Family Black Sox ties for Tradestaff WBSC Men’s Softball World Cup in Auckland

Sons of two New Zealand softball greats will make their World Cup debuts for the Golden Homes New Zealand Black Sox next month at the Auckland venue where their fathers won gold medals in 2013.

Pita Rona and Dante Matakatea are among seven World Cup rookies named on Tuesday by head coach Mark Sorenson for the Tradestaff-sponsored event at Whakaata Māori Stadium in Auckland from November 26 to December 4.

Rona (North Harbour) is the son of Brad Rona while Wellington infielder Matakatea’s father is Thomas Makea, who, like Rona Sr, is a four-time world champion.

Matakatea will play alongside his brother Reilly Makea, who is heading to his second World Cup

The 16-strong Golden Homes Black Sox squad features four uncapped players - and three sets of brothers.

Captain Cole Evans, attending his fourth world championship, is joined for the first time by brother Rhys, an Auckland infielder.

Makea and Matakatea and Ben and Thomas Enoka are the other sibling sets. Ben Enoka will be playing at his sixth world championships since 2009 and Thomas his fourth for the Black Sox.

Dual international Te Wera Bishop is another making his World Cup debut. Bishop - whose mother Betsy won a bronze medal at the 1986 women’s world championships - has previously played for the Black Sox and has recently represented the New Zealand Diamond Blacks after a professional baseball career.

The seven first-time World Cup players are Rona, Bishop, Matakatea, Rhys Evans, Auckland outfielder Bradley Bennett, Hutt Valley infielder Tane Mumu and Dunedin-based Canterbury catcher Cam Watts.

Matakatea, Bennett, Mumu and Watts are the four uncapped players.

Wellington’s Josh Pettett, a 2017 World Cup gold medallist, Auckland’s Daniel Chapman joins Rona on the pitching staff, with Bishop and Watts the specialist catchers.
Campbell Enoka was not considered due to injury.

Cole Evans will captain the Black Sox at a World Cup for the first time.

Black Sox Head Coach Mark Sorenson says; “We are very excited about the group we have selected. But there are some very good players that have missed this team, which made selecting the final group very difficult. It also highlights the quality of the talent pool that we have been working with over the last couple of years.”

Eight players are backing up from the Black Sox team that finished fourth at the last World Cup in Prague in 2019.

The Black Sox have won seven world championship titles, including three in New Zealand (in 1974, 2004 and 2013).

The team is:
- Bradley Bennett Auckland Outfield
- Te Wera Bishop Wellington Catcher
- Daniel Chapman Auckland Pitcher
- Thomas Enoka Auckland Infield
- Ben Enoka Auckland Outfield
- Joel Evans Hutt Valley Infield
- Rhys Evans Auckland Infield
- Cole Evans Auckland Infield (Captain)
- Reilly Makea Wellington Outfield
- Dante Makea-Matakatea Wellington Infield
- Tane Mumu Hutt Valley Infield
- Connor Peden Auckland Catcher
- Josh Pettett Wellington Pitcher
- Jerome Raemaki Wellington Infield
- Pita Rona North Harbour Utility
- Cameron Watts Canterbury Catcher