Baseball-softball season starts in Italy with special opener in Codogno

Baseball-softball season starts in Italy with special opener in Codogno
The first official game of the year was held in Codogno, the Italian city that recorded the first COVID-19 patient in the country. Baseball's top league will open on 8 July. The softball elite competition will follow on 11 July.

The Italian Baseball and Softball Federation (FIBS, Federazione Italiana Baseball Softball) presented its 2020 season in Codogno (Lodi Province, south-east of Milan), the city that recorded the first COVID-19 patient back in February.

Following the presentation, Codogno hosted Italy's first official baseball game in 2020: a third-division match between the local team and Piacenza.

"Sport was not at the top of the agenda during the difficult days in which we lived," said FIBS President Andrea Marcon, pictured in the lead photo. "We are very happy to see clubs getting back on the field. I want to thank everybody. The Italian baseball and softball community has come together to make this 2020 season possible".

The top baseball league (Serie A1) will play a six-team championship. Each club will compete in 30 regular-season games. The games will be shortened to seven innings. The top two teams at the end of the regular season will compete in the best of seven Italian Baseball Series. Opening day is scheduled for Wednesday, 8 July.

The top softball league (also named Serie A1) will feature nine participating teams, split into two different groups. The four-team group B will open on Saturday, 11 July. Each team will play an 18-game regular season. The five-team group A will open on Wednesday, 15 July and will play a 20-game regular season.

The first round of the playoffs will involve number two and three finishers of the two groups. The winners will advance to the semifinals, scheduled from 19 to 27 September. The best of five Italian Softball Series is scheduled from 3 to 11 October.

The openers of the baseball and softball top leagues will be streamed live.

FIBS announced during the presentation its candidature to host the 2021 Baseball European Championship.
Italy will also host in 2021 the Softball European Championship (a WBSC Women's Softball World Cup Qualifier) and the Baseball U-18 European Championship (a WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Qualifier). Both these events were scheduled for 2020 and were postponed to the following year.