Italy will battle in Premier 12

NATION NUMBER 11 ITALY ONE OF TWO EUROPEAN NATIONS SET TO BATTLE THE WORLD AT PREMIER 12

TAICHUNG, Taiwan — Italy manager Marco Mazzieri heads into his ninth year as the head of the “Azzurri” National Team that will be competing among the Top 12 nations in the WBSC Premier12.

No. 11 Italy heads into the new flagship event as one of two European countries, along with No. 5 Netherlands.

Both Italy and the Netherlands will be in battling to be among the top four in Group A, which also includes No. 3 Cuba, No. 4 Chinese Taipei, No. 7 Canada and No. 9 Puerto Rico.

The Italian National Team was the first to arrive in Taiwan to begin training and adjusting to the time zone.

In naming the team that would represent Italy in the Premier12, Mazzieri has selected home-grown stars, who have experience playing internationally.

Pitching may be one of Italy’s strong points, as Luis Lugo (Lynchburg Hillcats) and Trey Nielsen (Palm Beach Cardinals) are playing for MLB organizations, while Alessandro Maestri (Orix Buffaloes) plays in Japan’s major leagues, Nippon Professional Baseball.

Italy’s first Premier12 opponent in Group B will be No. 9 Puerto Rico on Tuesday, 10 November. The last time the two countries met was when Italy fell to Puerto Rico, 4-3, in the second round of the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

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