Team Italy women's softball squad shuts out College of the Desert 10-0 in Palm Desert, California

Team Italy women's softball squad shuts out College of the Desert 10-0 in Palm Desert, California
After two weeks of Spring Training in Arizona and California under the watchful eye of Team Italy manager Federico Pizzolini and special advisor Mike Candrea, the Azzurre women's softball team returns home a winner after defeating College of the Desert by a score of 10-0 under the lights on Saturday, February 26, 2022

After eight days in Tucson, Arizona, the Team Italy women's softball squad trained for five days in the Palm Springs area with six-time collegiate national champion Nancy Evans (three times as a player and three times as a coach) serving as pitching coach before returning home. National Softball Hall of Famer Mike Candrea and Team Italy manager Federico Pizzolini could see how their hard work had paid off as the Azzurre squad got better every day and culminated with an easy 10-0 victory over College of the Desert in Palm Desert on Saturday, February 26, 2022.
The Team Italy starting lineup looked like this: Amanda Fama (1B), Melany Sheldon (SS), Elisa Cecchetti (C), Andrea Filler (2B), Giulia Longhi (3B), Sofia Fabbian (CF), Noemi Giacometti (RF), Silvia Torre (DP), Fabrizia Marrone (LF) and Ilaria Cacciamani (P).

Starting pitcher Ilaria Cacciamani looked strong early as she has a flawless 1-2-3 out first inning with two strikeouts. The Team Italy offense came to life in the top of the second inning with four runs scored. Andrea Filler led off with a triple to deep left field. Then Azzurre captain Giulia "Panda" Longhi walked. Sofia Fabbian collected an RBI double to give Team Italy a 1-0 lead, while Giulia Longhi was thrown out at the plate trying to score the Italian's second run. Noemi Giacometti followed with a flyout to left field deep enough for Sofia Fabbian to advance to third base. Silvia Torre was hit by a pitch to put runners on the corner for Fabrizia Marrone. She delivered an RBI bloop single over the shortstop to put Team Italy on top 2-0. Amanda Fama walked to load the bases for Melany Sheldon, who came through in the clutch with a two-RBI double down the first base line to give Team Italy a 4-0 advantage.
Team Italy ace Ilaria Cacciamani returned in the bottom of the second inning to strike out two consecutive batters before issuing her only walk. Then Giulia Longhi fielded a bunt attempt to third base cleanly and threw a bullet to Amanda Fama at first base for the third out.

Sofia Fabbian legged out an infield single in the top of the third inning, but Team Italy was unable to add to their comfortable lead. Lefty reliever Alice Nicolini replaced Ilaria Cacciamani in the bottom of the third inning and surrendered the College of the Desert Roadrunners' first single of the game. An ensuing walk put runners on first and second base, but a strikeout and a flyout to center ended the inning.

Team Italy came back for three more runs in the top of the fourth inning. Fabrizia Marrone led off with a double to center field, advanced to third base on a hit by Amanda Fama and scored on a sacrifice fly by Melany Sheldon. In the process, Amanda Fama was thrown out at third base on an accurate throw by the College of the Desert centerfielder. After Elisa Cecchetti walked, Andrea Filler slugged a two-run homer over the center field fence to give Italy the 7-0 lead.  

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Laura Bigatton entered the game for reliever Alice Nicolini. She gave up a single on the first pitch and later a walk to put a Roadrunner in scoring position, but great defensive play by catcher Silvia Torre and infielder Andrea Filler ended the threat.
Sofia Fabbian started another Team Italy rally in the top of the fifth inning with a double down the third base line. She scored on an infield error which allowed Noemi Giacometti to reach third base. An RBI single by Sylvia Torre was followed by a base hit from Fabrizia Marrone. A productive flyout to right field by Melany Sheldon put two runners in scoring position for Elisa Cecchetti, who was not able to add to the commanding 9-0 advantage when popping out to the catcher for the third out.

Irene Costa replaced reliever Alice Nicolini in the bottom of the fifth inning and had a quick 1-2-3 out inning.
Team Italy put another run on the board in the top of the sixth inning to make it a 10-0 game. Elena Slawitz connected with a ball that hit the left field fence for a double, advanced to third base on a flyout by Giulia Longhi and scored on an RBI single by Sofia FabbianNoemi Giacometti followed with a line-drive single down the middle but no more runs crossed the plate.

Reliever Alessia Giacometti came in the bottom of the sixth inning for pitcher Irene Costa. She gave up a walk and a bunt single but kept College of the Desert scoreless.

Team Italy threatened to score one last time in the top of the seventh inning. Amanda Fama doubled to left field and advanced to third base on a flyout by Melany Sheldon but was left stranded 90 feet away from home plate.
Lefty hurler Carlotta Salis replaced pitcher Alessia Giacometti in the bottom of the seventh inning to secure the 10-0 shutout with two strikeouts and a groundout to end the game.  

The Team Italy women's softball squad now returns home to prepare for the World Games 2022 from July 9-13, 2022 in Birmingham, Alabama and the European Softball Championship from July 24-30, 2022 in Sant Boi, Spain. Forza #Italia!


By Roberto Angotti

Photo: Andrea Filler slides home against Eastern Arizona College on 2/21 (Credit: Simone Amaduzzi)