Looking back at the GB Under-13s in Italy

Mon 21 Aug 2017

The GB Under-13 Girls’ Fastpitch Team, playing as the London Cubs, entered the European Softball Federation’s Massimo Romeo Youth Trophy event this summer, played in Collecchio, Italy from 9-12 August.  In this article, Team Manager Julie Spittle looks back at the tour.

We arrived in Italy around lunchtime on Tuesday 8 August, and once we got to the hotel and had lunch we headed down to the field to do some training.  Only two members of the team had been to this tournament before, and for most of the rest it would be their first proper fastpitch tournament or their first-ever competitive game of softball.

Our schedule was a good one, with two games each day and then, dependent on results, one or two games on the Saturday.

Day 1‚Äč

Our campaign began on Wednesday.  We were one of seven teams playing in the Future Division, while six more experienced teams played in the Sport Division.  Once again, as in 2016, the tournament used both hard and soft balls.

Our opponents for the first game were Joudrs Navy from the Czech Republic.  We had faced them the previous year and we knew that if everyone played well it was a game we could win.  In the end, it was a close game with a final score of 10-6 to the opposition.

We got our one and only double play of the tournament in this game, executed by shortstop Madison Gledhill and first base player Casey Johnson, and in the final inning we set down Joudrs in order.  We also had a triple by Shinju Phalon.

Annabelle Erlandson took to the pitcher’s circle for our first game, the first time she had pitched for us at this tournament.

Our second game of the day was against another Czech team, SC Merklin.  The weather had cooled down a bit and the girls were a bit more settled, with first-game nerves behind them.  We managed to get some runs on the board again, and had another triple, this time by Madison Gledhill.  Alessandra Marmo, who joined us for the week from Collecchio, was our starting pitcher. 

Unfortunately, Merklin scored more runs than we did and the final score was 12-5 to them.

Day 2

On Thursday we played Moscow 2, and after five years of trying to beat them (coming very close last year), we finally succeeded by a score of 7-4.  Alessandra Marmo hit a double, Casey Johnston pitched well and it all came together for the Cubs.

Our second game of the day was against Catalana from Spain, who had convincingly won all their games so far.  We had 21 at-bats over four innings and scored four runs on six hits, but Catalana won the game 10-4.

Day 3

Friday was our last day of pool games and we faced Turkey and Panthers Zagreb.

We played Panthers first and had our lowest-scoring game of the tournament, managing only one run.  Unfortunately, they scored eight.

Our game against Turkey proved to be an interesting one – a low-scoring game with many discussions!  The girls played well -- as the week had progressed, the Cubs’ players had become more confident and had settled better into games.  The final score was 4-3 to Turkey in a very close game that could easily have had a different outcome.

The final day

With all our pool games completed we were in sixth position and so we played at 9.00 am on Saturday morning for fifth place, once again facing Turkey. 

This was another tight game that finished 6-5 to the Turks.  But things didn’t end there, because tournament officials then decided that Turkey had breached the rules regarding the number of innings pitchers were allowed to throw, so the London Cubs were awarded the win on a forfeit.

As a result, the 2017 EMRYT tournament ended with the London Cubs in fifth place in the Futures Division, our highest-ever placing.

We scored 29 runs in seven games over the course of the tournament and our pitchers recorded 18 strikeouts.  The highest run difference was against us was seven and we won two games, the same as in 2016.  Our performances in this tournament are slowly getting better.

More importantly, the players made a lot of new friends and we hope to be able to take many of the same girls on tour with us again next year.

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