In preparation for the September 2017 U18 Baseball World Cup in Thunder Bay, Canada, Azzurri Junior U18 manager John Cortese recently assembled a competent team of FIBS Academy prospects and promising Italian players in Tirrenia. Team Italy U18 skipper Cortese brings two decades of experience as a player in the Italian Baseball League (860 games and a .325 lifetime batting average) to his role as team manager. Assisted by coaches Stefano Cappuccini, Rolando Cretis and Gianluca Marenghi as well as FIBS Academy staffers Bill Holmberg and Daniele Santolupo, Cortese mentors some of Italy’s finest athletes in hopes that they will one day wear the Azzurri jersey in pride as he once did. John Cortese played on two European championship teams and trained with the 1984 Olympic squad in Florida before their games at Dodger Stadium so he truly embodies the Azzurri spirit on the baseball diamond and in the hearts of Italian baseball followers worldwide.
Invited participants to the FIBS Academy Spring Training included U18 pitchers Samuel Aldegheri (San Martino Buon Albergo), Lembà Della Salandra (Macerata Angels), Marco Del Gaudio (Rangers Redipuglia), Nicolò Iori (Falcons Torre Pedrera) as well as position players Manuel De Angelis (Academy Nettuno), Giulio Da Re (Black Panthers Ronchi), Andrea Orrash (San Martino), Gabriel Real (Bollate), Tommaso Giarola (Torino Grizzlies/Fossano), Filippo Daddi (Oltretorrente) and Marco Servidei (Goti/Godo).
Impressed with the high caliber of talent displayed on the field, Azzurri U18 manager Cortese faces the difficult task of selecting the best players to represent Italy in the 27th Annual U18 Baseball World Cup. He must choose his selections from among the mixed group of the FIBS Academy and the invited players. The international competition features the top youth players from Italy, the Netherlands, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Nicaragua, Australia, Japan, Korea, Chinese Taipei and South Africa, and takes place at Thunder Bay’s Port Arthur Stadium and Baseball Central from September 1-10, 2017.
by Roberto Angotti