The level of pitching we are seeing in the Olympic Games is game-changing.
For the second day running Cecchetti got the nod. Over 6.0 innings of work Greta gave up just 1 earned run off 4 hits throwing a total of 89 pitches, 53 for strikes. Cecchetti flagged two batters and walked another.
In the circle for Australia pitchers Parnaby and Roberts shared the task with the starter, Kaia Parnaby, going 6.2 innings before Ellen Roberts came in for the save.
These two starters were more than equally matched. Like Cecchetti, Parnaby walked one and struck out two. She also has a similar strikes ratio of 58/86. With just a few pitches marking the difference between them, those differences affect outcome. Parnaby was throwing a 67% strike-ratio to Cecchetti’s 60%.
For the second game in as many days Italy’s bats were held at bay while the game itself was decided by a margin. Falling 1-0 Italy and Australia each had 4 hits no errors and merely that one run difference.
In the bottom of the 2nd the only run of the game crossed. It started with a double by Taylah Tsitsikronis who took one down the left field line. She advanced to 3rd on a ground out. With two down, Jade Wall singled to second giving Taylah just enough time to cross on the play.
Still, Italy was reaching, with the Italian infield swinging hard for the team. 3B Longhi, SS Fama and 1B Koutsoyanopulos all reached with a single. The final hit for the team came from CF Andrea Howard, who was hitting in the 1 spot, just ahead of Fama.
While the Australians did their best to capitalize on their minimal opportunities, leaving just 2 on in the game, Italy left 5 stranded. With teams this well-matched, Italy is simply leaving too much on the bags. Perhaps they are running conservatively, it’s hard to know, but they do have fleet feet in their starting nine.
Down 0-2 with just three games before their time is up, now might be the time to start testing new strategies. Opposing pitchers certainly seem to have the Italian offense’s number following the week of friendly play.