Covid Forces Cancellation of OWB's 2021 HS Europe Trip
As a result of the slow Covid-19 vaccine rollout in Europe and the continuing uncertainty surrounding European travel, we have been forced to cancel our annual high school trip to Europe for the 2nd consecutive year. While this is very disappointing, we are looking forward to the 2022 trip, which will be our 10th HS trip.
OWB Completes 9th Annual Europe Trip
OWB's 9th annual HS trip to Europe, which ran from June 27 - July 8, included 20 players, 6 coaches, 4 countries (Austria, Slovakia, Czechia and Germany), 7 cities and towns (Vienna, Bratislava, Trebic, Prague, Dresden, Hamburg and Berlin), 10 games and 3 national team opponents (the Slovakian Men's National Team and the 18U National Teams from Czechia and Germany). For the first time in OWB's 9-year history, OWB finished the trip undefeated, with an impressive 8-0-2 record against high-quality competition. OWB is already accepting registrations for its 10th anniversary Europe trip, which will run in the summer of 2020. If you are interested in participating in OWB's 2020 trip, please email Stephan Rapaglia (CoachPags@oldworldbaseball.com).
OWB Completes 8th Annual Europe Trip
OWB's 8th annual HS trip to Europe, which ran from June 28 - July 9, included 22 players, 3 countries (Germany, Austria and Italy), 8 cities and towns (Tuebingen, Nuremberg, Regensburg, Innsbruck, Venice, Siena, Monterrigioni and Florence), 9 games and 6 opponents (the Tuebingen Hawks, a 2nd Bundesliga team from Germany, and the 18U National Teams from Germany, Czechia, France, Great Britain and Italy). The 2018 OWB team finished with an impressive 7-1-1 record against high-quality competition, with the only being a 5-4 nailbiter to Italy in the final game. OWB's staff included Justin Cronk (former college head coach), Stan Exeter (current college head coach), Tom Gillespie (current MLB scout and German 18U national team head coach), Stephan Rapaglia (former pro and international head coach, as well as college assistant coach), and Alan Dean (strength and conditioning coach for the Great Britain National Team).
OWB Successfully Completes 2017 HS Trip
OWB's roster for its 7th annual HS trip to Europe consisted of 20 baseball players from all over the USA, including 16 preparing to begin their first year in college, 2 current college players and 2 rising HS seniors. The 2017 trip, which ran from July 5-16, included time in Switzerland (Zurich area), Germany (Konstanz, Neuschwanstein, Munich and Regensburg) and the Czech Republic (Prague and Kutna Hora). Our opponents consisted of the Swiss senior (i.e., men's) national team, the German 18U national team and the Czech 18U and 23U national teams. The 2017 OWB team was the strongest offensive team that OWB has ever fielded, and the team finished with a solid 7-2 record. If you would like more information about participating in a future OWB trip, please contact Stephan Rapaglia via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
OWB's Tom Gillespie Cited in Gift Ngoepe MLB Promotion Article
OWB previously noted that Tom Gillespie played a key role in reuniting South Africa's Ngoepe brothers (Gift and Victor) in the Pittsburgh Pirates' organization, with OWB's Tom Gillespie being the international scout responsible for signing Victor. Older brother Gift has now become the first African-born player to make the big leagues, and Tom is cited in some of the first articles about Gift's promotion. One interesting side note about Gift's promotion is that he replaced the Dovydas Neverauskas on the active roster; Neverauskas is the first Lithuanian-born player to reach the big leagues in over 70 years, and he had been promoted just a few days earlier. http://m.mlb.com/news/article/226598902/pirates-promote-south-african-gift-ngoepe/ and https://www.milb.com/milb/news/pirates-call-up-ngoepe-from-triple-a/c-226602296/t-185364810
OWB's Stephan Rapaglia Participates in 2016 World Baseball Classic Qualifier
At the invitation of current Great Britain Head Coach Liam Carroll, Stephan Rapaglia served as a special advisor to GB's 2016 WBCQ team. The 2016 WBCQ took place in September at the Brooklyn Cyclones' stadium in Coney Island, NY, and GB finished in 2nd place (defeating Pakistan and Brazil, and losing to Israel in the final). GB's roster included a dozen current and former professional players, including players with MLB experience such as Michael Roth and Antoan Richardson, and the coaching staff included Hall of Fame member Trevor Hoffman. Stephan is a former GB head coach (2004-2010), and he also served as GB's bench coach for the 2012 WBCQ. During the 2016 WBCQ mini-camp, Stephan worked alongside his former GB player (and ex-NY Mets catcher) Mike Nickeas.
OWB's Tom Gillespie Plays Key Role in Reuniting Ngoepe Brothers
MLB.com recently published a great article on South Africa's Ngoepe brothers (Gift and Victor) who are now both in the Pittsburgh Pirates' organization, with OWB's Tom Gillespie being the international scout responsible for signing Victor. Older brother Gift was the first black South African to sign a professional baseball contract, as well as the first to make the 40-man roster of any MLB team. http://m.mlb.com/news/article/168958928/ngoepe-brothers-back-together-with-pirates
OWB's Tom Gillespie Leads German 18U National Team in 2016 European Championships
Just a few months after being named Head Coach of the German Junior National Team, OWB's Tom Gillespie led the team to the Bronze Medal in the 2016 European Championships. This was Germany's best EC finish in decades. OWB will face the German Junior National Team again during OWB 2017 trip. Tom is also in charge of the German 23U National Team.
Smithsonian Publishes Article on 2013 OWB Trip Destination
Smithsonian.com recently published a great article on baseball in Regensburg, Germany, which is one of OWB's 2013 trip destinations. Regensburg is a UNESCO World Heritage City, and OWB is scheduled to visit Regensburg on July 14 and July 16, with a game scheduled in Regensburg's top-quality stadium on the latter date. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/Eins-Zwei-Drei-Strikes-Youre-Out-at-the-Ol-Ballgame-209500261.html#German-Baseball-Armin-Wolf-Arena-1.jpg
2013 OWB Trip Successfully Completed
OWB's 2013 trip to Europe is now complete. OWB's team of 22 ballplayers from around the U.S. finished its tour with a 6-4-1 record against a combination of European national and "major league: teams. The game results for the 2013 trip are also available on the "2013 High School Trip" page. Travel destinations included France (Paris), Germany (Munich and Regensburg) and the Czech Republic (Prague).
Follow OWB on Social Media
You can also keep track of OWB's 2013 trip and other OWB news via the following forms of social media:
*Gamechanger: 2013 trip boxscores will be available via Gamechanger at http://gc.io/team-51a8e688de0b8838ba565dbb. Old World Baseball Summer 13 is the team name. Boxscores will be posted as soon as feasible after games are completed.
Matt Kozemchak (OWB 2013) Gets Press for OWB in Philly
Just prior to OWB's 2013 trip to Europe, the Philadelphia Daily News wrote a piece about Lehigh-bound P/OF Matt Kozemchak. Daily News writer Ted Hilary correctly noted that OWB's schedule would include 11 games against various European opponents. Matt was one of four NCAA D1-bound players on OWB's 2013 roster, and he performed at a very high level throughout the trip.
Play Global! to Roll Out 2014 Project in Uganda
Play Global!, a non-profit started by OWB co-founder Tom Gillespie, is finalizing its first major project. Play Global! will be build five batting cages and run a coaching clinic in Uganda in the spring of 2014. The misson of Play Global! is to develop respect and teamwork through baseball. Play Global! teaches baseball to coaches and youth in developing countries and areas of conflict. Learn more and help at www.play-global.org.
OWB/SHU 2017 College Summer Program Cancelled
In partnership with Sacred Heart University (SHU), OWB planned to run a European study abroad/baseball program in summer 2017 with 3 college credits, high-level games (against national and/or top-level club teams) and European club tryout opportunities. Unfortunately, the program will not run in 2017, but OWB hopes to run the program in 2018. Information regarding the cancelled 2017 program is available via the following link, and you can also contact Stephan Rapaglia (email@example.com) for more information: https://sacredheart-sa.terradotta.com/index.cfm?FuseAction=Programs.ViewProgram&Program_ID=32637
OWB Completes Successful 2016 HS Trip
In July 2016, OWB completed its 6th annual HS trip to Europe. The 2016 trip, with 21 players from all over the US, included 12 days of travel and competition in 4 foreign countries, 9 foreign cities, 10 games, 3 18U national team opponents, 2 bike tours, 1 boat tour and countless steps climbed and miles walked! The team finished with a 6-4 record against the French, Dutch and German 18U National Teams, but the 2016 team was most notable for the manner in which the players embraced the European experience, interacted with their European counterparts and consistently demonstrated maturity, intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm.
2011 OWB Alum Parker Tew Finishes Stellar MIT Career
Parker Tew, an alum of OWB's first-ever HS trip to Europe finished a stellar career at MIT in May 2015. In a 2015 season that saw MIT reach the NCAA Regionals for the 3rd consecutive season, Parker led the nation in doubles (27) and batted .387 with 9 HRs and 51 RBIs. Parker was named the MVP of the 2015 NEWMAC tournament, as well as 3rd team All-American ABCA and 1st team CoSida Academic All-American. Parker was also a 2015 team captain, 1st team All-NEWMAC and 2nd team All-New England.
OWB Completes Successful 2015 HS Trip
OWB recently completed its 5th annual HS trip to Europe. The 2015 trip, which included 20 players from 11 different states (and Canada), visited the Czech Republic, Germany and Belgium. Over the course of 12 days, OWB played 10 games against 3 different European national teams and the top club team in Germany. Trip participants spent time in Prague, Terezin, Pilsen, Regensburg, Munich, Heidelberg, Ghent and Antwerp. If you would like more information about the 2016 trip, please contact Stephan Rapaglia via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Play-Global Participates in Baseball for All
Tom Gillespie of Old World Baseball has another venture, Play Global - a non-profit using baseball to bring people together in areas of conflict. Most recently, Tom and Play Global participated in a Baseball for All event in Israel - the first-ever baseball program for both Jewish and Arab Israeli children. Check out the article below from Israel and see recent news from there, Uganda, Kenya, and more on Play Global's Facebook page. http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Sports/Israeli-baseball-bringing-Jewish-and-Arab-youth-together-393807.
OWB and CBLE Strike Agreement
Old World Baseball and Collegiate Baseball League Europe (CBLE) have reached a collaboration agreement to advance their respective programs as well as the development of European baseball. CBLE, initiated in 2012, provides a high level summer competitive and showcase opportunity for US players aged 18-23 and continues to expand. CBLE has a partnership agreement with the prestigious Northwoods League in the USA. The CBLE 2015 season runs from July 6 – 24. For more information about CBLE, visit www.cble.org.
OWB's 2014 European Opponents Finishing Strong
Several of OWB's 2014 opponents continued their seasons with great success after competing with OWB in July. The Great Britain 18U team finished 2nd in their tournament, qualifying for the 2015 18U European Championships, and the Czech 21U team won the 21U European Championships. At the club level, Kotlarka Prague reached the Czech top league finals, while the Leksand Lumberjacks reached the Swedish top league finals. In an interesting twist, a few members of the Swedish 18U coaching staff competed (as players) against Leksand in the Swedish finals. The Swedish 18U team was another OWB 2014 opponent.
2014 OWB Trip Participant Brendan Donohue Gets Good Press
Two recent articles in Connecticut newspapers focused on Brendan Donohue's European experiences with OWB in 2014.
http://www.dariennewsonline.com/sports/article/Darien-baseball-players-square-off-in-England-5671734.php and http://blog.ctnews.com/dncsports/2014/08/05/catching-up-with-darien-baseball-captain-brendan-donohue/. In an incredible coincidence, in a game against the Great Britain 18U national team, Brendan actually faced one of his Darien HS (CT) teammates, who was pitching for the GB 18Us as a dual passport-holder.
PlayGlobal! Rolls Out 2014 Uganda Project
Play Global!, a non-profit started by OWB's Tom Gillespie, is finalizing its first major project. With financial assistance from MLB's Derek Lee, Play Global! has already begun installing batting cages in Uganda, and Play Global! recently conducted extensive baseball clinics in that country as well. A recent press release announced "Play Global! teamed up with Commonwealth Games Canada, the Roberto Clemente Foundation and Little League Canada. Together, these organizations – called the Pearl of Africa Series 2 – shipped the batting cages and other needed baseball equipment to Uganda, and arranged for expert coaches to conduct training clinics there. Play Global! is running a long-term distance education program for Ugandan baseball coaches, and its partner agencies have created a transportation fund to make sure that young players can make it to their games." http://allafrica.com/stories/201408183175.html. Learn more and help at www.play-global.org .
OWB Completes Very Successful 2014 Trip
OWB recently completed a very successful 2014 trip to England, Sweden and the Czech Republic. The trip, which ran from July 5 thru July 18, involved 2 OWB teams, 32 OWB players, 4 countries, 6 cities, 5 flights, 19 games, 9 international opponents, 2 formal tours, 2 castle visits and 1 karaoke night! This year's trip, which was the first time OWB took 2 teams to Europe, was also OWB's most successful on the ballfield. The OWB Lords finished 8-2, and the OWB Knights nearly matched the Lords, finishing 7-3. If you would like information about the 2015 Europe trip, please contact Stephan Rapaglia via email (email@example.com).
OWB/Amherst Connection Still Going Strong
In the last couple of weeks, John Cook (OWB 2011/Amherst 2015) and Conner Gunn (OWB 2012/Amherst 2016) have respectively won NESCAC pitcher of the week and player of the week honors. As of this writing, Amherst is 21-5, Cook currently has a remarkable 46 Ks and only 3 BBs in 35 innings, and Gunn his hitting .330 with 17 RBIs.
OWB Alumni Meet in Early Season Contest
Earlier in the 2013 season, two alumni of OWB's 2012 Europe trip had a reunion of sorts when the Pomona College (Sean McCoy) faced the University of Redlands (Andrew Petersdorf). See the photo below. This, of course, is just one of many examples of OWB alumni facing each other in intercollegiate competition over the last couple of years. There are several OWB alumni attending historical rivals such as Amherst and Williams, and Haverford and Swarthmore, and many other OWB alumni have found themselves playing in the same athletic conferences.
Numerous WBC Connections for OWB
Old World Baseball had a number of connections with the recently completed World Baseball Classic. The Netherlands, a WBC semi-finalist, is the same team that OWB co-founder Stephan Rapaglia (then field manager of the Great Britain National Team) coached against in the final of the 2007 European Championships, and one of Stephan's former teammates with Rotterdam Neptunus (1993 Dutch national champions) was a member of The Netherlands' WBC coaching staff (Wim Martinus). Several of the players on the WBC roster for the Netherlands have played for the Amsterdam Pirates, OWB game hosts each of the past two years. And, in 2012, OWB faced Bayron Cornellise, a Dutch pitcher who was on The Netherlands' provisional WBC roster.
Stephan's GB National Team also went head-to-head with Team Italy in the 2005 European Championships, Team Spain in the 2007 European Championships, Team Cuba (with Yoennis Cespedes and Yuliesky Gourriel) in the 2009 Baseball World Cup and Ernie Whitt's/Larry Walker's Team Canada in the 2012 World Baseball Classic Qualifier in Regensburg, Germany. Team Italy players Alexander Maestri, Alex Liddi, and Luca Panerati were at the MLB European Academy while Tom Gillespie was on the Academy's coaching staff (with Team China coaches Art Howe and Bruce Hurst, Team China field manager John McLaren, and Team Brazil field manager Barry Larkin). Tom has also worked often at various camps and clinics across Europe and in South Africa with Team Italy pitching coach Bill Holmberg.
Finally, Tom was quoted in the official WBC game program in a feature about the development of baseball in Uganda.
OWB/Amherst Connection Reaches NCAA Tournament
Three OWB alumni were members of the Amherst College team that finished 3rd in the 2013 NCAA regional tournament in Auburn, NY: John Cook (Amherst '15/OWB '11), Jack Falvey (Amherst '15/OWB '11), and Conner Gunn (Amherst '16/OWB '12): Cook finished 6-2 as one of Amherst's starting pitchers, and Gunn hit .328 in 34 starts as a first-year player. OWB's other Amherst connections consist of Jack Falvey (Amherst '15/OWB '11), OWB Co-Founder Stephan Rapaglia (Amherst '92) and OWB Head Coach Justin Cronk (Amherst ' 96).
OWB's Co-Founder Forms Baseball Development Non-Profit
Tom Gillespie has established a new non-profit organization (Play Global!) the mission of which is to develop respect and teamwork through baseball. Play Global! teaches baseball to coaches and youth in developing countries and areas of conflict. Play Global believes that, by learning the game of baseball, kids in such counties and areas can learn to see past their differences, respect others and work as a team. Visit www.play-global.org for more information.
OWB's Co-Founder Assists Ugandan Baseball and Softball Federation
Tom Gillespie recently returned from Uganda after spending a week running coach and player clinics for the Ugandan Baseball and Softball Federation. In 2010, Tom spent time in Uganda working many of the members of the Uganda Little League team that qualified for the LLWS.
OWB 2012 Trip Successfully Completed
OWB's 2012 trip to Europe (July 9 - 19, 2012) has now ended, and it was a great success. The trip included 9 games in 10 days and visits to 8 cities in 3 countries. The OWB team stayed in modern hotels and historic castles, and team activities included walking tours in Amsterdam and Antwerp, as well as bike tours through Bruges and the surrounding Belgian countryside and along the Rhine River in Germany. OWB's opponents included strong national teams (Dutch 18U, Czech 21U and Belgian Senior) and German "major league" teams, including the reigning German champion. While OWB could not close the door on any victories, virtually all of the games were very competitive, and the players had an excellent baseball experience. OWB was fortunate enough to have a team consisting of a very impressive group of young men, each of whom has a great future ahead of him, both on and off the field. Click on the "2012 High School Trip" link for more details.
OWB Co-Founder Joins Pirates Organization as European Scout
OWB Co-Founder Tom Gillespie recently took a position with the Pittsburgh Pirates as a professional scout for the team in Europe. Among many other responsibilities, Tom previously was a professional scout in Europe for the Oakland A's.
Belgian Men's National Team Announces Games against OWB
In a recent press release, the Belgian Men's National Team announced that its 2012 training schedule will include games against Old World Baseball on July 14 and 15. In 2011, OWB split a 2-game set with the Belgians (a rain-shortened 3-0 win, and an 8-4 defeat), and the teams were well-matched. The full press release is available at
The Netherlands Wins 2012 Baseball World Cup
The Netherlands recently made baseball history by winning the 2012 Baseball World Cup, a tournament which included USA, Cuba, Japan, Korea, Canada and all of the world's other top baseball-playing nations. The Netherland's road to the title included 2 wins over Cuba, including a 2-1 victory in the tournament finale, and a 7-5 defeat of Team USA. This remarkable achievement was acknowledged by victory parades in Holland, and it is a tremendous milestone for European baseball.
OWB's Co-Founder Cited in ESPN.com Article
ESPN.com recently featured an article by Leander Schaerlaeckens entitled "American Pastime Rising in Europe. Stephan Rapaglia is quoted multiple times in the article, along with European baseball luminaries such as Bert Blyleven and Robert Eenhorn. The full article is available at: http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/6948276/mlb-baseball-europe-take-off.
OWB's Co-Founder Assists Ugandan LLWS Team
Tom Gillespie ran coaching and player clinics in Mpigi, Uganda for two weeks in 2010, where he worked directly with the players and coaches who recently qualified for the 2011 Little League World Series. ESPN recently featured the Ugandan team, and the story is available at http://search.espn.go.com/uganda-baseball/videos/6. Tom returned to Uganda in February 2013 (see story above) to build on the team's recent success.
OWB's Inaugural Europe Trip Successfully Completed
OWB's July 2011 High School Trip involved visits to 7 cities in 3 countries, with games against 4 different national teams. Click 2011 High School Trip and 2011 High School Trip - Daily Reports for more details.
Four European Teams Included in 2012 WBC Qualifier
MLB has announced that four European teams will be included in the 2012 qualifying event for the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Czech Republic, France, Germany and Great Britain will join Italy and Holland as the European representatives in the WBC. In Great Britain's announcement of its inclusion in the WBC qualifying event, special thanks were given to OWB's Stephan Rapaglia. According to Jason Greenberg, the current GM of the Great Britain National Team, "[s]pecial thanks must go to Stephan Rapaglia and Alan Smith, without whom none of us would be celebrating this terrific news today. Stephan and Alan have laboured on behalf of Great Britain Baseball for the better part of a decade, and it is largely because of their efforts that Team GB is ranked 21st in the world."
Major League Baseball in Amsterdam in 2014?
According to www.mister-baseball.com, MLB is seeking to play 3 regular-season MLB games in Europe in 2014. At the moment, it appears that Amsterdam and nearby Hoofdorp are the frontrunners to host the games, but Rome (Italy) and Regensburg (Germany) are also in contention. These would be the first MLB games ever played in Europe.
A's Sign Andy Paz-Garriga
The Oakland Athletics recently announced the signing of French catcher Andy Paz-Garriga. Paz-Garriga, an 18 year-old who currently plays for Stade Toulousain in the French Elite League, was scouted and signed by Old World Baseball's Tom Gillespie. According to www.mister-baseball.com, Paz-Garriga is only the third French player to have been signed by a MLB organization.
European Prospects in the News
The February 23, 2011 edition of MLB.com has articles about two former European Junior National Team players. Kai Gronauer is a catcher in the Mets organization who is a former member of the German Junior National Team (and current member of the German Senior National Team). And, Loek van Mil is a pitcher in the Angels organization who is a former member of the Dutch Junior National Team (and current member of the Dutch Senior National Team). The article regarding Gronauer includes a quote from another catcher in the Mets organization, Mike Nickeas, who played for Old World Baseball's Stephan Rapaglia on the silver medal-winning Great Britain Senior National Team at the 2007 European Championships.
OWB Co-Founder Participates in WBCQ
OWB Co-Founder Stephan Rapaglia recently participated in MLB's World Baseball Classic Qualification tournament as the bench coach for the Great Britain Men's National Team. GB finished third in the WBCQ, which was held in September 2012 in Regensburg, Germany. The GB roster included several current professional baseball players, including top prospects such as Chris Reed (Dodgers), Jacob Esch (Marlins) and Michael Roth (Angels). Stephan was the head coach of the GB National Team from 2004 - 2010, during which time GB earned the silver medal at the 2007 European Championships and an appearance in the 2009 Baseball World Cup, and Stephan was asked by current GB head coach Sam Dempster to rejoin the GB staff for the WBCQ.
NYT Covers Baseball in Rouen - OWB 2011 Trip Destination
The New York Times recently featured the Rouen Huskies baseball club in Rouen, France. OWB spent a few days in Rouen during OWB's 2011 trip, with the Huskies as the host club. The article gives a good flavor for the nature of European domestic baseball, where baseball generally remains a low-profile sport that is played solely for the love of the game, even at the highest levels.
A recent article in the Ridgefield (CT) Press discussed the participation of Ryan Callanan and OWB Co-Founder Stephan Rapaglia in the 2012 OWB Trip. Ryan and Stephan both reside in Ridgefield. Ryan starred for OWB on the mound, and he is now a first-year at Lafayette College.
Netherlands to Host First MLB Games In Europe
Mister-Baseball.com has reported that the first MLB games to be played in Europe will be hosted by the Netherlands. OWB's 2011 and 2012 trips included games in the Netherlands, and participants in the 2012 trip also had the chance to see Team USA play Team Taiwan during the Haarlem Honkbal Week.
German Baseball Stadium Described as "Hidden Gem of Europe"
Regensburg's Armin-Wolf baseball stadium has received recognition in the NY Times as a "hidden gem of Europe.http://travel.nytimes.com/2012/10/14/travel/hidden-gems-of-europe.html?ref=travel. OWB will visit Regensburg during its 2013 trip and is schedule to play a game in Armin-Wolf Stadium.