Team Italy places fourth in U15 European Baseball Championship

Team Italy places fourth in U15 European Baseball Championship
Having succumbed to Team Italy in a 12-2 mercy-rule game two days prior, Kingdom of the Netherlands turned the tables on the Italians in the battle for the bronze with a 5-3 victory in the U15 European Baseball Championship in Brno, Czech Republic on July 25, 2021

Team Italy was the top-seed in U15 European Baseball Championship Group B after easily defeating SlovakiaAustria and Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Azzurrini baseball squad had outscored opponents 39 to 4 prior to the start of the U15 European Baseball Championship semi-finals on July 24, 2021.

Clearly the favorite against Group A runner-up FranceTeam Italy lost all focus and the French took advantage of a bad day for the Italians with a 9-7 upset. Team Italy settled for a battle for the bronze against KIngdom of the Netherlands in what looked like on paper a sure win since the Azzurrini had dominated the Dutch 12-2 in a six-inning mercy-rule contest earlier in the tourney. In the rematch on July 25, 2021, Kingdom of the Netherlands prevailed 5-3 and won the U15 European Baseball Championship bronze medal. 

Perhaps the most talented squad in the competition, Team Italy settled for fourth place. Italian U15 manager Roberto De Franceschi said, "We played an impeccable first round during which the team showed its full potential. Then unfortunately we stumbled in practically all areas on a dark black day when facing France in the semi-finals. Today we played a good game against Kingdom of the Netherlands. I think both squads were probably the best equipped teams in this tournament. We have a group of talented individuals with enormous potential to become exceptional players who can make forward progress for our future. I believe the end result of this tournament does not fairly reflect our team's true value. There is certainly a lot of bitterness coming in fourth when we had such high expectations for this group."

After Team Italy starting pitcher Giacomo Taschin gave up two runs in the first inning, it appeared the Italians were on track to bring home the bronze when they took a 3-2 lead in the top of the third inning. Giacomo De Donno led off with a walk and advanced to third base on a double by Francesco Gallo. An RBI single from Lorenzo Barbona put one run on the board. A groundout by Edoardo Cornelli allowed Francisco Gallo to score and Lorenzo Barbona to race from first to third base. An ensuing balk resulted in a third run for Team Italy.

Losing pitcher Riccardo Mazzanti entered the game in the bottom of the third inning with the score tied 3-3 and baserunners on first and second with one out. The reliever quickly got an infield flyout and a strikeout to end the scoring threat. He was not so lucky in the fourth inning when back-to-back singles followed by a throwing error produced another run for the Dutch.

Team Italy missed a golden opportunity to tie the game up in the top of the fifth inning when Edoardo Cornelli led off with an extra-base hit and got thrown out at third rather than settling for a double. Luca Magnani came in to relieve Riccardo Mazzanti in the bottom of the fifth inning after an infield error and a walk. The Dutch cashed in one run to take the 5-3 lead. Luca Magnani went on to pitch a scoreless sixth inning to keep Team Italy in the game, but the Italians were unable to generate any offense.

Despite a somewhat regressive fourth-place finish, Team Italy certainly flashed signs of life early in the tournament. The young and promising Azzurrini squad should not be underestimated. Look for a big rebound soon. 


In the U15 European Baseball Championship final, undefeated Czech Republic was declared the winner against France when the game was called in the bottom of the fifth inning due to adverse weather conditions. At the time of the weather delay, the score was tied 4-4. Because Czech Republic had defeated France 19-3 on July 22, 2021, the home team Czechs were crowned the 2021 U15 European Baseball Champions. Forza #Italia!

by Roberto Angotti


(Photo of Team Italy's Edoardo Cornelli getting called out at third base in the fifth inning by KS/FIBS)