Despite being shut out 9-0 to host Japan in the WBSC Women's Softball World Championship at NASPA Stadium in Narita City on August 2, 2018, Team Italy manager Enrico Obletter cannot fault his squad for a lack of offensive spark against world-class pitching. Japanese hurlers Yukiko Ueno and Yamato Fujita were electric in a combined perfect game with 11 strikeouts in four innings of work. Team Italy captain Erika Piancastelli was the only threat to disturb Japan's absolute perfection by putting the ball in play during one at-bat. Defensively she shared catching duties with Marta Gasparotto. Both catchers did their best to help the trio of Italian pitchers, starter Greta Cecchetti along with relievers Ilaria Cacciamani and Alice Nicolini, against mighty Japan. The Team Italy infield included Priscilla Brandi and Andrea Howard at first base, Alessandra Rotondo at second base, Amanda Fama at shortstop, and Giulia Longhi at third base. The Azzurre outfield consisted of Elisa Cecchetti in left field, Laura Vigna in center field and Beatrice Ricchi as well as Fabrizia Marrone in right field.
With the loss in the WBSC Women's Softball World Championship opener, Team Italy falls to 0-1 and returns for two more games on August 4 at NASPA Stadium in Narita City against Australia (August 3rd at 9 pm EDT) and Canada (August 4th at 2:30 am EDT). The Azzure women move on to Zett.A. Ball Park in Ichihara City to play Botswana on August 5 and Great Britain on August 6. The Italians then travel to Akitsu Stadium in Narashino City for games against Venezuela on August 7 and China on August 8 to conclude Group B play. With Japan being guaranteed a spot in 2020 for hosting the Olympic games, 15 other countries are in contention to become the next softball nation to qualify for the 2020 Olympics by winning the 2018 WBSC Women's Softball Championship. Team Italy hopes to advance to the playoffs from August 9-12, 2018 with the ultimate goal of gaining entry to the 2020 Olympics. Forza #Italia! #LetsMakeItHappen #RoadToTokyo2020
by Roberto Angotti