All roads lead to the United States for Newport Rams rising baseball star Nikau Pouaka-Grego.
The ultimate dream for the young infielder is to make it to the Major League.
He is so far on the right track to fulfilling that quest in what has been an impressive junior career.
Pouaka-Grego represented Australia at the recent U15 Baseball World Cup in Panama.
He is just 13 years old, playing against opponents who were more experienced and further ahead in their physical development.
It did not deter Pouaka-Grego, who thrived on the big stage, featuring in some big wins with the Australian team over the likes of South Africa, China and Germany.
It was an unforgettable experience for the enthusiastic youngster, who played at second base.
“It was awesome,” he said. “I got to play against some of the top prospects from around the world and I got to see how other countries play baseball.
“It’s an honour to represent my country.
“You try to do everybody proud.”
Pouaka-Grego’s success at second base was linked to building a good rapport with the shortstop. The pair of infielders were on the same wave length more often than not.
“Me and our shortstop were close, we were tight,” he said.
“It was easy to work out with each other on the field.
“We pulled off some nice double plays and the game becomes easier when you’re up the middle with someone you can work with.”
Pouaka-Grego had a fine tournament in the batters box.
He finished with an average of .400 with four hits from 10 at bats, while also drawing an impressive five base on balls and had two stolen bases. “I hit pretty good,” Pouaka-Grego said.
“I got a few hit by pitches and some walks, so I got on base a lot for the players behind me to drive me in.”
The chance to work with some great coaches was another highlight for Pouaka-Grego.
He learnt so much from head coach Andrew Kyle and his assistants Mark Pettitt, Brian Murphy and Grant Weir.
“Everybody learnt something different about their own game,” Pouaka-Grego said. “We’ve got some new things we’ve got to improve on.
“They were awesome to be around.”
It was certainly not Pouaka-Grego’s first experience in the green and gold.
The Williamstown High School student has featured in the under 12 national team in the past three world series played in the US.
While in the US, he has taken the chance to see seven major league baseball games, perhaps picturing himself on the field in the future.
Last month, Pouaka-Grego strutted his stuff in front of the baseball talent scouts at a Major League Baseball invitational tournament in Lismore. “There was a bunch of scouts there and some ABL coaches,” Pouaka-Grego said.
“It was good to showcase our skills and see how everybody else played.”
Pouaka-Grego has his sights set on Victorian under-age representation in the short term, while further down the track he is keen to secure a sporting scholarship at a college in the US.
Pouaka-Grego is the October nominee for the Don Deeble Rising Star award.
The award, hosted by the Sunshine Western Region Sports Club and
Star Weekly, recognises young athletes from the western suburbs who have achieved outstanding results at state and/or national levels.
Pouaka-Grego will receive $1000, donated by the Yarraville Club Cricket Club, and other prizes to assist him in achieving his sporting goals.