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Team Italy Scores Huge Win in World Baseball Classic

The World Baseball Classic started on Wednesday and team Italy has already come out swinging. The Cuba and Italy clubs had never faced each other until last night’s game at Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Pool A. Italy cliched their tournament opener with a 6-3 win in the 10th inning. 

Managed by Italian American baseball legend Mike Piazza, team Italy played into thrilling extra innings to win the game. From big hits to fielding blunders, fans watched a great ball game as the tournament is now underway.

"I was really impressed with our team," Piazza said. "We did not get discouraged. We just kept battling and…it was a big win. It's a big win. It's a big win for our federation." 

(Photo Credit: Twitter)

Some big names from Major League Baseball are playing in the World Baseball Classic, with some interesting connections. Lars Nootbaar is playing for Japan, Marcus Stroman for Puerto Rico, and Tommy Edman with team Korea. One of the most surprising team connections is ex-Mets pitcher, Matt Harvey playing for team Italy. 

Team Italy lacks players with professional baseball experience, but with Harvey, there’s a strong anchor on the roster. You might be wondering how he landed a spot with team Italy. The World Baseball Classic lets any player represent a particular country if he has a parent born in that country or obtains citizenship. Matt Harvey is part Italian and part Irish. His Italian bloodline is strong enough to qualify for team Italy.

With Matt Harvey as a starter and Andre Pallante as reliever, the pair put up 5 scoreless innings. They only gave up 3 hits and Harvey helped close out the third inning, isolating Cuba at second and third.

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

"I think our pitchers did a good job tonight," Piazza said. "They threw the ball well, and tomorrow, we are always talking, we are always collaborating to see how we can make our team better.” When talking about Harvey, I was very impressed with the way [Harvey] threw tonight, and as I said, he got out of that jam.”

"This was an unbelievable win for us here, and obviously, it was incredible for me to get the ball the first game and I couldn't be more proud to put up zeros for the team," said Harvey.

Italy's next matchup is against Chinese Taipei on Friday.

AJ Forrisi

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