Meet Sabrina Bottazzi, the first girl to pitch in the VI WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup

Meet Sabrina Bottazzi, the first girl to pitch in the VI WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup
03/08/2022
"It's been great so far. I think I'm learning a lot," the 12-year-old left-hander told the WBSC. "I want to play baseball as long as I can." Her teammate Anita Bissa also took the mound on the final day of group play.

The U-12 Baseball World Cup is a competition of the best players in the world and the best players in each qualified country, boy or girl. And 12-year-old Sabrina Bottazzi is one of the best pitchers in Italy within the age group and was selected to the Italian U-12 National Team.

"She is one of the best overall Italian pitchers born in 2010," commented Italy's manager Stefano Burato. "Her speed tops 60 miles (96.5 kilometres) per hour, which is as good as anybody else on our roster. She is a left-hander. This represents a plus."

Italy's Sabrina Bottazzi became the first girl to pitch as a starter in the VI WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup.

"I'm pleased about the way I played against Panama. I had a lot of fun, particularly when we successfully executed a pickle [in the second inning] and got the runner out."

She kept Panama's bats quiet for two innings, then left with two outs in the bottom of the third.

"It's been great so far. I think I'm learning a lot. I like watching the other teams and understand what they do different, what they do better," Bottazzi added.

Sabrina was born in Rovigo, a youth baseball and softball cradle in northeastern Italy.
"I started playing at four," she told the WBSC. "My older brother was playing, so I decided to try and liked it. I shared my time between baseball and basketball, and then chose baseball."

Bottazzi won't be able to play baseball after she turns 16. Italy has no women's baseball activity, and girls are allowed to play baseball until the U-15 age bracket.

She already shares her playing time between baseball and softball.
"I don't care about what the future will be," Bottazzi commented. "My goal is to play baseball as long as I'm allowed because it is a lot of fun. I'm also a softball pitcher, but I find it easier to throw overhand."

Three girls represented Italy's U-12 baseball programme in the past.

  • Tara Melassi (born in 2001) pitched at the WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup 2013, where Italy finished in ninth place. She helped Italy win the Women's Softball U-22 European Championship 2022.
  • Noemi Cortesi (born in 2007) was on the Italian team that finished ninth at the V WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup. She helped Italy win silver at the Women's Softball U-15 European Championship 2022.
  • Aida Campioni (born in 2009) helped Italy win the 2021 U-12 Baseball European Championship and earn a silver medal at the Women's Softball U-15 European Championship 2022.

"I'm honest, and I don't know much about women's baseball programmes in the rest of the world," said Burato. "I'm not sure girls can perform well on a regular baseball field, but it's just an opinion. What I know for a fact is that girls have a lot of fun playing baseball and that the transition to softball is not always easy."

Burato chose another girl as a starting pitcher. He gave the ball to Anita Bissa for the last game of group play against the defending World Champions, Chinese Taipei.

"She is a finesse pitcher who can hit her spots. She has good baseball skills and can play both in the infield and outfield."