World No. 9 Italy and No. 17 Venezuela played last weekend the Coppa Aldo Majer, at the Francesco Nespoli diamond in Caronno Pertusella, Italy. The hosts took the trophy on run difference, since the series ended in a 1-1 tied after two extra-inning matches.

On Friday Venezuela took a thrilling 1-0 victory over Italy, in a nine-inning pitching duel. Only an error by Italian defense allowed the South American team to take the lead. Venezuelan hurler Jamee Juarez pitched a complete game shutout, allowing 4 hits, 1 walk and striking out 5.

One day later, Italy stroke back. At the end of another extra inning game, the hosts claimed a 3-1. They were crowned champions by run difference. In the eight inning, Italy took the lead with an RBI double by Laura Vigna, and then scored the security run with an RBI single by Marta Gasparotto.

Gasparotto was the best hitter of the tournament; Juarez was the best pitcher, while Venezuelan Olympian Yuruby Alicart was named MVP.

Italy and Venezuela are preparing for the WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship, to be played in Chiba, Japan, from 2-12 August this year. Both teams will play in Group B, together with No.2 Japan, No. 3 Canada, No. 4 Australia, No.12 China, No. 14 Great Britain and No. 33 Botswana.

The European team will play the Opening Game of the tournament against Japan, on 2 August, 8:00 p.m. local time, in NASPA Stadium.

Venezuela will make its debut on 3 August, at 10 a.m., against Australia.