Four of the six softball nations qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will meet in the Asia Pacific Cup from January 30–February 2, 2020 at Blacktown International Sportspark in Sydney, Australia. Olympic-bound Team Italy (ranked #9) will get a sneak preview of what to expect in Tokyo this summer when the Azzurre softball squad takes on Australian host Travelodge Aussie Spirit (ranked #7), Mexico (ranked #5), and Japan (ranked #2). In addition to the four countries vying for Olympic Gold, Chinese Taipei (ranked #6), New Zealand (ranked #11), and another all-star team from Australia will also compete in the Asia Pacific Cup.
Despite being the long shot as the lone European representative in the inaugural Asia Pacific Cup in 2018, Team Italy women’s softball manager Enrico Obletter along with coaches Federico Pizzolini and Lisa Birocci Banse had a lot to be proud about. With two wins over New Zealand and two close games against Japan and the Australia All-Stars, Team Italy played with grit throughout the international competition and never gave up the fight.
In the 2019 Asia Pacific Cup, Team Italy kicked off the tournament with a 3-0 shutout over the Australia All-Stars before coming up short in the 4-3 loss against Chinese Taipei. After suffering a 4-0 shutout to China, Team Italy rebounded with a 5-2 win over New Zealand. However, Team Italy ended the competition on a sour note with a pairs of losses to Japan and the Australia All-Stars.
The 2020 Asia Pacific Cup will be immediately followed by the second annual Summer Slam – Fully Loaded Softball from February 3-5, 2020 at Blacktown International Sportspark. The Summer Slam – Fully Loaded Softball is an exciting, fast-paced take on the traditional game with only three innings, shorter fences, and bases loaded every inning. Six teams will be made up of a mix of international softball all-stars who will play together during the course of the three-day competition.
In the inaugural 2019 Summer Slam,Team Italy’s Amanda Fama and Laura Bigatton played on the tourney champion Fury squad. Team Italy ace Greta Cecchetti received the Summer Slam Best Pitcher Award, while Team Italy slugger Elisa Cecchetti was named the Summer Slam MVP. For more information and tickets for both the 2020 Asia Pacific Cup and Summer Slam – Fully Loaded Softball, click HERE. Forza #Italia!
by Roberto Angotti