With 2-0 and 7-4 victories over MKF Bollate in games 3 and 4 of the best-of-five-game Italian Softball Series at Bollate's Comunale Ospiate on October 13, 2018, Specchiasol Bussolengo captured its third Italian national championship title in four years. Bussolengo pitcher Sierra Hyland threw a complete game one-hitter with five strikeouts for the win in the first of two contests and later returned in the nightcap in extra innings to earn her second win of the day. With three victories to her credit in the Italian Baseball Series, Bussolengo pitcher Sierra Hyland proved worthy of MVP award consideration, but teammate Marta Gasparotto ultimately won the MVP honors of Italy's softball championship.
WIth the series tied 1-1, the Specchiasol Bussolengo offense went to work in top of the fourth inning of game three. Bussolengo leadoff hitter Marta Gasparotto reached second base on an infield error. She moved over to third base on Laura Vigna's sacrifice bunt. After being intentionally walked by Bollate starting pitcher Greta Cecchetti, Nerissa Myers was quick to steal second. Both she and Marta Gasparotto scored on a infield single by Sierra Hyland. Despite both runs being unearned and only surrendering two hits during her five innings of work, Bollate's Greta Cecchetti suffered the loss. Sarah Pauly pitched two scoreless innings of one-hit ball in relief. But it was all about Bussolengo's Sierra Hyland, who nearly pitched a no-hitter but gave up a base hit to Alice Parisi in the the bottom of the seventh inning.
Down 2-1 in the best-of-five-game Italian Baseball Series, game four was a must-win contest for MKF Bollate. Manager Luigi Soldi chose Sarah Pauly to start on the mound. Bussolengo manager Craig Montvidas countered with pitcher Veronica Comar. Both starters held their opponents scoreless for the first three innings.
In the top of the fourth with one out, Bussolengo catcher Valeria Bortolomai tripled over the head of left fielder Alice Parisi. Elisa DeTrombetti replaced her as a pinch-runner on third base. After Sydney Brown was walked, Marta Gasparotto was intentionally granted a pass to first base to load the bases for Laura Vigna. The Bussolengo and Team Italy sparkplug singled up the middle to bring home Elisa DeTrombetti and Sydney Brown. Nerisa Myers followed with a two-RBI triple down the left-field line to give Specchiasol Bussolengo a commanding 4-0 lead.
After Bollate's Laura Bigatton singled and Amanda Fama was hit-by-pitch in the bottom of the fifth inning, Bussolengo manager Craig Montvidas summoned Zappa Beatrice to replace starter Veronica Comar on the mound. Lara Cecchetti was walked to load the bases. Chelsea Goodacre followed with an RBI fielder's choice, which allowed Laura Bigatton to cross the place and give Bollate its first run of the game.
In the top of the sixth inning, Bollate pitcher Greta Cecchetti entered the game to relieve Sarah Pauly. "Iron Greta" Cecchetti pitched two scoreless innings to keep her team in the game. The Bollate offense came back from its three-run deficit in the bottom of the seventh inning to send the game into extra innings. After Linda Leonesio walked and Laura Bigatton singled up the middle, Bussolengo's Veronica Comar replaced relief pitcher Zappa Beatrice. Bollate leadoff hitter Amanda Fama came through in the clutch with an RBI single to make it a 4-2 contest. Laura Bigatton was called out at third base on Lara Cecchetti's fielder's choice. An RBI single by Chelsea Goodacre brought home Amanda Fama to score. Lara Cecchetti also scored on a sacrifice fly to right field Alice Parisi to tie the game up 4-4.
Specchiasol Bussolengo manager Craig Montvidas took no chances and brought in stopper Sierra Hyland to stifle the Bollate offense in extra innings. At the end of the day, Bussolengo proved too tough for Bollate. In the top of the ninth inning, Bussolengo's Ambra Collina was placed on second base as per the tie-breaker rule. Then Laura Vigna doubled to bring Ambra Collina home to score. After Bollate pitcher Greta Cecchetti issued an intentional walk to Nerissa Myers and hit back-to-back batters, Laura Vigna crossed the plate to score. An RBI-infield single by Fabrizia Marrone followed with an RBI single to make it a 7-4 game. Bussolengo winning pitcher Sierra Hyland struck out two of three hitters she faced in the bottom of the ninth inning to secure the game four victory and ultimately win the Italian Baseball Series Championship title. Congratulations to both teams on a great 2018 Serie A1 Softball Season. Forza #Italia! #LetsMakeItHappen
by Roberto Angotti