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South Africa Preview

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Head Coach: Raymond Tew.

Key Players: RHP Tim Harrell, who plays in the Dodgers organization, is the team’s ace and threw 8 2/3 innings with nine strikeouts in a key win against Guam in December. OF Ian Holness is the team’s best hitter.

How Qualified: Beat Guam in three games to win the best-of-five Africa/Oceania Olympic qualifier in December.

Olympic History: None. Not only is this the first Olympic appearance for South Africa, but it’s also the first appearance for any African nation.

Players With U.S. Ties: Harrell and his brothers Brian and Richard were born in South Africa to American missionary parents. They returned to the United States for high school and college, attending Liberty. 3B Paul Bell plays in the Brewers system. Holness and 1B Nick Dempsey played in the Dodgers organization a couple of years ago and could get signed again after the Games. Team captain Bles Kemp was a bullpen catcher for the Jackson Generals, formerly of the Texas League, in the mid-1990s.

Notes: South Africa was able to qualify because of Australia’s automatic bid. Africa and Oceania play each other for a single bid, and with the Aussies out of the picture, South Africa upset Guam. South Africa’s coaching staff includes Jim Murphy, a Canadian native who has worked in the Rangers and Royals organizations.

Outlook: Like the unknown upstart that sneaks into the NCAA basketball tournament, South Africa is just glad to be here. A win would truly be a shock. Baseball is still in its early developmental stages in South Africa, and this is regarded as a great opportunity to build the sport there.

Roster

Pitchers: Vaughn Berriman, Ashley Dove, Brian Harrell, Richard Harrell, Tim Harrell (Dodgers), Liall Mauritz, Carl Michaels, Glen Morris, Alan Phillips, Darryn Smith, Russell Van Niekerk.

Catchers: Darryl Gonsalves, Bles Kemp.

Infielders: Neil Adonis, Francisco Alfino, Paul Bell, Simon de la Rey, Nick Dempsey, Kevin Johnson, Morne MacKay.

Outfielders: Clint Alfino, Jason Cook, Errol Davis, Ian Holness.

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