Team Italy hosts European Baseball Championship in Piemonte from September 12-19, 2021 and competes against 15 countries

Team Italy hosts European Baseball Championship in Piemonte from September 12-19, 2021 and competes against 15 countries
11/09/2021
For the first time in the 67-year history of the European Baseball Championship, sixteen teams will compete in a total of 48 games in Piemonte on the diamonds of Torino, Settimo Torinese and Avigliana

National Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Piazza makes his managerial debut for Team Italy in the 2021 European Baseball Championship. The Azzurri manager said, "We are here to win and give a show.” Seeking its first Euro Baseball Championship title since 2012 when Mike Piazza served as hitting coach, Team Italy is in it to win it on the newly-refurbished fields in Piemonte.  

The 36th edition of the European Baseball Championship kicks off on Sunday morning in Torino, Settimo Torinese and Avigliana. Organized by Federazione Italiana Baseball Softball (FIBS) and supported by Grizzlies Torino, Settimo Torinese, Rebels Avigliana and Bees Avigliana as well as the municipal and regional administrations, the European Baseball Championship in Piemonte is history in the making.  

Kingdom of the Netherlands is defending the Euro throne as winner of the last three editions in 2014, 2016 and 2019. Team Italy manager Mike Piazza is determined to win the European Baseball Championship on Italian soil. He said, “Our goal, as in any championship, is to win. I think the level of competition will be high, so we will have to play well, making as few mistakes as possible. I like this group of players. We want our athletes to give a great show.” The Italian skipper is being assisted by pitching coach Vince Horsman, coaches Gianmarco Faraone, Dan Bonanno, Michele Gerali and Doriano Bindi in addition to FIBS Vice President Gigi Mignola.  

Eight rookies are making their debut on the Team Italy 24-man roster. The player with the most experience is 27-year-old Alberto Mineo, who has reached as high as Triple-A ball with experience in the Chicago Cubs and Toronto Blue Jays organizations. Having played most recently for Parma Clima, Azzurri captain Alberto Mineo has made 38 appearances in the Team Italy uniform. He said, “We have a good group with most of the players knowing each other from the national youth teams.” 

Italian-Brazilian pitcher Tiago Da Silva returns to Team Italy after four years, He has made 34 Azzurri appearances including four European Baseball Championship, two World Championships and three WBSC international tournaments. Recently voted MVP of the Italian Baseball Series as a result of picking up two wins for San Marino over favorite UnipolSai Bologna, Tiago Da Silva is a gamechanger for the Azzurri squad. Catcher Alberto Mineo said, “Tiago can only do good for this team. His experience and his determination will be a great asset.” 

Team Italy plays its first Group A game against Greece on Sunday afternoon at 3 pm (local time) in Settimo Torinese before battling Belgium on Monday night at 8:30 pm (local time) in Torino and clashing with Austria on Tuesday night at 8:30 pm (local time) in Avigliana.  All games will be streaming live at www.BaseballSoftball.tv

Greece has some familiar faces including pitcher Dimitri Kourtis and first baseman Ari Sechopoulos, teammates on the Italian Baseball Series Champion San Marino squad. Another Greek pitcher, Theon Bourdianotis, was last seen in Italy playing for Montepaschi Grosseto during the 2012 IBL season. Alberto Mineo said, "Greece is a team to be respected. We must always play 100% as if it were a final. In addition to Kingdom of the Netherlands, we must give our best efforts against Spain, Germany and the Czech Republic."  Forza #Italia! #PerBill

by Roberto Angotti

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