After suffering an 8-1 loss to Czech Republic on August 1, the Azzurrini closed the final two days of the WBSC U12 Baseball World Cup Consolation Round on August 2-3, 2019 in Tainan, Taiwan with a 10-0 shutout over South Africa followed by a 16-1 rout over Fiji. Matching the same success the Azzurrini achieved in the 2013 U12 Baseball World Cup, Team Italy placed ninth in the 12-country international competition with three victories and five losses.
Three-time U12 European champion Team Italy manager Stefano Burato got good offensive production from Filippo Sabatini (6-for-13, .462 BA, two runs scored, and two RBI), Daniele Di Persia (5-for-14, .357 BA, three runs scored, and three RBI), and Nicolò Baltieri (5-for-17, .294 BA, three runs scored, and three RBI). Not only did Riccardo Mazzanti help Team Italy offensively (three hits and four runs scored), but the Azzurrini pitching ace led the squad in wins (2), innings pitched (9.2), and strikeouts (15). Teammate Filippo Sabatini pitched well against fifth-place finisher Mexico on July 27 when he threw a two-hitter with no earned runs allowed in the 1-0 loss. His 2.08 ERA was the lowest on the Team Italy U12 pitching staff. Perhaps one of the biggest accomplishments for the Azzurrini was the pitching duo of Daniele Di Persia and Riccardo Mazzanti recording a 6-4 win over Australia on July 28.
Italian skipper Stefano Burato is proud of his young and talented squad as the Azzurrini held their heads high facing some baseball powerhouses on the world stage. The WBSC U12 Baseball World Cup concludes on August 4 with the World Championship final between Chinese Taipei and Japan at 6:30 pm (local time). The battle for the bronze medal between Korea and Cuba precedes the final game of the competition at 2 pm (local time). Forza #Italia! #LetsMakeItHappen
by Roberto Angotti