Mike Piazza and Nicky Lopez speak after Team Italy's win over the Kingdom of the Netherlands
12/03/2023 2 Minute Read

Mike Piazza and Nicky Lopez speak after Team Italy's win over the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Azzurri manager Mike Piazza thanks the Team Italy players and staff, while Kansas City Royals infielder Nicky Lopez talks about the victory that has been sought after for months.

Attracting all the attention of a large group of Japanese media, National Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Piazza is the first to arrive at the postgame press conference inside Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium following the Azzurri's remarkable run in World Baseball Classic Pool A.

Team Italy manager Mike Piazza said, “I think I'm going to have a heart attack. I immediately understood tonight that these guys wanted to win, not go home. I thank them and I thank my staff, for the work in the field, for the scouting, for the data processing, they have all made a fundamental contribution to what we have done here.

I am so happy for this group. For these kids who have chosen to represent a country because of their grandparents, their fathers, their mothers. I think it's a great thing for baseball, for Italy, and I'm honored to be part of this team, made up of guys who never give up. We know it won't get easier, but we want to enjoy this moment.

I didn't get the feeling we were in the quarterfinals until the very end of the game, I knew we were holding them to that one point and we scored several, but until the last out I didn't relax. Luckily we had what it took to win.

I repeat: it is also a great thing for Italian baseball; if we hadn't won tonight we would have had to go through the qualifiers next time, and you know, it's never easy.

We know that the game against Japan will be very difficult, but we have an incredible emotion and a lot of enthusiasm to count on, I'm really proud."

Team Italy and Kansas City Royals infielder Nicky Lopez said, “This victory is something special that we had talked about before the game, we actually talked about it earlier this week, also in November, while we were together in Italy: we wanted to get through this stage and get to Japan. We knew what we had to do today even after the two defeats and everything worked out well.

It was a real team performance. Each of us gave everything. We are proud to wear the shirt with the word Italia on our chest.

On the hit I was looking for a high ball I could hit and luckily he found the grass to fall into.

The Netherlands are a very experienced team, they have some of the best players in the world in their squad. We were lucky enough to share the field with them and play it all and we brought home a great victory.” Forza #Italia!

by Roberto Angotti