This winter has brought change to the landscape of Europe's games. Four players have signed professional contracts abroad in both the US and Japan, while others have received scholarships to play at university. There have been national, and international, moves across Europe's game and even one instance of a player switching sports all together. Here is a your breakdown of what's been happening while winter's blanket has been covering your fields.
Prior Team: Žraloci Sharks
Current Team: Caesar Warriors
Peckova spent her final months of 2017 playing for a championship in the Taiwan Professional Women’s Softball League. Her team took home the silver. She told ESF reporters she is looking to return to New Zealand in the winter of 2018. If she can repeat her 2016 performances they will, no doubt welcome her back with open arms.
Prior Team: Princ Zagreb
Current Team: Santa Fe Saints
Position: Pitcher, 3rd Base, Shortstop
Tihana has become the first Croatian softball player to receive a US sports scholarship. She is headed to Santa Fe New Mexico where she’ll contribute to the team while studying sports management.
Prior Team: Cougars de Montigny
Current Team: Miami Dade Sharks
After growing up playing baseball, and becoming the first woman to register for the MLB International draft, Mayeux decided to switch sports in order to further her career. She is now a scholarship softball player at Miami Dade College. Melissa sees Miami Dade as a steppingstone to bigger schools. Once she has her softball swing going strong, Mayeaux told MLB.com, she’d like to transfer to a full four-year university, play in the College World Series and, eventually, sign a pro contract. While headed to the states on a softball scholarship, Melissa is leaving the door open to baseball. She told MLB.com reporters, “I am coming to the States to see what I can do, with softball and baseball. If I have an opportunity for baseball, I would take it”. With legends like Barry Larkin, who has worked with Mayeux since she was 13-years old, in her corner, there is no telling what tomorrow may bring now that she’s in proximity to more scouting opportunities.
Prior Team: Munich-Haar Disciples
Current Team: New York Yankees – MiLB
In his first season with the Disciples the US-pitcher posted a .76 ERA over 14 games with a 10-1 W/L record. He collected an outstanding 178 strikeouts in 106 innings of work while giving up just 12 walks on the year. He is currently playing in the Australian Baseball League for the Brisbane Bandits before heading off for spring back in the States. This is the LHP’s second run at the minors. The Yankees will be Bollinger’s fourth MLB club however. He’s previously played for the Phillies, White Sox and Pirates where he worked his way through the system, advancing on-pace in spite of the continuous moves. If the Yankees keep him around for half a minute, it will be interesting to see how far Bollinger can take his career. He had certainly hit his stride heading out of 2017 and, by all appearances, is keeping pace in 2018.
Prior Team: Buchbinder Legionäre Regensburg
Current Team: Paderborn Untouchables
In 2017 Ehmcke hit .387 including 14 doubles and 6 homeruns for the Legionäre walking away from the season with a .708 slugging percentage.
Prior Team: Bonn Capitals
Current Team: Solligen Alligators
After finishing the 2017 season with the Bonn Capitals in the Bundesliga Championship series Lee is back in his homeland of Australia playing on his home team, the Adelaide Bite this winter. Come spring, Lee returns to Germany’s Bundesliga Nord as an import player for the fourth straight year but this time, he’ll be sitting on the Alligator’s bench.
Maikel Azcuy Perez
Prior Team: Southampton Mustangs
Current Team: Berlin Flamingos
Position: 3rd Base
For their first season in the 1st Bundesliga, the Berlin Flamingos have added Cuban native, and Great Britain national team player, Maikel Azcuy to their import roster. Azcuy played for the Southampton Mustangs in 2017 where he posted a .500 average on the season. He had 31 runs off 40 hits including 12 doubles and 5 homeruns. In 2015, Maikel took over the title of All-Time Homerun Leader in the British Baseball Federation.
Thomas de Wolf
Prior Team: Mannheim Tornados
Current Team: T&A San Marino
Position: Outfield, Pitcher
Since leaving the MiLB in 2012 de Wolf has spent his baseball career playing across Germany. He was with the Mainz Athletics through their 2016 championship season and spent last year with the Mannheim Tornados. In 2017 he hit .374 on the season while posting a 6.13 ERA alongside a perfect fielding percentage on defense. Now, he’s off to Italy.
Prior Team: Mannheim Tornados
Current Team: T&A San Marino
Martin, who has been playing with the Tornados since 2014, has moved on with teammate Thomas de Wolf to complete the battery. Martin holds an Italian passport making him a native player. Juan finished the year with a .308 average and a .960 fielding percentage that included 86 putouts.
Prior Team: South Bend Cubs - A
Current Team: Buffalo Bison - AAA
During the December Winter Meetings for the MLB Alberto Mineo, who has been with the Cubs since 2010, was claimed off waivers by the Toranto Blue Jays. The 23-year old catcher is due to report to the AAA Buffalo Bison in the spring. He finished the 2017 season in A-ball with the Cubs so this is a huge leap. Mineo hit .278, including 20 doubles and 4 triples, last year while posting a .992 fielding percentage on defense in single-A ball. Spring will tell us where he lands for sure but it could be where the Cubs cup runneth over, the Jays are happy for the help, making it a win-win-win trade for all parties involved.
Prior Team: Berlin Flamingos
Current Team: Rimini
After two seasons as a player/coach in Berlin, Marquez-Ramirez returns to Rimini where he played for four seasons in the early 2010s.
Prior Team: Sparks Haarlem
Current Team: Terrasvogel
Tuck is the reigning homerun champion in the Netherlands having grabbed the title both in 2016 and 2017. Karen played in the Women’s European Premiere Cup in 2017 with the Sparks and won the European Championship with the Dutch national team. The Sparks took home silver in Holland Series to the Terrasvogels’ bronze in 2017.
Prior Team: Olympia Haarlem & Dutch National Team
Current Team: Ogaki Minamo Softball Club
Voortman has signed a one-year contract to play professional softball in Japan. She will play with the Ogaki Minamo when the season begins in March. The team is in the top division of Japanese softball. In the 2017 season Eva won the European Championship with the Dutch National team. She also posted a 2.83 ERA for the Holland Series champions Olympia Haarlem, where she contributed behind the plate as well, accumulating a .447 batting average on the season.