The Italian League Serie A1 playoffs began this weekend after Fortitudo Bologna and Telemarket Rimini tied for first place in the regular season standings with identical 30-12 records. However, it took a three-game sweep over Rimini by Bologna to pull Fortitudo into the deadlock.
Richard Austin socked his sixth and seventh homers of the season in last Sunday’s 7-4 Bologna victory to complete the broom job. Eddy Garabito also homered for the winners and Matthew Stocco added three RBIs as both teams gave a number of pitchers a workout as a prelude to the postseason. Defending champion T&A San Marino finished third, four games behind at 26-16, two games ahead of fourth-place Cariparma Parma, who was 24-18. Parma nudged out 23-19 Danesi Nettuno for the fourth and final playoff berth, while Montepaschi Grosseto, De Angelis GODO and Palfinger Reggio Emilia were all well out of contention.
This weekend’s best-of-3 semifinals pitted Bologna and Parma in one series, while Bologna squared off against San Marino. The winners will open the Italian Series next weekend.