NR coaches lead USA team to victory in Italy

Aug 22, 2019 by

Published August 22, 2019


SALA BAGANZA, Italy — Earlier this month, North Reading’s Marco Vittozzi brought over his ages 15 and under baseball team to Italy to compete in the Sala Baganza International Baseball Tournament.

This is the fifth time in the past seven years he had done this trip and, for the second time, his team won the title.

“We had a group of about 35 when you count the parents and everybody enjoyed it,” said Vittozzi, who played in Italy back in 1987. “Along with the games we also get to do some sightseeing.”

There are 12 teams overall in this tournament as there are two six-team divisions. Each team plays five games and the top two teams in each pool advance to the semifinal round.

After the opening ceremony on July 31, the team called Boston USA, played its first game on Aug. 1 as they beat Rimini, Italy, 9-1.

TEAM BOSTON represented the United States and took home the championship at the Sala Baganza International Baseball Tournament in Italy. In the front row from left to right are Linda Pelletier (Hampstead, N.H.), Luca Gabardi (Wilmington), James Churchill (Sterling), Matteo Casadio (Italy), Matt Elwell (Wakefield), Zach Rosatone (North Reading) and Claudio DiRonza (Italy). In the back row from left are assistant head coach Jim Demetri, head coach Marco Vittozzi, Nick Ciardiello (North Reading), coach Vin Bonano, Leonardo Gattelli (Italy), Ian Visnick (Beverly), Dominick Gabardi (Wilmington), Ryan Baker (North Reading), Jared MacDonald (North Reading), Sam Morelli (North Reading), Francesco Roero (Italy), coach Marco Armillei (Italy), coach Frank Carey and coach Sergio Coviello. (Courtesy Photo)

On Aug. 2, they played two games. They edged the Czech Republic 7-6 in the early game and they tied Oltretorrenta, Italy 1-1.

On Aug. 3, they split their two games. In the first one, they beat Collecchio, Italy 5-2. However, they lost to Staranzano, Italy 9-2 in the late game.

By finishing at 3-1-1 in their pool, they got the top seed and faced Parma, Italy, who was the second seed in the other pool, in the semifinals on Aug. 4. Team Boston ended up winning 12-0.

Later on that day, they faced the Czech Republic again in the final. After falling behind early on, team Boston rallied and ended up winning 12-6 to capture the championship.

North Reading’s Ryan Baker, who pitched two innings in relief, was the winning pitcher.

The tournament MVP was Wilmington’s Dom Gabardi. As a pitcher in this tournament, he went seven innings. He gave up only one run, one hit, and struck out 10. He was the winning pitcher in the semifinal game.

At bat, Gabardi led the team in average batting .600. He had nine hits, seven runs batted in and scored ten times.

TEAM BOSTON poses with members of the team from the Czech Republic after the championship game that the USA won, 12-6. (Courtesy Photo)

North Reading’s Jared MacDonald and Nick Chiardallo were both second on the team in hitting at .545. MacDonald had six hits and six runs batted in. He also scored five times.

Chiardallo was 6 for 11 as the dish with three runs batted in.

Baker was fourth in average at .417. He finished with five hits, five runs and three RBI.

The other two players on the team from North Reading were Sam Morelli (outfielder) and Zack Rosatone (right field).

“Sam bunted well and Zack had some key hits throughout the tournament,” said Vittozzi.

Other area players were Wakefield’s Matt Elwell (utility), Beverly’s Ian Visnick (shortstop- pitcher), Shirley’s James Churchill (outfielder- second base) and Wilmington’s Luca Gabardi (utility).

The team also had three players from Italy to round out the roster.

“We are looking forward to going back next year,” said Vittozzi.

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