Gold Coast Bulletin

THE Gold Coast will be home to a ground breaking initiative paving the way for up-and-coming indigenous players to showcase their talent.

Kul-Gunn Baseball Academy will make its first significant strides with a three-day camp at Robina on April 4-6, followed by another at Beenleigh on April 7-9.

As many as 300 youngsters are expected during the six days and organisers hope it will form the backbone of an Australian indigenous side to go on a sponsored tour.

“Our ultimate goal is to take an indigenous squad to Japan and play in a tournament,” co-founder Craige Johnson said.

Johnson said the concept had bTodd Scott GC Bulletineen in the making after finding inspiration from indigenous star Todd McDonald.

Brisbane product McDonald was just 17 years old when he signed a $500,000 deal with the US Major League club Texas Rangers to play in the minor leagues.

After dealing with the Rangers’ scouts, Johnson said it was clear there needed to be more opportunities for indigenous players.

“What we want to do is introduce (baseball) to a lot of different communities around Queensland and basically get kids involved,” he said.

They might just uncover the next big thing. McDonald, 20, praised the concept and said he would like to be a role model for the next generation.

“I think it’s a great idea to open their eyes to another sport,” he said. “I didn’t have an idea what baseball was until I was 12 years old and my mother explained what it was.”

Joining Johnson as a co-founder is Olympian Peter Hartas, while Gold Coaster Scott Hillier will be the academy’s head coach.

Hillier, 22, has played for the Canberra Cavalry in the Australian Baseball League and is thought to be an ideal mentor for rising stars.