Team Italy beats Israel and advances to U18 European Baseball Championship semi-finals

Team Italy beats Israel and advances to U18 European Baseball Championship semi-finals
08/07/2021
As the Euro Baseball Championship Pool A top-seed, undefeated Team Italy (4-0) earned the right to move on to the U18 European Baseball Championship semi-finals after a 10-2 victory over Israel on July 8, 2021

After defeating rival Kingdom of the Netherlands the night prior in Macerata, Team Italy returned to beat Israel 10-2 in the U18 European Baseball Championship on Thursday, July 8, 2021. Azzurri manager Francesco Aluffi started pitcher Francesco Gabbari, who threw four innings and surrendered one earned run on three hits with three strikeouts and three walks.

The Italians registered a slim 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Team Italy took advantage of a walk and an ensuing balk to get DH Williams Wong into scoring position. An RBI single by catcher Samuele Bruno allowed Williams Wong to cross the plate.

Team Italy rallied for four runs in the bottom of the third inning to gain a 5-0 advantage. Williams Wong made it to first base on a swing-and-miss third strike wild pitch and scored on an RBI triple from first baseman Samuele Gamberini. Samuele Bruno followed with an RBI single. Center fielder Enrico Buin reached first base on a fielder's choice, and right fielder Tommaso Adorni walked. A call from the Team Italy bench for a double steal yielded two more runs as an overthrow to third base by the catcher and a fielding error cost Israel dearly.

Israel got on the board in the top of the fourth inning after two errors and two walks gave the visiting team one run. The relentless Italian offense came back for more in the bottom of the fourth inning when the lead increased to 8-1. Third baseman Nicholas Bertoldi led off with a bunt single, and Williams Wong reached first base on an error. Then three-hole slugger Samuele Gamberini blasted a three-run homer over the left field fence.

Winning pitcher Francesco Gabbari was replaced by Vincenzo Bruno in the top of the fifth inning when Israel scored one run, but the reliever looked good striking out two batters. He pitched for two innings and held Israel to just one hit in two innings of work.

Team Italy tacked on two more insurance runs in the top of the sixth inning. Three consecutive walks to Tommaso Nani, Williams Wong and Samuele Gamberini loaded the bases for Tommaso Giacomini. The backup catcher came through in the clutch with a two-run single to make it a 10-2 game.

Closer Francesco Cappuccini entered the contest in the top of the seventh inning. He sealed the deal for Team Italy with one strikeout.

With the victory over Israel, Team Italy is the top-seed in Group A and will play the runner-up in Group B on Saturday, July 10 at 8 pm in Macerata.

All the U18 European Baseball Championship games are streaming live at www.baseballsoftball.tv. The Euro Championship semi-finals on July 10 and the Euro Championship final game on July 11 will also be broadcast live on FIBSTV.com.

The two top teams from the U18 European Baseball Championship qualify for the U18 Baseball World Cup from September 10-19, 2021 at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Florida.

Forza #Italia! #PerBill

by Roberto Angotti

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Read also: Czech Republic and Kingdom of the Netherlands win while Austria and France lose on day 4 of U18 Euro Baseball Championship

(Photo of Team Italy slugger Samuele Gamberini after hitting a triple against Israel by Lynx Prod.)