Who says the Pirates are struggling in the development system? Well, Gift Ngoepe has a long way to go to reach his dreams, but he took a few strides toward that dream last evening as he played for South Africa against Mexico.
The switch hitter was compared to Chone Figgins when SA Manager Rick Magnante said, “Ngoepe is kind of like a Chone Figgins kind of kid. He doesn’t quite have the tools that Figgins has but he’s got that kind of a physical profile.”
“Ngoepe’s eyes lit up when I told him of the comparision,” the announcer said. As everyone knows comparisions are easy to receive, but hard to live up to. But in this case, one can’t help root for the 5’10” 165 pounder.
Ngoepe is a few years away, but still a great story.
Last night for South Africa he played a great game. He crushed balls in his first two plate appearances for triples. The first one was a bomb to dead center although it had a little too much air and was actually misplayed/overrun by Cincinnati Red Jerry Hairston. However, the second time up he again raked Mexico pitcher Elmer Dessens delivery with a ball to left center field driving in a run. His head first slide into third brought an eruption from the South Africian bench. The kid was all smiles. And so was I.
The ball sounds great off his bat (we’ve heard that phrase a few times haven’t we?) and watching him run brings back some great memories of other young Pirates talent. Just wait until you see the highlights.
He is trying to do something nobody from his country has ever done before….
And I trust he achieves his dream. You have to check out his story…