The Team Italy softball squad defeated France 5-1 on the final day of the WBSC Europe/Africa Olympic Qualifier Opening Round at Utrecht’s Sportpark de Paperclip in the Netherlands on July 25, 2019 to become the top seed in Group B of the international competition. Team Italy (3-0) and Czech Republic (2-1) from Group B along with undefeated Great Britain (3-0) and Netherlands (2-1) from Group A now advance to the WBSC Europe/Africa Olympic Qualifier Super Round. The Brits upset the Dutch 5-2 to claim the top seed in Group A.
The Super Round kicks off on July 26 with home team Great Britain battling Czech Republic at 4 pm (local time) followed by Team Italy hosting Netherlands at 7 pm (local time). In what will likely be the WBSC Europe/Africa Olympic Qualifier championship, Team Italy plays Great Britain on July 27 at 3 pm (local time). The game between Netherlands and Czech Republic takes place at 12 pm (local time).
Prior to beating France 5-1 on July 25, the Italians made their way into the Super Round after two shutouts over Botswana and Czech Republic. Team Italy manager Enrico Obletter called on starting pitcher Ilaria Cacciamani to quash the French. She delivered by limiting France to just one run on five hits with five strikeouts and one walk.
The Italians threatened to jump out ahead early in the top of the first inning when Amanda Fama led off with a triple but was left stranded on third base without scoring. The Team Italy offense came to life in the top of the fourth inning when four runs crossed the plate. After singles by Laura Vigna and Emily Carosone, Andrea Howard walked to load the bases for Giulia Longhi. The clutch hitter once again executed with an RBI single. Then Alessandra Rotondo came through with a two-run single and later scored following a stolen base, an infield error, and a wild pitch.
Team Italy added an insurance run in the top of the seventh inning. After leading off with a single, the speedy Fabrizia Marrone advanced to second base on a wild pitch, stole third base, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Laura Vigna. With the victory over France, Team Italy remains undefeated in the WBSC Europe/Africa Olympic Qualifier on the #RoadtoTokyo. Forza #Italia! #LetsMakeItHappen
by Roberto Angotti