Words from Team Italy U18 baseball coach Davide Sartini and pitcher Edoardo Zingarelli

Words from Team Italy U18 baseball coach Davide Sartini and pitcher Edoardo Zingarelli
Team Italy coach Davide Sartini and closing pitcher Edoardo Zingarelli reflect on the important 7-5 win over KIngdom of the Netherlands in the U18 European Baseball Championship on July 7, 2021

Immediately after the last out called giving Team Italy the 7-5 victory over Kingdom of the Netherlands in the U18 European Baseball Championship on July 7, 2021 in Macerata, the hometown crowd erupted into a frenzy and the Azzurri squad celebrated the win over the Dutch. The U18 Azzurri baseball squad demonstrated some extraordinary defensive plays like the accurate 7-6-2 relay throw from right fielder Alessio Lollo to third baseman Williams Wong to catcher Francesco Segreto which nailed Dutch baserunner Mart Blijleven at home plate and ended the fourth inning to protect the Team Italy 6-3 lead. Other remarkable defense included a diving catch from outfielder Alessio Lollo that denied Kingdom of the Netherlands from extra bases and a 6-3 bang-bang third out by shortstop Francesco Ricci in the second inning.

Team Italy infield coach Davide Sartini said, "We know that defense is one of our strengths so it is a major consideration when putting together our lineup. We can't say that performance on the field surprised us. On the contrary, we expect this from our team every game. "The defense and the lineup where everyone can contribute are our strengths so we build the game on these pillars."

In addition to complimenting winning pitcher Edoardo Uddini and closer Edoardo Zingarelli. Davide Sartini also reflected on the importance of the underdog win over rival Kingdom of the Netherlands. "Today the pitchers did very well. Up until now, pitching has been the weak point in relation to our stronger parts of the team. Once our pitching is put in place, the road becomes slightly less uphill. From a morale point of view, it was very important to make everyone understand how valuable this team is. We will have to see to how the rest of the tournament goes, but being able to defeat the Dutch and get on top of the Group A standings is always a positive thing. It could be that someone took us lightly, probably because in terms of talent there are no individuals who stand out over others. Our strength is compactness, a team where everyone does their part in the right way. For this reason, beyond what could still happen, we are convinced that this team will have a good tournament."

Pitcher Edoardo Zingarelli entered the contest in the bottom of the fifth inning and held Kingdom of the Netherlands to just one hit for the remainder of the game with five strikeouts and one walk to secure the victory for Team Italy. He said, "I came in at a difficult moment, but we managed to close it well. It always gives me great satisfaction to wear the Italian uniform and put together five strikeouts in a very important game played at this level. It was a team victory. We never gave up, and we always stayed in the game even in the most complicated situations."

With the win, undefeated Team Italy (3-0) has secured the top seed in Group A and has guaranteed itself a U18 Euro Baseball Championship semi-final berth. The Italians will play the Group B runner-up on Friday, July 10, 2021 at 8 pm in Macerata. The winners of the semi-final games will advance to the U18 European Baseball Championship final on Saturday, July 11, 2021 at 6 pm in Macerata and automatically qualify for the U18 Baseball World Cup at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Florida from September 10-19, 2021. Forza #Italia! #PerBill

by Roberto Angotti

Read also: Team Italy guarantees U18 Euro Baseball Championship semi-final berth after 7-5 win over Kingdom of the Netherlands

(Photo of Team Italy pitcher Edoardo Zingarelli by Lynx Prod.)