My 10 Favorite Photos From the Champaign Regional in the NCAA Baseball Tournament

If you have followed this blog at all then you know that I like to look back at an event after I shoot it. I look at the photos that I made as well as the photos that I may have missed for one reason or another. Part of the process of getting better is looking at your work to see where you can improve. During that process I usually find a few photos that I like from the event. I spent three days making photos of both the Notre Dame Fighting Irish as well as the Ohio Bobcats. They were both great teams to work for, and I wish that they could have had more success. The fact that they were both there though was a great thing for both teams. I was honored to help them preserve those memories. Here are ten photos that I liked from my three days in Champaign, Illinois.

10. Due to the torrential rains I saw Wright State pitcher Jesse Scholtens pitch two days in a row. He pitched the first two innings of the elimination game against Ohio before pitching six more the next day when the game was resumed. That was an amazing pitching performance saving his teams bullpen. For some reason this look kept reminding me of the Oakland A’s of the early 1970’s. Even though I was shooting for Ohio I made a couple of photos of Jesse as he was warming up.

9. The Notre Dame player that I may have focused on more than any other was Cavan Biggio. I was a huge fan of his dad’s when he played for the Astros. When I went to Houston to see the Boiler basketball team play a few years ago I made it a point to go to Minute Maid Park to see the Biggio statue there. I made a lot of photos of Cavan that I liked, but this one I liked a little more for some reason. I like the son of a Hall of Famer in front of the sign for another Hall of Famer.

Ryan Bull is hit by a pitch during the NCAA Champaign Regional Game between Notre Dame and Illinois on May 31, 2015

8. Ryan Bull had a big series. He had a big home run in game one that set the tone for the game, and allowed the Irish to advance to the winner’s bracket. Here he is hit by a pitch during the Illinois game on Sunday. I like the anticipation on his face as he knows what is coming. I love these moments during a game.

7. I really enjoyed shooting some of the games from the position in right-center field. You get a cool look into the play that made for some different photos for me. I normally don’t get this view so I used it a lot during the first couple of days. Here Ryan Lidge makes contact against Wright State on Friday.

6. Here is another shot from the center field position. MAC player of the year Mitch Longo hits a ball right at my camera through the rain. This hit occurred just after a short rain delay, and as you can see the rain was still coming down a little.

5. Here Wright State shortstop Mitch Roman celebrates the final out against Notre Dame on Sunday night. This was the second elimination game that they won on Sunday. The next day Roman would be tossed from the game for arguing with the umpire as Wright State was eliminated by Illinois.

4. Here is a shot from the two innings that I shot on Saturday. Wright State shortstop Mitch Roman jumps over Ohio 1st baseman Jake Madsen while trying to turn a double play. There is something about Roman’s gesture in the air that I like here. It was a short day shooting, but I had a nice image from it.

Torii Hunter Jr. sits in the dugout prior to NCAA Champaign Regional Game between Notre Dame and Illinois on May 31, 2015

3. I think that I like this photo more than most people do. I was looking for a moment to photograph Torii Hunter Jr. during the weekend. He was not playing, but I wanted to make a photo of him. I saw an opportunity before the game against Illinois as he was hanging out near the edge of the dugout. I saw the NCAA logo in the background, and all I needed was Torii to look my way. He did not look at me, but he turned just enough as he blew this bubble for me to make a picture. I like this moment away from the action quite a bit.

A multi exposure of Ryan Smoyer pitching during the NCAA Champaign Regional Game between Notre Dame and Illinois on May 31, 2015

2. Sometimes I go tot he well too much with the multi-exposure function on my camera. During the games in Champaign though I had made plenty of pictures of Ryan Smoker from a few angles. I decided to give it a try. I found this sweet spot in his delivery that allowed me to make a tight shot. A small pan during the action also allowed me to separate each image from each other. I just like how this one turned out. Sadly I like it enough that i might try some more in the future while panning.

1. During the five games that I covered I made a few photos of plays at the plate. This was the one that I liked the most. I love the way that they rubber from the turf flies up to meet the rain coming down from the sky. The players hand on the plate at the catchers glove hits his side is nice as well. This was a big moment for Wright State that I was able to capture. This was the last game that I covered on the weekend, and I think that I was just hitting my stride. I seemed to be getting more and more dialed in as the weekend moved on. Looking through the countdown I see that many of the photos came from the final Sunday where three games were played. I think that I just kept trying things as the weekend went on, and the photos show that.

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About Pinola Photo

I am a sports and lifestyle photographer based in West Lafayette, IN home of Purdue University. I cover sports for Big Ten teams as well as other colleges. You can follow me on twitter @pinolaphoto. You can also view my website at www.davewegielphoto.net

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