Italy avenged an earlier loss to Russia to capture the 2007 European Junior Baseball Championship held last week in Rosmalen, Netherlands.
Erik GELLI led off the title game with a double and Italy grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first inning en route to the upset win over previously unbeaten Russian junior national team. Ace pitcher Luca PANERATI (3-0) threw two shutout innings to earn the crucial win.
Russia cut the lead to 2-1 with a run in the third and tied the game at 2-2 the next frame. But Matteo PIZZICONI (2.0 IP, 1H) slammed the door shut on Russia’s comeback hopes before PANERATI sealed the win for Italy.
Nikolay LOBANOV pitched well in defeat for Russia scattering four runs on nine hits in eight innings. LOBANOV will also see action with the Russian senior national team in Spain next month at the Olympic Qualifying European Baseball Championships.
Mattia REGINATO (.438) and Alessandro VAGLIO (.429) led an Italy offensive attack that hit .310 as a unit. Andrey LOBANOV (no relation to Nikolay) hit .545 for the Russians who hit a tournament-high .335 as a team.
The Netherlands claimed third place honors with a tough 3-1 win over the Czech Republic. Kevin MINER pitched a complete game five-hitter and fanned 10 hitters to lead the Dutch to victory. Jiri MAREK also turned in a strong outing allowing just one run on two hits in 4.1 innings as the Czechs finished fourth in the tournament.