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The national Under-19 softball squad's sensational recovery at the Junior Men's World Fast Pitch Championship in Whitehorse, Canada, has raised hopes of South Africa's success at coming junior international events.
The South Africans' remarkable finish in the tournament surprised their critics after a dolorous start to their campaign.
Guided by Mamphiri "Meneer" Sethosa, the youngsters heroically wiped away the gloom that was hanging over their heads after heavy defeats early in the event, with three wins.
They annihilated Denmark 15-0 in one-way traffic, beat the Czech Republic 9-6 and wound up their campaign with a 6-4 win over winless neighbours Botswana.
The South Africans also surprised the highly rated United States 10-2 in other matches. They lost the other seven ties ostensibly as they were still trying to settle down.
Australia were crowned champions for the fourth season on the trot, thanks to a hard-fought 2-1 extra-inning win over an obdurate Canadian side in the final on Sunday.
"The way we finished proved that my players have the ability to learn and cope with pressure," Sethosa said. "I don't think we would have finished the event superbly if we did not have players with fighting spirit."
The team arrived back home yesterday morning.
Mash Matsitela, Team SA head of delegation, said that it was crucial for the players to play in more junior international events to be ready for senior tournaments.