(JTA) — Nate Freiman slammed two home runs to power Israel to a 7-3 victory over South Africa in its opener of the World Baseball Classic Qualifier.
Freiman, a first baseman for the San Diego Padres’ Class AA San Antonio Missions, homered in the first and ninth innings Thursday night in Jupiter, Fla.
Most of the Israeli squad’s 28-man roster is comprised of Jewish minor leaguers like Freiman. Former Major Leaguers Shawn Green and Gabe Kapler also are on the squad, as are three Israeli pitchers — Alon Leichman, Shlomo Lipetz and Dan Rothem.
The Israeli team is managed by former Major League catcher Brad Ausmus.
Spain and France also are in Israel’s qualifier group. 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 out of the qualifier round.