Submitted by Sterling Endicott, Boston Wolfpack

The Boston Wolfpack competed in the 2017 World Masters Games in Auckland, New Zealand. The WMGs attracted over 28,000 athletes that competed in 28 sports and 45 disciplines. The World Masters Games is the world’s largest multi-sport event. Held every four years, it is the pinnacle sporting event for masters competitors worldwide. In supporting the Olympic Games ethos of ‘sport for all’, the goal of the World Masters Games is to encourage participation in sport throughout life. Competition and camaraderie are equally celebrated.

Every four years, the International Masters Games Association, the representative body of masters sport worldwide, grants to one city the rights to host the next Games. The first ever Games were held in Toronto, Canada in 1985. Since then seven other cities have embraced the global event including Sydney in 2009 and Torino in 2013. The next Games are in 2021 in Kansai, Japan.

The baseball was broken up into five classes: 35+ Competitive (4 teams), 35+ Recreation (5 teams) , 45+ Competitive (2 teams),45+ Recreation (3 teams) and 55+ Open (2 teams) The teams were from Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa and America. The Wolfpack entered the 45+ Competitive class and due to the team numbers, qualified for the Gold Medal game before the games started.

The New Zealand Baseball Association did an awesome job running the tournament, which stretched 10 days and was held on two diamonds at Lloyds Elsmore Park. The games were seven innings or two hours with one game a day leaving plenty of time to enjoy Auckland and mingling with other athletes. After a 21-hour flight, the Wolfpack lost their first game to the Sydney Deadstars 2-1 due to sloppy defense and lethargic bats. The Deadstars’ ace David Rosser pitched well and this preview foretold a great Gold Medal Game.

The Opening Ceremonies followed at the All Blacks Rugby Stadium and over the next six days the Pack mopped up the competition, including defeating the Deadstars twice. They got in plenty of New Zealand culture. Led by team member James Marcum, a Maori – the indigenous people of New Zealand, the Pack took several excursions, spending one night sleeping in a Marae, the sacred meeting place of the Maori and cooking a traditional dinner on hot rocks buried underground. They took hikes up dormant volcanos and through sheep and cow pastures, where they interacted with local Kiwis or other Masters’ athletes from around the World.

With a storm forecast for the weekend, the Medal games were moved up to Friday. In the Gold Medal Game it was a rematch of Rosser and Edgardo Mercado of the Wolfpack. The Pack jumped ahead with three runs in the first on singles by Dave Benedict and Eddie Fuller and a double by Jose Delgado. Russ Ward plated Delgado with a single and that was all Prosser was to let up the rest of the day. The Deadstars got one back in the second and one in the third and after a lead-off single in the fourth, Dave Benedict replaced Mercado and held off Sydney the rest of the way to earn the 3-2 win.

After a weekend of on and off rain and the closing ceremonies, the Wolfpack hopped on a 21-hour flight back to the USA with some amazing baseball memories, spectacular experiences, and memories with teammates and friends that will last a lifetime, thanks to baseball. “God willing, we will be healthy enough in four years to compete in the 2021 World Masters Games in Japan,” said manager Steve Wolf.