Friday, June 26, 2009

Softball POY

Homestead pitcher Jacqui Matheis led the Spartans to a 29-1 record, undefeated regular season, a Class 4A No. 1 ranking and national rankings this season. She was among the state's leaders in earned run average, strikeouts and victories and for her accomplishments Matheis has been named The News-Sentinel's 2008-2009 Prep Sports Softball Player of the Year.
Photo by Chad Ryan.

Though I was not initially thrilled when I learned that I would have to add writing duties to my workload a couple of years back, I've become accustomed to it. Given a choice, I'd certainly prefer to go back to telling stories visually. Unfortunately, in these times that's not an option. But what I do appreciate about my current lot is the fact that when I write a story and shoot the photo I have almost complete control over the entire package. I make the decisions on everything except the design - that's another story for another day.

This week I wrote about Jacqui Matheis, a pitcher from Homestead High School's softball team that went undefeated during the regular season and gained national rankings. Matheis was named The News-Sentinel's Prep Sports Softball Player of the Year.

I photographed her in a couple of portrait settings and a couple of action sequences and made a few pictures that I liked. Jacqui was great to work with. She and catcher Nikki Wilson, who could have easily been named the POY herself, geared up in 90-plus heat and blistering sunshine to get in some practice and for the photo shoot. They even shook off my blunder that forced me to make a run to pick up a piece of gear and the cold bottles of Gatorade that I left at home (luckily just 3 miles away.)

In any case, I made a picture I can live with, I wrote a story I wasn't disappointed with and tonight I'll be shooting minor league baseball at Parkview Field. Things are lookin' pretty good from where I'm standing.

So, if you have a minute and the inclination, check out my story about Jacqui Matheis in the Prep Sports section of

Monday, June 22, 2009

It's not over 'til ...

June 20, 2009 - Indianapolis, Ind. - Spencer Anderson, lower left, reacts after safely sliding across home plate to score the game-winning run, as the Panthers and their fans erupt in celebration, to beat the Westfield Shamrocks 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning of the Class 4A state championship game on Saturday at Victory Field in Indianapolis.
Photo by Chad Ryan.

It's not over until it's over!

It's an old saying with may variations, and in the game of baseball it's just as true today as the first day it was said. Saturday, I covered the Indiana Class 4A state championship game between the Snider Panthers and the Westfield Shamrocks at Victory Field in Indianapolis.

Through the first six and two-thirds innings Westfield pitcher Kyle Kramp, a 45th round draftee of the San Francisco Giants, dominated. He allowed two hits and Snider didn't get its first hit until the fifth inning. But with two outs in the final inning, Indiana high school teams play seven innings, Snider found a way to get a run in. Then still holding a 2-1 lead, Kramp had Snider's Tom Zumbaugh down on an 0-2 count. But he hung a pitch over the plate just enough for Zumbaugh to make contact and it got through the infield for an RBI single to score the tying run. Kramp got out of the inning, but the game moved on to an extra frame.

Snider took advantage. Spencer Anderson hit a lead-off double on relief pitcher Nick Crouse then moved to third on a wild pitch. Westfield loaded the bases on two intentional walks with no outs. Snider catcher Alex Mitchell stepped up and delivered a sacrifice fly ball to right field that gave Anderson enough room to dive into home plate for the game-winner.

Through this tournament, Snider came back from late deficits, as much as six and seven runs, in the three games previous, but they looked like the gas was out of the tank throughout this game. This one looked like the final inning was just a formality, but Snider found a way ... again.

Check for stories and more photos.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Craziness in Chicago

I had no idea there were this many fans of Honduras Soccer in this country. I had to get to Soldier Field three hours early to get a parking spot that was within a quarter mile of the stadium. When I parked, I was surrounded by a sea of blue and white. Honduran fans everywhere, singing, dancing, beating drums, cooking and drinking. It was absolute insanity.

As I walked around there were spotty groups of American fans, but not near the number of those wearing blue. I encountered a large group of USA fans that were facing off against a large group of Honduras fans chanting and cheering. All I can say is I always knew that soccer fans get crazy and I've heard horror stories, but this atmosphere is quite different than anything I've experienced.

I'll post more photos later, but here are some from the scene outside Soldier Field Saturday afternoon.

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