With another shutout over Sweden on June 28, 2017, defending European Champion Team Italy climbed up the winner’s bracket and inched closer to earning the right to play in the decisive final game of the Women’s Softball Championship on July 1, 2017 in Bollate (Milan), Italy. Team Italy pitcher Alice Nicolini, who threw a two-hitter against Switzerland two days prior, repeated her outstanding performance by limiting the Swedes to three hits in Italy’s 8-0 victory. Nicolini kept her team in the game early as there was no score until the bottom of the third inning when Italy’s Lara Cecchetti hit an inside-the-park home run, which put the Italians on top 1-0.
Team Italy returned the next inning with an explosive seven-run rally aided by a single from Marta Gasparotto, who got into scoring position with a perfectly-executed sacrifice from Ambra Collina. Gasparotto later scored on an RBI double by Elisa Cecchetti. Then Mariel Bertossi followed with an RBI double of her own to bring Cecchetti home and give Italy a 3-0 lead. Singles by Alice Parisi, Laura Vigna and Lara Buila coupled with a two-run home run from Erika Piancastelli amounted to an additional five runs for Team Italy.
The next challenge for Team Italy is beating undefeated Great Britain, a team that recently defeated Greece by a score of 3-1 on June 29th. With 23 countries in total competing in the 2017 European Women’s Softball Championship, undefeated Italy and the Netherlands are projected to reach the finals in a rematch between the top two Euro powerhouses on July 1st.
by Roberto Angotti