Prior to today’s first pitch thrown by Team Italy’s Greta Cecchetti in the 2017 European Women’s Softball Championship in Bollate (Milan), Italy, the Italians (8-0) had outscored their opponents 53-0. In her first two games pitching in the Euro tournament, Cecchetti threw a perfect game against Spain and a two-hitter against Greece. In the first of two games Team Italy played on June 29, 2017, the hard-throwing hurler faced Great Britain. The British squad was previously undefeated and prepared to give their best efforts to upset the defending Euro Softball Champions. Italy went right to work against the Brits in the first inning when leadoff hitter Laura Vigna singled and Erika Piancastelli doubled. A sacrifice fly to right field by Giulia Longhi allowed Vigna to score and Italy to take a 1-0 lead. The Team Italy offense erupted in the third inning when a pair of singles by Lara Cecchetti and Laura Vigna followed by Erika Piancastelli getting on base on a fielder’s choice set the table for slugger Giulia Longhi. With bases loaded, Longhi blasted a two-RBI double run down the third base line to bring Cecchetti and Vigna home. Piancastelli later scored on a bunt by Marta Gasparotto to give Team Italy a 4-0 advantage. Italy’s Greta Cecchetti pitched flawlessly throughout the game and struck out 12 batters; however, Great Britain managed to squeak out one unearned run on an infield error committed in the fifth inning to make it a 4-1 final score.
In their second Euro showdown of the day, Team Italy manager called on pitcher Ilaria Cacciamani to shut down Czech Republic. The Italians launched an offensive attack on the Czechs in the bottom of the first when back-to-back doubles from Laura Vigna and Marta Gasparotto resulted in the game’s first run. Gasparotto advanced to third on a sacrifice by Giulia Longhi and later scored on a wild pitch. Priscilla Brandi followed with a home run, which put Team Italy on top 3-0. Relentless Italy came back for more with two out in the bottom of the second inning when both Elisa Cecchetti and Laura Vigna singled. Then Marta Gasparotto doubled to give Team Italy pitcher Ilaria Cacciamani a comfortable 4-0 cushion. Cacciamani surrendered one run to Czech Republic in the fourth inning, but in the end Italy prevailed in a 4-1 victory. Team Italy returns on June 30,, 2017 to play Russia and the Netherlands in hopes of advancing to the Euro Championship finals on July 1, 2017. Forza Italia!
by Roberto Angotti