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Gavin Fingleson

(1976 - )

Born in South Africa on August 5, 1976, Gavin Fingleson moved to Australia with his family at the age of 11. He represented the Australian Under-16 and Under-19 teams and won a baseball scholarship to Wallace State Community College in Alabama. After his two years at Wallace State, Fingleson won another scholarship, this time to Southeastern Louisiana University. After graduating, he remained in the U.S. and played baseball on independent teams before playing in Taiwan for one season. He returned to the U.S. in 2003 and played with the New Haven Cutters of the independent Northeast League. He has been named the Maccabi Australia Sportsman of the Year three times as the country's top Jewish athlete.

The South African-born Fingleson, an infielder, was competing for Australia at the 2004 Athens Olympics. He was the starting second baseman in Australia's first match 4-1 loss to Cuba, on August 15. Gavin was ineffective at the plate, going 0-for-3 and grounding into a double play. He did however have five putouts and made two assists. Gavin started Australia's second game against Chinese Taipei as well. Taipei won 3-0 while the second baseman was 1-for-3 at the plate. The infielder was instrumental in Australia's first victory, 6-0 over Italy on August 17. Fingleson got on base twice, once on a single, scored two runs and hit in an RBI. Ben Wigmore pinch hit for Gavin in the ninth inning.The Australian second baseman was the hero in Australia's 9-4 upset against Japan on August 19. He was 2-for-5, and drove in 2 runs including the game-winning RBI. On August 20, Fingleson was 2-for-5 with a run and two RBI's in Australia's impressive 11-6 victory over Greece. Gavin's bat was on fire on as Australia annihilated the Netherlands on August 21, by a score of 22-2. He made 4 hits in six at bats, scored 3 runs and drove in four while hitting a home run in the second inning. Gavin got one of only four Australian hits, as they were pummeled 11-0 by Canada in the final group match. Despite the loss, Australia made the semifinals and met favorites Japan on August 24. Fingleson and Australia guaranteed a medal with their shock 1-0 victory over their Japanese rivals. The second baseman was 0-for-4 and grounded into a double play, but provided a solid Aussie glove at second. As expected, Australia lost the gold medal match to Cuba 6-2, but Fingleson was arguably their best player on the night. He made two hits and walked once, thus standing out in a lineup which was baffled by Cuban pitching. Overall, he batted 351 in the competition with 9 RBI's, 6 runs scored, 1 home run and a stolen base.

Sources: Jews In Sports