Archive for the 'Italy' Category

Colabello to play in Italy

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

Chris Colabello played for Italy in two World Baseball Classics in 2013 and 2017. Now he will be playing in the Italian League for T&A San Marino. Last year he played in the minor leagues after being a surprise pickup from the Independent League to play in the major leagues from 2013 to 2016. Colabello’s father played in Italy for seven years, even pitching for Italy in the 1984 Olympics.

Colabello played seven seasons in the Can-Am League before signing with the Twins in 2012 and playing in their minor league system. He got a surprise promotion to the Twins in the 2013 season but after hitting .352 in the AAA minor leagues struggled with the Twins for a .192 average. This did not prevent a team from the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) attempt to sign him.

His 2014 season was not much better as he hit just .229 for the year, but did break the club record for most RBIs in April with 26. The Blue Jays picked him up on waivers for the 2015 season where he raked for a .321 average and 15 homeruns. The 2016 season saw his fairy tale career come crashing to a close when he was suspended 80 games for the use of performance enhancing drugs. He was only hitting .069 at the time and never returned to major league baseball.

Cubans Playing in Italy

Friday, March 23rd, 2018

A number of Cubans who have played on the Cuban National team are playing for baseball teams in Italy. A couple years ago the Cuban Baseball Federation publicly advertised their players were for loan. Only Japan has taken advantage of that process, though some players have played in the Can Am League. The following Cuban players are playing in Italy for the summer:

Parma Baseball

Ulfrido Garcia LHP
Erlys Casanova RHP
Frank Camillo Morejon, catcher

Polisportiva Padule

Vladimir Banos RHP
Yordany Alarcon, infielder

Cagliary Baseball

Eddy Abel Garcia RHP

Bologna Athletics

Frank Montieh RHP

Beisbol Sala Balanza

Jose P. Cuesta RHP

Unipol Bologna

Jorge Martinez RHP

This should add some competitive juices to the IBL. Information for the above obtained from baseballde cuba and mister baseball.

Top European Prospects

Thursday, March 1st, 2018

The pickings are a bit thin. Prospects from Curacao are included in this list since they are considered a part of the Netherlands. Even players from Curacao have dropped in talent. From the list last year Ozzie Albies and Dovydas Neverauskas saw major league time, with Ozzie getting enough playing time at second base to lose his rookie eligibility. Myworld is generous in our classification of European. If they are eligible to play on a World Baseball Classic team they will be included on this list. The only exception we made was for Israel since religion and not birth of a sibling or residence determine origin. For the most part it is the same cast of characters from last year.

1. J.B. Bukauskas RHP (Lithuania/Astros) - This could be a stretch. His Wikipedia page identifies him as having a Lithuanian background. There is an article detailing that background linked but it is in Lithuanian. He was actually born in Ashburn, Virginia but if Lithuania ever got a WBC team they would find a way for J.B. to play on it. After dominating at the high school and college level he was a first round 2017 pick of the Houston Astros. He is not a tall pitcher at 6′0″ but he carries a fastball that sits in the low 90s but can hit the mid-90s. The slider is his swing and miss pitch and what will bring him success in the major leagues. Last year he only pitched 10 innings of minor league ball after a heavy college workload. As a college pitcher he will start the season in a Low A full season league.

2. Carter Kieboom SS (Netherlands/Nationals) - Another player born in the States whose dad played baseball as a youngster in Netherlands only to leave for college in the United States. Kieboom was the Nationals first round pick in 2016. With Trea Turner ahead of him and no exceptional tools to stay at short could force a move to second. Last year he played all his games at short. The bat will get him to the major leagues with decent power (.497) and hit tools (.296) at Low A Hagerstown. The 2018 season should see him play at High A. For the short term the Nationals see no need to move him from short.

3. Dovydas Neverauskas RHP (Lithuania/Pirates) - Dovydas made headlines for being the first Lithuanian to pitch in the major leagues. There has been some discussion that Joe Zapustas, who debuted in 1933 lived in the area that would be considered Lithuanian but was considered Russia during that time. He played two games in the outfield. So without a doubt Dovydas is the first pitcher from Lithuania. He has pitched his whole career in the bullpen, carrying a fastball that hits the high 90s. The absence of quality secondary pitches prevents him from pitching in the rotation. Last year he made his major league debut (3.91 ERA) earning the right to continue his roller coaster ride up and down the transaction ladder when bullpen help is needed. A good spring will see him in the major league bullpen but myworld suspects he will begin the season in AAA.

4. Ray-Patrick Didder OF/SS (Netherlands/Braves) - The Curacao native is one of the better athletes in the Braves minor league system and one of their fastest players. His ability to fly had the Braves move him from short to center where he can cover maximum acreage. The bat needs to be more dangerous for him to be considered for a major league job. There is little pop in his bat and last year he hit .230 in High A. There are also too many swings and misses (123 whiffs) with his bat. The speed and defense could allow him to be a fourth outfielder type. At 23 years of age he needs to be promoted to AA to have relevance.

5. Tom de Blok RHP (Netherlands/Tigers) - A strong performance in the World Baseball Classic with the Netherlands got him a contract with the Tigers. He had originally signed with the Mariners as a 17 year old but was not ready for baseball. He made his debut a couple years later with the Tigers pitching in Low A. At 6′4″ he has good height for a pitcher. It is possible that with more work in his delivery his low 90s fastball could gain velocity. He pitched in both the bullpen and as a starter but myworld suspects he will settle in the bullpen. The 2018 season should see him begin at High A.

6. Sven Schuller RHP (Germany/Dodgers) - Sven has good height at 6′3″ allowing him to put up some good numbers in Low A (1.49 ERA) but struggled a bit when promoted to High A (5.25 ERA). All his appearances were in relief. His command abandoned him in High A with lefthanded hitters battering him at a .310 clip. Up until last year he had pitched his first three years in rookie ball. A repeat of High A is expect for the 2018 season.

7. Ademar Rifaela OF (Netherlands/Orioles) - The Curacao native had a breakout year last year slugging 24 homeruns at High A Frederick. A lack of speed prevents him from being a defensive asset in the outfield but if his bat continues to produce the Orioles will find a place for him. His lefthanded bat seemed to have good success against left handed pitching (.265) so that could prevent a platoon role for him. The big test is whether he can replicate his numbers when promoted to AA where he will face better pitching.

8. Marten Gasparini OF (Italy/Royals) - He surpassed Max Kepler with his $1.3 million bonus being the highest paid for a European player. The Royals signed him as a shortstop but his fielding was very erratic resulting in the Royals shifting him to center field last year. His speed will allow him to be an adequate defender once he learns his routes. The bat is the big question mark. He just has not shown he can hit. A repeat of Low A saw his average rise from .196 to .227. Poor plate discipline are the big cause of his troubles, not being able to recognize pitches as they come to the plate. This will get tougher as he rises up the minor league ladder. Myworld suspects the Royals will promote him to High A for the 2018 season, but spring training could have an impact on that.

9. Martin Cervenka C (Czech Republic/Orioles) - Martin signed with the Orioles as a six year minor league free agent. Myworld liked the way he handled himself when he watched him in Taiwan a couple years ago. An Oriole scout was sitting with me during one of the games myworld was watching him play. Don’t know if this had any influence in his signing with the Orioles. Last year he replicated his 2016 break out season with a .278 average and a .418 slugging percentage. He also threw out 40 percent of those runners who tried to steal against him. Myworld should see more of him if he is assigned to Bowie for the 2018 season.

10. Spencer Kieboom C (Netherlands/Nationals) - The older brother of Carter. His best bet to make it is as a backup catcher in the major leagues. In 2016 he did appear in one game when he replaced the injured Wilson Ramos. His bat is not strong enough to produce a lot of offense and his defense does not justify putting his soft bat in the lineup. In the last two years he has only thrown out baserunners at less than a 25% clip. An injury to the Nationals catching corp could give him an opportunity to fill a back up role, but that would require him to be added to the 40 man roster. He will bide his time in AAA for the 2018 season, possibly reuniting with his brother at some point.

Cuba and Japan Complete Honkball Itinerary

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

The six teams have been selected for Honkball. It will be played July 13-22 at Pim Mulier Stadium in Haarlem. Haarlem is one of those quiet, pleasant cities that have more bikes on the roads than automobiles. It also has canals, windmills, a town square and a baseball stadium. The stadium is just a couple miles from the town square. Myworld could not pick a better spot to relax in a tranquil setting and then spend your time at the ballpark.

The six teams participating in the tournament are:

Netherlands, Curacao, Italy, Taiwan, Cuba and Japan

After the last Honkball tournament there was some discussion to end the tournament. The crowds are loyal with fans waiting two hours inside the stadium waiting for the second game to be played. When you buy a ticket it is for the day, with the first game scheduled for 2 PM and the evening affair for 7 PM. There is a tented area and a stage for a band, so if the crowd is large enough a band could be made available to entertain those who wait the couple hours inside the stadium for the second game to start.

Despite the decent crowds the organizers were not able to collect enough revenue to continue the tournament. Lack of advertisers and sponsors are the large revenue generators for most tournaments. Another group has stepped in to hold the tournament. Hopefully they will be more successful in continuing the tournament every two years.

Top Ten European Teams

Friday, January 12th, 2018

Mister Baseball came up with the Top 50 European teams. You can go to their site to see the complete list. Myworld lists below the top ten.

1. Curacao Neptunus (Netherlands)
2. T&A San Marino (San Marino - plays in Italian League)
3. ASD Rimini Baseball (Italy)
4. L&D Amsterdam (Netherlands)
5. CNF Unipolsai Bologna (Italy)
6. Draci Brno (Czech Republic)
7. Heidenheim Heidekopfe (Germany)
8. Bonn Capitals (Germany)
9. Rouen Baseball 76 (France)
10. Tenerife Marlins P.C. (Spain)

Japan Retains Number One Ranking in Baseball

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

The United States earned more points than any other country in 2017 but it was not enough to surpass Japan for the number one ranking. For the third year in a row Japan is the number one ranked country in baseball. They earned the second most points in baseball last year and now lead the United States by 244 points. The 2018 season will be difficult for the United States to surpass Japan since they are not participating in the Under 23 Baseball World Cup in Nicaragua in October, one of the two tournaments that hand out the most points for the 2018 season. In a couple weeks the rankings could shuffle as points from 2014 expire, but if the United States should surpass Japan because of subtracted points their reign will be short.

Below are the top 12 teams in baseball, plus number 13 waiting to crack into the top 12. The top 12 teams will qualify for the Premier 12, which is the third most prestigious baseball tournament after the Olympics and the World Baseball Classic.

1. Japan (5658 points)
2. United States (5414 points)
3. Korea (4950 points)
4. Taiwan (3808 points)
5. Cuba (3677 points)
6. Mexico (3012 points)
7. Australia (2634 points)
8. Netherlands (2377 points)
9. Venezuela (2363 points)
10. Canada (2142 points)
11. Puerto Rico (1827 points)
12. Italy (1686 points)

13. Nicaragua (1636 points)

Under 18 World Cup All Tournament Team

Friday, September 15th, 2017

Below is the Under 18 World Cup all tournament team. Myworld will include other players who were deserving of consideration based on their statistical performance.

Catcher - Dae-Hyun Cho (Korea) - .278, 1 HR, 11 runs scored, 8 RBIs with a .935 OPS

First Base - Leonardo Seminati (Italy) - .423, 2 HR, 7 RBI with 1.185 OPS

Second Base - Cesar Prieto (Cuba) - .581 ave with a 1.251 OPS

Third Base - Noah Naylor (Canada) - .313 average with .856 OPS

Shortstop - Brice Turang (United States) - .364, 7 runs scored with a .932 OPS

Outfield - Jin-Won Ye (Korea) - .355, 1 HR, 10 runs scored, 6 RBIs with a .992 OPS
Outfield - Alek Thomas (United States) - .361, 8 RBIs and six runs scored with 5 stolen bases
Outfield - Michael Siani (United States) - .333, 12 runs scored and 6 RBIs with 7 stolen bases and a .896 OPS

Starting Pitcher - Ethan Hankins (United States) - 1-0, 0.75 ERA, 27 K’s in 12 innings

Relief Pitcher - Fuminaru Taura (Japan) - 1-1, 1.32 ERA with 29 K’s in 13.2 innings

Others to Consider

United States

Triston Casas - .250, 3 homeruns and 13 RBIs with .993 OPS. Voted MVP of the tournament
Matthew Liberatore - 2-0, 0.00 ERA in 12 innings
Ryan Weathers - 2-0, 0.00 ERA in 9.2 innings
Brandon Dieter - 1-0, 0.00 ERA in 10 innings

Korea

Jun-Hwan Jang - .381, 2 HRs, 9 RBIs with 7 runs scored and a 1.234 OPS. 8 walks
Baek-Ho Kang - .375, 1 HR, 8 RBIs, 6 runs scored, 4 2Bs with a 1.100 OPS. Also 4 K’s in 2 innings. The Shohei Otani of Korea.
In-Hyok Yi - .300, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 6 runs scored with a .967 OPS
Been Gwak - 1-1, 2.51 with 18 K’s in 14.1 innings
Min Kim - 1-0, 0.77 in 11.2 innings

Japan

Kaito Kozono - .378 average
Hisanori Yasuda - .324 average, 4 2Bs with a .918 OPS
Ginji Miura - 2-0, 0.00 ERA with 19 K’s in 12 innings
Kento Kawabata - 0-2, 2.51 ERA with 25 K’s in 14.1 innings

Canada

Jason Willow - .333, 1 HR, 10 RBIs, 7 runs scored with a .928 OPS
Archer Brookman - .219, 2HR, 11 RBIs, 9 runs scored with a .866 OPS

Australia

Jack O’Loughlin - 2-0, 0.69 ERA with 15 K’s in 13 IP

Cuba

Roidal Martinez - .429 ave with a 1.026 OPS
Victor Mesa - .320 ave.

Taiwan

Han-Yu Tseng - .393 with .964 OPS
Tien-Hsin Kuo - .364 with .860 OPS

Netherlands

Dylan Koster - .364 with .845 OPS
Donny Breek - 1-1, 1.08 ERA, 18 K’s 16.2 innings, 151 opponent average

Italy

Michele Vassalotti - 1-0, 1.64 ERA with 15 K’s in 11 innings
Chih-Jung Liu - 1-1, 1.98 with 13 K’s in 13.2 IP
Yi-Sheng Chu - 1.29 ERA with 12 K’s in 7 IP

Nicaragua

Wandley Lagos - .424 ave, 4 stlen bases with a .899 OPS
Jeyner Flores - .393 ave, 2 HRs, 7 RBIs with 1.219 OPS

Mexico

Saul Martinez - .423 with a 1.041 OPS
Jose Gaona - .400 with a 1.070 OPS
Jorge Valdez - 1-0, 1.17 ERA with 10 K’s in 7.2 innings

South Africa

None

San Marino Wins Italian League

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

San Marino swept through 2015 winner Rimini to win the Italian title three games to none. San Marino was a three time winner from 2011 to 2013 and has won a total of 13 championships. San Marino survived a solo homerun hit by Mattia Reginato to win the third game 2-1. Ricardo Hernandez pitched the first six innings allowing just one run on three hits. Jose Rosario took over for him in relief for the final three innings and retired the side in order in each of the innings.

Lino Zappone drove in both runs with an RBI double in the fifth and an RBI single in the 8th for San Marino.

World Cup 19 and Under - Canada Escapes and United States Beats Cuba

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

Canada escaped an upset from Italy to stay alive for the Super Round. They played the next day and upset second place Australia to improve their chances after two early game losses. The United States clobbered Cuba to remain undefeated.

Canada 6 Italy 5

Canada never had the lead in this game until a sacrifice fly hit by Marc Lebreux in the top of the ninth drove in the go ahead run to give Canada a 6-5 lead. Wesley Moore finishes the ninth, allowing just one hit to get the win. He shut down the Italian offense for 3.1 innings striking out five. Jason Willow drove in three runs with a double and triple.

Canada relied on 11 walks from the Italian pitching staff to pull out this victory, They ended the day accumulating just seven hits. Leonardo Seminati hit a homerun for Italy. Ricardo Poalini contributed two doubles to drive in two runs but the bats came up short for Italy late when it counted.

United States 8 Cuba 1

Cuba scored the first run in the second inning, but that is all they would score. In five games the United States pitching staff has not allowed more than one run to score against them. This time it was Mitchel Wilcox who stymied the Cuban bats, limiting them to two hits in seven innings. The lone run for Cuba was unearned.

The United States banged out 13 hits. Alek Thomas distributed three of them to knock in two runs. Anthony McNair also had two RBIs on his two hits. Raynel Delgado, born in Cuba and coming to the United States at six years of age went 2 for 4 with a run scored and an RBI. The United States scored runs in four consecutive innings to make this game a rout.

Canada 8 Australia 2

Canada got back into super round contention with a big win over Australia, who had only lost one game in the tournament. Two big three spots in the first two innings got them off to a good start. Archer Brookman got things started for Canada with a big two run homer in the first inning. For Brookman it is his second homerun of the tournament. Michael Stovman made it back to back with a homerun of his own, also his second of the tournament. In the second inning leadoff hitter Edouard Julien showed off his power bat with a 3-run homer to make it 6-0.

Jack Decooman lasted six innings, allowing just one run to get the win. Cade Smith finished the game for him by working the last three. Each pitcher allowed one run to score during his watch.

Korea 10 Italy 1

Korea stayed undefeated with an easy win over Italy. While the United States team has been winning with their arms, the Koreans have been winning with their sticks. Those bats did not wake up until the sixth when they erupted for five runs. They followed that with a four run seventh to put the game out of reach. It was their third straight game in which they have scored double digits in runs scored. The Koreans failed to hit a homerun in the game, but they did bang out 14 hits. Jin-Won Ye was a perfect 3 for 3 with two runs scored and two walks.

The Koreans used five different pitchers to get them through the game, with a bye tomorrow. One hitter they could not stop was Leonardo Seminati who finished the game 4 for 4, getting four of the five Italian hits. Leonardo accounted for the only Italian run, a solo shot in the fifth to tie the game 1-1. It was the second consecutive game in which Seminati homered.

Japan 12 South Africa 0

Japan strung together 10 hits, but they were also helped with 7 South African errors in a game that was stopped after 7. Kotaro Kiyomiya went deep for Japan in a 2 for 3 day with a double and homerun, driving in two. Kotaro scored three times. Kaito Kozono splashed together three hits in the rout.

Ginji Miura worked five innings in a start for Japan to get the win.

Netherlands 4 Mexico 0

The arm of Christopher Koeiman proved too much for Mexico. He went the complete nine innings, scattering five hits to spin together a shutout. Richgelon Juliana was the offensive star for the Dutch with his three hits, two of them doubles to allow him to cross the plate twice. Dylan Koster also had three hits, driving in one run and scoring once.

Taiwan 10 Nicaragua 5

Taiwan accepted the 10 walks Nicaragua pitchers gifted them and combined them with their 8 hits to score in double digits. Han-Yu Tseng was the bit stick for Taiwan with three hits and four runs driven in. He spanked two doubles. Tan Chiu drove in three from the bottom of the order and also scored four times in a 3 for 4 day with one double and a triple. Tan also stole two bases. The three hits were his first in the tournament after 10 hitless at bats.

Jeyner Sanchez went deep for Nicaragua, his second homerun of the tournament.

18 Under World Cup - Day 3 & 4 - United States Pitching Dominates

Monday, September 4th, 2017

The United States pitches three straight shutouts. They and Korea are the only undefeated teams in their pool, though Korea has weaker teams in their pool. Japan stays in it by providing Cuba with their first loss. Below are the summaries for days 3 and 4 of the 18 under World Cup.

Day 3

Japan 7 Cuba 2

Japan bounced back from their loss to the United States to tack on a loss to Cuba. Kaito Kozono carried the big stick with three hits that drove in two runs. He also scored twice. Hikaru Yamashita had trouble finding the strike zone walking six in just 5.1 innings. He survived long enough to get the win with Fumimaru Taura pitching 2.2 innings of shutout relief and striking out five in that outing.

United States 6 Mexico 0

Back to back shutouts for the United States. The game only went six innings with Matthew Liberatore going the distance, allowing just one hit and striking out 12 of the 20 hitters he faced. The United States was only capable of stringing together two hits, but three errors, 8 walks and four hitbatsman gave them enough scoring opportunities.

Korea 11 Canada 7

Don’t know where the strike zone was but it was a mystery to the Canadian pitchers, who walked 14 Koreans. Korean pitcher Been Gwak had no trouble with the strike zone, not walking a single batter in his six innings of work. The bottom of the Korean lineup proved most powerful, bashing three homeruns. Dae-Hyun Cho, Yi Jin-Won and Jang Jun-Hwan each found the bleachers from the 7, 8, and 9 spot in the lineup. The trio combined to drive in 9 of their 11 runs. Cho crossed the plate five times on a 2 for 2 day with three walks. He has scored at least one run in each of his three games.

Canada got a couple homeruns, one from Edouard Julien that drove in three runs and a solo shot from Michael Stovman. For the host Canadians it is their second loss in two games.

Australia 11 Nicaragua 6

The Aussies scored nine runs in the first two innings then hung on for victory. Rixon Wingrove got the damage started with a three run homer in the first. He finished the day with 4 RBIs. Alex Hall drove in two and scored three times on a 3 for 4 day with one walk.

Nicaragua got a couple homeruns from Jose Hurtado and Jeyner Sanchez, both solo shots. Nicaraguan pitchers helped the Aussie cause with 13 bases on balls.

Taiwan 9 Italy 1

The first two hitters in the Taiwan lineup, Hung-Yi Wang and Han-Yu Tseng, each scored three runs to combine for six of the 9 runs scored in the game. Wang went 1 for 3 from the lead off spot with two walks and Tseng went 2 for 4 with one walk. Chih-Jung Liu went 4 for 4 for the day with two runs driven in. The shortstop is now hitting .857 for the tournament with three walks.

Riccardo Bertossi went deep for Italy to account for their only run.

Netherlands 22 South Africa 3

A 14 run first ended this game in five innings, with all 14 runs being unearned. Jeandro Tromp went deep and drove in four runs. Tijmen Takke drove in five with his two doubles. The first seven hitters in the order scored two or more runs.

Day 4

United States 5 South Africa 0

The fact South Africa had this game go 9 innings was an accomplishment. The United States used four different pitchers to combine for the shutout, their third straight for the tournament. The pitching staff has only allowed one runner to cross the plate in their four games. Today the foursome combined for 14 whiffs with Landon Marceaux whiffing five of the six hitters he faced to finish the game. Mohamed Alaoui went the full nine innings for South Africa throwing 118 pitches. He was raised in one of the poorest areas of South Africa (Alexandra Township). Jarred Kelenic hit his second homerun of the tournament, a two run shot in the first inning to give the United States an early 2-0 lead. William Banfield closed the scoring with a solo shot in the ninth.

Australia 4 Taiwan 0

Australia jumped into second place after their shutout of Taiwan. Ky Hampton went all nine innings and though he gave up 11 hits he did not walk a batter (imagine that in what appears to be a walk infested tournament). Taiwan left 10 runners on base. Jacob Amos went deep with a solo shot and Nicholas Anderson-Vine crossed the plate twice to lead the Aussie offense.

Korea 12 Nicaragua 4

Korea continues to score runs in bunches without a lot of hits. They could only accumulate six hits but five walks, three Nicaraguan errors and three hit by pitches contributed to the offense. Korea also continued to get production from the bottom of their lineup with In-Hyok Yi and Jun-Hwan Jang each going deep from the 7th and 9th spots in the order. Yi drove in four runs and Jang has hit homeruns in back to back games.

Japan 3 Netherlands 1

The offense couldn’t click when facing the more advanced Japanese pitching staff, dropping from 22 runs to 1. Fumimaru Taura went four hitless innings in relief, striking out 9 of the 13 hitters he faced. In three relief appearances Taura has only given up two hits and struck out 19 in 9 innings of work.

Donny Breek also pitched well for the Netherlands, shutting out the Japanese bats for the first five innings and not allowing them a hit in the first four. The first two runs against Breek score on a errant pick off throw and a wild pitch. Breek went seven innings, allowing just the four hits and two runs.

Cuba 5 Mexico 1

Mexican pitcher Jorge Sosa walks the first four hitters he faces and is yanked from the game. They all account for a 4-0 lead for Cuba after one inning. Cuban pitcher Yorlian Rodriguez make the runs stand up with seven innings of one run ball allowing just five hits. Rafael Sanchez retires all six hitters he faces to secure the victory. Martin Rodriguez goes seven innings in relief for Mexico, allowing just one unearned run, but all the damage was done in the first.

Italy 5 Canada 3 7th inning

Oh Canada. They are currently in the seventh inning with Italy ripe for an upset. Myworld will give more details on that game for tomorrow, but another loss could eliminate them from advancing to the super round in a tournament they are hosting.