Team Italy women's softball squad plays with heart in 5-0 loss to Japan in Tokyo Olympics

Team Italy women's softball squad plays with heart in 5-0 loss to Japan in Tokyo Olympics
24/07/2021
Team Italy held Japan scoreless for three innings before a two-run home run in the top of the fourth inning by cleanup hitter Yu Yamamoto put the Tokyo Olympics host in control of the game

Team Italy manager Federico Pizzolini gave Alexia Lacatena the opportunity of a lifetime by allowing the promising and talented 18-year-old pitcher to make her first start in the Olympic Games against Japan at Yokohama Baseball Stadium on Saturday, July 24, 2021. She surrendered just one hit, a game-changing two-run homer, with two strikeouts and two walks in her four innings of work. Reliever Ilaria Cacciamani pitched the remaining three innings and allowed three runs on five hits with two strikeouts.

Team Italy leadoff hitter Laura Vigna got the first hit of the contest in the bottom of the first inning with a single up the middle but never got past third base. The Italians threatened to score again in the bottom of the third inning with a leadoff double by right fielder Beatrice Ricchi. Japan manager Reika Utsugi then made a pitching change when he took the ball from starter Yamato Fujita and summoned reliever Miu Goto. The twenty-year-old left-handed sensation responded by pitching four scoreless inning and striking out nine batters to earn the win. Team Italy infielder Andrea Filler was the only one who managed get a hit off Miu Goto in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Team Italy played well defensively. Left fielder Laura Vigna robbed Yamato Fujita of a home run in the top of the fourth inning with a highlight-reel catch. However, Yamato Fujita connected with a three-run homer off Team Italy reliever Ilaria Cacciamani to make it a 5-0 game.

With the 5-0 victory over Team Italy, undefeated Japan (3-0) has two more games against Canada and USA. Meanwhile, Team Italy (0-3) plays two games on Sunday, July 25, 2021 against Canada at 4 am (PT) and Mexico at 10:30 pm (PT).

The bronze medal game is set to take place on Monday, July 26, 2021 at 9 pm (PT), while the gold medal game is scheduled for Tuesday, July 27, 2021 at 4 am (PT). Forza #Italia! #PerEnrico

by Roberto Angotti

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(Photo of Team Italy pitcher Alexia Lacatena and catcher Erika Piancastelli by Shinji Oyama/ WBSC)