Italy has triumphed in a nail-biting showdown, securing their spot in Round 2 of the World Baseball Classic alongside Cuba following an unprecedented five-team tie. The match saw Italy leading 6-1, but Team Netherlands loaded the bases in the fifth inning with nobody out. To prevent the game from slipping away, Team Italy Manager Mike Piazza sent in Joe LaSorsa to shut down the opposing team. The Rays Minor Leaguer rose to the challenge, striking out three formidable former big leaguers, including Didi Gregorius and Jonathan Schoop, before putting on an animated celebration in Italy’s dugout.
LaSorsa’s performance contributed to Italy’s eventual 7-1 victory and secured their place in the next round. Despite the rocky start, Italy turned things around in the bottom of the fourth inning, exploding for six runs thanks to key hits by Dominic Fletcher, Vinny Pasquantino, Vito Friscia, Brett Sullivan, Ben DeLuzio, Sal Frelick, and Nicky Lopez. The team’s strong pitching lineup, including Matt Harvey, Andre Pallante, Vinny Nottili, and Matt Festa, held down Team Netherlands’ dangerous offense, cementing Italy’s first trip to the quarterfinals since their Cinderella run in 2013.