In preparation for the 2017 European Baseball Series from October 20-22, 2017 on their home turf against the Netherlands, Team Italy manager Gilberto Gerali along with coaches John Cortese, Rolando Cretis, Alberto D'Auria, Claudio Liverziani and Paolo Da Re have assembled an Azzurri all-star roster that most certainly will give their Dutch rivals a run for their money. Patriarch Alessandro Maestri, having pitched in all World Baseball Classic competitions since its inception in 2006 as well as in the Minor Leagues (Chicago Cubs 2006-2011), leads Team Italy as the most accomplished player on the 25-man roster in the 2017 Euro Baseball Series, which will travel to three different cities in Veneto, Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy. The three-day weekend tourney kicks off on Friday night, October 20 at Verona's Gavagnin Stadium. Another evening game follows on Saturday, October 21 at Godo's Casadio Stadium before the final match takes place on Sunday afternoon, October 22 at Codogno's Comunale Stadium. Joining veteran Alessandro Maestri as a leader on the Team Italy pitching staff are newcomers Claudio Scotti, a Pittsburgh Pirates prospect who recently returned to Rome after his second season pitching for the Gulf Coast League Pirates, and Ludovico Coveri, a Philadelphia Phillies prospect with two years experience pitching in the Dominican Summer League. Rounding out the Italian squad with Minor League Baseball credentials are Chicago Cubs catching prospect Alberto Mineo, pitchers Luca Panerati (Cincinnati Reds, 2008-2011) Andrea Pizziconi (Arizona Diamondbacks/Kansas City Royals, 2009-2011) and Nicolo Clemente (Boston Red Sox, 2014-2016) as well as infielders Robel Garcia Rodriguez (Cleveland Indians, 2010-2014) and Mattia Mercuri (Atlanta Braves, 2013-2015). Other Azzurri players scheduled to participate in the 2017 European Series include: pitchers Alex Bassani (Fortitudo Bologna), Tommaso Cherubini (San Marino), Diego Fabiani (Padova), Juri Morellini (Nettuno Baseball City), Yomel Rivera (Parma 1949), and Valerio Simone (Nettuno Baseball City); catchers Alessandro Deotto (Parma 1949) and Mario Trinci (Nettuno Baseball City); infielders Filippo Agretti (Fortitudo Bologna), Alex Sambucci (Fortitudo Bologna) and Alessandro Vaglio (Fortitudo Bologna); and outfielders Paolino Ambrosino (Fortitudo Bologna), Nicola Garbella (Rimini), Alessandro Grimaudo (Fortitudo Bologna), Sebastiano Poma (San Marino) and Mattia Reginato (San Marino). Let's wish Team #Italy manager Gilberto Gerali and his squad of experienced coaches and talented ballplayers the best in defeating the Netherlands in the 2017 #EuropeanBaseballSeries. Forza #Italia!
by Roberto Angotti