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With rain winning the Super 6 Baseball Tournament in the Netherlands and Team Italy being awarded silver without having the opportunity to play the Kingdom of the Netherlands for the championship title, manager Gilberto "Gibo" Gerali looks forward to playing on a dry surface in Mesa, Arizona. The squad gathers in Milan to depart for Phoenix on September 29, 2018. The Oakland Athletics will host Team Italy at their Arizona Spring Training facility for morning workouts beginning September 30. The Azzurri will also compete in eight Minor League Baseball Instructional League contests at nearby Phoenix area MLB training facilities.

The exhibition series begin with two games at the Oakland Athletics camp in Mesa on October 2-3 before playing a game at Cincinnati Reds headquarters in Goodyear on October 4. Team Italy moves on to Surprise for a battle at Texas Rangers camp on October 5 and takes a day off on October 6. Morning workouts resume in Mesa on October 7. Then the Team Italy game at the Los Angeles Dodgers complex in Glendale on October 8 will be followed by a rematch against the Oakland A’s in Mesa on October 10. The Italians return to Glendale for an exhibition contest against the Chicago White Sox on October 11 and end their Arizona road trip in a finale with the Kansas City Royals in Surprise on October 12.

Azzurri manager Gibo Gerali will be joined by coaches Augusto Medina, Dennis Cook, Alberto D'Auria, Rolando Cretis, William Horn, and Rafael Colon as well as athletic trainer Gianni Natale, physiotherapist Massimo Baldi, and delegation manager Gigi Mignola.

The following players have confirmed their participation in the Arizona camp: Alex Bassani, P (Rimini Baseball), Mattia Aldegheri, P (Baseball Team Verona), Samuel Aldegheri, P (Baseball Team Verona), Federico Celli, OF (Rimini BasebalL), Chris Colabello, INF (San Marino B.C.), Ludovico Coveri, P (San Marino B.C.), Filippo Crepaldi, P (Fortitudo B.C. 1953), Alessandro Deotto, C (1949 Parma BC), Diego Fabiani, P (Padova B.C.), Nico Garbella, OF (Rimini BasebalL), Giovanni Garbella, OF (Rimini Baseball), Robel Garcia, INF (Fortitudo B.C. 1953), Alessandro Maestri, P (Sydney Blue Sox / San Marino B.C.), Mattia Mercuri, INF (Nuova Città di Nettuno), Alberto Mineo, C (Toronto Blue Jays - Triple A Buffalo Bisons), Angelo Palumbo, P (Bolzano BC), Ricardo Paolini, INF (1949 Parma BC), Andrea Pizziconi, P (Fortitudo B.C. 1953), Sebastiano Poma, OF (1949 Parma BC), Michele Pompani, P (1949 Parma BC), Yomel Rivera, P (1949 Parma BC), Claudio Scotti, P (Nuova Città di Nettuno), Leonardo Seminati, INF (Cincinnati Reds - Single A Billings Mustangs), Valerio Simone, P (Nuova Città di Nettuno), Mario Trinci, C (Nuova Città di Nettuno), and Alessandro Vaglio, INF (Fortitudo B.C. 1953).

Italian skipper Gibo Gerali has asked experienced players on the squad to mentor the young prospects during the Arizona adventure. In particular, he hopes team captain Alessandro Vaglio will show the ropes to Ricardo Paolini while "Grande Leo" Seminati shadows slugger Chris Colabello. Manager Gibo Gerali has also extended an invitation to some players of Italian descent based in North America eligible to represent Team Italy to join the Azzurre squad for the Arizona program. Forza #Italia! #ItaliaBaseball #LetsMakeItHappen #2020Olympics.

by Roberto Angotti