After enduring a 2-0 shutout by Kingdom of the Netherlands in the U16 European Women's Softball Championship final in Zagreb, Croatia on August 3, 2019, Team Italy placed second in the 13-country international competition and received the silver medal. Team Italy U16 softball manager Giulio Brusa called on starting pitcher Maya Milano, who returned on short rest after throwing a three-hitter against Czech Republic on August 2 to put the Italians in the championship title game.
Defending Euro champ Kingdom of the Netherlands were held in check until the bottom of the third inning when an infield error led to two runs for the Dutch. Starter Maya Milano pitched like a champion allowing just one earned run on six hits with five strikeouts in five innings of work. She was the workhorse for Team Italy during the the U16 European Women's Softball Championship. Maya Milano led the squad in appearances (4), games started (3), innings pitched (17.1), and strikeouts (20). She also led the team in losses (2), both defeats at the hands of Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Team Italy made a valiant attempt to rally back from the 2-0 deficit in the top of the fifth inning. Virginia Mambelli led off with a drive to deep center field good enough for a standing double, but instead she attempted to leg out the extra-base hit into a triple and was tagged out at third base. The baserunning blunder ended up costing the Italians a potential run as Agnese Giacometti later singled in the same inning. The Dutch quashed any chance of a Team Italy comeback with an easy one-two-three out sixth inning to win their fourth U16 European Women's Softball Championship title.
The Italians played with heart and never gave up the fight in the Euros. Despite the Team Italy offense being limited to just two hits in the U16 European Women's Softball Championship final, eight players hit over .300 during the six-day tournament: Giulia Bancora (.688), Alessia Brandi (.556), Elena Cavaglieri (.522), Anita Bartoli (.478), Virginia Mambelli (.438), Agnese Giacometti (.400), Elisa Raviola (.400), and Chiara Bolognini (.353).
The dynamic trio of starting pitchers Beatrice Nannetti (3 starts, 1-0, 11 innings pitched, 18 strikeouts, and 0.64 ERA), Sofia Bertani (2 starts, 2-0, 9.1 innings pitched, 14 strikeouts, and 1.50 ERA) and Alessia Brandi (1 start, 1-0, 2 innings pitched, 5 strikeouts, and 0.00 ERA) complimented the efforts of Team Italy pitching ace Maya Milano (2.52 ERA).
Despite settling for silver in the U16 European Women's Softball Championship, Team Italy skipper Giulio Brusa along with coaches Maristella Perizzolo and Stefano Filippini are proud of the way the young and talented Azzurre squad competed against the defending two-time Euro champion Kingdom of the Netherlands. Forza #Italia! #LetsMakeItHappen
by Roberto Angotti