Nullawarre baseball export Eugene Gay dreams of making a living playing the sport he loves.
The 21-year-old pitcher, who was born in New Zealand and moved to south-west Victoria at 13, plays for Texas Wesleyan University in America and recently made his New Zealand national team debut.
He is hoping to sign a professional deal once he finishes college.
"I want to go as far as I possibly can, wherever my talents take me," he told The Standard.
"I want to keep on jumping forward, try to make a career out of it."
If Gay doesn't get picked up by an American professional outfit, he is open to plying his trade in Europe or even Australia, in the Australian Baseball League.
New Zealand has its own team in the ABL - Auckland Tuataras - and the youngster would love to wear their colours.
"You can get picked up from major league teams playing in the Australian Baseball league, it's a good pathway to get recognised, playing in a professional league," he said.
"However I get there (professional baseball), I don't have a certain path but I want to get there one way or another."
Gay's passion for America's pastime can be traced back to his early years in New Zealand when he started playing softball at five-years old.
He started making representative teams in softball before eventually crossing to baseball.
His family then migrated to Australia, where they settled in Simpson for a year before heading 40-minutes west to Nullawarre.
With baseball not overly popular in the area, Gay was forced to make the weekly commute to Geelong to play.
Between 2014-2018 he represented East Belmont Saints and with the help of coach Charles Thompson he developed his game to a level where the United States came calling.
In 2018 the New-Zealand native moved to America, where he studied and played baseball in Pennsylvania at Scotland Campus high school.
He completed his secondary schooling in 2018, before spending two years at Frontier Community College, representing the Bobcats in the National Junior College Athletic Association.
Gay, who joined Texas Wesleyan University early this year, produced a career-best year in his final season with the Bobcats.
"I think I had about 20 appearances at a 3.5 ERA," he said.
"I had a lot of strikeouts, I dominated on the mound last year.
"It was fantastic, I had a great year."
The former Belmont Saint spoke glowingly of his time at college so far and the relationships he had formed, both on and off the sporting field.
The young Kiwi's greatest baseball achievement to date came in September this year when he debuted for the NZ national team - the Diamondblacks - against Brazil in Panama in a World Baseball Classic qualifier.
Brazil won the match 12-7 however the young pitcher said he relished the "insane" experience of representing his home country.
Although residing on the other side of the world, Gay still maintains his connection to the south-west.
He returned home to Nullawarre in May this year, to see his family for the first time in three years and stayed until August.
As much as he'd like to, he won't be visiting over the festive period due to the increased cost of flights and instead will spend time training with his former coach, Thompson, who is in California.
Thompson has strong connections to Warrnambool, with wife Courtney from the area and the daughter of esteemed Warrnambool Mermaids basketball coach Lee Primmer.
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