Israel defeated South Africa in the first game of the World Baseball Classic Qualifier.
The Israeli team topped South Africa’s national team 7-3 in Thursday night’s game in Jupiter, Fla.
Nate Freiman, who plays minor league Class AA baseball for the San Diego Padres organization, hit two home runs, in the first and ninth innings.
The Israeli team is managed by former Major League catcher Brad Ausmus. Diaspora Jews are eligible to play on behalf of Israel.
Three Israelis – Alon Leichman, Shlomo Upetz and Dan Rothem – are among the pitchers. The remaining players are Jewish and most come from minor league teams in the United States. Former Major Leaguers Shawn Green and Gabe Kapler also are on the 28-man roster.
The other teams in the qualifier group are Spain and France. One team will advance to the World Baseball Classic in March.
Chicago White Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis has said he will play for Israel if it advances to the Classic.
Israel Defeats South Africa at Baseball Classic