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Netherlands reclaim Women’s European Softball title, three qualify for WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship

posted Jul 9, 2017, 8:50 PM by Jairy Otero

photo: Grega Valancic

 

BOLLATE, Italy – Netherlands defeated Italy 7-1 to win the 2017 Women’s Softball European Championship. The Dutch dominated the competition winning every game but one by the rule-ahead rule.

The Netherlands/Italy match-up has proven to be quite predictable. In each of the 20 editions, either Italy or the Netherlands have won every single one of them – 10 wins for each country. In fact, only five other countries have ever played in a final at this tournament: Belgium, the Czech Republic, Russia, Greece and Great Britain.

“We got it [the title] back! This is the first step on our way to the Olympics,” said Petra Arends, Dutch Softball Federation board member after her team reclaimed the title.

THE FINAL

The Dutch virtually ended the contest in the bottom of the first inning when they knocked the Italian ace, Greta Cecchetti, out of the game and scored three runs.  Cecchetti had trouble finding the plate, walking two, giving up two singles and getting only one out from the six batters. The Italians then brought in Illaria Cacciamani, who pitched into the fifth inning, with Alice Nicolini finishing up the game.

The Dutch scored their remaining runs off Cacciamani: one more in the second inning, two in the third and a final run in the fifth.

Ginger de Weert started for the Netherlands and didn’t allow a run or a hit in 2.1 innings of work.  With one out and no one on in the Italian third inning, veteran Dutch pitcher Rebecca Soumeru came in for de Weert, and finished up the game.

The only run the Italians scored came just after Soumeru entered, when she walked her first hitter, Marta Gasparoto, and then gave up a double to Erika Piancastelli.  But after that, Soumeru changed speeds effectively, as she has done throughout her career, and kept the Italians off balance.

It was an entirely one-sided final, with the Dutch getting 11 hits to three for Italy.  Three of the Dutch hits came from shortstop and lead-off hitter Britt Vonk, who had two singles, a walk and a massive home run to right field in four at-bats.  Chantal Versluis had three singles and Virginie Anneveld contributed two walks.

THREE QUALIFY FOR CHIBA 2018

The top three finishing teams – Netherlands, Italy, and Great Britain – have qualified for the 2018 WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship, to be held in Chiba, Japan.

The next regional qualifier will be the 9th Women’s Softball Pan American Championship, to be held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, from 4-13 August, where five teams will book tickets to Chiba.

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