You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Sport Top Stories

Run Ayrton run: Meet the Tuatara's speedy young star

Newshub logoNewshub 6/12/2018 Henry Rounce
a man wearing a hat: Speedy Tuatara pinch runner Ayrton Laird. © Image: Newshub; Video: Newshub Speedy Tuatara pinch runner Ayrton Laird.

Ayrton Laird was named after motorsport legend Ayrton Senna, but it's his racing between the bases that's got him a gig with New Zealand's first professional baseball team.

The 19-year old's become a cult hero with the Auckland Tuatara and his  rise to stardom doesn't yet nvolve a bat or a ball.

Laird made history last month, sprinting home to secure the Tuatara's first win in franchise history.

Download the Microsoft News app for your Android or iPhone device and stay up-to date on the news you care about most.

"I knew it went past the third baseman and I was like I got this easy, I ran quickly for like the first ten metres and then I slowed down a little bit, just seeing all the boys come was great," Laird told Newshub.

Laird occupies the unlikely role of pinch runner for the Tuatara as he spends time as part of the development squad during the debut season.

Laird's speed is an asset team management couldn't ignore.

"You dream about hitting a home run, but probably for me, a speed guy, that's one of the best just doing it by yourself, doing it with your legs – it's something I'm good at," he said.

But his legs almost cost him his place in the Australian Baseball League.

Less than 24 hours away from the Tuatara's Auckland trial, Laird pulled his hamstring while running sprints with a few of his mates.

"I was running, got halfway down, felt a pop and I was like damn, the trial was the next the next day, aaargh, this is pretty much it for me."

But his talent was already on the Tuatara radar so he was granted a spot in the rookie squad.

With his hamstring healed he's now waiting to show the Tuatara what else he can bring.

"I'm not quite ready to start right now, but hopefully in a few more years when I gain experience and get better, hopefully, I'll be out there."

The pinch-running project player already a cult hero with kids now asking for autographs.  

"Friends are giving me shit for it and stuff because they've been seeing it on Facebook and stuff like that."

Ayrton Laird taking his new-found fame in his stride.

More From Newshub

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon