This is easily one of our favorite articles to put together every season. The amazing professionals that capture your most important moments are not only generous with their time but their work too. We like to make sure they get their props so we end each year with a piece all about them. Just to change the perspective, we've arranged this edition of The Year In Pictures by photographers' homelands.
We begin the 2018 season in review with a shot from Stephan Woldron. He captured this moment for Austria's national team coach Hiroyuki Sakanashi. The team showed him some love following their win over Lithuania to take the final spot in the A-pool for the EU Championship. This was an indescribably important moment in the team's modern history because 2019's tournament winner will take the final spot in the 2020 Olympic qualifier for Europe.
The photographer responsible for capturing this historic moment is Stephan Woldron. Woldron is a staff photographer with SEPA Media (Sports|Events|Press Agency).
The Evry’s Pharaons erupt after securing a 4-3 victory over the St. Raphael Comanches in Game II of the Division I Softball finals. Sure, that meant they pushed the series to a final game, but so much more is captured in this shot.
Though this may appear to be a team celebration, perhaps a bit too enthusiastically for the circumstances, we assure you, it is anything but. That's because, heading into the title run, the Comanches were not just undefeated on the season, they had not lost a game since late in 2011's season.
Their 6 season, 135 game winning streak came to an end during Game 2 of the French Women's Softball Series. The defeat was at the hands of the Evry Pharaons who held the #2 spot in French women's softball with a 15-5 finish in regular season play.
The Comanches spent all of the last 6 seasons in the W column of local play. They breezed through championship after championship capturing 10 straight trophies. Heading into the 2018 title run, it is not likely anyone outside the Pharaons' locker room expected them to charter new territory. True to form, they came out of the gate with a win in Game 1 of the 3-game series.
Though the ultimate prize did land back in the Comanches trophy case for its 11th straight winter, this moment reminds us all that even the best team is beatable on any day you chose to challenge them.
Glenn Gervot's work has been strongly featured throughout the history of our publication. This photo was selected above his close-up stills we love so much because it represents a moment in French softball history. More than that, it serves to remind us all of a valuable lesson easily forgotten in the face of daunting opposition. Gervot is a freelance baseball and softball photographer working out of France. The official photographer of the FFBS and a WBSC Europe pool member, you can review his portfolio on his website: Glenn Gervot Photography.
Fans of this article will not only recognize this photographer's work but one of her favorite subjects as well. Admittedly, he's ours too. Jonas van Bergen will certainly never have a lasting career as a poker player but we thoroughly enjoy his game faces. Here Bergen, one of the Stuttgart Reds' top players, celebrates with pitcher Benedikt Schaeffer. Together the battery played a pivotal role in securing the Reds' place in the Bundesliga I for the 2019 season.
Iris Drobny is the team photographer of the Stuttgart Reds. She has been their go-to shooter for both baseball and softball since her oldest son started playing in the team's youth league. Her assistant on the field is her husband and, together, the whole family makes a day at the park equal parts work and play for all who have the privilege of knowing them. You can see more of Drobny's work, which has expanded to coverage most of the city's sports leagues, on her website: Drobny Photography.
In 2018, the Bonn Capitals won their first German Bundesliga championship in the team's 29-year history. The battle was hotly contested and, in fact, the team was not awarded their prize immediately due to a protested game 6 by the opposition.
It would be 10 days before the Capitals could officially receive their shiny talisman. That didn't stop these guys from sending their coach, and fellow baller over the previous 8 seasons, BJ Roper-Hubbert home dowsed in love.
Thomas Schönenborn is the team photographer for both the Cologne Cardinals baseball and Bonn Capitals baseball, and softball, teams. He has also been asked to cover international events in Germany on behalf of the DBV. To see more of Thomas' work, visit his Instagram account: Thomas on Instagram.
It is important to have fun at work and these two women are your leading example for next time you're on rake duty. Vermins' pitcher Claudia Volkmann teaches her youthful counterpart how to be a team player when the game is through.
Connie Theisen is a German photographer located near Cologne. During the season she travels with the Wesseling Vermins and the German National Softball Team.
In early August Federico Cortini faced off against a baseball and came out a little worse for the wear. The Redskins Imola team photographer, Lauro Bassani, captured the moment beautifully. If Cortini needed photographic evidence to take the ball to court over his broken nose, no doubt he'd win the case!
Lauro Bassani has been involved with Italy's teams since 1979. He was a player, then coach. Today's he happily remains involved capturing the moments that make baseball great. The Imola Redskins have been his club since their inception. Next season will mark his 40th with the team. In 2010 Bassani began photographing the game and in 2012 he started working with baseball websites across Italy, including the federation's site.
In September of 2018, the WBSC Europe hosted their first official tournament. The Super6 featured the top 6 baseball and softball teams across Europe. Included from the Women's Softball Championship in 2017 where Team Italy.
During one of the tournament's few moments of rain-free play, Corrado Benedetti captured Italy's catcher and team captain, Erika Piancastelli on the receiving end of a ball from a different position.
With a tournament average of .364 and a perfect fielding percentage in the tournament, Piancastelli made it clear that, behind the plate or beside it, she controls the ball.
Corrado Benedetti founded Old Man Agency and Duck Foto Press, both sports photography agencies. Benedetti has worked in collaboration with FIBS since 2002 and photographs for the Parma Gazette as well. In 2016 he produced a photography book on Italian baseball and in 2018, he completed a 2019 calendar of the baseball and softball national teams. You can view Corrado's work through: The Old Man Agency.
La Loggia team captain Chiara Blasi helps her mates suit up for their first game in the Women's European Cup. Biasi did her part throughout the tournament. In addition to leading the host team, she hit .333 over 6 games and left the event with both a W and a 1.31 ERA under her belt.
Chiara is also a national team player for Italy so this was far from her only tournament of the year. Here she played with her local team on an international stage. During the Super6 she was on Team Italy's bench where she batted .400 over 4 games.
Crisitiano Gatti works for both La Loggia and Grizzlies Torino photographing baseball and softball in Italy. He became an official photographer for FIBS in 2013 and won the ESF PhotoFEST in 2016. In 2017, he shot for the Women's Softball European Championship. Gatti works as a freelance sports photographer. You can view his full portfolio on his website: cristianogatti.com.
At EBSM we consider ourselves the luckiest staff on the planet to not only have access to Europe's best players, but to the photographers who capture their careers, no matter where that takes them. If you follow our In The MLB series, then you are absolutely familiar with the work of our next photographer.
On July 31, 2018, trying to outrun a throw from the outfield, Profar executed a textbook head-first slide into the base. He was then promptly reminded why it is always best to lead with the legs as the cleat of Yuli Gurriel descended upon his face. This closeup shows the lasting reminder Profar will carry with him to commemorate one of the harder lessons of the sport.
Video of the injury can be viewed through the MLB.
Prake Photography is run by Netherlands native Freek Bouw. Residing in Arizona since the 1990s, Bouw began his sports photography career when the national team arrived in Arizona for the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in 2013. In 2017, Prake Photography was the official shooter for the Dutch Federation's WBC training camps. He was credentialed to shoot his first MLB game later that same year. To see more of Freek's work, you can visit his website: Prake Photography.
Life's all about taking your shot. Kennemerland Rabbits Academy player Leandro Anasagasti didn't hesitate when his opportunity came a knockin'. The 17-year old Junior National Team player was called up to the bigs in 2018 to take his spot on the Hoofddorp Pioniers lineup. It was a rebuilding year for the club and they turned to the next generation to get the job done. There Anasagasti was put to work appearing in 35 games where he closed regular season play with a .909 fielding percentage and the 5th best batting average on the team.
In addition to his spot on the Pioniers' bench Anasagasti helped the U-18 national team take home the European Championship batting in four mates throughout the tournament. That accounted for 26% of the team's scoring in the competition. He also went 2-3 and scored in both opportunities on base during the final.
Paul Stodart is not only the official photographer for Great Britain Baseball, as a resident of the Netherlands, he has become the local photographer for several sports. You can review his work on his website: Photo Stodart.
Thus ends another unbelievable year of sports moments captured for all to revel in, at will, until the day when the opening shots of spring training begin trickling across the net for you to enjoy.
If you know a local photographer, remember to thank them for their time and attention. Most do this more for love than money and we here at EBSM believe firmly it is that passion that creates the shots we all look forward to seeing year-after-year.