Three-time U12 European champion Team Italy manager Stefano Burato got the elusive victory he was searching for against Australia when his young and talented Azzurrini squad defeated the Aussies 6-4 at the WBSC U12 Baseball World Cup in Tainan, Taiwan on July 28, 2019.
Having been defeated 15-0 by Venezuela (ranked #9) in the opening game of the nine-day international tournament on July 26, Team Italy (ranked #16) returned the following day with a vengeance and nearly upset Mexico (ranked #6) when suffering a heartbreaking 1-0 loss. So it came as no surprise that the Azzurrini took down Australia (ranked #7) by a score of 6-4 on July 28.
Italian skipper Stefano Burato called on starting pitcher Daniele Di Persia and reliever Riccardo Mazzanti to get the job done against Australia. The Aussies took at 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Team Italy answered in the bottom of the second inning. After back-to-back singles by Daniele Di Persia and Mattia Ruggeri, Team Italy leadoff hitter Lucciano Munoz Liendo hit an RBI single to tie the game up 1-1.
Starter Daniele Di Persia got into trouble in the top of the third inning and was responsible for Australia's second run of the game. He was replaced on the mound by Riccardo Mazzanti, who limited the Aussies to two runs during his 3.2 innings pitched and struck out eight batters with no walks.
Team Italy took a 3-2 lead In the bottom of the third inning. Riccardo Mazzanti reached first base on an error and stole second. He advanced to third base on a single by Matteo Raimondi and scored on a wild pitch. Then an RBI single by Riccardo Baldisseri brought home Matteo Raimondi to score.
Team Italy put up two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. After a bunt single by Filippo Sabatini and an infield error, Nicolò Baltieri hit an RBI single. He also scored on a series of blunders by the Aussie infield.
Australia fired back in the top of the fifth inning and scored twice to cut the deficit to just one run. Leading 5-4, the Azzurrini added an insurance in the bottom of the fifth inning to make it a 6-4 game. Daniele Di Persia singled and reached second base on a wild pitch. He later scored on an RBI single by pinch hitter Jordan Ariani.
With the victory over Australia, Team Italy improves its record to 1-2. Now the Azzurrini face their biggest challenges in the 12-country international competition with a battle against USA (ranked #2) on July 29 at 2 pm (local time) followed by a clash against Korea (ranked #3) on July 30 at 10 am (local time). The WBSC U12 Baseball World Cup continues through August 4, 2019. Forza #Italia! #LetsMakeItHappen
by Roberto Angotti