Team Italy women's softball begins spring training in Arizona and California

Team Italy women's softball begins spring training in Arizona and California
Team Italy manager Federico Pizzolini and special advisor Mike Candrea lead the women's softball squad with two weeks of training and exhibition games in the U.S.A.

In preparation for the World Games from July 9-13, 2022 in Birmingham, Alabama and the European Championship from July 24-30, 2022 in Sant Boi, Spain, the defending Euro champion Team Italy women's softball squad embarks on two weeks of spring training in the western United States under the guidance and leadership of manager Federico Pizzolini and special advisor Mike Candrea, The first stop is in Tucson, Arizona, when training will begin on the campus of the University of Arizona on February 14 and continue until Team Italy departs for the Palm Springs area on February 23. The Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic takes place at Big League Dreams in Cathedral City. Team Italy will engage in activities there and at other local venues including Rancho Mirage High School and College of the Desert.

Team Italy manager Federico Pizzolini said, "This is a starting point for a new course. Despite the presence of some of our more seasoned players, the group is very young and comprised of many athletes who are part of the U22 and U18 squads. Our task will be to evaluate the work of all, but also to focus on what the girls of these two national teams can contribute to the women's senior squad. This is the goal we have set for ourselves. With the full cooperation of U22 and U18 manager Andrea Longagnani, we will work closely together to make sure all Team Italy players receive the best possible training."

The Team Italy skipper continued: "Many girls, Giulia Koutsoyanopoulos, Alexia Lacatena, Andrea Howard and Laura Vigna have commitments with their respective colleges. Marta Gasparotto is recovering from her second knee operation, and we hope that she will be available for the important competitions next summer. Erika Piancastelli will spend the entire 2022 season in the professional leagues in Japan and America so her participation in any of our events is not expected, but she will always be our global ambassador. Now we can help grow players like Alice Nicolini, who has a burning desire to return to the top level after not qualifying for the Tokyo Olympic Games. We need girls like her who are hungry to make their mark for Team Italy."

The following 17 Team Italy players will be in Arizona and California:
Laura Bigatton (P/OF - Bollate Softball 1969 A.S.D.)
Ilaria Cacciamani (P/OF - Softball Club Forli' A.S.D./Esercito)
Elisa Cecchetti (C - Bollate Softball 1969 A.S.D./Esercito)
Irene Costa (OF - Bollate Softball 1969 A.S.D.)
Sofia Fabbian (OF - Thunders & Dragons  Softball -  Baseball A.S.D. Castellana)
Amanda  Fama (IF - Bollate Softball 1969 A.S.D.)
Andrea Filler (IF - Saronno Softball A.S.D.)
Agnese Giacometti (C/IF - Bussolengo Softball 2.0 A.S.D.)
Noemi Giacometti (C - Thunders & Dragons  Softball - Baseball A.S.D. Castellana)
Giulia Longhi (IF - A.S.D. Cali Roma Girls/Saronno Softball A.S.D./Esercito)
Fabrizia Marrone (OF - Saronno Softball A.S.D.)
Alessia Melegari (P - Us Giovanile Collecchio Softball Asd)
Alice Nicolini (P - Saronno Softball A.S.D.)
Carlotta Salis (P - Thunders & Dragons  Softball -  Baseball A.S.D. Castellana)
Melany Sheldon (IF - A.B. Caronno Softball Asd)
Elena Slawitz (IF - Old Parma Baseball Softball Club A.S.D.)
Silvia Torre (C/IF - Bollate Softball 1969 A.S.D.)

With the absence of Erika Piancastelli, Federico Pizzolini was asked who will be the new Team Italy captain. He replied, "The choice was quite simple: it will be Giulia Longhi and even when Erika returns, Giulia will always be the captain." The Team Italy manager expressed his enthusiasm and optimism for this trip to America by saying: "Technically, we need to see players who put their best effort into it. We expect maximum commitment, even when playing against some of the strongest colleges. While we are just starting out and these teams are well-oiled machines, we could face adversity. It is not the score itself that interests us, but more the work as a whole, this trip will help us understand what we are made of and what we can do to become one of the best national teams in the world. With the invaluable contributions made by Mike Candrea, we are on the right path. He is a key figure for us by dedicating himself 100% to Italian softball after retiring from his role as head coach at the University of Arizona. He strongly believes in the quality of our program and our ability to compete against the best national teams in the world. This spring training is the result of his hard work. But his contribution will not be limited to these fifteen days. He will always be with us, even at the World Games in Alabama and the European Championship in Barcelona."

Team Italy Schedule in Arizona and California:
February 14 and 15 University of Arizona - Hillebrand Stadium (Training)
February 16 Pima Community College
February 17 Central Arizona College
February 18 Pima Community College (Training)
February 19 Paradise Valley Community College
February 21 Eastern Arizona College
February 22 University of Arizona - Hillebrand Stadium (Training)
February 23 and 24 Big League Dreams (Training)
February 25 Rancho Mirage High School (Training)
February 26 College of the Desert
February 27 Rancho Mirage High School (Training)

Forza #Italia!

by Roberto Angotti