Team Italy suffers 8-3 loss to Sweden in Euro Baseball Championship

Team Italy suffers 8-3 loss to Sweden in Euro Baseball Championship
35-year-old Swedish pitcher Per Sjors threw eight innings and allowed just five hits to Team Italy in the 8-3 upset over the Italians in Třebíč, Czech Republic on Monday, September 25, 2023. The Azzurri return for a must-win game against Great Britain on Tuesday, September 26, 2023 at 11:30 am (ET).

Prior to the first pitch of the Team Italy game against Sweden in the European Baseball Championship at Třebíč Nuclears ballpark in the Czech Republic on Monday, September 25, 2023, Senior Vice President of International Development at Major League Baseball (MLB) Jim Small met with Federazione Italiana Baseball Softball (FIBS) President Andrea Marcon and Azzurri manager Mike Piazza. In light of the recent success of the London Series, the productive conversation was positive and upbeat in regards to the growth and development of baseball in Italy and Europe. 

Coming off a 15-2 victory over Hungary the day prior, National Baseball Hall of Famer and Team Italy manager Mike Piazza sent out starting pitcher Gabriele Quattrini, The strong right-hander threw three scoreless innings before encountering trouble in the bottom of the fourth inning. 

Sweden countered with starter Per Sjors, who did not give up a hit until a single by Azzurri first baseman Vito Friscia in the top of the fourth inning. Giulio Monello collected the second hit for Team Italy in the top of the fifth inning. Robel Garcia registered the third hit with his triple in the top of the seventh inning. A Ricardo Paolini single and an RBI double by Robel Garcia in the top of the eighth inning accounted for the fourth and fifth respectively. 

The Swedes were first to score in the bottom of the fourth inning when erupting with seven runs. Daniel Johnson led off with a double and advanced to third base on a single by Jeff Pruitt. A wild pitch by Gabriele Quattrini allowed Daniel Johnson to cross the plate and Jeff Pruitt to move to third base. An RBI single by Thomas Paulich put Sweden in front 2-0. Another wild pitch and a sacrifice fly by Leonard Backstrom added another run. 

A single by Oskar Jerfston followed by a walk to Victor Wahlberg prompted a pitching change. Reliever Nicolo Pinazzi entered the contest with Team Italy behind 3-0. After a fielder’s choice, the lefty-reliever hit Tommy Lindell to lead the bases for Joel Johnson. Johnson, the son of an American missionary in Sweden played college baseball in the USA, connected with a grand slam to make it a 7-0 game. 

Nicolo Pinazzi returned to pitch a scoreless bottom of the fifth inning with two strikeouts. Reliever Claudio Scotti was summoned in the top of the sixth inning. After surrendering a leadoff double to Oskar Jerfston and issuing back-to-back walks, Claudio Scotti was replaced by Maurizio Andretta, who balked and gave Sweden a comfortable 8-0 advantage. He fought back with a strikeout of Tommy Lindell. An intentional walk of dangerous Joel Johnson loaded the bases for a potential double play to get out of the inning. Instead, strikeouts of Daniel Johnson and Jeff Pruitt limited the damage. 

Maurizio Andretta went on to throw a total of 2.1 innings with six strikeouts and one walk before being relieved by Marco Artizu in the bottom of the eighth inning. 

The Italians came up with too little, too late in the top of the seventh inning when scoring one run. After Federico Celli was hit by a pitch, pinch hitter Alberto Mineo reached first base on an infield error. A flyout to right field by Sebastiano Poma allowed Federico Celli to advance to third base. An ensuing sacrifice fly from catcher J.J. D’Orazio put Team Italy on the board, trailing 8-1. 

Team Italy scored its second run in the top of the eighth inning after a leadoff single by Ricardo Paolini and an RBI double from Robel Garcia. The Azzurri offense attempted to perform a miraculous come-from-behind finish in the top of the ninth inning, but it resulted in just one run. . After issuing a walk to Alberto Mineo, Sweden starter Per Sjors was replaced by reliever Oskar Syren, who gave up back-to-back walks to Sebastiano Poma and J.J. D’Orazio. Then Andrea Sellaroli hit a sacrifice fly to left field to make it a 8-3 game. 


The Italians return to Třebíč for a must-win game against Great Britain on Tuesday, September 26, 2023 at 11:30 am (ET). Watch the livestream HERE.


(Photo of Federico Celli sliding into third base against Sweden on September 25, 2023)