World Baseball Classic: South Africa Shows Great Improvement

Warren TurnerContributor IMarch 10, 2009

Sometimes even a loss can be rewarding. South Africa may have been beaten last night by Mexico, 14-3, but they won respect as a group that is working hard to learn the game.

Team Mexico pounded out 16 hits and four home runs, two by Adrian Gonzalez, who had three hits and six RBI.

The other two Mexicans with homers, Oscar Robles and Jorge Cantu, also had three hits. Seven different pitchers were used by South Africa, one only 16 years old! They are young and they are hungry, but also inexperienced.

South Africa’s defense was surprisingly good. They may have had two errors, but they also turned two key double plays. Shortstop Anthony Phillips made a great diving catch and showed exceptional arm strength.

Offensively, South Africa managed seven hits off five Mexican pitchers, including two triples by second baseman Gift Ngoepe. Ngoepe will play this summer in the minor leagues for the Pittsburgh Pirates and can really run.

The South African players may be going home, but they and their fans can be proud of their effort.

Mexico now awaits the loser of Tuesday’s game between Cuba and Australia.