Prior to the WBSC U19 Women's Softball World Cup Opening Ceremony in Irvine, California on August 10, 2019, Team Italy manager Enrico Obletter exudes confidence that his promising Azzurrine squad is ready to compete with the game's elite. The tried-and-tested Olympian skipper wears many hats as the manager of both the Italian National Softball Seniors Team and the U19 Juniors squad. Having recently won the European Championship title and the Europe/Africa Olympic Qualifier, Enrico Obletter will be heading to the Olympics for the second time in his coaching career with the Team Italy Seniors in #Tokyo2020. He said, "It's a great feeling having been the third team to qualify. (USA and Japan were the first two teams to qualify). It's something we have been working for the last three years. It was a tough road. We are very proud to have been the third team to qualify for Tokyo 2020."
Front and center on Team Italy manager Enrico Obletter's mind is the U19 softball squad. The youngest player on the Italian Seniors squad roster, Alessandra Rotondo, is the captain of the Euro champion Juniors team. She will give Team Italy a winning edge leading into the 2019 WBSC U19 Women’s Softball World Cup. Enrico Obletter commented, "It's great to have Alessandra Rotondo as our team captain. She has been a part of our Senior team for the past two years. She will bring her leadership and show the way for these younger but very talented players how to win ball games on an international level."
The Italians are between a rock and hard place in Group B of the 16-country week-long competition with two other nations, Japan (ranked #2) and Australia (ranked #7), considered the front runners destined for the Super Round over 9th-ranked Team Italy. Enrico Obletter concluded, "Three games in 24 hours is not easy for anybody, but we're all in the same boat. The way I see it Japan maybe has a little bit more than the other three teams (Italy, Australia, and South Africa). The second spot is definitely up for grabs. But we'll play tough against Japan as well. Hopefully we will make it through not just South Africa. The tough day will be Monday when we play Japan and Australia. We'll see what this team is made of. Because we are going to encounter some difficulty. We will be physically and mentally challenged. But I think the team has the backbone and has the makeup to overcome these roadblocks. Just play the game they know how to play it. They don't have to do anything exceptional, better, or different than they normally do. Because that is the big mistake a lot of young players commit. They come on the international level, and they think they have to do something special, something different. No, you just have to play the game. Stay within the house I say." Forza #Italia! #LetsMakeItHappen #U19SoftballWC
by Roberto Angotti