Team Italy's Ilaria Cacciamani strikes out nine consecutive hitters in 13-0 mercy-rule win over Spain in Women's European Softball Championship

Team Italy's Ilaria Cacciamani strikes out nine consecutive hitters in 13-0 mercy-rule win over Spain in Women's European Softball Championship
30/06/2021
Undefeated Team Italy (6-0) eliminated Spain's chances of advancing to the Women's European Softball Championship finals in Fruili-Venezia Giulia with a stellar performance by pitcher Ilaria Cacciamani in Ronchi dei Legionari on June 30, 2021

Unlucky 9-8 losers to Germany earlier in the day, Spain came into the nightcap against Team Italy in Ronchi di Legionari with its back against the wall. Unless the Spaniards could upset the defending European champions on Italian turf, Spain would not have any chance of advancing to the Women's European Softball Championship finals.

Spain did not get off to a good start. Team Italy pitcher Ilaria Cacciamani struck out the side in the top of the first inning against Spain. She got offensive support immediately in the bottom half of the inning when Azzurre leadoff hitter Brittany Abacherli homered off the scoreboard. After Emily Carosone walked and Erika Piancastelli singled, A flyout to deep center field by Team Italy shortstop Amanda Fama allowed the runners to advance into scoring position. An intentional walk to Andrea Filler loaded the bases for catcher Elisa Cecchetti, whose three-run triple gave Team Italy an early 4-0 advantage. 

The Team Italy offense went back to work in the bottom of the second inning. Brittany Abacherli walked, and Andrea Howard was hit by a pitch. Then Emily Carosone doubled down the right field line and another run scored. Erika Piancastelli was intentionally walked to set the table for Amanda Fama. She reached first base on a fielder's choice, which allowed one run to cross the plate. A two RBI triple from Andrea Filler, an RBI double by Elisa Cecchetti, and an RBI single from Melany Sheldon made it a 10-0 game.

The Italians added three more runs in the bottom of the third inning. Brittany Abacherli doubled and advanced to third base on a groundout by Andrea Howard. A sacrifice fly from Amanda Fama allowed Brittany Abacherli to score and later a two RBI single by Elisa Cecchetti put Team Italy on top 13-0.

Azzurre pitcher Ilaria Cacciamani surrendered her first and only hit to Spain in the fourth inning. She ended the game with a total of 11 strikeouts. Team Italy travels to nearby Castions di Strada for a clash against Germany tomorrow at 12:30 pm. Watch the highlights and postgame interviews on FIBSTV.com. Forza #Italia! #PerEnrico

by Roberto Angotti

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(Photo of Team Italy pitcher Ilaria Cacciaman by EzR/NADOC)