PRODIGY: Keelan Eripse, 12, of Strandfontein was selected to play at Junior Baseball Championship in Taiwan next month.
This Strandfontein laaitie is one of 18 boys selected to jet off to Taiwan in July to represent his country at the Junior Baseball Championships.

Keelan Erispe, 12, has been playing baseball for years now and is a member of Crusaders Baseball Club in Grassy Park.

The young player was recently selected to play for the national U12 team and his proud parents have embarked on a crowdfunding drive to raise funds for the trip.

While the shy 12-year-old, who is a “great all-rounder”, is modest about his achievements, his excited parents say he has been selected for the Western Province junior team for three years in a row.

His stepfather, Bevan November, explains: “Keelan was selected to play for Western Province for the third consecutive year.

“At the International Region Tournament (IRT) they played against other regions in the country and the SA team training squad was selected.

“This was 30 boys throughout the country and Keelan was one of the chosen ones.”

OPPORTUNITY: Keelan together with his optimistic family. CREDIT: Monique Duval

In May, Keelan participated in the trial matches and was selected for the national team.

Chantal Wilson, spokesperson for the Baseball Association of the Western Cape, says the national team consists of 18 boys, 12 of whom are from the Western Cape.

“We are very excited to have 12 boys from the Western Cape make the national team. The championship will be held from 28 July to 6 August,” she says.

Keelan's mother, Lorelle November, says while they are very proud and excited, they now have the daunting task of raising R15 000 before he leaves in July.

“It is very hard to just fork out R15 000, but he is very good and this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We are trying everything to get the money together,” says Lorelle.

The family will be hosting a disco dance on Saturday 24 June at the Rooikrans Minor Hall in Grassy Park.

R50 gets you in to the event, which is adults only. Cash bar available.

Wilson says many other boys like Keelan need the public’s help to get to Taiwan.

“This is a big achievement and opportunity for them, but many of the parents cannot afford the trip so we are calling on Capetonians to support our boys,” Wilson says.

If you would like to assist, call Lorelle on 073 160 5362 or Wilson on 082 455 0837.