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Italian Baseball Challenge concludes with Team Italy 6-2 win over Croatia
17/09/2023 2 Minute Read

Italian Baseball Challenge concludes with Team Italy 6-2 win over Croatia

After a 10-2 victory over Switzerland the day prior in the Italian Baseball Challenge, Team Italy defeated Croatia 6-2 in Ronchi dei Legionari on Sunday, September 17, 2023. The Italians travel to Brno for two exhibition games against Czech Republic prior to the start of the European Baseball Championship in the Czech Republic.

Before the start of the second game for Team Italy in the Italian Baseball Challenge, the Azzurri squad welcomed Matt Harvey, who returns to the national team after the unforgettable victory against the Kingdom of the Netherlands at the World Baseball Classic in March. However, he does not join Team Italy as a player, but rather as a special assistant to work together with the staff and help the national team's pitchers with his experience.

Prior to the beginning of the contest, the Ronchi dei Legionari Black Panthers handed the ball off to Dario Bazzarini to throw out the ceremonial first pitch to commemorate his efforts 50 years ago when he helped Team Italy win its first ever game against the United States in the Intercontinental Cup in Parma.

Against Croatia in the Italian Baseball Challenge at Ronchi dei Legionari’s Gaspardis Stadium on Sunday, September 17, 20223, Team Italy manager Mike Piazza sent out starting pitcher Gabrielle Quattrini. The right-handed hurler threw four scoreless innings and allowed just one hit with four strikeouts. Croatia countered with starter Jose Mendoza, who surrendered one run on three hits in five innings pitched. 

The Azzurri got on the board in the bottom of the third inning. Mattia Mercuri hustled to second base on an error by Croatia shortstop Jose Herrera, advanced to third base on a groundout by Nathaenel Batista and scored on an RBI single by Ricardo Paolini.

Michele Vassolotti relieved Gabrielle Quattrini in the top of the fifth inning when Croatia tied the game 1-1 after taking advantage of an infield error and two ensuing wild pitches. Despite the control issues early, the promising right-handed Milwaukee Brewers pitching prospect ended up striking out four hitters and walking one in his two innings of work. 

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Team Italy regained the 2-1 lead after Ricardo Paolini walked and scored on an RBI double by Federico Celli. Croatia answered in the top of the seventh inning when scoring one run after back-to-back singles off Azzurri pitcher Samuel Aldegheri, who showed resilience by striking out six hitters in two innings of relief. 

The Italians capitalized on multiple walks and a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning to get out in front 4-2. After a walk to Giulio Monello, a single by Nathaenel Batista and another walk to Andrea Sellaroli, Croatia reliever Jose Diaz replaced Justin Olec on the mound and walked slugger Robel Garcia for the first run. An ensuing wild pitch enabled another run to cross the plate. 

Team Italy scored twice off reliever Carlos Garcia in the bottom of the eighth inning after four consecutive walks and a sacrifice fly by Robel Garcia to make it a 6-2 game. Mattia Sireus pitched a scoreless top of the ninth inning with two strikeouts to end the contest. 

CROATIA-ITALY BOX SCORE

VIDEO REPLAY

ITALIAN BASEBALL CHALLENGE WEBSITE

The Azzurri squad now travel to Brno for two exhibition games against Czech Republic on Thursday, September 21, 2023 at 6:30 pm (local time) and Friday, September 22, 2023 at 1 pm (local time) prior to the start of the European Baseball Championship on September 24, 2023.

EUROPEAN BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP PREP GAMES SCHEDULE AND RESULTS

EUROPEAN BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE AND RESULTS

Forza #Italia!

by Roberto Angotti

(Photo of Nathaenel Batista celebrating after hitting a double by PhotoBass)