Bologna sweeps, Rimini and San Marino take two

The fifth week of the Italian Baseball League season brought few surprises, but some important clarity to a still tightly bunched standings.

After sweating a 3-1 series opener against winless Novara in which Bologna trailed in the fifth inning, Frignani's team completed the sweep with ease to gain ground on its rivals, while keeping Novara searching for a solitary victory to break up their unfortunate streak of 14 losses in a row. Games 2 and 3 both ended early with the mercy rule.

Meanwhie in Rimini, a brilliant Candelario struck out 12 in seven one-hit shutout innings to open the series, but after winning the first two games and leading arch rival Nettuno 4-1 three outs from a series sweep, a furious Nettuno rally tied the game in the ninth inning that saw three Rimini errors, and then three eleventh inning singles lead to four runs and an important victory to keep Nettuno in the playoff hunt just one game off the pace.

San Marino also came one unfortunate inning away from a sweep, but had to settle for a 2-1 series win against Padova in Mazzotti's first series officially at manager after taking over last week on an interim basis. Other than the fifth inning in game two where Padova scored four times on just one hit thanks to wildness by the San Marino pitchers, San Marino outplayed their opponent for the entire series, and is left regretting the missed opportunity to gain more ground.

With Parma having the week off, the games played left the top four teams separated only by a single game in the standings, and Nettuno still only one game behind the pack.  Padova remains in striking distance as well, but will clearly have to start winning some series against their direct rivals to avoid falling further back.