Team Italy celebrated winning the bronze medal at the 2021 European Baseball Championships. (Photo courtesy of Federazione Italiana Baseball Softball)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
The Federazione Italiana Baseball Softball announced on Wednesday the 27-man roster for the 2023 European Championships, which will be held in the Czech Republic from September 24 to October 1.
All countries will have to name 24 active players to their roster for the 2023 European Championships prior to the start of the event.
The relegation and placement rounds will be from September 28-30. The gold medal and bronze medal games will be on October 1.
The 2023 European Championships will have six venues during the international senior event: Eagles Prague in Prague, Arrows Park Ostrava in Ostrava-Poruba, BrnoField in Brno, Třebíč Na Hvězdě in Třebíč, YD Baseball Arena Brno in Brno, and Strawberry Field Blansko in Blansko will be the host sites.
Italy is No. 12 in the World Rankings and will have to maintain or improve their ranking to qualify for the Premier 12 tournament next season. Italy did not qualify in the U-12 and U-18 World Cups this year, which will have an impact on the World Baseball Rankings.
The rankings that will qualify countries for the Premier 12 will be released on Dec. 31, 2023. The Premier 12 will be played after the professional seasons in Major League Baseball, Nippon Professional Baseball, the Chinese Professional Baseball League in Taiwan, Korean Baseball Organization, and Liga Mexicana de Beisbol have concluded.
Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza will be the manager for Italy in the 2023 European Championships and will manage in the second consecutive international senior event following the 2023 World Baseball Classic. Piazza led Italy to the quarterfinals last March at the Tokyo Dome, where they lost to eventual champion Japan 9-3. Michele Geralli will take over as the third base coach for Italy, after serving as the outfield coach during the 2023 World Baseball Classic. He is the only coach that returning to the staff for the European Championships.
The 2023 European Championship Roster will consist of players from the Serie A1 Italian Baseball League, professional players in the U.S. minor leagues, and at the college level in the United States.
Vito Friscia, Nicolo Pinazzi, Robel Garcia, Michele Vassalotti, Gabriele Quatrini, Alex Bassani, Claudio Scotti, and Matteo Bochi are the only returning players from the Italian national team at the 2023 World Baseball Classic that are on the roster for the 2023 European Championships.
Italy was one of the five teams from the World Baseball Softball Confederation Europe sector, along with the Netherlands, Israel, Great Britain, and the Czech Republic, to play in the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
Italy has not won the European Championships since the 2012 tournament, when they beat the Netherlands in the gold medal game in Rotterdam.
Italy has 10 gold medals at the European Championships, which is second all-time behind the Netherlands, which has won 24 gold medals.
There will be four groups listed during the European Championships for the participating countries. Group A: Austria, host nation Czech Republic, Spain, and Greece. Group B: Hungary, Italy, Great Britain, and Sweden. Group C: The Netherlands, Ukraine, Croatia, and France. Group D: Belgium, Germany, Israel, and Switzerland.
The WBSC Europe website and social media pages will have all the listed information on streaming the European Championships on their YouTube and Facebook page.
Italy National Team 2023 European Championships Group B Pool Round Schedule:
Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023
5 a.m. EDT – Hungary vs. Italy – Třebíč Na Hvězdě, Třebíč
Monday Sept. 25, 2023
11:30 a.m. EDT – Italy vs. Sweden – Třebíč Na Hvězdě, Třebíč
Tuesday September 26, 2023
11:30 a.m. EDT – Great Britain vs. Italy – Třebíč Na Hvězdě, Třebíč
2023 European Championships Italy National Team Roster
Mattia Aldegheri (1949 Parma Baseball Club)
Maurizio Andretta (UnipolSai Fortitudo Bologna)
Marco Artitzu (BSC Grosseto 1952)
Alex Bassani (UnipolSai Fortitudo Bologna)
Matteo Bocchi (1949 Parma Baseball Club)
Nick Davis (Northeastern University)
Nicolo Pinazzi (Cincinnati Reds)
Francesco Pomponi (1949 Parma Baseball Club)
Gabriele Quattrini (Hotsand Macerata Angels)
Federico Robles (UnipolSai Fortitudo Bologna)
Claudio Scotti (UnipolSai Fortitudo Bologna)
Mattia Sireus (BSC Grosseto 1952)
Michele Vassalotti (Milwaukee Brewers)
JJ D’Orazio (Arizona Diamondbacks)
Vito Friscia Jr. (Philadelphia Phillies)
Alberto Mineo (1949 Parma Baseball Club)
Giulio Monello (1949 Parma Baseball Club)
Cesare Astorri (1949 Parma Baseball Club)
Erick Epifano (San Marino Baseball Club)
Robel Garcia (UnipolSai Fortitudo Bologna)
Mattia Mercuri (Nettuno 1945 Baseball Club)
Ricardo Paolini (UnipolSai Fortitudo Bologna)
Nathanael Batista (San Marino Baseball Club)
Federico Celli (San Marino Baseball Club)
Sebastian Poma (1949 Parma Baseball Club)
Andrea Sellaroli (Nettuno 1945 Baseball Club)
Italy National Team 2023 European Championships Coaching Staff
Mike Piazza – Manager
Gianguido Poma – Bench Coach
Rolando Cretis – Pitching Coach
Roberto Corradini – Bullpen Coach
GianMario Costa – First Base Coach
Michele Gerali – Third Base Coach