The Team Italy women’s softball squad (5-0) traveled to nearby Frydek-Mistek from the European Championship headquarters in Ostrava, Czech Republic to dominate Pool A action with a pair of 7-0 shutouts against Israel (3-2) and Spain (4-1) on Tuesday, July 2, 2019.
In the morning contest. starting pitcher Greta Cecchetti was lights out against Israel. She limited her opponent to just two hits and one walk while striking out 11 batters. The Azzurre offense got a jumpstart in the second inning when Lisa Birocci led off with a solo blast over the center field fence to put the Italians on top 1-0. Two home runs from slugger Erika Piancastelli in the third and fifth innings gave Team Italy a 3-0 advantage. The game was put out of reach with an additional four runs in the sixth inning. Lisa Birocci led off with a single up the middle. She was replaced by pinch-runner Valeria Bettinsoli, who advanced to second base on a single by Beatrice Ricchi and moved on to third base when Micaela Arbatine was hit by a pitch. Valeria Bettinsoli came home to score on a wild pitch. Beatrice Ricchi and Micaela Arbatine were right behind her when they scored on an RBI single by Amanda Fama, who also scored on two infield errors.
Due to a rain out the day prior, the Italians returned in the afternoon to play a rescheduled game against Spain. Team Italy manager Enrico Obletter called upon starting pitcher Ilaria Cacciamani. She pitched a remarkable three-hitter with 13 strikeouts. The Team Italy offense went right to work in the bottom of the first inning when leadoff hitter Amanda Fama homered to left field. Then Erika Piancastelli reached second base on an infield error and later scored on another infield error by Spain to give the Italians a 2-0 lead. The Azzurre squad came back for more in the bottom of the third inning after Laura Vigna singled and cleanup hitter Marta Gasparotto drove her in with a two-run home run. Team Italy added an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth inning when Andrea Howard singled and an RBI double by Beatrice Ricchi made it a 5-0 game. The Italians put Spain away in the bottom of the sixth inning after Valeria Bettinsoli was hit by a pitch and Amanda Fama drilled a two-run homer over the left field fence to make it 7-0.
Pool B winner Team Italy is now placed in Pool F with France, Greece, and the Netherlands. Pool B runner-up Spain is grouped up in Pool E with Czech Republic, Great Britain, and Ireland. Team Italy begins Pool F action tonight with a clash against Euro rival the Netherlands in Ostrava at 8:45 pm (local time). The Azzurre squad returns to Ostrava for a pair of games on Wednesday, July 3 against France at 2 pm (local time) and Greece at 8:45 pm (local time). The European Women’s Softball Championship continues through Saturday, July 6. Forza #Italia! #LetsMakeItHappen
by Roberto Angotti