WBSC Europe presented the European Individual Awards

WBSC Europe presented the European Individual Awards
During the WBSC Europe General Congress, the WBSC Europe Baseball Commission handed the 2021 awards to the players, coaches, and officials. The WBSC Europe Softball Commission announced three inductees in its Hall of Fame. For the first time, the baseball and softball European awards were allocated at the same time and place.

Baseball Europe assigned the awards of Federation of the Year Award to the Israeli Baseball Federation, after they participated in the 2021 Olympic Games.

Mr. Alessandro Spera from Italy was proclaimed WBSC Europe Baseball Umpire of the Year. One more prizewinner comes from Italy: Mr. Stefano Burato is the 2021 WBSC Europe Baseball Coach of the Year.

The Dutch Ms. Linda Steijger has been awarded as WBSC Europe Baseball Scorer of the Year. Mr. Fred van Groningen Schinkel, also from the Netherlands, won the Xavier Mateu Award.

Softball Europe Hall of Fame welcomes three new members; two players - Mr. Brett Gibbens and Ms. Stephanie Jardine, and one Umpire Mr. Christopher Moon

The new members' induction into the Hall of Fame was announced at the WBSC Europe Congress in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on February 11th, 2022. The celebrational induction will take place during the year on the field at one of the Softball Europe events.

Mr. Brett Gibbens (GBR) - Softball Europe Hall of Fame - Player 
Brett Gibbens took part in the European Co-ed Slowpitch Championships listed below, all of which were won by Great Britain:  

  • 2000 in Dublin, Ireland;
  • 2002 in Mlady Buky, Czech Republic;
  • 2004 in Linz, Austria;
  • 2006 in Ljubljana, Slovenia;
  • 2008 in Southampton, Great Britain;
  • 2010 in Prague, Czech Republic;
  • 2013 in Pardibuce, Czech Republic.

Gibbens also played for the British club team Chromies in Coed Slowpitch European Super Cup in 2010 in Ljubljana, where Chromies won the gold medal, and in 2012 in Pardubice, where they took silver.

He finished his international career playing for Team Europe at the Border Battle in Kitchener, Canada in 2014.

Being also a former high-level rugby player, Gibbens was an outstanding athlete, combining speed, courage, and a powerful throwing arm to make spectacular plays in the outfield.

Current GB Slowpitch Assistant Coach David Lee, who played with Brett in a number of European Championships, writes: “Brett’s flair for the dramatic was backed up with his ability to raise his game under pressure. He was always the go-to hitter for GB when things were tight.”

Former GB Slowpitch Head Coach Mark Saunders writes, “Once he joined the GB Co-ed Slowpitch Team in 1999, Brett quickly became the most feared power hitter in Europe. No one trained harder or committed to themselves to the programme more fully than Brett.”

Ms. Stephanie Jardine (GBR) - Softball Europe Hall of Fame - Player 
Stephanie Jardine took part in the European Co-ed Slowpitch Championships listed below, all of which were won by Great Britain:  

  • 1998 in London, Great Britain;
  • 2000 in Dublin, Ireland;
  • 2002 in Mlady Buky, Czech Republic;
  • 2004 in Linz, Austria;
  • 2011 in Dupnitsa, Bulgaria.

There were two main reasons why Jardine took a break from GB Slowpitch between 2004 and 2011:

  • At the age of 28, she decided to take up the challenge of playing fastpitch, made the GB Women’s Team, and played for GB in the European Women’s Championship in 2005 and the ISF World Championship in Beijing in 2006.
  • She then had a baby before returning for a final outing with GB Slowpitch in 2011.

In between, however, Jardine won a gold medal with her club team, Baker Tomkins, at the second Coed Slowpitch European Super Cup in Dupnitsa, Bulgaria, in 2008.

Stephanie Jardine was the ultimate utility player, capable of playing outstandingly in the infield, outfield and as a catcher, a position which is often undervalued in slowpitch but to which Stephanie added a huge amount of value. She was one of the best women slowpitch players in England over more than 20 years, starting in the early 1990s, and was a player who maximised her skills through hard work and intelligence. 

But beyond her playing skills, Jardine was always the most vocal and visible of team leaders, an inspiration for her teams. 

She was at the heart of the Baker Tomkins team that won four straight national titles in the late 1990s and the 2000 Coed Slowpitch European Championship, she dominated the tournament, batting .714 and making the game-saving catch in the only game GB threatened to lose.

Jardine played for the GB Slowpitch Team in three different decades, one of only two players to do so. In her late 20s, she took up fastpitch, and against all odds became a regular starter and a fine defensive first base player on a steadily improving GB Women's Fastpitch Team until she left the programme in 2006.

Former GB Slowpitch Team Head Coach Mark Saunders writes, “Steph was one of those players you never wanted to play against and always wanted to play with. She was the ultimate team player, always supportive, always encouraging, and incredibly consistent both with the bat and glove. She did an amazing job of injecting energy into the team in all circumstances. Although not a power hitter she was the perfect Number 2 hitter in a line-up, spraying the ball to all fields and always on base for the big guns coming up behind.”

Mr. Christopher Moon (GBR) - Softball Europe Hall of Fame - Umpire 

Christopher Moon was a qualified Rugby Union referee before becoming involved in softball umpiring, first at league level and then qualifying as a national-level official through the British Association of Softball Umpires (BASU) in 2005.

  • 2005-2020: British Association of Softball Umpires (BASU) Umpire
  • 2010-2016: European Softball Federation Umpire
  • 2011-2021: British Softball Federation Technical Officer
  • 2012-2020: British Association of Softball Umpires (BASU) Training Officer
  • 2013-2016: International Softball Federation Umpire
  • 2016-2020: European Softball Federation Umpire in Chief

Since then, Moon has been highly active throughout British softball, predominantly in the slowpitch format (both single-gender and co-ed), typically umpiring more than 100 games each season and acting as Technical Officer / Umpire in Chief at Britain’s larger national events as well as at the Softball World Series tournament held annually in the UK, where he met many co-ed slowpitch softball teams from continental Europe for the first time.

Moon has been a Committee Member, Tutor and Mentor, and lately Training Officer for BASU, and was the appointed Technical Officer on the British Softball Federation Executive Board from 2011 to 2021.

Moon qualified as an ESF Umpire in 2010 and officiated at ESF Co-ed Slowpitch Cups and Championships, as well as at established events such as the Windmill Cup in The Netherlands until he became the lead UiC for slowpitch in Europe. Since then, he has continued with the task of introducing new umpires – including some conversions from fastpitch! – to the slowpitch discipline within the ESF.

In 2013 Moon qualified as an ISF Slowpitch Umpire and from 2014 through 2016 called at ISF Co-ed Slowpitch World Cups held in Plant City, Florida. He also developed close links with North American colleagues, friendships he made good use of by attending Softball Canada’s ‘Blues’ Convention to practice new training skills and welcoming Canadian slowpitch umpires here each year to take part in the annual ESF Exchange Programme. 

Ever since those first contacts at the Softball World Series, Christopher Moon had become known and respected by all the European slowpitch teams he has met and served. He called his last ESF game during the Coed Slowpitch European Super Cup 2016 in Wiener Neustadt, Austria, and retired, as umpires do, by ceremonially placing his cap on second base before leaving the field. The teams present came to the field and provided a spontaneous salute by forming an arch of bats held aloft for his walk from second base back to home plate for the last time. 

Moon was assigned, as Umpire in Chief, to the 2021 Co-ed Slowpitch European Championship and Co-ed Slowpitch European Super Cup.