1999 Italian Series
The 1999 Italian Series was won by Semenzato Rimini as they beat Caffe Danesi Nettuno in seven games to capture their eight Serie A1 title. It was the first Series since wood bats were reinstated, as aluminum had been used in Italy for a number of years.
Rimini had dominated the regular season at 40-8 before facing surprising postseason struggles (4-3 in both the semifinals (over CUS Parma) and finals). In the regular season, they hit .289/.392/.422 and had a 2.56 ERA, leading the league in both runs (352) and fewest runs allowed (165). Former major leaguer Tom Urbani (12-1, 1.35, 99 K) led the league in ERA, tied for the most wins and tied for 3rd in whiffs. Tista Perri (12-2, Sv, 2.78) also tied for the win lead while Roberto Cabalisti (4-0, 6 Sv, 2.24) was second in saves and 5th in ERA. RF Claudio Liverziani hit .372/.511/.599 and led the league in OBP; he was also second in average, tied for 2nd in homers (7) and 3rd in slugging. 3B/SS David Sheldon (.359/.450/.565) led the league with 51 RBI, while LF Ed Campaniello (.329/.448/.463) was 4th with 46 and 1B Paolo Zangheri (.260/.302/.516) 5th with 44 and tied for 2nd with 7 homers. CF Jim Vatcher, a former big leaguer, hit .315/.462/.543, was second with 21 doubles, tied for 2nd with 7 homers and was 4th in OBP.
Nettuno had finished second in the regular season, a distant 31-17, then beat Grosseto in the semifinals in six games. They had outscored the opposition 229-188 in the regular season, hitting .264/.341/.383 and posting a 3.09 ERA. Their ace was former Olympian Cipriano Ventura (11-3, 1.60), who led the league in K (120), was 3rd in wins and 4th in ERA. Paul Romanoli (5-2, 7 Sv, 2.26) led A1 in saves and Alessandro Colaceci was 3-1 with a save and a 3.06 ERA. SS Mauricio Gonzalez was their top hitter (.330/.360/.467).
- October 1: Rimini 4, Nettuno 1. Jody Treadwell allowed one run in seven and Cabalisti notched a two-inning save, while Vatcher (HR, 2 R) and Camaniello (2B, 3B, 2 RBI) led the attack to beat Ventura.
- October 2: Rimini 10, Nettuno 0. Perri allows only four hits and three walks in eight shutout innings, striking out nine, while both Liverziani (3 R, 2 RBI) and Sheldon (2 R, 4 RBI) homer. Diego Ricci takes the loss.
- October 4: Nettuno 4, Rimini 0. As the Series moves to Nettuno, the home team has no problem with former major leaguer Urbani. DH Gianluca Cibati and 2B Alberto D'Auria each have two hits and two runs, while Gonzalez and 3B Ruggero Bagialemani each have two hits and two RBI. Romanoli fans 14 in a five-hit, two-walk gem.
- October 5: Nettuno 6, Rimini 0. The string of shutouts by the home teams continued as Ventura whiffed ten and allowed only 3 hits and 4 walks in 8 before Massimiliano Masin (a fellow former Olympian) closed it out. Bagialemani and D'Auria each scored twice for the victors. Campaniella had two hits in a losing cause, while Tradwell took the loss, four of the five runs unearned as Rimini had six errors (three by SS Andrea Evangelisti).
- October 6: Nettuno 4, Rimini 3. In one of the best games this Series, Ricci and Perri both went the distance. Each allowed a run in the 1st, 3rd and 9th, but the hosts got one off Perri in the 8th for the difference. C Marco Baboni drove in the winner with one out in the bottom of the 9th for his second RBI of the day.
- October 8: Rimini 9, Nettuno 0. With their backs to the wall, the favorites get the 4th shutout win in six games this Series, two by each team. Urbani is in much better form in his second outing of the Series, going the distance with a five-hitter, while Masin struggles in a loss. Vatcher and Liverziani both score twice, Sheldon drives in three and 2B Alessandro Gaiardo drives in a pair. In a losing cause, Gonzalez has two hits.
- October 9: Rimini 9, Nettuno 8. The home team wins for the 7th game in a row, but this one is a nail-biter. It doesn't look that way early when Rimini knocks out Romanoli with 6 runs in 2 1/3 IP as he did not look nearly as sharp as in game 3. Nettuno rallies and makes it 6-4 when they chase Cabalisti in the top of the 4th, while Ventura is providing solid relief of Romanoli. Treadwell relieves Cabalisti and throws 3 1/3 shutout frames. Rimini then goes to Urbani in the 8th but the ace folds, giving up three singles, a walk and four runs while retiring none; Sheldon winds up relieving and gets the win, allowing only one hit and one walk in two shutout frames. In the bottom of the 9th, Rimini scores twice off Ventura for the comeback win. Sheldon had 4 hits as well as the victory, while Liverziani and Campaniello both rapped three hits. In a losing cause, CF Roberto De Franceschi is a triple shy of the cycle and LF Marco Ubani goes 3 for 4 with three RBI.