In this post, we recognize a handful of our members who impacted the game overseas during the 2018 season. Between stories BBJO staff are familiar with and those that were submitted, we were able to narrow it to 15, although we are sure there are many more that could make this list that we are not aware of. If you are a current or former BBJO member and want to share your 2018 success story, please contact as to potentially be added to the list of those recognized after the fact.

Before we get to the top 15 success stories, we want to first recognize one member who had a major success off of the field while playing in Germany…..

Riley Moore ups his game overseas by making a life changing decision

Riley Moore played in front of 25,000 people to win the College World Series, but in his words “nothing will ever make me as nervous as asking the woman I love to marry me on a baseball diamond! Biggest achievement of my life, and one of the prouder moments I will no doubt ever have!”  Riley proposed to his soon-to-be wife in Germany prior to Stuttgart Reds Bundesliga game.

Congrats to Riley and his bride to be, Natasha.

Now on to our Top 15 BBJO success stories from the 2018 season.

#15 Opperman, Marsh take it upon themselves to bring Swedish baseball into the spotlight

In an effort to promote the game of baseball in Sweden in hopes to draw more athletes and youth to the game, two BBJO members playing for the Rättvik Butchers took it upon themselves to organize the first ever All-Star baseball game in the country. Read more of their feat here: Swedish All-Star Game Success Story).

#14 Brisentine and Rubanowitz take home hardware while leading the Barracudas to 1st place in the regular season

Evan Brisentine and Alex Rubanowitz led the Zürich Barracudas to a Swiss NLA 1st place regular season record of 23-5. Brisentine was recognized as the league’s best pitcher while Rubanowitz received the best batter award. 

#13 “Rusty” dominates on the bump while guiding his Dornbirn Indians to the Baseball Austrian League final series

In his first year as a player-coach, Tyler “Rusty” Thompson led his Dornbirn Indians to a second place finish in the Baseball League Austria playoffs. Rusty was the regular season MVP and Coach of the Year for the West Division. 

#12 Player-coach Joe Germaine makes a major impact on a small market team in Germany over the course of three seasons

In his three years as a player-coach with the Lauf Wölfe of Germany, Joe Germaine has helped the team advanced two levels from the Regionaliga, to the Bayernliga, to the 2nd Bundesliga, and then tying for the league lead in wins in the second bundesliga with a chance to move up to the first Bundesliga.

#11 Greenberg breaks records in Lucerne with support of Gonzalez and Fisher

Long term Lucerne Eagles player-coach Adam Greenberg along with BBJO imports Mike Gonzalez and Graham Fisher led the Eagles to their best ever Swiss NLA record (by far) at 22-6, good enough for a 2018 regular season second place finish.  

#10 Dondrei and Draci dominate the Czech regular season

Dondrei Hubbard had a big year for Draco Brno in the Czech Extraliga, hitting well over .400 during the regular season and with a big smile on his face at all times. Unfortunately he and his team were unable to hold onto their spot as the top team, settling for second place in 2018. The most dominant club in Czech history having won the championship 21 of the past 25 years, Draci finished the regular season at 26-1 and the playoff superstructure saw them finish at 16-4, bringing them to a 42-5 record before losing the final series 1-3 to a hot Ostrava team. 

#9 Hively, Nilsson, Schulz, and Grigsby narrowly miss a German Bundesliga championship with Heidenheim

Former AAA pitcher RJ Hively was a force for the Heidenheim Heideköpfe the entire 2018 season and was a major factor in the team’s second place finish in the playoffs, narrowly missing another German Bundesliga championship in the fifth and final game. Former member and Aussie slugger Mitch Nilsson was injured in the series which made a major negative impact to the HH offense. BBJO members Logan Grigsby (EU passport) and Phil Schulz also played major roles in the success of HH throughout the season.

#8 Adam Koontz leads a young team to the brink of the Austrian championship series

Player-coach Adam Koontz took a young Wr. Neustadt Diving Ducks squad to the semi-finals of the Baseball League Austria playoffs. The team which features four players in their teens gave the eventual champions a big scare in the semi finals, with each of their three losses being a one-run game (W9-8, L4-5, L6-5, L3-2). 

#7 Late pick up Tanner Donnels missing piece in Zürich Challengers first Swiss Championship in 14 years

Tanner Donnels (back row shades) was 3 for 4 with 3 rbi in the fifth and deciding game which saw his Challengers win their first championship since 2004. The score was a 9-9 deadlock going into the 9th before Jesus Manuel Martinez Martin hit a two-run bomb to break the tie and secure the championship for the Challengers. The Challengers also had to win it in the fifth and final game of the semi-final series against their cross-town rivals, the Zürich Barracudas.

#6) Best Pitcher in the Playoffs, Will Nahmens helps the Leksand Lumberjacks win their 21st Swedish title

Will Nahmens played a major part in the Lumberjacks climb back to the top of the Swedish Elite Series with a 3-1 series win over the defending champions, the Sölvesborg Firehawks. In game three Nahmens drove in 5 runs and in the deciding game four he was the winning pitcher after throwing the final 9 innings of 12 in a close 3-2 win for the championship.

#5 Playoff MVP Reed Mason helps the Vienna Metrostars regain their place atop Baseball League Austria

LHP Reed Mason was the MVP of the Baseball League Austria playoffs highlighted by a game 6 championship-clinching performance which saw him throw a complete game 4-1 win, allowing no earned runs while striking out 17. This was the 14th championship for the Metrostars, the most in Baseball League Austria history. BBJO member Chance Hicks was a major factor throughout the playoffs coming in in relief a number of times to hold down the opposition in tight situations.

#4) “Nabe” and Silesia Rybnik win their second straight Polish title

In his second year as player-coach with Rybnik, the 5 foot 1, bat-flipping, power-hitter Ryoma Watanabe, led his team to their second straight championship in 2018 behind a ridiculous slashline of .500/.696/1.107 with 5 home runs. In addition to his play, his coaching was also a major factor in the team’s success and landed him on as assistant coach for the Polish U23 national team. 

#3) Jason Jarvis throws a no-no and leads the Chatham Ironmen to the NBSBL title

Jason Jarvis led the Chatham Ironmen to their first New Brunswick Senior Baseball League championship since 2013, 11th total, behind a 3-1 playoff record while also contributing at the plate with a .342 average and 11 rbi. Jarvis through a no-hitter in his debut for the Ironmen in May and was named a league All-Star as well as the league’s Best Pitcher.

 

#2) Terrell Joyce has career year in the Ostrava Arrows first ever Czech Extraliga championship win

Terrell Joyce smacked a two run home run in game four of the best-of-five series to eliminate his former team and the most dominant club in Czech history, Draci Brno 5-3. If that wasn’t sweet enough, this was the first championship Ostrava has ever won in a league that has seen Draci dominate for much of the past 25 years. BBJO member A.J. Cipolla and BBJO recruitment advisor Devon Ramirez were both part of the championship team.

#1) Barr, Brenk help propel the Bonn Capitals to first ever German Bundesliga championship in a drama-filled playoffs

Roommates Riley Barr and Eric Brenk led the Bonn Capitals to an unprecedented 40-0 Bundesliga North regular season record. In the semi-finals, the Capitals were down to their last three outs, losing 1-2 in game four of the best-of-five series down 2 games to 1 when they managed to tie the game on a squeeze play sending it into extra innings. They played an additional 10 innings (19 total) to win the game 3-2  after Maurice Wilhelm relieved Barr to start the 10th and threw 9 shutout innings in heroic fashion. The Capitals went on to win the deciding fifth game by the same score, defeating the Regensburg Legionäre and advancing to the championship series.

In a thrilling championship series against the powerhouse Heidenheim Heideköpfe, the Capitals once again battled back from a 1-2 series deficit to win it in the fifth and final game 7-5, a game which saw the lead change hands four times. This was the first ever German Bundesliga championship for the Capitals, and was a grind which will be talked about for ages.