ANTHONY Moanaroa-Taylor took a long time to make it to the top, which is an odd thing to say about a 14-year-old.
It took nine months as he lived by the timeless creed: if at first you don't succeed, try, try again.
The Blacktown Workers boy couldn't get past first base, figuratively speaking, when the NSW Country trials were first held on the Central Coast for the national youth baseball championships in Canberra. (Blacktown players qualify for NSW Country.)
Taylor went away and resolved to try again.
"He trimmed down, got himself a lot fitter," said dad Steve.
"He'd reached a high standard as a rugby league player but chose baseball two years beforehand.
"He tried again before NSW Country coach Tim Graham."
The coach was impressed and added Moanaroa-Taylor to the squad.
The short stop and first baseman had a good tournament in a series in which NSW Country finished fifth, including a win over the eventual champions the Perth Heat.
Why is Taylor's determined progress so significant?
He's part of a dynasty and has completed a quadrella.
Four Taylors have now made NSW teams: Anthony, his sister Pani and cousins Boss and Moko.
Pitcher Pani is the girl with the golden arm. Two years ago she made the NSW senior women's team at just 16, becoming the first Blacktown Workers player and first of Maori descent to do so.
She's switch-hit from mixed Workers to the Baulkham Hills A-grade women's team, and has made the NSW squad for the third straight year.
Older cousin Boss has played in the Boston Red Sox affiliate system and is a member of the Sydney Blue Sox.
"They're joined at the hip," Steve Taylor said of the illustrious Moko's influence on the youngest Taylor.
"I'm very proud of both of them," was his unnecessarily tribute to his children.
The senior Taylor is chairman of the NSW Women's Baseball League and coaches the Blacktown Workers' B Grade womens' team.
Both the A and B teams in the fledgling women's club are in finals contention.
Lest it be thought there is nepotism in the Taylor triumphs, the coach and administrator is not a selector.
The youngest Taylor will now play in the Newcastle winter competition in the Blacktown off-season.
Taylor snr said there was no need to crack whips.
And, even if he wanted to: "I can't outrun them now."