With one week down in the second round of this year’s Italian Baseball League it is UnipolSai Bologna that leads the way after sweeping their three game set against Lino’s Coffee Parma. Right behind them in the standings sits T&A San Marino after they were able to walk away with two of three against the Rimini Pirates.
Bologna got off to yet another quick start to get the second round of the IBL underway after they were able to take all three games against their counterpart, Lino’s Coffee Parma. The three losses suffered by Parma is without a doubt a tough thing to swallow for this young group of ball players. After Bologna was able to walk away with a 2-0 closely fought battle on Thursday evening in front of a national TV audience that featured both team’s aces, Parma seemed to have entered into both Friday’s and Sunday’s games having forgotten the basic fundamentals. Between games two and three of this three game set, Parma committed an alarming 7 errors against a club that is known for capitalizing on mistakes. Sunday’s game in particular turned out to be a messy one, beginning with a 9 run first that saw their foreigner Jesus Yepez only last 0.2 innings on the bump before being removed from the game. Parma was able to put up 6 of their own off of the newly acquired Manauris Baez (Bologna), but as the game went on, the mistakes piled up, and in the end Parma fell by the final of 13 to 10. As the second round matures with the top Italian clubs going at it for a spot in this year’s finals, the road wont get any easier this young group, however the next time Parma takes the field they will have an extra bat in the lineup, their newest purchase.. Juan Camilo.
On the other side of the ball, UnipolSai Bologna got off to yet another terrific start in this, second half of play. With three wins under their belt they now have the opportunity to relax and try to tackle some of their issues before getting back to it after the European Champions Cup week long break. One issue that they will have to focus on is their newly acquired foreign pitcher, Manauris Baez. Baez lasted just 3 innings in his first outing with his new club on Sunday afternoon, where he gave up 7 earned runs off of 8 hits and 2 walks. On top of the positive three victories earned over the weekend, Bologna may have found a solution at the plate with their newest bat, Trent Carl Oeltjen. Oeltjen went an impressive 7 for 10 at the plate, with 4 RBI’s and 2 runs scored, making him a bat that will most certainly lend a helping hand to an offense that struggled in the first half of the season.
T&A San Marino’s three game set against their cross town rivals, the Rimini Pirates, didn’t get started exactly as they had planed on Thursday evening when they saw their ace, Jr. Guerra, not only suffer with some control issues, but also get hit around a little bit… of which included a three run blast off the bat of Rimini’s slugger, Salazar. 7 to 2 was the final in game one, a game that was expected to go T&A’s way. On Friday afternoon San Marino got their revenge by sneaking past Rimini’s Ekstrom (8 ip, 1 h, 1 r) and Escalona (0.2 ip 2 h, 1 r) thanks to gutsy performances offered up by Delgado, Morreale, and Cubilan who combined to hold the Pirates to a single run. Reginato was the hero at the plate in the afternoon game, driving in both runs with his 2 for 4 day. In the final game of the series San Marino came out on top once again thanks to a strong performance by their Italian southpaw, Valerio Simone, and a pen that was able to hold onto the last minute with Martignoni stranding the tying and go head runs on base in the 5 to 4 final. Looking back on the weekend, there is only room for improvement for the three time defending IBL champs, San Marino. They are a team that struggled at the plate this past weekend after leading the league in the first half of the regular season. So look for their bats to swing it a little more over the next couple of weeks, and look for some important names to be rejoining the club after a significant amount of time on the DL (Cooper – left-handed pitcher, and Pantaleoni – utility infielder).
Finally the Rimini Pirates may wish that they played their cards a little different this past weekend against San Marino. After winning game one of their series in a contest that was started by Roberto Corradini (Italian), but finished by Marquez (foreigner), Rimini was left with only one foreign game, a game that was lost by Escolana in the 9th. If Corradini’s game could have be held by Rimini’s Italian arms out of the pen, then the Pirates may have been able to come out with two or even three wins on the weekend, instead of dropping two of three. Rimini also struggled on the offensive side of the ball, apart from Zileri, Salazar and Romero who all accounted for a large portion of the run production. It’s easy to say that the absence of both Chiarini (out with a shoulder injury) and Peppe Mazzante (pulled hamstring) are proving to play a big role in the outcome of Rimini’s games.
This week (17th – 19th of June) the Italian Baseball League will be put on hold while T&A San Marino, Rimini, and Nettuno head off to participate in the European Champions Cup Tournament.