Team Italy softball sluggers hit a dozen homers into alligator-infested waters at Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach

Team Italy softball sluggers hit a dozen homers into alligator-infested waters at Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach
17/04/2021
One should never underestimate of the power of manager Federico Pizzolini's Team Italy

One should never underestimate of the power of manager Federico Pizzolini's Team Italy. Taking batting practice for the first time on Persistence field at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach on April 17, 2021, each member of the Olympic-bound Team Italy women's softball squad wore number 42 on their back. Some even crushed balls over the fence and into the nearby lagoon filled with alligators and snakes. Erika Piancastelli at 2021 Vero Beach Spring Training (Roberto Angotti)

Azzurre team captain Erika Piancastelli and Marta Gasparotto were first in the batter's box, and they made organizers at the state-of-the-art facility and site formerly known as Dodgertown wonder why they assigned the Italians the field closest to danger. At least 12 home runs cleared the fence and splashed into the murky waters. All softballs were eventually retrieved by using nets attached to long poles for the health and safety of staff members.

Officials at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex decided to move Team Italy to an adjacent field for future practices as a result of the early morning blasts. It was in the best interest of all parties involved to put the powerful Italian women's softball team where balls hit out of the park could be easily retrieved without anyone being within the reach of hungry reptiles. Luckily nobody was eaten, but on the diamond Team Italy was not so lucky as Marta Gasparotto sustained a knee injury. Team physician Dr. Alessandro Butta was on the scene to assist. When more information becomes available on her condition, it will be reported here.

Team Italy remains in Vero Beach until April 24, 2021. Then the Azzurre squad travels west to the CenturyLink Sports Complex in Fort Myers to play a pair of doubleheaders against Team Canada on April 25 and 26. Forza #Italia! #PerEnrico

by Roberto Angotti