On the heels of the Baseball Series in Spain, Azzurri manager Gilberto “Gibo” Gerali has selected the 24 players that will represent Team Italy in the European Baseball Championship, which takes place in Bonn and Solingen, Germany from September 7-15, 2019. The Italian skipper will be assisted by bench coach Augusto Medina, pitching coach Dennis Cook, bullpen coach Rolando Cretis, coaches Gianmario Costa and Alberto D'Auria, mental coach Rafael Colòn, athletic trainer Gianni Natale, physiotherapist Massimo Baldi, and delegation team manager 'Gigi' Mignola.
The following Team Italy players have been selected to participate in the 2019 European Baseball Championship: John Andreoli, OF (Seattle Mariners AAA Tacoma Rainiers); Mattia Aldegheri, P (Parma Clima); Alex Bassani, P (UnipolSai Bologna); Matteo Bocchi, P (Chicago Cubs A Eugene Emeralds); Murilo Gouvea, P (UnipolSai Bologna); Federico Celli, OF (San Marino); Chris Colabello, INF (Sugar Land Skeeters); Filippo Crepaldi, P (UnipolSai Bologna); Erick Epifano, INF (San Marino); Michael Johnson, P (New Britain Bees); Aldo Koutsoyanopulos, OF (Parma Clima); Luis Lugo, P (Chicago Cubs AA Tennessee Smokies); Alessandro Maestri, P (San Marino); Beau Maggi, C (California Revolution); Drew Maggi, INF (Minnesota Twins AAA Rochester Red Wings); Giuseppe Mazzanti, INF (Sipro Nettuno Baseball City); Alberto Mineo, C (Toronto Blue Jays AA New Hampshire Fisher Cats); Angelo Palumbo, P (Bolzano); Andrea Pizziconi, P (UnipolSai Bologna); Sebastiano Poma, OF (Parma Clima); Nick Pugliese, P (UnipolSai Bologna); Mattia Reginato, C (San Marino); Yomel Rivera, P (Parma Clima); and team captain Alessandro Vaglio, INF (UnipolSai Bologna).
It is expected that the Team Italy five-man starting pitching rotation will include Murilo Gouvea, Luis Lugo, Alessandro Maestri, Angelo Palumbo, and Andrea Pizziconi. The closer role will probably be shared between Azzurri newcomer Michael Johnson and Alex Bassani.
The road to Tokyo 2020 for Team Italy begins in Bonn/Solingen, Germany at the European Baseball Championship. The top five finishers from the Euros will advance to the Europe/Africa Baseball Olympic Qualifier in Bologna and Parma from September 18-22, 2019 to battle for the one guaranteed ticket to Tokyo awarded to the winner of the competition. Forza Italia! #LetsMakeItHappen
by Roberto Angotti