Team Emilia, the selection from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy which features both Italian Baseball League finalist cities of Bologna and Rimini, as well as Parma and other baseball rich areas of the country, came up short in Italy's third trip to the Little League World Series.
Facing an Australia team in the opener, dominant Australian starting pitcher Campbell had a no hitter through five innings as Australia built a 3-0 lead despite strong pitching from Sartini and Ioli. But when Campbell reached 66 pitches and pitching the sixth inning would cost him one extra day rest in the tournament, Australia took a risk that almost backfired pulling their ace from the game. Italy made two quick outs, but a hustle infield single, followed by a line drive single to center, and a wild pitch but the tying run on a walk later as Italy got on the board to make the game 3-1. Suddenly one pitch away from pulling the shocking rally, Italy came up short and Australia celebrated.
Team Emilia now plays Saturday at 12pm local time (6pm in Italy) against Mexico, with the loser of that game the first team eliminated from the tournament. But regardless of outcome, the performance by Team Emilia to reach this point and the experience in playing on youth baseball's highest stage will be incredible for the development and future of these young baseball stars.