Italian softball opened the 2020 Summer Olympics Games facing off against team USA, who are ranked #1 in the world.
The day started with a fierce pitching duel between Italian hurler Greta Cecchetti and US LHP Cat Osterman. The game remained scoreless through 3.5 innings before the US offense finally broke through with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 4th. Valerie Arioto reached on a single to 2nd, and advanced to 2nd on a sacrifice bunt by Ali Aguilar before crossing on a third single, this one by Michelle Moutrie.
The States would add one more in the bottom of the 5th. Aubree Munro reached on a single to 3rd, then advanced to 2nd on a rare E3 by Giulia Longhi, and headed to over to 3rd on a single. That prompted a pitching change for Italy, with Cecchetti heading to the bench and Alexia Lacatena to the circle, before Munro headed back home on a sacrifice fly by Janie Reed. Completing the round of “A”-listers for team USA, Monica Abbott recorded the save.
Most surprisingly this was not Longhi’s only error on the day. In fact, she committed both of Italy’s errors in this game. In the bottom of the 1st Mc Cleney reached on an error from 3B as well.
The Italian bats were uncharacteristically iced. The USA allowed just a single batter to reach on the day, and she did it twice. 2B Andrea Filler landed on 1B after being hit by a pitch in the top of the 2nd. In the top of the 5th she got there off a single to left, Italy’s sole hit of the game.
Osterman completed 6.0 innings of work for the Americans, striking out 9 and giving up just that single hit to Filler, before Monica Abbott closed out the game with three additional innings of scoreless play, striking out 3 on her own.
Italy’s next game will be 5am CET on Thursday July 22, 2021 when they take on 8th ranked Australia. They’ve already used their top starter, Cecchetti for today’s game so you can expect to see their #2 hurler Ilaria Cacciamani, if not starting, then certainly hopping in for some innings.
Italy brought just three pitchers with them to the Games. Cecchetti, who is no stranger to pitching multiple days in big competitions, can generally be expected to put in up to five innings of work before she tires. As the week wears on her innings do tend to decrease. Italy will face #2 ranked Japan on Friday morning so we’d expect her to take the day off to rest her arm, unless needed, in order to give Italy as many innings as she can for that game.