In what many consider to be the most important year for Italian baseball in the last decade with the European Championship (Bonn and Solingen, Germany from September 6-15, 2019) and the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (Bologna and Parma, Italy from September 18-23, 2019) looming, Team Italy manager Gilberto “Gibo” Gerali is taking his Azzurri squad and staff to the spring training home of the Oakland Athletics in Mesa, Arizona next month for six days of intensive workouts and seven exhibition day games.
Upon arrival at Phoenix International Airport, the Italians will travel to nearby Mesa to begin training from March 16-19. After morning workouts, Team Italy will play a series of afternoon exhibition games against Oakland A’s minor league teams on March 20, 21 and 23 with first pitch at 1 pm. The Azzurri will then compete in a pair of games at Hohokam Stadium against the Grand Canyon University Antelopes on March 25 at 1 pm and the Paradise Valley Community College Pumas on March 27 at 2 pm. Team Italy closes out its exhibition game schedule with back-to-back clashes with Toros de Tijuana on March 28 and 29 at 1 pm.
Italian skipper Gibo Gerali will be accompanied by hitting coaches Giovanni Costa and Alberto D'Auria, pitching coach Dennis Cook, bullpen coach Rolando Cretis, bench coach Augusto Medina, mental coach Rafael Colon, strength and conditioning coach Gianni Natale, trainer Massimo Baldi, and delegation team manager Vincenzo Mignola.
The following players have been invited to participate: Mattia Aldegheri, P (ASD Baseball Team Verona), Alex Bassani, P (Fortitudo BC 1953), Murilo Brolo, P (Fortitudo BC 1953), Federico Celli, OF (ASD Rimini), Chris Colabello, INF (San Marino BC), Filippo Crepaldi, P (Fortitudo BC 1953), Alessandro Deotto, C (Parma Baseball 1949), Erick Epifano, INF (ASD Reggio Rays Baseball), Diego Fabiani, P (Cervignano Baseball ASD), Nico Garbella, OF (Aosta Bugs SSD), Aldo Koutsoyanopulos, INF (Parma Baseball 1949), Alessandro Maestri, P (Torre Pedrera Falcons BC), Mattia Mercuri, INF (ASD Nettuno BC 1945), Angelo Palumbo, P (ASD Reggio Rays Baseball), Ricardo Paolini, INF (ASD Reggio Rays Baseball), Andrea Pizziconi, P (Fortitudo BC 1953), Sebastiano Poma, OF (Collecchio BC), Michele Pomponi, P (Oltretorrente BC), Yomel Rivera, P (Collecchio BC), Marco Sabbatani, C (Fortitudo BC 1953), Alex Sambucci, INF (Junior Parma BC ASD), Claudio Scotti, P (Pol. Cali Roma XIII), Valerio Simone, P (ASD San Marino BC), Mario Trinci, C (ASD Nettuno BC 1945), Alessandro Vaglio, INF (Fortitudo BC 1953), and Leo Zileri, OF (Parma Baseball 1949). Forza #Italia! #LetsMakeItHappen
by Roberto Angotti