Stingy Defense

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East Stroudsburg University faced West Chester University in a double-header softball game Monday afternoon. West Chester is on a roll this season, but ESU played tough and was definitely stingy on defense. Each game was close: 3-1 and 3-2. Plays at the plate, like this one above, kept the games close and within reach.

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Gritty defense and a willingness to get dirty are key components of a strong defensive effort. They say that defense wins games. Not always, but it sure does help!

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Allowing only 6 runs in 14 innings against West Chester was a huge effort for this scrappy team. Solid defense kept them in the game and only one hit away from turning the tide the other way. This may have been Opening Day for Major League Baseball, but these women put an equally exciting game on the field today!

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Play at the Plate

in State College on Saturday, April 30, 2016.

In softball and baseball, there is nothing as exciting as a play at the plate! A run is at stake and the defense will do whatever is necessary to stop that score. The catcher, of course, is the one in harm’s way!

in State College on Saturday, April 30, 2016.

These images are of the most recent play at the plate I captured on Saturday, April 30th at Penn State University. Michigan was the visiting team and ranked #2 in the nation at the time. This play was the typical bang-bang kind of play that happened quickly. I was situated in the photo well beside the visiting team’s dugout down the third base side of the field. I was very aware of the situation and the locations of the base runners. I knew a play at the plate could happen but would it? Well, it did and I captured these photographs of the exciting action. You can see for yourself the result of the play by looking at the photos–especially the umpire in this last photo.

in State College on Saturday, April 30, 2016.

I have been fortunate to capture several of these exciting plays at the plate with my camera over the years. I recall one of Lafayette’s games against Navy in a baseball game. There were several others at Pleasant Valley and other local high school games in our area.┬áBut the one that I remember most fondly was one that happened with a Lehigh Valley Baseball Academy team. My son had just decided that year to make the switch to playing catcher. I was still not thrilled about his decision–after all, they don’t call the catcher’s equipment “tools of ignorance” for nothing! Well, I traveled to an LVBA game and watched my son behind the plate and in the very first inning there was a play at the plate. I knew I captured the play with my camera, but it was not until later when I saw the determined expression on his face that I knew I captured something special. I also realized then and there that James made the correct decision to be a catcher! There is nothing quite as exciting as a play at the plate. And if we sports photographers capture it correctly, quite a story it does tell!

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Michigan vs. Penn State Softball

in State College on Friday, April 29, 2016.

I spent the last two days photographing some incredible games on the softball field at State College. These women sure know how to put a game on the field and the action was incredible! The first half-inning ended with a failed attempted steal as shown in the photo above.

 

in State College on Friday, April 29, 2016.

Penn State face the two-seed, Michigan, in a matchup that was sure to be a test. Penn State matched up very nicely in this first game. This is exactly why the games need to be played. On paper, this matchup did not look like much, but the fist game was way more than some scribbled prediction on a flat piece of paper.

in State College on Friday, April 29, 2016.

Efforts like this make for some mighty long-lasting memories. Penn State should be proud of its softball team and players who played this weekend. It was a memorable experience for all of us fortunate enough to be there in person!

 

Sequence Shots

The new Nikon D5 shoots 12 frames per second. It produces a very cool sound when you stand on the shutter and shoot away! Timing, however, is my preferred method for shooting sports. Even after watching a batter for a few times I can often tell when they are going to swing or not. I certainly take the situation and the count into consideration, but subtle twitches and slight movement are very telling. Sometimes, however, it is nice to lay on the shutter and shoot a sequence of shots to capture the play. These sequence shots were taken on Saturday, April 16 as Penn State Softball defeated Maryland. Third Baseman, Shelby Miller, knocked down a ball in front of her. She had to take a couple steps to pick up the ball and throw it to first. It was a bang-bang play and Miller threw out the baserunner by half a step. It was awesome! Here are the sequence of shots that I captured. I love Miller’s expression after the play was over. She was like, yeah, just another routine out!

on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

 

 

Penn State Softball Wins Against Maryland Again!

on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

The Penn State Softball Team continued their winning ways on a beautiful Saturday afternoon against Maryland. It was a sellout crowd, which smashed the attendance record for the most spectators watching Penn State Softball!

on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

This time they started out in front with a 2-run first inning. They never looked back and posted a 4-0 shutout victory.

on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

Alyssa VanDerveer socked a homerun for the teams fourth homerun in two days. There was no doubt about this one!

on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

The team is gaining momentum as they approach the final stretch of the season. This timing is perfect before the Big 10 Championships, which will be hosted at Penn State University for the first time!
on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

Penn State Softball Wins Over Maryland

on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

The Penn State Softball Team won 9-6 over Maryland last night in an exciting game featuring three homeruns! I had the privilege of shooting the game from the photo wells beside the dugouts.

on Friday, April 15, 2016.

The Lions had to come back from a 1-0 deficit but quickly matched the score and then broke out in rally fashion.

on Friday, April 15, 2016.

Three homeruns in one inning attributed to the amazing rally leading the Lions to their victory.

on Friday, April 15, 2016.

on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

Photo of the Month for May

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At the beginning of each month I enjoy going back over the photos from the previous month. My goal is to pick the best photograph or moment captured with my camera to display as “The Photo of the Month.” Sometimes the competition is stiff. Other times, one photograph stands out easily above the rest.

The grand slam in baseball is one of the most exciting moments of them all! Down 4-1, Madison Shaneberger came to the plate with the bases loaded. You can read what happened here: http://www.perfectgamephotos.com/Photo%20of%20the%20Month.htm

PV Lady Bears Win PIAA District 11 Semi-Final!

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The Pleasant Valley Softball Team was victorious in the rain-delayed PIAA District 11 Semi-Final against Bangor at Patriot Park on Wednesday night! They now advance to the Championship Game tomorrow night against Parkland. (You can view more photos of this game here.)

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Yesterday’s game resumed with two outs in the bottom of the first inning with a PV runner on first base. Bangor got out of the inning but trailed the game 4-0 going into the top of the second inning.

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Bangor did fight back by putting three runs on the board, but PV responded with four more runs to seal the deal and advance to the Championship Game. They broke a school record by earning their 20th game win of the season. They face Parkland tomorrow for the District Title at Patriot Park in Allentown.

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Pleasant Valley Advances in PIAA District 11 Softball Playoffs

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The Pleasant Valley Bears Softball Team continued their destiny this season sparked by a dramatic grand slam by Madison Shaneberger in the bottom of the sixth inning. PV was trailing Freedom 4-1 going into their half of the sixth inning but they did not give up nor would they be denied. Shaneberger connected on the second pitch of her at-bat and drove the ball deep and over the fence in left-center field where the PV football team was cheering for the Lady Bears.

Both of these photographs were published in today’s Pocono Record and accompanied a story about the exciting game written by Joe Miegoc.

Crystal Morales slides across home plate for the first run in the game…

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Hit by Pitch – in Softball & Baseball!

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Do these two photographs look similar? They were published in the Pocono Record about one year apart.

Both batters were hit by an inside pitch that completely knocked their helmet off their head! It was a scary moment in each game, but both players were able to stay in the game, none too much for the wear.

Softball and baseball can be a scary game at times, but these athletes take it all in stride. They expect a lot of themselves and put some incredible talent between the lines at every game. Our hats should be off to them (seriously!).

Here is the sequence of photos from each batter getting hit by the pitch:

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