Italy, the lowest-ranked team in the Olympic softball tournament, will open tomorrow against world No. 1 USA at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium. The winners of the 2019 European/Africa Olympic Qualifier and current European champions are looking to earn a medal at Tokyo 2020, which would represent Europe’s first Olympic softball medal.

As the Italian Olympic Softball Team wrapped up their last practice session on Tuesday, Italian catcher Erika Piancastelli believes her team is ready for Tokyo 2020.

“Our biggest goal is to win a medal,” Piancastelli told the WBSC. “So we’re going to do whatever we can to get that medal and we’re just trying to do our single best.”

After a year postponement and the Olympic opener imminent, Piancastelli said there’s a lot of excitement on the team, especially being on the field.

“It feels more real,” she said. “We’re very excited to start this tournament, we’re ready. We’ve put in the work and now we’re just excited to enjoy this moment, taking all in and have some fun.”

Softball is returning to the Games for the first time since 2008.

Italy is 0-2 in Olympic softball tournaments against powerhouse USA, getting shutout both times, 6-0 in 2000 and 7-0 in 2004. But Piancastelli said Italy is ready to get to work.

“We’re ready. We’ve being dreamed about this moment. We’ve put on the work, and now we just have to trust everything and put it on the field. USA is a great team, so we’re excited with the competition and it’s going to be a really good game.”

Despite the ban on spectators, she says’ the Olympic atmosphere is great.

“It’s a big atmosphere…It’s a shame that it’s not going to be any fans, but we’re taking it all and having some fun.”

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