TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (August 1, 2019) – Former Tallahassee Community College softball standout Elisa Cecchetti is headed to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Playing for the Italian National Softball Team, Cecchetti and her teammates defeated Great Britain, 5-0, in the final of the WBSC Women's Softball Europe/Africa Qualification Event to punch its ticket to next summer's Games of the XXXII Olympiad. Italy is the third team to qualify for the six-team tournament, joining Japan and the United States.
The qualifier, held in the Netherlands, featured the top softball nations across Europe and Africa – Botswana, Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Italy, Netherlands, South Africa and Spain.
Cecchetti is the Eagles' third Olympian. Both Michael Saunders (baseball, Canada) and Daisy dePeinder (softball, Netherlands) participated in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the last time baseball and softball were Olympic sports.
"It's a dream come true," said Cecchetti. "Softball deserves to be part of the Olympic Games and young girls deserve to be able to dream to play in the Olympics. I'm proud and honored to represent my country on this stage.
"I want to thank my teammates and coaches at TCC for helping me grow as a person and as an athlete and helping me reach this goal."
A native of Bollate, Italy, Cecchetti played catcher, shortstop and first base for head coach Patti Townsend's Eagles in 2016 and 2017, and enjoyed a stellar career as both a student and athlete. On the field, she was first-team all-Panhandle Conference and second-team FCSAA all-state in 2017, appearing in 46 games and batting .359 with one home run and 27 RBI. She finished with a .335 career batting average in 87 games.
Academically, Cecchetti graduated from TCC in 2017 and, with a perfect 4.0 GPA, earned first-team all-academic honors from the NJCAA. She was also recognized as the Panhandle Conference's Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2017 and was named one of the College's outstanding female students during its annual celebration of Women's History Month.
"I am so excited and proud of Elisa," said Townsend. "Being able to represent her country in the Olympics is what all of the hard work and sacrifice is for. She has earned all of the great things coming to her and I'm proud to say that she wore the Eagle uniform. We wish her the best of luck and look forward to cheering her on in Tokyo 2020."
Following her time with the Eagles, Cecchetti transferred to the University of South Carolina Upstate, where she played the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
Softball is scheduled to kick off next year's Olympic Games on July 22.