Press Release South Africa Baseball
Oakland Athletics – South Africa 6-1
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Magnante returns to face the team he helps build
South Africa winless in MLB exhibition; fall 6-1 to Oakland Thursday afternoon
by Rob Fai
(Phoenix Municipal Stadium – Phoenix, AZ) – The South African National Team lost its final tune-up for the World Baseball Classic Thursday with a 6-0 loss to the Oakland Athletics at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. South Africa broke up the Athletics shutout bid in the top of the 8th inning.
If Rick Magnante looked a little torn emotionally as he walked onto the field at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Thursday, you’ll have to excuse him. Magnante, the current Manager of the South African National Team, took to the field against the Oakland Athletics who is his ‘other’ employer.
Less than 24 hours after falling 13-6 to the Los Angeles Angels, South Africa was back on the field Thursday trying to help Magnante earn a few bragging rights. The A’s however weren’t in the giving mood as RHP Dallas Braden and a combination of Oakland pitchers limited South Africa’s offense handing the World Baseball Classic underdog a 6-1 loss.
Much like Wednesday’s lopsided affair in Tempe, South Africa simply couldn’t avoid the big inning, giving up three runs to the Athletics in the bottom of the 7th inning as RHP Shannon Ekermans struggled to make ends meet. The A’s arms were strong scattering just three hits on the afternoon, two of them given up by Arnold Leon in the 8th when PH Justin Lazarus singled to right field scoring Kyle Botha from third to break the Oakland shutout bid.
As for Magnante, who couldn’t solve the organization he has helped build over the past decade as a scout within the A’s organization, it was a joy to simply watch his group battle.
“It was fun to be out there competing against the guys. I have a ton of friends over there and they’ve been supportive of my time and efforts with the South African program”, says Magnante who watched his team drop their second straight against Major League competition.
Those on the Oakland split-squad roster knew that Magnante was patrolling the 3rd base coaches box, some like Bobby Crosby were even signed to their first pro contract by Magnante. RHP Dallas Braden was happy to see Magnante working for the upstart South African program.
“I think what he is doing for that country is really noble. I really respect what he has been able to do helping bring the game to that part of the world. We’re all happy to see him doing what he loves”.
South Africa will travel to Mexico City on Friday to gear up for their World Baseball Classic opener on Sunday, March 8th vs. Cuba. In the 2006 WBC, South Africa was winless in three games.
Next Up: South Africa travels to Mexico City on Friday to open up against Cuba in Pool B play at the World Baseball Classic.
Notes: Oakland SS Bobby Crosby committed a pair of errors (both throwing) giving South Africa a pair of early base runners…South Africa RHP Gavin Jeffries impressed by pitching a pair of scoreless innings in relief, giving up just a lone hit, striking out one…16-year old LHP Hein Robb gave up an unearned run in the bottom of the 6th after 3B Johnathon Phillips overthrew 1st base allowing Oakland’s Rob Bowen to score from third…Stats do not count towards Oakland’s Spring totals.
Rob Fai is broadcaster for the Vancouver Canadians Baseball Club in Vancouver, BC, Canada.