However, Team Italy could not pull through and eventually fell to Team Venezuela, 11-10 in ten innings, in WBC Pool D action on Saturday.
The knock was nearly a game-winner for the 23-year-old, but former Mets farmhand Drew Butera was cut down at home plate by a strong relay throw. In the commotion, Venezuelan catcher Salvador Perez was forced from the game with what initially did not appear to be a minor injury.
Cecchini was not the only young Met who represented the organization well, as Italian leadoff hitter Brandon Nimmo launched a solo home run in the fourth inning, giving his team a 5-0 advantage. Venezuela proceeded to score eight unanswered runs, before catcher Francisco Cervelli brought in Nimmo and John Andreoli with a single in the seventh inning.
It’s exciting to see both Nimmo and Cecchini thrive in starting roles on the national stage, a position both players don’t appear to be headed for to at least begin the 2017 season. It’ll likely take an injury or two to see either of them before July rolls around, but experience against some of the top talent in the world should help both in terms of confidence.
Between Nimmo, Cecchini, T.J. Rivera, and Seth Lugo, Pool D of the Classic is bubbling with Mets. All four have made their presences known, with Rivera and Lugo leading Team Puerto Rico to victory on Friday.
The Puerto Ricans and Italians will face off Sunday afternoon in what could be a deciding game for the pool. Puerto Rico can put itself in pole position with a win against Team Mexico Saturday night, while Sunday will be a must-win (as all Classic games really are) for Team Italy, if they want to be one of the two teams in the group heading to the second round in San Diego.