2020 Italian Series
At one point, it was unclear whether the 2020 Italian Series would be played as Italy was one of the first countries to be hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. After a shortened regular season, the league made it to the finals, which went the distance.
Fortitudo Bologna had won four of the past five Italian Series. They had gone 23-6 in the 2020 Serie A1 regular season, outscoring opponents 215-80 to lead the league in runs while finishing second in fewest runs allowed. Ray-Patrick Didder (.413/.516/.600, 28 R in 22 G) led the league with 15 steals and was second in OPS, while their second-best hitter was Lorenzo Dobboletta (.307/.475/.523, 30 R, 29 RBI in 28 G). In limited action, they got solid performances from Alessandro Vaglio (.475/.577/.625, 15 RBI in 12 G), Eugene Helder (.407/.469/.444 in 8 G) and Randolph Oduber (.348/.484/.522, 8 RBI in 8 G). Murilo Gouvêa (5-0, Sv, 1.12, 46 K in 31 1/3 IP), Alex Bassani (4-2, 1.34), Filippo Crepaldi (2-0, 2 Sv, 2.16, 31 K in 22 2/3 IP) and Matteo Bocchi (7-1, 2 Sv, 2.58) led the pitchers. Daniele Frignani was back at the reins.
ASD San Marino
ASD San Marino had been runner-up in the 2019 Italian Series and had a better regular-season record than Bologna in 2020 at 23-4. Their 188 runs were second but they had allowed the fest, 52, less than one per game. German Markus Solbach (3-0, 0.23, 53 K in 30 1/3 IP) led the league in ERA followed by NPB veteran Alessandro Maestri (7-0, 0.82, 60 K in 42 2/3 IP). The team also got solid work from Ricardo Hernandez (1-0, 1.08 in 4 St), Dimitri Kourtis (3-2, 2 Sv, 1.88, 42 K in 26 IP) and Luca Di Raffaele (2-0, 1.75). Federico Celli (.473/.538/.935, 38 R, 36 RBI, 10 HR in 27 G) was the league's fifth Triple Crown winner ever and was well supported by Mattia Reginato (.369/.517/.569, 27 R in 24 G), Maikel Caceres (.380/.439/.507) and Simone Albanese (.349/.451/.419). Mario Chiarini was their manager.
- September 17: San Marino 10, Bologna 0. Solbach fanned 13 in 5 2/3 shutout innings, allowing only two hits, and Kourtis closed out the opening rout. RF Giovanni Garbella's 3-run homer off Gouvêa in the first made it 4-0 and San Marino was on its way.
- September 18: Bologna 7, San Marino 4. The champs battled back as SS Didder doubled twice and drove in three while Bocchi and Bassani combined to hold San Marino without an earned run. Maestri was handed the loss.
- September 23: San Marino 5, Bologna 1. San Marino suffers a huge loss when Solbach leaves after an inning with a shoulder injury. Fernando Baez, Nico Garbella and Kourtis provide fine relief, though, with Baez getting the win over Elián Leyva. 1B Caceres drives in three for the victors, while 3B Helder goes deep in a losing cause.
- September 24: Bologna 4, San Marino 0. Bologna battles back as Gouvêa whiffs ten and allows just two hits, both to #9 hitter Lorenzo Di Fabio. DH Oduber hits a two-run dinger in the first off Hernandez.
- September 25: Bologna 11, San Marino 8. CF Dobboletta and RF Niccolo Loardi each drive in three as Bologna pounds Maestri, Di Raffaele and Nico Garbella off the vaunted San Marino staff. Caceres drives in 4 in a losing cause, while DH Regginato drives in three. Bassani gets the save and Matthias Zotti the win as Bologna goes within a game of the title.
- September 28: San Marino 6, Bologna 1. With their backs to the wall, San Marino stays alive as Baez and Kourtis combine on a seven-inning no-hitter, though they walk six. Loardi's sacrifice fly scores Didder in the first to briefly put Bologna ahead, but San Marino comes back against Claudio Scotti. CF Celli scores twice, while LF Lorenzo Avagnina and DH Reginato both drive in a pair.
- September 30: Bologna 6, San Marino 5. Veteran Maestri again does not look like his regular-season self, giving up 3 runs in 1 2/3 IP, in taking the loss. 3B Helder drives in 3, including 2B Julian Dreni (who drove in two) in the 6th with the decisive run. In a losing cause, CF Celli homers and scores twice. Bassani gets the win (and Series MVP) in relief of Gouvêa, who goes down with injury in the 3rd; Filippo Crepaldi saves it.
Primary Source: Italian Baseball and Softball Federation
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