South Africa national baseball team

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South Africa national baseball team
Country  South Africa
Federation South African Baseball Union
Confederation African Baseball &
Softball Association
World Baseball Classic
Appearances 3 (First in 2006)
Best result 16th (2 times, most recent in 2009)
Olympic Games
Appearances 1 (First in 2000)
Best result 8th
World Cup
Appearances 5 (First in 1998)
Best result 14th (1 time, in 2001)
All-Africa Games
Appearances 2 (First in 1999)
Best result 1st (2 times, most recent in 2003)

The South African national baseball team is a baseball team which represents the Republic of South Africa in international baseball competitions such as the World Baseball Classic and formerly the Summer Olympics. The governing body of the team is the South African Baseball Union.


On 5th July 1931, the first inter-provincial match was played between the only two provincial teams, Transvaal and Natal, in front of a crowd of 4000 spectators. Included in the match was Springbok cricketer Buster Nupen(Transvaal) and future Springbok cricketer Leslie Payn(Natal). Springbok All-Star teams would later be based on the best of several provinces, with Transvaal, Natal and Western Province dominating.

In 1933, the clash between Natal and Transvaal included Olympic Gold Medal Hurdler Sid Atkinson(Natal), Springbok cricketer Eric Dalton(Natal), Springbok cricket captain Jock Cameron(Transvaal) and Springbok cricketer Syd Curnow(Transvaal). In 1934, the match between Natal and Western Province featured Springbok rugby player Gerry Brand(Western Province).

The South African Baseball Federation was founded in 1935, with five provincial associations including Transvaal, Natal(Founded 1931), Western Province(Founded 1932), Eastern Province(Founded 1934) and Border.

The first South African All-Star team appears to be formed on 19th November 1938, when an 'All Africa team' made up of the 'combined provinces' played a US Navy team from the USS Boise. South African cricketer Dudley Nourse featured for Natal a few days later and was noted as winning 'admiration of the visitors'. Nourse would later go on to captain and manage the South African cricket team as well as later holding Springbok records for test appearances and batting average. When he was named Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1948, the Press Association reported Nourse 'became one of his country's leading baseball experts'. The score is recorded as 18-3 to US Navy.[1]

In Cape Town, on 17th November 1945, a South African exhibition team made up of players from the Transvaal, Natal, Eastern and Western Province provinces took on a US Navy team from the USS Tennessee and USS California battleships. 'Nearly 20,000 cheering fans witnessed the principal game, which the ships company was hard pressed to win by two tallies (six to four)'.[2]

In Johannesburg, on 19th March 1950, the Australian cricket team ended their tour with a baseball match against a combined South African baseball team, in front of a reported record crowd of 12,000.[3]

The American All-Stars(1955-1956)[edit]

During a visit to Battle Creek in Michigan, USA in July 1955, the Chairman of the South African Baseball Board met with the President of American Baseball Congress to finalise arrangements for celebrating baseball's 50th year in South Africa. The three-month and unbeaten thirty-three game tour began on 14th November 1955, finishing in February 1956.

The 'semi-pro level' American All-Star team was managed by New York Yankees scout Terry Bartron and included Brooklyn Dodgers' Hall of Famer and World Series Runner Up(1953) Don Thompson, and Dick Stuart who went on to become World Series Champion(1960), a two-time All Star player(1961) and the first first-baseman in Major League Baseball history to record three assists in one inning(1963).

Seven of the thirty-three games were against the first ever official South African All-Star 'test' team, which included Northern and Southern Rhodesia.

Tournament record[edit]

World Baseball Classic[edit]

 South Africa
World Baseball Classic
Tournament Results
United States 2006 16th
Mexico 2009 16th
Medal Tally
Gold medal world.svg
Silver medal world.svg
Bronze medal world.svg
World Baseball Classic record Qualification record
Year Round Position W L RS RA W L RS RA
2006 Round 1 16th 0 3 12 38 No qualifiers held
2009 Round 1 16th 0 2 4 22 No qualifiers held
2013 Did not qualify 1 2 11 22
2017 Did not qualify 2 2 22 19
Total 2/4 0 5 16 60 3 4 33 41


South Africa's inclusion in the WBC was considered rather surprising by many observers. No South African player reached Major League Baseball until Gift Ngoepe did so with the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 27, 2017 .

In the team's first game, South Africa nearly pulled off an upset of Canada, a team consisting of mostly Major League Baseball players. South Africa took an 8–7 lead into the ninth inning before falling 11–8. This would be as close as the team would get to winning a game. The South Africans lost the next two games to Mexico 10–4, and to the United States in a mercy rule-shortened 17–0 rout.[4]


South Africa competed at the 2009 World Baseball Classic in Group B with Mexico, Cuba and Australia.

In game 1 South Africa were overpowered by international powerhouse Cuba, giving up 6 home runs in an 8–1 loss. The South African defence was a bright point in the match however, turning three double plays and 2 pickoffs.

In the group elimination match South Africa lost heavily to hosts Mexico 14–3. Although the South Africans kept it a one-run ball game heading into the 7th inning, the Mexican team pounced on the inexperienced bullpen pitchers that entered the game late on and scored 11 runs in the final three innings.

South Africa finished the 2009 WBC with an 0–2 record, with 4 runs scored and 22 conceded.

2012 Qualifier[edit]

Four qualifying tournaments were scheduled in 2012 for the 2013 World Baseball Classic, with one team advancing from each to join the 12 squads that had qualified previously by winning at least one game in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. Each of the pools included one team with previous experience in the WBC, but which failed to win a single game during the 2009 tournament. South Africa was placed in Qualifier 1 with Spain, France and Israel at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida.

South Africa lost the first game of this double-elimination tournament to dark horse Israel, 7–3. They moved into the loser's bracket where they eliminated France, 5–2 in 11 innings, after Paul Bell hit a 2-run double into left field in the top of the 11th. In the loser's bracket final, South Africa fell to eventual WBC qualifier Spain, 13–3, and was eliminated from the tournament. Minnesota Twins prospect, Hein Robb pitched 5.1 innings in 2 relief appearances, giving up 0 runs while striking out 4 batters during the qualifying tournament.

Olympic Games[edit]

Summer Olympics record Qualification
Year Host Round Position W L RS RA
2000 Australia Preliminary 8th 1 6 11 73 Gold medal africa.svg 1999 All-Africa Games
Defeated Guam in Africa versus Oceania Playoff
Total 1/5 1 6 11 73

The national team appeared in their first and only Olympic tournament in 2000. The team finished with a record of 1–6 with their only win against the Netherlands.

The win against the Netherlands was thanks largely to two key players:

  • Tim Harrell (P) pitched all 10 Innings in the game, giving up just two un-earned runs on five walks and six hits, with four strikeouts.
  • Ian Holness (RF) knocked in all three of South Africa's runs. He hit a Solo Home Run in the 6th Inning against Dutch starter Patrick de Lange, followed by an RBI Double off reliever Radhames Dykhoff. He finished off the run scoring by hitting another Solo Home Run in the 10th Inning, off Dutch closer Rikkert Faneyte.

South Africa gained entry into the tournament by beating Guam 3–0 in a Best-Of-Five Africa/Oceania playoff series.

All-Africa Games[edit]

All-Africa Games record
Year Host Position W L RS RA
1999 South Africa Gold medal africa.svg 1st 5 0 158 6
2003 Nigeria Gold medal africa.svg 1st Unavailable[5][6]
Total 2/2 - - - -

South Africa was the host of the All-Africa Games in 1999. South Africa won the gold medal with ease, by defeating all of the other national teams. In order of the wins South Africa won against Lesotho (43–0) with Ian Holness hitting 4 home runs and 14 RBIs, Zimbabwe (37–2), Nigeria (19–1), Uganda (31–0) and Ghana (28–3). South Africa was again the dominant power in the 2003 Games held in Abuja, cruising to the final where they beat Nigeria 15–0 to win Gold.

1999 All-Africa Games
9 September
South Africa  43–0 (F/5)  Lesotho Randburg Sports Stadium
WP: Braydon Bartle Boxscore LP: Teboho Shelile
11 September
Zimbabwe  2–37 (F/6)  South Africa Randburg Sports Stadium
LP: Ozias Moyo Boxscore WP: Darryn Smith
12 September
Nigeria  1–19 (F/7)  South Africa Randburg Sports Stadium
LP: Ceaser Ofoedu Boxscore WP: Carl Michaels
13 September
South Africa  31–0 (F/7)  Uganda Randburg Sports Stadium
WP: Vaughn Beariman Boxscore LP: Rockfeller Erima
14 September
Ghana  3–28 (F/5)  South Africa Randburg Sports Stadium
LP: Mohammed Sherrif Boxscore WP: Wesley Botha

Current Roster[edit]

South Africa roster - 2017 World Baseball Classic Qualifier
Final roster Coaching staff





World Baseball Classic Qualifier 2012 South Africa Team Roster[7][edit]

Team Manager
  • Rick Magnante

2000 Summer Olympics[edit]

  • Neil Adonis
  • Clint Alfino
  • Francisco Alfino
  • Paul Bell
  • Vaughn Berriman
  • Jason Cook
  • Errol Davis
  • Simon de la Rey
  • Nick Dempsey
  • Ashley Dove
  • Darryl Gonsalves
  • Brian Harrell
  • Tim Harrell
  • Richard Harrell
  • Ian Holness
  • Kevin Johnson
  • Willem Kemp
  • More MacKay
  • Liall Mauritz
  • Glen Morris
  • Alan Phillips
  • Darryn Smith
  • Russell van Niekerk

Players that have represented South Africa.

  • Neil Adonis, South African national team designated hitter
  • Clint Alfino, South African national team outfielder
  • Francisco Alfino, South African national team infielder
  • Alessio Angelucci, minor league pitcher
  • Barry Armitage, minor league pitcher
  • Paul Bell, minor league infielder
  • Vaughn Berriman, South African national team pitcher
  • Kyle Botha, Bundesliga catcher
  • Scotty Bremner, South African national team catcher
  • Jason Cook, South African national team outfielder
  • Errol Davis, South African national team outfielder
  • Simon de la Rey, South African national team infielder
  • Dylan De Meyer, minor league pitcher
  • Michael Dempsey, South African national team outfielder
  • Nick Dempsey, minor league infielder
  • Ashley Dove, South African national team pitcher
  • Shannon Ekermans, South African national team pitcher
  • Justin Erasmus, minor league pitcher
  • Kyle Ettisch, South African national team catcher
  • Gavin Fingleson, minor league infielder
  • Darryl Gonsalves, South African national team catcher
  • Ryan Groves, South African national team pitcher
  • Brian Harrell, South African national team pitcher
  • Richard Harrell, South African national team pitcher
  • Tim Harrell, minor league pitcher
  • Donavon Hendricks, minor league pitcher
  • Ian Holness, South African national team outfielder
  • Kevin Johnson, South African national team infielder
  • Michael Johnson, Great Britain national team pitcher
  • Willem Kemp, Bundesliga catcher
  • Tyrone Lamont, minor league pitcher
  • Justin Lazarus, Bundesliga infielder
  • Robert Lewis-Walker, minor league pitcher
  • Roddi Liebenberg, Great Britain national team pitcher
  • George Lintern, Great Britain national team outfielder
  • Will Lintern, Bundesliga catcher
  • Kieran Lovegrove, minor league pitcher
  • Dave Lowery,South African national team pitcher
  • Morne Mackay, South African national team infielder
  • Liall Mauritz, South African national team pitcher
  • Carl Michaels, minor league pitcher
  • Mark Miller, minor league catcher
  • Faizel Moosa, South African national team outfielder
  • Glen Morris, South African national team pitcher
  • Mpho Ngoepe, minor league infielder
  • Alan Phillips, South African national team player
  • Anthony Phillips, minor league infielder
  • Jonathan Phillips, minor league infielder
  • Ashley Scott, South African national team infielder
  • Darryn Smith, South African national team pitcher
  • Raymond Tew, South African national team manager
  • Michael Trask, Great Britain national team outfielder
  • Ryan Trask, Great Britain national team outfielder
  • Russell van Niekerk, South African national team pitcher
  • Darren Wedel, South African national team player
  • Konrad Weitz, minor league catcher
  • Brett Willemburg, minor league infielder


  1. ^ [1]. The Foreign Service Journal, February 1939. Retrieved 21st August 2018.
  2. ^ [2]. Naval History and Heritage Command: California V. Accessed 20th August 2018.
  3. ^ [3]. The Herald(Melbourne). Published 20th March 1950.
  4. ^ South Africa Archived 14 April 2006 at the Wayback Machine. at the 2006 World Baseball Classic
  5. ^ 2003 All Africa Games at
  6. ^ Report of Baseball Event of the 8th All Africa Games Abuja 2003
  7. ^