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Colabello leads Italy to first win in the Olympic Qualifier

19/09/2019

Italy defeated Czech Republic, 5-1, on Thursday night in Bologna and earned the first victory in the WBSC Baseball Europe Africa Qualifying Event for Tokyo 2020. Chris Colabello hit a three-run shot in the bottom of the fifth to break the tie. Angelo Palumbo picked up the win, Radim Chorust took the loss.

“After yesterday game, suspended at the top of the sixth inning, this game was fundamental for us. We had to win, and we did it” Chris Colabello commented.

Czech Republic took an early lead. Martin Schneider doubled off starting pitcher Angelo Palumbo and scored later on Martin Cervenka groundout. In the bottom of the first inning, Italy tied the game up with a sacrifice fly by Chris Colabello.

Later, in the third episode, the former Toronto Blue Jays player broke the tie, with a three-run homer off starting pitcher Radim Choust.

“I always prepare myself for a fastball, I have to be honest with you” Chris Colabello commented. “In the first at-bat, I saw some fastballs and sliders. In the second at-bat, I fortunately had a good swing, and I hit a home run.”

Italy increased the lead in the fifth frame. With two outs, Giuseppe Mazzanti hit an RBI single for the 5-1 lead.

Czech Republic had some opportunities to get back into the game, but it couldn’t find a way to score.

In the fifth and sixth inning, Martin Schneider and Jakub Malik hit into double play. One frame later, Czech Republic fulled the bases, but Italian relief pitcher Nick Pugliese escaped a jam, getting the final out of the inning.

“It was awesome to play in front of this fans, Bologna people” Nick Pugliese commented. “We were a little shaky in the first inning, but we teamed up well, with the defence behind me. The second inning was better, and we realized that the defence is here to play. So everything turned out alright”.