It literally was a blast to watch Team Italy no-hit and shutout Turkey 41-0 in game one of the European Women's Softball Championship in Frydek-Mistek, Czech Republic on Sunday, June 30, 2019. Italian pitchers Greta Cecchetti, Ilaria Cacciamani, and Alice Nicolini combined their efforts to blank the Turks with nine strikeouts in the three-inning mercy-rule rout. Azzurre leadoff hitter Amanda Fama stepped into the batter's box in the bottom of the first inning and set the tone for the relentless Team Italy offense with a blast over the left field fence. After singles from Laura Vigna and Erika Piancastelli, the home run derby continued with a three-run jack from Marta Gasparotto. In fact, cleanup hitter Marta Gasparotto hit two home runs during the contest as did Laura Vigna and Erika Piancastelli. Lara Cecchetti, Lisa Birocci, and Valeria Bettinsoli also homered to give Team Italy a total of 10 blasts in the game.
The Azzurre squad returned hours later and faced Austria. Team Italy manager Enrico Obletter called on starting picher Ilaria Cacciamani, who limited the Austrians to just one hit and one walk with eight strikeouts in 3.1 innings. Closer Lisa Birocci added another strikeout during her 2019 Euro Championship debut in the four-inning mercy-rule 11-0 shutout. A pair of two-run home runs from slugger Erika Piancastelli coupled with another two-run blast from Amanda Fama and a solo homer Lisa Birocci was enough to put away Austria. Alessandra Rotondo flashed her speed on the bases with two steals in the game.
Team Italy travels to nearby Ostravia for an afternoon contest against Ukraine at 3:45 pm (local time) followed by a battle under the lights against Spain at 8:15 pm (local time) on Monday, July 1, 2019. The European Women's Softball Championship continues through July 6, 2019. Forza #Italia! #LetsMakeItHappen
by Roberto Angotti