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Bologna wins the 2020 Italian Baseball Series

Baseball in Italy: 32 teams comprise Serie A in 2021

The battle for the 2021 Italian Baseball Series Championship title just got a lot bigger when the Federazione Italiana Baseball Softball (FIBS) Federal Council announced that newly-created Serie A will be comprised of 32 teams. Essentially combining last year's Series A1 and A2 championships, 2021 Serie A baseball allows more teams to compete at a higher level in order to help in the growth and development of the game in Italy.

In what is considered a highly-contested tournament divided into several phases with many different levels, 2021 Italian Serie A baseball is all about player development. The Premiere Round features last year's Serie A1 teams (Fortitudo Bologna, Parma Clima, San Marino, Macerata, Collecchio and Godo) and last year's two top Serie A2 teams (Nettuno and Senago). The eight squads will be divided into two groups of four teams. Each team will play 12 nine inning games scheduled from April 17-May 23, 2021. The top two teams from each group will advance to the Super Round, while the third and fourth-place finishers of each group will participate in the Recovery Round.

The Super Round will be comprised of 12 games during a six-day period between May 24 and July 9, 2021. The two top teams of the Super Round automatically advance to the Serie A semifinals, while the third and fourth-place finishers face off against the top two teams from the Qualification Round in the Recovery Round. Set to begin on May 29 and continue through July 4, 2021, the Qualification Round will determine which two of the remaining 24 teams (split into 6 groups of 4 teams) will advance to the Recovery Round to clash against Italy's elite.

The first test for the Qualification Round top two teams will be a best-of-three games playoff against the Super Round third and fourth-place finishers in the Recovery Round from July 7-11, 2021. Then the two top squads qualify for the Serie A semifinals, a best-of-three game series from July 28-August 1, 2021 with hopes of advancing to the best-of-five-game Italian Baseball Series from August 6-15, 2021. The two teams competing in the 2021 Italian Baseball Series will automatically qualify for the 2022 European Champions Cup.

Serie A rules mandate that at least four Italian players, one of whom must be under 23, must be on the field at all times. In addition, Italian pitchers must be used in the first game of each round. In the Serie A playoffs, Italian pitchers must be used in the second and fourth games. The trading window for up to two players per team extends from April 1 through July 4, 2021. Teams qualifying for the Premiere Round, the Super Round, the Recovery Round and the Serie A playoffs are eligible to carry two non-EU players on their roster. Forza #Italia!

by Roberto Angotti