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Team Italy advances to WBSC Women's Softball World Championship playoffs with 7-0 shutout over China

For the fifth time in the history of the WBSC Women's Softball World Championship, Team Italy earned the right to advance to the playoffs with a rain delayed 7-0 shutout over China under wet and soggy field conditions at Zett.A. Ball Park in Ichihara City, Japan on August 8, 2018. Team Italy manager Enrico Obletter said, "The team did a great job of believing and playing the way I wanted them to...a big win for Italian softball." With consecutive victories over Botswana, Great Britain, Venezuela, and China, the Azzurre squad qualified as the fourth top team in Group B round-robin action to advance to the WBSC Women's Softball World Championship playoffs. Japan (6-0), Australia (5-1), Canada (5-2), and Italy (4-3) will now clash against Group A's top four finishers: USA (7-0), Puerto Rico (6-1), Mexico (5-2), and the Netherlands (3-4) in the tournament playoffs from August 10-12, 2018. With the exception of Japan, who automatically qualify for the 2020 Olympics as the host of the international competition, the winner of the 2018 WBSC Women's Softball World Championship will also earn a ticket to the Tokyo games. The #RoadToTokyo2020 will not be an easy one as ninth-ranked Team Italy begins it journey with a battle against seventh-ranked Mexico at ZOZO Marine Stadium in Chiba, Japan on August 10 (August 9 at 9 pm EDT). Team Italy starting pitcher Greta Cecchetti came out firing against the Chinese and earned her third win of the tourney while ranking third in strikeouts (33) and lowering her ERA to 1.04 during her five appearances in Japan. The Azzurre women got on the board early in the bottom of the first inning when leadoff hitter Amanda Fama singled, and Team Italy captain Erika Piancastelli hit a two-run homer. The Italians rallied for five more runs in the bottom of the third inning to put the game out of reach. Forza #Italia! #LetsMakeItHappen

by Roberto Angotti

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