With a 12-0 shutout over Czech Republic on August 2, 2019, Team Italy has earned the right to dethrone defending Euro champion Kingdom of the Netherlands in the U16 European Women’s Softball Championship final, which takes place in Zagreb, Croatia on August 3 at 6 pm (local time).
Having suffered a 6-1 loss to the Dutch earlier in the tournament on the morning of August 1, the Team Italy U16 softball squad rebounded with a 2-1 victory over Germany in the late afternoon. Prior to throwing the first pitch against Czech Republic, Team Italy ace Maya Milano knew the Italians had to win by at least two runs and give up no more than seven runs as per Team Quality Balance in order to advance to the U16 European Women’s Softball Championship final. The young and talented starting pitcher excelled on the mound under playoff pressure and delivered a three-hitter with five strikeouts and one walk in four innings of work.
A two-out rally in the top of the first inning put three runs on the board for Team Italy. After Anita Bartoli walked and stole second base, Giulia Bancora singled. Both baserunners scored on an infield error which allowed Agnese Giacometti to reach first base. Then an RBI double by Virginia Mambelli brought Agnese Giacometti home.
The Italians scored three more runs in the top of the second inning. Chiara Bolognini doubled up the middle and advanced to third base on a groundout by Manola Beltrame. Chiara Bolognini scored on a bad throw to first base by the Czech catcher which put Alessia Brandi in scoring position. A RBI triple by Elena Cavaglieri followed to give Team Italy a commanding 5-0 lead. Adding insult to injury, a wild pitch enabled Elena Cavaglieri to score from third base.
Team Italy came back to score another run in the top of the third inning. After back-to-back singles by Giulia Bancora, an RBI single from Chiara Bolognini made it a 7-0 game. Five more runs came across the plate in the top of the fourth inning. The offensive onslaught was fueled by a double from Elena Cavaglieri, an RBI single by Elisa Raviola, a two-RBI single by Chiara Bolognini, and a single from Sarah Bortolotti.
With the shutout over Czech Republic, Team Italy improves its record in the international 13-country competition to 7-2. Euro rival Kingdom of the Netherlands (7-1) enters the U16 European Women’s Softball Championship final after losing 7-6 to Ukraine on August 2. The Italians seek revenge on the Dutch and look to bring home the U16 European title by dethroning the defending Euro champion. Forza #Italia! #LetsMakeItHappen
by Roberto Angotti