GB Cubs reach Massimo Romeo gold medal game

Fri 16 Aug 2019

Friday 16 August – With a tense and dramatic extra-inning win over tournament favourites Italy 1 this evening, the GB Cubs Under-13 Girls’ Fastpitch Team has clinched a place in Saturday’s gold medal game at the 2019 European Massimo Romeo Youth Trophy.

The gold medal game, scheduled for 6.00 pm on Saturday, will be a reprise of this evening’s game between the Cubs and Italy 1.  That’s because the Cubs, Italy 1 and the Russian team Moscovia all finished the round-robin phase of the tournament with 4-1 records and each team had a 1-1 record against the other two. 

But Moscovia conceded two runs in the games among these teams, and the Cubs and Italy 1 only conceded one, which is why they will meet in Saturday's final.

The bronze medal game, at 4.00 pm tomorrow, will pit Moscovia against Italy 2, and before that, at 2.00 pm, the two Czech teams in the tournament’s Sport Division, Joudrs Orange and SaBat Prague, will play for fifth place.

There will also be playoff games tomorrow in the Futures Division, where 11 teams have been playing over the past three days in two round-robin groups.

Earlier today, the GB Cubs registered their third win in the tournament against one loss by overwhelming SaBat Prague by a score of 12-1.  A report on that game has been on this website since noon today and can be found below.

GB Cubs v Italy 1

This game was a fantastic pitchers’ duel that was scoreless after the regulation five innings, went to the tie-break, and was only settled when the Cubs pushed across a walk-off winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning on a bases-loaded one-out single by Makenzie Eberly that brought Matilde Neri in to score.

Georgia Wilson pitched all seven innings for the Cubs and kept Italy 1 scoreless, a team that had been averaging almost 10 runs a game in the tournament so far.  Georgia gave up five hits and walked two, but struck out 11 and seemed to get stronger after some early trouble, with the Italians leaving seven runners on base over the first three innings.

Two outs recorded at home plate by the GB defense in those first three innings helped keep the Italians off the scoreboard, and both teams played errorless softball throughout the game.

Lucrezia Ghiretti started for Italy and pitched the first three innings, giving up two hits and no runs and striking out four.  Alessandra Marmo pitched the rest of the game, and also gave up two hits while striking out five, and in general GB had fewer scoring threats than Italy.

But when it came to extra innings, with the tie-break in play, Georgia Wilson reached back for something extra.  In both the top of the sixth and seventh innings, the Italians advanced their tie-break runner to third at the cost of the first out, and then Georgia Wilson struck out the next two hitters to leave that runner stranded.

GB’s chance to score the winning run in the bottom of the sixth inning was thwarted in part by an out recorded for batting out of turn, but the breakthrough against Alessandra Marmo finally came in the bottom of the seventh.

Sveva Moggi started as the tiebreak runner on second base and advanced to third on a wild pitch.  Matilde Neri grounded to third and reached base because the Italians were more concerned about keeping Sveva Moggi from scoring – but the pressure was growing on Italy 1.

The end was delayed when Cara Edwards hit a ball back to the pitcher and Sveva Moggi was tagged out in a rundown between third and home, with Matilde Neri advancing to third on the play.  Georgia Wilson then reached first on a ball hit back to the pitcher, as the Italians again made sure to keep the runner on third from scoring.

But now the bases were loaded, and the Italians had run out of wriggle room.  Makenzie Eberly singled up the middle and Matilde Neri crossed home plate for a famous GB victory.

Scores and standings

Scores from today’s final round-robin games in the Sport Division were:

GB Cubs 12, SaBat Prague 1
Italy1 2, Moscovia 0
Italy2 20, SaBat Prague 0 (3 inns)
Moscovia 10, Joudrs Orange 3
GB Cubs 1, Italy1 0 (7 inns)
Italy2 7, Joudrs Orange 1

Final standings in the Sport Division round-robin were:

GB Cubs (4-1)
Italy 1 (4-1)
Moscovia (4-1)
Italy 2 (2-3)
Joudrs Orange (1-4)
SaBat Prague (0-5)

Saturday’s playoff games for the Sport Division will be:

Fifth-place game: 2.00 pm
Joudrs Orange v SaBat Prague

Bronze medal game: 4.00 pm
Moscovia v Italy 2

Gold medal game: 6.00 pm
GB Cubs v Italy 1

GB Cubs v SaBat Prague

The GB Cubs put on their best offensive display of the week this morning at the European Massimo Romeo Youth Trophy Tournament, winning for the third time in four games with a 12-1 victory over the Czech team SaBat Prague.

The game remained relatively close for the first three innings, at the end of which GB held a 3-0 lead. 

But a five-run outburst in the top of the fourth inning, and another four runs in the top of the fifth, made sure that with one round-robin game to go later today, the Cubs have made sure of a place in Saturday’s bronze medal game and still have a shot at getting to the gold medal game.

Georgia Wilson, who had pitched every inning in the tournament coming into this game, pitched the first three innings this morning and was then relieved by Amy Morris, who pitched most of the last two innings, giving up a hit and a run. 

Georgia threw a no-hitter over the first three innings she pitched, and every out made by the SaBat Prague hitters was a strikeout.  The only blemish on Georgia’s performance was a walk to Jana Amortova, the first Czech hitter in the game, and Georgia has yet to give up an earned run in 18 innings over four games.

GB offense

After a scoreless first inning for both teams, GB opened the scoring in the top of the second inning on an inside-the-park home run leading off the inning by Shinju Kimura-Phalon.

The Cubs added two more runs in the top of the third inning, and the rally started when second base player Sveva Moggi singled, stole second and third and scored on a grounder to first base by Georgia Wilson.  Cara Edwards then walked, stole second, reached third on a wild pitch and scored on another infield grounder.

All that was a prelude to the last two innings of the game, when the Cubs put up nine runs.

In the top of the fourth inning, Czech starting pitcher Tereza Sussemilchova began to lose her way.  Two walks, a hit batter, four wild pitches and a passed ball, plus an error and hits by Matilde Neri and Georgia Wilson had Cubs’ runners wheeling around the bases and five of them crossing the plate.

It was more of the same in the top of the fifth inning, as the first three Cubs walked, one of them scored on a wild pitch and then Georgia Wilson drove in another run with a triple down the right field line and scored on a throwing error.  Later in the inning, Cara Edwards walked and Sveva Moggi, in as a temporary runner for the catcher, scored on a single by Silvia Barbieri.

The lone run scored by SaBat Prague, who are winless so far in the tournament, came in the bottom of the fourth inning when Karolina Blazkova, the Czech catcher, tripled off Amy Morris and scored on a wild pitch.  Trailing 12-1, the Czech had another couple of baserunners in the bottom of the fifth but couldn’t bring them home.

Looking back

This has been a tremendous week for the GB Cubs and shows the progress the GB Under-13 programme has made over the past couple of years.  Two years ago, the Cubs were struggling in the less-competitive Futures Division, but last year, stepping up to the Sport Division, the Cubs finished with a 3-3 record, good for fifth place, their highest-ever finish at the Massimo Romeo Tournament.

This year, behind the outstanding pitching of Georgia Wilson, the Cubs have taken a huge leap forward, winning four of five games in the round-robin stage and beating both Italian teams, with their only loss a one-run defeat by the strong Russian team Moscovia.

Following the round-robin phase, Georgia Wilson leads all pitchers in the tournament in wins (4), innings pitched (24.1), strikeouts (52) and earned run average (0.00).

If Georgia and the Cubs can repeat tonight’s win against Italy 1 tomorrow, they will become only the second GB Fastpitch Team to win a European gold medal, following the triumph of the GB Under-19 Women’s Team in 2016 behind pitcher Georgina Corrick, when Italy was their opponent in a 1-0 extra-inning final.

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