After losing back-to-back games to Team Italy in the European Baseball Series, the Netherlands manager Steve Janssen called upon a former Montreal Expos pitching prospect who will be celebrating his 43rd birthday next week to stop the relentless Azzurri offense from sweeping the international three-day weekend tournament at Codogno’s Comunale Stadium in Lombardy on October 22, 2017. Dutch right-hander Rob Cordemans, who has pitched in every Olympics from 1996-2008 and in all four World Baseball Classics, threw four solid innings but surrendered a solo home run to former Cleveland Indians prospect and current Team Italy cleanup hitter Robel Garcia Rodriguez to give the Italians a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning.
Team Italy manager Gilberto Gerali countered with starting pitcher Alex Bassano, who kept the Netherlands off the scoreboard and struck out three hitters in four innings of work. The Azzurri bullpen did not fare so well as the Dutch scored one run off relief pitcher Diego Fabiani in the fifth inning and four more runs in the sixth inning off relievers Claudio Scotti and Ludovico Coveri. Team Italy’s Luca Panerati and Juri Morellini stopped the bleeding in the seventh and eighth innings by keeping the Netherlands scoreless. The Italians were gifted an unearned run in the top of the eighth inning when pinch-hitter Riccardo Bertossi legged out an infield single and later scored on a walk pitch.
Despite losing 5-2 to the Netherlands in the final game of the European Baseball Series, Team Italy gave a strong performance under the new leadership of Azzurri manager Gilberto Gerali with two dominant wins over Euro rivals the Netherlands. The future looks bright for Team Italy. Forza #Italia!
by Roberto Angotti