Team Italy defeated by Czech Republic 9-3 in U18 Euro Baseball Championship

Team Italy defeated by Czech Republic 9-3 in U18 Euro Baseball Championship
The long ball haunted Team Italy in the game against Czech Republic in the U18 European Baseball Championship at Arrows Park in Ostrava on Sunday, August 14, 2022 as the Czechs hit a three-run blast in the first inning and two-run homers in the third and sixth innings to account for seven of their nine runs and defeat the Italians 9-3

Team Italy manager Francesco Aluffi handed the ball off to starter Riccardo Nipote against host Czech Republic on day two of the U18 Euro Baseball Championship at Arrows Park in Ostrava, Czech Republic on Sunday, August 14, 2022. In the top of the first inning, the right-handed pitcher gave up a three-run home to Nico O'Rourke, an up-and-coming outfielder from Acalanes High School in Lafayette, California.

Already ahead 3-0 in the top of the third inning, Czech Republic third baseman Victor Hluchý gave the Euro hosts a comfortable 5-0 lead with a two-run blast off Azzurri pitcher Riccardo Nipote, who surrendered five runs on four hits with four strikeouts and one walk during his three-inning appearance.

Team Italy reliever Cristian Laghi threw scoreless fourth and fifth innings before dishing out a two-run home run to Matouš Bubenik in the top of the sixth inning. Relief pitcher Diego Luciani inherited runners on first and second base with one out when he entered the contest in the top of the sixth inning. An RBI double by Michal Sindelka and a sacrifice fly from Michal Antoň gave Czech Republic the 9-1 advantage.

The Team Italy offense was stifled by Czech starting pitcher Albert Prazak, who limited the Italians to one run on four hits with three strikeouts and one walk in five innings of work. The Azzurri enjoyed the change of scenery in the bottom of the sixth inning when reliever Ondřej Vank took the mound and served up two runs.

Team Italy could not drum up any offensive production during the contest. The Italians were unable to take advantage of a leadoff walk in the bottom of the second inning to first baseman Filippo Venditti. Sebastiano Catellani was robbed of a base hit when Czech center fielder Michal Antoň made a diving shoestring catch. Then a failed hit and run attempt resulted in Filippo Venditti being called out at second base, An ensuing strikeout of Tommaso Adorni ended the inning.

Team Italy came up empty again in the bottom of the third inning. Catcher Andres Annunziata hit an infield single and got into scoring position on a groundout by Niccolò Funzione. However, he was left stranded on second base at the end of the inning.

The Italians finally broke through with one run in the bottom of the fourth inning when third baseman Manuel Zazza doubled down the right field line and later scored on an RBI groundout by Filippo Venditti. Sebastiano Catelllani followed with a hard-hit single, but the fighting Azzurri could do nothing more.

Team Italy fell short once again in the bottom of the fifth inning when Andres Annunziata singled for his second hit of the game but did not cross the plate at the end of the inning.

The Italian offense showed signs of life in the bottom of the sixth inning when scoring two runs. Manuel Zazza collected his second hit of the competition with a single up the middle. Williams Wong followed with a walk. A single to left field by Filippo Venditti loaded the bases for Sebastiano Castellani, who hit a fielder's choice which allowed Manuel Zazza to score. An ensuing throwing error to first base by Czech third baseman Victor Hluchý also enabled Williams Wong to cross the plate and make it a 9-3 game.



Team Italy (1-1) returns to Arrows Park in Ostrava for a game against Israel (1-1) on Monday, August 15, 2022 at 3 pm (local time) or 9 am (ET). The U18 European Baseball Championship round-robin play continues through August 18, 2022. The semifinals take place on August 19, 2022. The Gold Medal and Bronze Medal Games are on August 20, 2022. Forza #Italia!

by Roberto Angotti





(Photo of Team Italy starting pitcher Riccardo Nipote against Czech Republic in the 2022 U18 European Baseball Championship by Pavel Chorobik)