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Wingrove signs Phillies contract
04/20/2018 9:56 PM ET

NSW local and Sydney Blue Sox rookie Rixon Wingrove has penned a contract with MLB's Philadelphia Phillies. Wingrove signed the contract on Friday at Kahibah Sports Club in Newcastle in front of friends and family along with Phillies representative Howard Norsetter.

The 17-year old, a fourth-generation Charlestown Phoenix ballplayer has represented Newcastle Association at numerous State Championships and Country NSW at several Australian Youth Championships including one where he was named MVP. He debuted for the Sydney Blue Sox in the 2017/18 Australian Baseball League season.

Wingrove represented Australia in the recent U18 World Cup where Australia placed 5th. He has just returned last week from the MLB Spring Training Showcase Tour in America. Once his contract and visa are officially approved, Rixon will return to the US to take part in an extended spring training program before joining the Phillies minor-league squad at Florida's rookie-level Gulf Coast League.

There was a lot of excitement about this signing around the NSW Baseball community. Sydney Blue Sox Manager Tony Harris had plenty of positives to say about Wingrove. "Rixon is a great young man with huge potential, particularly with his bat and power. He was worked hard the past couple of years towards this goal of professional baseball. He is the future of the Blue Sox offensive line-up."

Baseball NSW High Performance Manger Jason Pospishil commented, "[Rixon] has come a long way, but signing the contract is just the easy part. The hard work now begins. No doubt he has shown offensive potential, but the challenge for him will be to become a serviceable defender at first base or behind the plate."

Baseball NSW & Sydney Blue Sox CEO Mark Marino said, 'I have seen Rixon develop from a very young age so it is no surprise to see that he has realised his goal of playing professional baseball given the passion & dedication he has shown for the game. He comes from a dyed in the wool baseball family with a rich baseball heritage who I know are very proud of him at this moment."

Marino also noted, "[Rixon] also enhances the reputation of the Newcastle Baseball Region who recently had both Alex & Lachlan Wells sign professional contracts & who are among the current rising stars of their MLB organisations. I wish Rixon the best of luck in the pursuit of a successful professional career & look forward to seeing him with the Sydney Blue Sox again in the near future.'

Rixon has always wanted to represent a historic organisation like the Philadelphia Phillies. "I'm excited to get over there and get into the everyday grind of minor league baseball" Wingrove said.

Rixon added, "All in the hope to achieve my goal of making the major leagues and being successful at that level."

When speaking to Rixon today, he shared with us how the opportunities he has had in baseball have had a big influence on his career so far. "The opportunity of being surrounded by baseball from an early age helped me a lot in my development I've been fortunate to participate at the National Youth Championship for 6 years and play against the best kids in the country and go and compete."

"To be able wear the green and gold and represent Australia is something that has driven me to become a better player. I want to be able to represent Australia as many times as I can because there is no better feeling than playing for Australia."

"It's humbling to be able to sign this first contract because it is a real grind to get to where I want to be but at the end of the day it's about how bad you want it and I'm going to do everything it takes to be successful at the highest level."

A hearty congratulations to Rixon from the entire Sydney Blue Sox and Baseball NSW community.

This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.