Baseball: Family, teammates struggle with death of Auckland Tuatara's Ryan Costello

Parents of American baseballer Ryan Costello are struggling to reach Auckland, after their son died suddenly of "natural causes" this week.

On Tuesday, the Auckland Tuatara were lost for words, as they came to terms with the sudden death of one of their own. 

"What makes it so hard is we don't have a reason at this stage," says club chairman Noel Davies.

Costello's passing came just hours after he'd been to dinner with teammates, with the 23-year-old dying in his sleep.  

"You do wonder, but they were out for dinner - three or four of them," reflects Tuatara chief executive Regan Wood. "They were in at 9:30pm and I saw him walking through the door with his water, so we're at a loss like everyone else.  

Without passports, his parents' grief has been compounded, as they desperately try to get to New Zealand from Connecticut. 

"Being parents ourselves, my own son's here and I could be in the same place as them, so it's about how we can make their lives as easy as we possibly can," says Wood.  

Costello was a Major League prospect, drafted by the Seattle Mariners two years ago and later transferring to the Minnesota Twins. 

Tributes to Costello have flowed from around the world, with the Twins sharing their condolences for the in-fielder, who was embracing the New Zealand way of life. 

"We've had thousands of messages, one from his friend's family came back to us, saying, 'Props to you guys', he was actually loving his time here. 

The team have decided to play this week's season-opening game in the Australian Baseball League against Perth Heat at North Harbour Stadium. 

"The overwhelming view was that we continue," says team manager Steve Mintz "We will be doing things to recognise this loss and recognise Ryan."

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