Team Italy has officially been eliminated from the World Baseball Classic after raising eyebrows with its stacked team. Yu Darvish and Ohtani of Team Japan were crucial in advancing to the semifinals.
Team Italy made it to the quarterfinals with a record of 2-2. They hadn’t played any games since Sunday’s 7-1 win against the Netherlands. Their loss to Team Japan knocked them out of the tournament and will send Team Japan to Miami for the semifinals.
"We knew this was probably going to be the toughest game of the tournament," Piazza said. "We felt like if we would have won this game we probably would have a good shot of winning the whole tournament because of the difficulty of this game.”
Japan held a 4-run lead early in the game making it a tough battle for Italy. The Italian team had a small rally back in the 7th inning, scoring 2 runs. Japan continued their scoring streak and at the bottom of the 7th, they scored 3 more runs giving them a 5 run lead.
"You need momentum to come back from a deficit like that," Piazza said. "You need two or three hits, a walk and then maybe a big hit and ... that's what you need. But again, that's putting ourselves in a hole which is difficult. ... It's just a very difficult task to come back like that."
Team Italy taking "grounds crew" to a whole new level pic.twitter.com/zpTRwdT7Va— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) March 11, 2023
When asked about what he thought of the game overall, Piazza said, "We didn't do this just to play the tournament and come out here to have a good time and travel a little bit. This is a movement we want to try to encourage to grow the game worldwide.”
Italy managed to keep things entertaining. Runs were celebrated with italian hand gestures and during Friday’s game against Chinese Taipei, cameras caught a Nespresso machine in the clubhouse, giving the team easy access to Italian coffee as their energy boost.
Assistant Editor for America Domani, AJ Forrisi is a Brooklyn-based writer and photographer. His work focuses on food, travel, sports, landscapes, and urban scenes. You can find him on Instagram @aj.photo.works.