ITALY CLAIM BRONZE MEDAL
Great effort by the Champions of Europe, who beat (4-3) Chinese Taipei in front of a roaring crowd
Italy makes history. For the first time in the baseball history of the country, the National team wins a medal in an IBAF competition. What makes the accomplishment even more important is the fact that the Italians beat (4-3) in the bronze medal game the hosts Chinese Taipei in front of a roaring crowd in “Intercontinental Stadium”, Taichung city.
Italy wasted no time in getting on the scoreboard against Chinese Taipei ace Chen Hung Wen. Chinese shortstop Kuo Yen Wen misplayed a grounder by his Italian counterpart Granato and third baseman Lin Han delivered a bad throw to first on the bunt by Italian hot corner defender Infante. Italy’s captain Chiarini made it 1-0 on a roller to shortstop, then the Italian right fielder stole second, advanced to third on a base hit by designated hitter Ramos and scored the second run on a double steal, combined with Ramos himself.
Italy’s starter Cillo, working on 3 day rest, was not as sharp as he showed against Korea and Chinese Taipei got to him pretty quickly. By the end of second inning Italy’s lead had evaporated on 5 hits and the ball had gone to hard throwing right hander Marco Grifantini.
Against the big hurler Chinese Taipei enjoyed less success. Grifantini worked early in the count with his off speed stuff and came back with 92 mile per hour heaters to finish off the hitters.
Grifantini left at the end of the 6th with Italy leading 3-2. In the 5th Infante had drawn a walk from Chen, touched third on a perfect hit and run execution by Chiarini and scored on a line drive double to right field by Ramos.
In the 7th Italy added a run against Huang Chi Lung thanks to Infante, who led off with a double, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a ground out by Ramos.
Chinese Taipei kept it a one run game in the bottom half of the inning when Lin singled, stole second, advanced to third on the first out and scored when Lo hit a comebacker to the mound. Italian reliever Cicatello got the second out on Lo, but his throw to catcher Angrisano was just late.
The bottom half of the ninth was definitely emotional. Italian closer Alessandro Maestri got the first out and then walked second baseman Chen Yung Chi. He then struck out designated hitter Lin Chih Sheng on a nasty slider, but loaded the bases allowing a hit to pinch hitter Hsiao Po Ting and walking Lo. In both cases he had been on a 2 strike count.
He threw 2 sliders for strike against first baseman Kao Kuo Ching and then forced him to send a comebacker into his glove. While Maestri was throwing the ball to first, Italy had already started the celebration.