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Team Italy is perfect in Olympic Softball Qualifier opener against Botswana

Team Italy women’s softball squad pitching aces Greta Cecchetti and Ilaria Cacciamani threw a combined perfect game with a total of 13 strikeouts in a 7-0 mercy-rule shutout over Botswana on opening day of the WBSC Europe/Africa Olympic Qualifier at Utrecht’s Sportpark de Paperclip in the Netherlands on July 23, 2019.  

Despite doubles from Laura Vigna and Andrea Howard early in the game, Team Italy did not get on the board until the bottom of the third inning. Azzurre leadoff hitter Amanda Fama singled and scored on an inside-the-park home run by Laura Vigna. Team Italy newcomer Emily Carosone also scored on a pair of errors committed by the Botswana outfield to give the Italians a 3-0 advantage.

Team Italy nailed the coffin shut via mercy rule in the bottom of the fourth inning when four more runs crossed the plate. Beatrice Ricchi led off with a single and was replaced on the bases by Fabrizia Marrone. Then Giulia Longhi reached first base on an infield error. Team Italy manager Enrico Obletter called on the speedy Alessandra Rotondo to pinch run for Giulia Longhi. Amanda Fama followed with a two-run triple and scored on a sacrifice fly by Laura Vigna. Then Emily Carosone doubled to deep left field and later scored on an RBI single by Lisa Birocci.

Europe/Africa Softball Olympic Qualifier Group B’s two undefeated softball squads, Team Italy (1-0) and Czech Republic (1-0), clash on July 24 at 4 pm (local time). The Italians finish first round action with a battle against France (0-1) on July 25 at 10 am (local time). 

The Netherlands (1-0), Great Britain (1-0), Spain (0-1), and South Africa (0-1) are in Group A. The top two finishers of each group will advance to the Super Round carrying the result of the game played between each other. The top team in the tournament final standings will gain a berth for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Forza #Italia! #LetsMakeItHappen

by Roberto Angotti

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