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Rixon Wingrove signs with Philadelphia Phillies

Meet the NSW teen signed to major league baseball in the US DREAM: Garden Suburb 17-year-old Rixon Wingrove with his new Philadelphia Phillies cap at Kahibah Sports Club on Friday. Picture: Simone De Peak
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CONTRACT: Newcastle’s Rixon Wingrove and Philadelphia Phillies scout Howard Norsetter. Picture: Simone De Peak

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“I’ve alwayswanted to represent an organisation, an historicorganisation like the Philadephia Phillies. It’s something that I’m very proud of and hopefully I get to wear for a very long time.”

As an early teenager left-handed batter and catcher Wingrove was discovered in for the Phillies by Norsetter.

He said “Major League Baseball was the end of the rainbow, but now he [Wingrove] knows it exists.This isn’t the end of something, it’s just the beginning” and plenty of“hard work” over “time” could lead to a debut down the track.

“I see thepotential for an impact bat,” Norsetter said.

“He’s got a great swing, great size, great strength and he can drive the ball, now at his age, over the centre field fence. Plus he has a great approach to the plate.

“I can see someone who has offensive potential for a line-up down the track.”

Norsetter said once the contract and visa were officially approved, the 193-centimetre Wingrove wouldtravel to America.

Therehe should take part in the“extended spring training program” before joining the Phillies minor-league squad at Florida’srookie-level Gulf Coast League.

“I’m excited to get over there and get into the every day grind ofminorleague baseball,” Wingrove said.

“Allin the hopeto achieve my goalof making the major leagues and being successful at thatlevel.”

Wingrove only returned home from the States earlier this week after being part of an “n Showcase Tour”.Last year he helped the nsquad finish fifth at the Under-18 World Cup.

His rise through the representative ranks, including Newcastle and NSW Country, started with Hunter outfit Phoenix Charlestown.

Following in the footsteps of father Leighton, grandfather John and great-grandfather Jack, who helped form the club almost 90 years ago.

“It’s a proud moment for the club,” Phoenix Charlestown president Ben Terry said.

Over summer Wingrove was part of n Baseball League side the Sydney Blue Sox.

Also on Fridaythe Phillies accounted for the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-0.

Meanwhilein the Newcastle Baseball Association and Toronto have started their first-grade title defence with a 13-10 win in a grand-final replayagainst Belmont. Sunday marks round three of the competition with Toronto meeting Boomerangs whilePhoenix Charlestown challenge White Sox. Belmont has the bye.

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