convener on 0402 317 536.