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March 8, 2009

Barry Armitage

Rick Magnante

Jonathan Phillips


THE MODERATOR: We'll conduct this interview as quickly as possible. I'd just like to introduce South Africa's contingent here for you this afternoon. On your far right is manager of South Africa Rick Magnante. In the middle our starting pitcher today, Barry Armitage, and 2-for-4 today at the plate Jonathan Phillips.
Skip, I guess right out of the gate, it's pretty nice to say that you went the distance with one of the best in the tournament.
RICK MAGNATE: Well, I'm very proud of the ballclub today. We didn't quit, arguably played a big league ballclub out there. I have the utmost respect for the Cuban team; physical guys, toolbox players, run, throw, hit, field, power, outstanding pitching. So for a young nation like ourselves in baseball, it's a great moral victory to be able to go nine innings with the Cubans, play hard and not give up until that final inning, and finally get off the goose egg. So I'm thrilled for our club today.

Q. Rick, can you talk about some of the things that really stick out in your mind?
RICK MAGNATE: I think our defense was superb. We played very, very solid defense. It was very difficult for our hitters today when you're hitting 0-1 and 0-2 in the count. We could never get back into the count. When you're facing experienced pitchers like Cuba threw out there against us today, I thought our at-bats were very on par for who we are. And like I said, our kids never quit. We played good defense, our pitchers battled. Certainly when you give up five home runs in a ballgame, it's pretty difficult to win, but we never said die and we kept battling and fighting. And I think we did a good job putting ourselves into this tournament.

Q. Barry, you've been with the national team for a number of years. Can you summarize today's defeat from your perspective?
BARRY ARMITAGE: I couldn't be more proud of the guys hanging in there all the way until the end. Personally Cuba is a great team. They took advantage of the mistakes I made and I'm sure the rest of the pitchers. The ball it up, they can hit and Cuba showed what a good hitting team they are.
Our guys, like Rick said, defense I thought was superb, not only making the standard plays but making some really great plays, turning the double plays when they needed to be made, just all-around I was just -- couldn't be more happy.

Q. Jonathan, you had an opportunity to knock in the game's only run. The fans were very receptive. They almost took you guys under their wing by the final pitch of the game. Talk about the atmosphere here in Mexico and what it meant to have so many fans support you.
JONATHAN PHILLIPS: It's amazing. First of all, we thought but to actually see that they came out to support us and they watched the game, it was amazing. That's not what we're used to. Every time we go overseas that's what we enjoy. We enjoy playing in front of a crowd and we love it. It's actually unreal today.

Q. Barry, how hard is it to keep the ball low in this altitude?
BARRY ARMITAGE: I thought for the most part I actually did a pretty good job. I didn't struggle getting it down, I probably left one or two up, and they took advantage of that. I made some good pitches but not when it counted obviously, and they took advantage of the ones I threw up. I didn't think the altitude was a big deal in the ballgame.
THE MODERATOR: We'll see you here tomorrow. Thank you guys.

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