Tokyo-bound Team Italy defeated Great Britain 5-0 and earned the right to be the lone Europe/Africa representative in the 2020 Olympics after being the winner of the Olympic Qualifier Super Round at Utrecht’s Sportpark de Paperclip in the Netherlands on July 27, 2019. Undefeated Team Italy (6-0) was led by a dominant pitching perfromance by ace Greta Cecchetti, who stifled the Brits with 13 strikeouts and just three hits in seven complete innings.
The Azzurre women's softball squad went right to work in the bottom of the first inning and notched two runs on the board. After leadoff hitter Amanda Fama was hit by a pitch, newcomer Emily Carosone singled up the middle. With runners on first and second base, slugger Erika Piancastelli hit an RBI single to score Team Italy's first run of the game. Then Beatrice Ricchi reached first base on an infield error, which allowed Emily Carosone to come home and give the Italians a 2-0 advantage.
In the bottom of the third inning, Emily Carosone doubled and was replaced on the bases by speedy Fabrizia Marrone. Beatrice Ricchi drove her in with an RBI double and put Team Italy on top 3-0. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Andrea Howard led off with a single, but was later thrown out at second base on a fielder's choice by Alessandra Rotondo. A single by Amanda Fama advanced Alessandra Rotondo to third base. Then Laura Vigna nailed the coffin shut on Great Britain when she hit a two-run single to make it a 5-0 game.
With the win over the Brits, Team Italy will travel to Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics. The Azzurre softball squad will compete against USA (ranked #1), Japan (ranked #2), the top two finishers from the Americas Qualifier (August 25-September 1, 2019), and the winner of the Asia/Oceania Qualifer (September 24-28, 2019).
There is little time for Team Italy manager Enrico Obletter to celebrate this monumental victory in Italian softball history as the WBSC U19 World Cup looms around the corner from August 10-17, 2019 across the Atlantic in Irvine, California. The Italian skipper with the magic touch will bring along Team Italy's youngest player on the senior squad roster, Alessandra Rotondo, to shock the softball world. Forza #Italia! #LetsMakeItHappen
by Roberto Angotti