Having defeated Austria 10-0, Spain 8-6, and the Netherlands twice by scores of 8-1 and 1-0 in the regional competition in Kutno, Poland from July 19-26, 2019, the Italians earned the Europe-Africa Little League Championship title and passage to Little League World Series from August 15-25, 2019 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Representing the Europe-Africa Region in the Little League World Series three out of the past four years, the Emilia Romagna Little League team has developed quite a reputation for showing up consistently on American soil ready and willing to compete against the game’s elite.
Manager Francesco Lamanuzzi played for Emilia Romagna Little League many years ago and dreamed of making it one day to the American epicenter for Little League Baseball. Now as the leader for the fourth squad from Emilia Romagna to play in the Little League World Series, the skipper is proud of his young and talented players. In fact, the Italians are the youngest team in the 2019 Little League Baseball World Series. Of the four Emilia Romagna players that are under 12 years old, two of them are only 10 years old. Against all odds, the maturity and confidence demonstrated on the field have surpassed expectations.
Although the Europe-Africa Region representative suffered losses to Japan (20-0), Canada (10-0), and Northwest (4-3), the Emilia Romagna Little League team has held gained invaluable experience on the world stage. Although the Italian offense was limited to only three runs during the competition, Emilia Romagna made their presence felt. Davide Lugli led the team in hitting with a .600 batting average (3-for-5) and one run scored. Christian Sberlati was not far behind hitting .500 (2-for-4) and scoring two runs. Alessio Ingraito, Alex Giovanardi, Elia Zaccarini, Federico Tamburini, and Leonardo Delfrate also contributed with a base hit each.
In the pitching department, the Emilia Romagna starters were unable to throw deep into the games before manager Francesco Lamanuzzi went to the bullpen. Giulio Bissa was the starting pitcher against Japan on August 16 and worked three innings. He surrendered three runs on five hits with one strikeout. Elia Zaccarini started against Canada on August 17 and threw 1.1 innings before control issues got the best of him. Despite giving up three walks and one run, he had three strikeouts. Alex Giovanardi started against Northwest on August 20 and pitched two innings. The Northwest team from Salem, Oregon team scored two earned runs on four hits and a walk, but the young right-handed Italian hurler struck out three American batters. Davide Lugli was effective as a reliever during his two brief pitching appearances against Canada and Northwest (1.1 innings, three hits, one walk, one strikeout, 0.00 ERA).
Congratulations to Emilia Romagna Little League manager Francesco Lamanuzzi, coaches Giulio Gamberini and Enrico Zbogar as well as players Giulio Bissa (P, 2B), Christian Sberlati (OF), Claudio Di Ronza (C/3B), Leonardo Delfrate (2B/SS), Gabriele Cirinà (P, 1B, OF), Alessio Ingraito (P, OF), Davide Lugli (P, SS), Manuel Metalli (C, OF), Elia Di Carlo (P, OF), Giovanni Gregorini (2B, SS), Federico Tamburini (2B, SS), Alex Giovanardi (P, OF), Tommaso Metalli Grisetti (P, INF), and Elia Zaccarini (P, OF). Forza #Italia! #LetsMakeItHappen
by Roberto Angotti