Team Italy keeps win streak alive in Women's European Softball Championship with 5-0 shutout over Czech Republic

Team Italy keeps win streak alive in Women's European Softball Championship with 5-0 shutout over Czech Republic
30/06/2021
Defending Euro champion Team Italy remains undefeated in the Women's European Softball Championship in Friuli-Venezia Giulia after getting to Czech Republic pitcher Veronika Peckova in the bottom of the fifth inning with a five-run rally

Team Italy got revenge on Czech Republic pitching ace Veronika Peckova during phase two of the Women's European Softball Championship in Ronchi dei Legionaire on Wednesday, June 30, 2021. The Azzurre softball squad wanted to make amends after losing to the Czech pitcher in the 2018 Super 6 Tourney in the Netherlands when current Team Italy skipper Federico Pizzolini was assistant to the late and great manager Enrico Obletter. Leading the Czechs to a first-place finish in the Super 6, Veronika Peckova was named MVP and received accolades for Best Pitcher. More than anything, Team Italy wanted the win for their fallen leader who guided the squad to the 2019 Women's European Softball Championship title and a well-deserved berth to the Tokyo Olympics.

The Czechs rested Veronika Peckova for this contest as she made only appearance in the competition against Croatia one day prior when she pitched one inning and struck out three hitters. Like Italian nemesis Lisa Birocci, the Czech All-Star had ventured to Taiwan to perfect her craft and most recently returned from a stint playing for the Toyota Red Terriers in Japan.

Team Italy manager Federico Pizzolini countered with starting pitcher, Greta Cecchetti. "Iron Greta" threw nearly four hitless innings before surrendering a triple with two outs. Then right fielder Andrea Howard demonstrated her defensive prowess with a diving catch to keep the score tied 0-0.

It was a pitcher's duel between starters Greta Cecchetti and Veronika Peckova, who did not allow a hit until the bottom of the fifth inning when Team Italy captain Erika Piancastelli launched a fastball over the left field fence to make it a 1-0 game. Amanda Fama followed with a single to keep the Azzurre rally alive. She was replaced on the bases by Ilaria Cacciamani. Andrea Filler walked and Giulia Longhi hit an infield single to load the bases for Brittany Aberlachi, who came through in the clutch with a two-run single. With runners on the corners, Giulia Koutsoyanopulos picked up an RBI with her productive groundout to short. An RBI single from Andrea Howard gave Team Italy a commanding 5-0 lead.

Azzurre pitching ace Greta Cecchetti got the win after giving up just one hit with 12 strikeouts in the emotional win in memory of Team Italy manager Enrico Obletter. The women's softball squad returns to Ronchi dei Legionari field tonight at 8:15 pm for a battle against Spain. Watch all the highlights and catch the postgame interviews on FIBS TV. Forza #Italia! #PerEnrico .

by Roberto Angotti

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Photo: Team Italy celebrates after Erika Piancastelli's home run (EzR-NADOC)