Visiting team MKF Bollate secured the 2020 Italian Softball Series title after a mercy-rule 8-0 shutout in Game 3 and an extra-inning 4-2 win in Game 4 over Inox Team Saronno on October 10, 2020. As the winning pitcher of games 1, 3, and 4, MKF Bollate ace Greta Cecchetti won the 2020 Italian Softball Series MVP.
GAME 3 RECAP: With the best-of-five Italian Softball Series tied going into game 3, visiting team MKF Bollate wasted no time in getting on the board early in the top of the first inning. After MKF Bollate leadoff hitter Marta Gasparotto singled, Inox Team Saronno starting pitcher Alice Nicolini got two back-to-back flyouts and faced the always dangerous Amanda Fama. The Bollate cleanup hitter delivered a line-drive single that right fielder Valeria Bettinsoli handled perfectly; however, the relay throw to third base to get Marta Gasparotto out resulted in an error which allowed both the lead runner and Amanda Fama to score.
With a two-run advantage, MKF Bollate starter Greta Cecchetti cruised to an easy 1-2-3 out bottom of the first inning. Dominant "Iron Greta" Cecchetti kept the Team Inox Saronno offense scoreless for the remainder of the game by surrendering just three hits with three strikeouts and no walks in five innings of work.
MKF Bollate returned in the top of the third inning with three more runs. Inox Team Saronno starter Alice Nicolini gave up a walk to Marta Gasparotto and a bunt single to Lara Cecchetti. Defender Giulia Longhi fielded a screaming shot down the left field line hit by Elisa Cecchetti for a force out at third base. Giulia Longhi was not so lucky in handling a grounder from Amanda Fama and errored to load the bases for Jamee Juarez. A routine gound ball to the shortstop looked like a force out at home, but the throw from Andrea Filler was over the head of catcher Sara Brugnoli so that Lara Cecchetti and Elisa Cecchetti could cross the plate. After Marta Chiodaroli was hit by a pitch, Giorgia Fumagalli grounded out to allow Amanda Fama to score and give MKF Bollate a commanding 5-0 lead.
MKF Bollate nailed the coffin shut in the top of the fifth inning with three runs. Inox Team Saronno starter Alice Nicolini was replaced by reliever Veronica Comar after an infield single by Elisa Cecchetti. Amanda Fama was intentionally walked to put runners on first and second base. An RBI single from Jamee Juarez gave MKF Bollate the 6-0 advantage. Irene Costa replaced Jamee Juarez as a pinch runner. Marta Chiodaroli reached first base on a fielder's choice. Then Amanda Fama scored on a fielder's choice by Giorgia Fumagalli, and Irene Costa scored on a sacrifce fly to right field by Sara Camisasca to make it a 8-0 game.
GAME 4 RECAP: Veronica Comar returned on the mound for Inox Team Saronno in Italian Softball Series Game 4. She had an easy 1-2-3 out first inning. MKF Bollate starting pitcher Laura Bigatton did not fare so well in the bottom of the first inning as birthday girl Fabrizia Marrone homered to give Inox Team Saronno a 1-0 lead. A pitcher's duel ensued as Inox Team Saronno starter Veronica Comar and MKF Bollate starter Laura Bigatton held their opponents scoreless for the next two innings.
MKF Bollate tied the game in the top of the fourth inning. Elisa Cecchetti walked, advanced to second base on a single by Jamee Juarez, and later scored on an infield error. After throwing 71 pitches and five innings of one-hit ball with seven strikeouts and one walk, MKF Bollate starting pitcher Laura Bigatton was relieved by Greta Cecchetti in the bottom of the sixth inning. Inox Team Saronno starter Veronica Comar was equally impressive after pitching six innings and limiting the explosive MKF Bollate offense to three hits with eight strikeouts and three walks. She was relieved by Alice Nicolini in the top of the seventh inning. Both relievers did their jobs in keeping their teams in the game with key strikeouts when it counted most.
With the contest tied 1-1 at the end of seven innings and the start of extra innings, Inox Team Saronno pitcher Veronica Comar reentered the game in the top of the eighth inning, and Laura Bigatton was placed on second base for MKF Bollate leadoff hitter Marta Gasparotto. An RBI double by Marta Gasparotto gave MKF Bollate the go-ahead run. Elisa Cecchetti reached base on an infield error while Marta Gasparotto advanced to third base. A two-RBI single by Jamee Juarez put MKF Bollate on top 4-1.
MKF Bollate reliever Greta Cecchetti surrendered an RBI single to Fabrizia Marrone in the bottom of the eighth inning, but that was not enough for Inox Team Saronno as MKF Bollate sealed the deal in the best-of-five 2020 Italian Softball Series with a 4-2 Game 4 victory. Forza #Italia!
by Roberto Angotti