UnipolSai Fortitudo Bologna defeated San Marino 6-5 in decisive Game 7 of the Italian Baseball Series at Stadio di Baseball di Serravalle in San Marino on September 30, 2020 to remain the reigning Italian Serie A1 Baseball Champion. Winning pitcher Alex Bassani was crowned 2020 Italian Baseball Series MVP after entering Game 7 in relief of UnipolSai Fortitudo Bologna starter Murilo Gouvea in the top of the third inning with a 3-1 lead.
After keeping the San Marino offense quiet for two innings, reliable right-handed closer Alex Bassani was asked to pitch for as long as he could in the all-or-nothing championship game by UnipolSai Fortitudo Bologna manager Daniele Frignani. In the top of the fifth inning, San Marino scored one run after back-to-back doubles by catcher Giulio Monello and second baseman Luca Pulzetti. UnipolSai Fortitudo Bologna answered with two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning off San Marino reliever Nico Garbella when Ray-Patrick Didder was hit by a pitch and Eugene Helder clubbed a two-run home run to make it a 5-2 game.
Alex Bassani returned in the top of the sixth inning and got two quick groundouts for what looked like an easy 1-2-3 out inning; however, an infield throwing error put San Marino baserunner Maikel Caseres on second base. An RBI-double by Giovanni Garbella followed by an RBI-single by Giulio Monello gave San Marino a ray of hope as Bologna had only a slim one-run advantage. With reliever Dimitri Kourtis on the mound for San Marino in the bottom of the sixth inning, UnipolSai Fortitudo Bologna got an insurance run after singles by Julian Dreni, Ray-Patrick Didder, and Eugene Helder. Alex Bassani came out to pitch in the top of the seventh inning with a 6-4 lead, but he was unable to close out the game when he surrendered a Federico Celli home run.
After throwing 71 pitches, Alex Bassani received a roaring round of applause by the Fortitudo faithful as manager Daniele Frignani approached the mound to replace the eventual Italian Baseball Series MVP with reliever Filippo Crepaldi. It was the right call as Filippo Crepaldi protected the one-run lead and picked up the save to give UnipolSai Fortitudo Bologna the 2020 Italian Serie A1 Baseball Championship title. Forza #Italia!
by Roberto Angotti