“Here we are now, entertain us,” the well know words of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana off the song, Smells Like Teen Spirit, a piece written more then 20 years ago, and performed at the ‘Gala dei Diamanti’ on Saturday afternoon by the Italian pianist, Davide Locatelli, turned out to be one of many heartfelt and memorable moments at this year’s Italian Baseball and Softball awards ceremony in Parma, Italy.
With more the 700 in attendance, the president of the Italian Baseball and Softball Federation, Fraccari, took the stage where he guided his audience through some of the most memorable moments of 2013. Moments, which included two European Championships (Under 18 Baseball and Under 13 Softball), five representatives at different levels of the Little League World Series in both baseball and softball, with one club making it to the championship game at the under 17 Softball Little League World Series. Fraccari’s conversation concluded with the recognition of the both the Baseball and Softball National team managers (Marco Mazzieri and Marina Centrone), along of their coaching staffs, and athletes.
Brought into the limelight on Saturday afternoon was also the fact that it has now been ten years since the Italian Baseball Academy was established, and along with any establishment, ten years always marks an important point, a so called marker in which one can look back on the successes that have been achieved. Those being recognized on stage included two very dear friends of Italian Baseball and Softball community, Massimo Ceccotti (original director, passed away in 2007), and the very first scholastic tutor, Cesar Ravaldi (who passed away this year, along with Alex Sambucci, an academy veteran (class of ’89), and two freshmen, Tanara and Adorni.
Emotions ran high on stage for many at yesterday’s event, including the Italian Cup Champions (Roma All Blinds) and the League Champs (Lampi Milano) in the Italian Baseball League for the visually impaired, a league that is drawing the attention across the world. Also being invited to the stage were the softball girls from Sala Baganza, the Under 13 Pool 77 club from Bolzano, Foggia Baseball for their promotion from Series B to A, Alpina Trieste for their involvement with over 700 kids at the Little League level, the Bollate Softball organization for winning both the Under 15 and Under 21 Softball Championships, and the Pantere Baseball club out of Potenza Picena, for their Italian Cup victory at the series B level. From here the ceremony shifted up a notch to the top Italian Baseball and Softball League (IBL and ISL). First it was the both Leagues MVP’s being invited to the stage (Alesandro Vaglio and Silvia Montanari), follwed by the ISL Champs, La Loggia, then the IBL three time defending champions, San Marino.. and more (all awards received).
The ceremony ended as it has since 2005 with the official announcements of the 2013 Italian Baseball and Softball Hall of Fame inductions. Those joining the top of the top this year included Carlos Passarotto (Baseball), Roberta Soldi (Softball), Guido Pellacini (Coach/ Manager), Alessandro Cappuccini (Umpire) and Girogio Gandolfi (journalist) .