Taking on the challenge of assembling an Italian squad for the first-ever Baseball5 European Championship in Vilnius, Lithuania from February 28-March 1, 2020, manager Maurizio Balla is confident he can recruit four male baseball players and four female softball players who can properly represent Team Italy in the 16-country competition.
Baseball5 is a simplified version of baseball and softball with five players on each team and with at least two players from each gender in the game. Instead of using a bat and facing a pitcher, the player hits the ball with his or her hand. The five-on-five, five-inning games are fast paced and last around 15 or 20 minutes.
The Baseball5 European Championship will be comprised of four groups: Group A features Belgium, the Netherlands, Moldova, and Sweden. Group B includes Team Italy, Belarus, Latvia, and Romania. Group C consists of Bulgaria, Estonia, Israel, and Russia. Host Lithuania, France, the Czech Republic, and Switzerland make up Group D. At the end of group play, the top teams in each group will advance in a single-elimination playoff.
The Baseball5 European Championship will be the first qualifying event for the inaugural Baseball5 World Cup, which will be hosted by Mexico in December. The two top teams from the Baseball5 European Championship will compete against the two top African squads, the three top teams from the Americas, the three top Asian squads, the top team from Oceania, and host Mexico in the Baseball5 World Cup. Forza #Italia!
by Roberto Angotti