The Asia Pacific Cup took place at the Blacktown International Sportspark in Sydney, Australia over the weekend. The Italian national softball team was on-hand representing Europe at the event.
On opening day, Italy lost both games. They dropped the first to Japan 3-1 and the second to Australia 7-0. On Friday Italy faired no better losing to China 5-0 and then Chinese Taipei 8-1. Finally, on the final day of the first round of competition, Italy scored a victory defeating New Zealand 5-4 before taking another loss. This time it was the Australian All Stars that defeated them by a score of 6-3.
In 6 games the Italians went 1-5 scoring 10 runs with 33 against. Over the course of regular tournament play 3rd baseman Giulia Longhi would be responsible for 6 hits and an RBI for Italy. Australia held Italy scoreless in their matchup despite Longhi and two of her teammates reaching base throughout the game. Following the third game, Longhi would find herself in the midst of a 3-game hitting streak. Against Chinese Taipei, it would be shortstop Marta Gasparotto, who also caught later in the tournament, who scored Italy’s only run but that didn’t stop Giulia from extending her streak.
By Game 5, Longhi had been moved up, from the five spot to cleanup and she wasted no time driving them in. With two hits and an RBI on the day, Giulia and her mates celebrated their first victory of the weekend. Absent from the first two games Marta was keen to show she would not to be outdone. She drove in two of her own with a single hit on the day. That extended her hitting streak to three games landing safely on base at least once in every game she played. She ended the night by extending her streak to four games while Longhi’s streak ended. At the end of regular play Giula had 6 hits and an RBI while Marta, who hit in the 3-spot, had 4 hits, 3 RBIs and 2 runs. Together they combined for 10 of the team’s 25 hits, 3 of their 8 RBIs and 2 of their 10 runs.
In Sunday’s play downs the Italians, once again, beat New Zealand by a score of 6-0, before losing to the All Stars 3-2. This secured their 6th place finish in the tournament. The shortstop/catcher and 3rd baseman would combine for 8 more hits, 2 runs and 5 RBIs, bringing their total combined percentage of the team’s line score to: 44% of the team’s hits, 60% of their RBIs and 22% of their run totals. Throughout the tournament each had just one game where they were not able to reach base safely.
This coming weekend, the Czech Republic’s Men’s national softball team will be facing off against the New Zealand Black Sox selection teams in a six game series at AWF Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand. This is the tryout series for players hoping to become part of the Black Sox, New Zealand’s national team roster for 2018.