Baseball: Meet Auckland Tuatara's speedy young star in the making, Ayrton Laird

Ayrton Laird was named after motorsport legend Ayrton Senna and his racing between the bases has earned him a gig with New Zealand's first professional baseball team.

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

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

"I knew it went past the third baseman and I was like, 'I got this easy'. Laird told Newshub. "I ran quickly for like the first 10 metres and then I slowed down a little bit, just seeing all the boys come was great."

Laird occupies the unlikely role of pinch runner for the Tuatara, as part of their development squad during their debut season.

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

"You dream about hitting a home run," he said. "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."

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 is 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 is taking his new-found fame in his stride.