After five complete weekends in the 2015 Italian Baseball League it’s Rimini (7-3) and Bologna (7-3) that share the top spot in the league followed by a Tommasin Padova (6-4) club that dropped a two game set to Parma this past Friday and Saturday, and a San Marino (6-4) team that was just able to walk away with a split down in Rome against Nettuno. The rest of the league rounds out as follows: Nettuno (4-5), Parma (4-6), Nettuno2 (3-6), Godo (2-7).
After the first ten games of the IBL’s 2015 regular season almost all could have predicted three of the top four clubs in the league, however the 4th, Padova, has seemed to come out of nowhere. With that said, Padova has lost some very important ground over the past two weeks, losers of 3 of 4. Once the team that controlled the top spot in the standings, is struggling to stay afloat with a 6 and 4 mark. This upcoming weekend things can head in one or the other direction when they face off head-to-head in a two game series with T&A San Marino, who is also supporting a 6 and 4 record thus far in 2015. If Padova wants to compete for the postseason, which is right around the corner, they are going to have to clean up their play on the defensive side of the ball, and hope that the reentry of both Epifano and Chapelli will bring a spark to their lineup.
Padova’s opponent this past weekend, Parma, has come on strong over the past two weeks of play. Even through they are just 2 and 2 over their last four, their two loss came at the hands of Bologna by the slim margins of 1-0 and 2-1, while just this past Friday and Saturday they were able to take down a Padova club that was clicking on all cylinders. This upcoming weekend it will be an all or nothing bid when they go up against the Rimini Pirates in a home-away two game set. Two “W’s” on the weekend would put them within striking distance of a playoff run.
Onto T&A San Marino, a club that is currently standing with 6 wins and 4 losses on the season. T&A ran into some resistance down in Rome against Nettuno on both Friday and Saturday. In fact the club risked being swept for the second time in 2015. On Friday it was Maldonado’s grand slam and a gutsy performance by Estrada that took down San Marino, while on Saturday a shaky start by Andrea Pizziconi almost put Nettuno and San Marino that much closer in the standings. Both clubs do have big weekends on the horizon, with Nettuno to take on Nettuno2 in Rome, while San Marino will do their best to keep a strong hold on one of the top 4 spots in the league against Padova.
Next up was the two game series between the two ‘Big Boys’ in the IBL, UnipolSai Bologna vs. the Rimini Pirates. This two game set ended in a series split, with Rimini taking game 1 on the back of Candelario and his 7 strong innings of shutout ball, while in game two it was the veteran, Riccardo De Santis that baffled the bats of Rimini, as he allowed just a single hit on the evening. This weekend Rimini will do their best to not slip up against what has proven to be a very dangerous Parma club over the last couple of weeks, while UnipolSai will be going head-to-head with the Godo Knights.
Finally the last two game set between the two bottom dwellers in the IBL ended in a two game split with Godo riding a strong performance by Uviedo, who surrendered just 3 hits in 7 innings, and Ribeiro, who came on for a perfect 8th and 9th in Friday evenings 6-0 victory. On Saturday Nettuno2 was able to turn the tables on the Knights as Nettuno2’s offense exploded for 13 hits in their 7 to 5 win. This weekend it will be Nettuno2 vs. Nettuno down in Rome, while Godo will have no easy task when they go up against Bologna in a home-away two game series.