After beating Brazil 5-3 in the morning of day six of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Junior Women’s World Championship (JWWC) in Clearwater, Florida, the Team Italy U19 players returned to the Eddie C. Moore Complex for another challenging feat in the evening during the international 26-country tournament and lost to the Dominican Republic by a score of 8-3 on July 29, 2017. Despite the end result, Team Italy U19 manager Enrico Obletter was proud of his squad’s overall performance in the tourney.
The Italians missed a big scoring opportunity in the top of the first inning. Leadoff hitter Laura Vigna walked and Alessandra Rotondo followed with an infield single. Then Susanna Soldi reached first base on a bunt single to load the bases with no out. Unfortunately, two infield groundouts and a lineout to second ended the inning without any runs being scored.
Team Italy lefty starter Federica Tagliavini pitched with intensity, but the Dominicans fired back by scoring three runs early in the bottom of the first inning. Relief pitcher Chiara Biasi replaced Federica Tagliavini to stop the Dominican Republic’s first inning rally. Trailing 3-0 in the top of the third inning, Team Italy’s offense needed a jumpstart. Alessandra Rotondo and Susanna Soldi responded with singles to get the Team Italy rally going, but once again the Italians failed to score.
The sense of urgency for Team Italy began to sink in during the top of the fourth inning. After Francesca Cumero was hit by a pitch and Elisa Princic walked, Elisa De Trombetti put down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners into scoring position, and an RBI groundout by Marta Chiodaroli yielded Team Italy’s first run of the game. The Dominican Republic scored to widen their 4-1 lead. In the top of the fifth inning, Team Italy’s Alessandra Rotondo singled to left field and Susana Soldi walked. An RBI single by Andrea Howard closed the gap and made it a 4-2 game. The Dominicans came back to score four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning when reliever Chiara Biasi was taken out and closer Sara Riboldi was brought in from the bullpen to limit the damage.
In the top of the sixth inning, the Italians were desperate for some offense. Elisa De Trombetti singled and Alessandra Rotondo tripled to deep right field; however, the offensive rally was too little and a bit too late as Team Italy scored only one run and ultimately lost the game by a score of 8-3. With the heartbreaking loss to the Dominican Republic, Italy’s record fell to 5-4 and the Italian squad placed 12th in the weeklong tourney. Regardless of the final outcome, Team Italy should be proud of their five wins over some of the best softball powerhouse countries in the world. Forza Italia!
by Roberto Angotti