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Former Doane Pitcher to Play in World Baseball Classic

October 23, 2012
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By Rick Schmuecker, Doane (Neb.) Sports Information Director

CRETE, Neb. - Baseball New Zealand announced on Tuesday morning (Monday in the USA) their provisional roster for the World Baseball Classic (WBC). Of the 25 players named to the team, former Doane College (Neb.) left-handed pitcher Nick Dawson was among the 11 pitchers selected to participate. Dawson is originally from Auckland, New Zealand, and has pitched the last two years for the Tigers after spending two years at Iowa Western CC.

Dawson will be a part of the first New Zealand team to be invited to play in the 28-team WBC. Managing the Diamondblacks team is the manager of the San Jose Giants, Andy Skeels. San Jose is the High-A affiliate for the San Francisco Giants.

"This is a great honor for me," Dawson said prior to leaving for New Zealand. "I am extremely excited and it is a dream come true."

New Zealand held tryouts in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Players located in the United States had the opportunity to send in film and tryout in front of scouts in the states. According to the release from Baseball New Zealand, ‘no stone was left unturned'.

Dawson pitched in 24 games for the Tigers and Head Coach Jeremy Jorgensen the past two years, starting 23. He posted a record of 7-7 with three complete games and an earned run average of 3.68. Dawson was named honorable mention all-conference in 2011 when he struck out 66 batters in 61.0 innings. He averaged 8.70 strikeouts per nine innings in two seasons and held opponents to a .229 batting average.

At Iowa Western CC, Dawson was a member of the 2010 NJCAA World Series champions. At Doane, the Tigers won back-to-back regular season Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) titles and advanced to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Opening Round both years. Dawson was the starting pitcher for the Tigers in their first-ever national tournament game in 2011 against the University of Texas-Brownsville, a 7-2 victory. He also started the championship game in the Marion Bracket in 2012 against Point Park University (Pa.).

"Overall, I grew a lot from playing college ball," Dawson said. "I learned a lot about myself. I am proud that, despite adversity and a lot of failures early on, I never gave up."

Dawson also excelled in the classroom at Doane, earning NAIA and GPAC Scholar-Athlete honors as well as Capital One Academic All-District recognition.

New Zealand will play in Qualifier No. 4 with the winner of the four-team tournament advancing on to play in March. The team reports on October 25 and begins practices the following day. On November 4, they will travel to Sydney, Australia, to face the Sydney Blue Sox in a three-game exhibition series. They will take on the Canberra Cavalry in Canberra, Australia, November 8-10.

Qualifier No. 4 will be held at Xinzhuang Baseball Stadium in New Taipei City, Taiwan, by the world's 8th-ranked host, Chinese Taipei. Also participating are the Philippines (ranked 31st) and Thailand (ranked 23rd). New Zealand is unranked.

On November 15, New Zealand will open against the host squad, Chinese Taipei. They will face either Thailand or Philippines on November 16. They will face the team that has a same result from the first day (winners from day one face each other on day two). Because of the time difference, both of New Zealand's games will be contested on November 15 in the United States. Their first game will be at 4:30 AM locally and their second game will be at 9:30 PM. The final game will be played on either November 17 or 18.

Spain won Qualifier No. 1 held in Jupiter, Florida, and Canada won Qualifier No. 2 held in Regensburg, Germany. Qualifier No. 3 will be held in Panama City, Panama, November 15-19. The winner of each qualifier advances to the First Round of the World Baseball Classic in early March. Four venues will host the round robin event with the Second Round to be held in Tokyo, Japan, and Miami, Florida. The championship will be played in San Francisco, California, at AT&T Park.

Dawson's teammates on the New Zealand squad include three players currently in the Major League Baseball (MLB) minor leagues and four players who have played in the minors.