My Top 15 College Baseball Photos of 2015
When Mitch Roman squeezed a pop up in his might to record the final out against Notre Dame it also meant the end of my college baseball season as well. I really love college baseball. I did not photograph as much of it as I would have liked this season, but I did have a diverse year. Last year I shot all of it basically in one ballpark. This year I had a bit more freedom, and I shot in many different parks. It was interesting to see different teams and figure out what looks best for each of them. I was going to just do a top ten here, but I was having trouble culling that list down. Even when I decided to go up to 15 I still had some trouble. Some photos are not the most technically challenging, but they have a story that told part of my season. Here are the fifteen photos that I liked from this past season.
15. The list starts off with Illinois State catcher Paul De Jong. Paul was one of several very good catchers that I was able to watch this season. He was on the Golden Spikes watch list at the time, and just happened to be playing at Purdue. I wanted to make a photo of him, but things were not working for me. It was then that he hit a double in some very good light. I liked his pose here at second base, and I knew that I had my photo. He was drafted by the Pirates last year only to come back to play at Illinois State. It will be fun to see where he ends up in the draft this year.
14. Ian Happ was another very good player that I was able to watch this season. Ian is a Golden Spikes finalist, and one of my photos of Ian was used on his bio on the Golden Spikes website. Ian really keeps his head down while he bats which makes it very hard to get a good image of him. I would run into that at the Regionals with Cavan Biggio. Here you see just enough of Ian’s face to make the photo work. I had my photo of Ian. It doesn’t hurt for the countdown that Ian is wearing a uniform that looks like the famous White Sox uniforms that I grew up watching them play in.
13. Here is a shot that was made by chance. I say that for many reasons. The first is that I did not shoot a game for the University this season. The year before I shot nearly all of them for the school, but things had changed. I made the decision though that I would shoot baseball for someone. I love to shoot the sport, and I would shoot it no matter what. That decision led to many of the unique photos that appear on this countdown. I could have dwelled on the negative, but instead I decided to find some positives. For this picture I was lucky in my location on the field as well as the gesture by the player. I also love the glint of sun off of the glasses.
12. Late in the season I made a few Purdue games just to shoot for fun. I like watching the team play, and I wanted to photograph some of the seniors one last time. While doing that I was rewarded with some interesting situations to make some images. Here I got Kyle Johnson as he was going all out to catch a fly ball.
11. The highlight of the regular season for me was photographing Notre Dame at Victory Field. They were playing in front of a big crowd in a beautiful stadium. This shot of Kyle Richardson was one where I was trying to convey some of the scene as well as the action. I could shoot tight shots at their stadium all I wanted. I wanted to try and loosen it up a little to show the location a bit.
10. This is one of the shots that I call best available. While shooting for one team sometimes you capture a moment for the other team. As this shot was being made Notre Dame was realizing that their season was over. I went with this happy image of Mitch Roman celebrating Wright State’s second elimination game win of the day.
9. Ryan Bull had a good set of games in Champaign, Illinois during the Regionals of the NCAA Baseball Tournament. I believe that he was even on the all tournament team. I have some shots of his home run, but I like the anticipation of this shot. It is the split second before he is hit with a pitch.
8. I was never a pitcher anywhere but in my own backyard. I love the different pitching motions though, and I used to try and imitate the different styles. I used to love to try and actually throw a strike as Dan Quisenberry. As I made my transition to photography I continued to study the pitching motion. You want to find the things that make it unique and interesting for a split second. Here Jack Anderson of Penn State displays his unique motion. I was way too excited to photograph Jack, and I was able to capture a nice moment in his motion.
7. I don’t think that most times this photo would make this countdown. The beautiful light as the sun went down though makes this photo. I also love the way that his cross is swinging out. This is Mason Snyder sliding into third base late in a game against Purdue this season. I think that mother nature did most of the work for me here. I just had to capture the moment in the light.
6. On Saturday in Champaign for the NCAA Baseball Regionals they only played two innings. I captured this moment during the first inning of the game between Wright State and Ohio. This is the second time in this countdown that Mitch Roman makes the countdown. I loved his gesture as he jumped over Ohio first baseman Jake Madsen.
5. As I placed this photo this high on the list I kept questioning if it should be here. I like the photo. I like it perhaps too much. If I had made the photo earlier in the season would I be sick of it by now? I don’t know. It was one of those moments when I wanted a photo of a player, and I was lucky enough to capture a moment. Time will tell if Torii Hunter Jr will be as good as his father. That is a tough bar to place on a player. He does look the part of a ballplayer though, and I think that next year we will get to see more of Torii.
4. I had made a few images of Notre Dame pitcher Ryan Smoyer during his day pitching against Illinois. I had everything I needed of him as far as coverage went. That was when I decided to try a few things. This might be my favorite multi-exposure yet. A slight pan gave me the separation that I needed between the frames.
3. This year I had planned on seeing Purdue play Valpo twice. The first game at Alexander Field I was away in Louisville covering the NCAA Tournament. The game at Bauer Field though I had open so I decided to head back up north. When I used to live near Valpo I attended many Valpo baseball games. Making the trip was rewarding though because of this frame of Brandon Krieg that I made. I loved watching Brandon play, and this slide into second base embodies his style of play. He was a down and dirty player that would always have a dirty jersey.
2. Here is a photo from the NCAA Tournament that captured a moment. This was the inning that sealed the deal for Wright State against Notre Dame. A tag that was just a little late allowed the run to score. I love how the rubber pellets from the turf fly up to meet the rain coming down. This is a cool photo all around I think. It has action along with a little of mother nature thrown in.
1. I like this photo a lot. It will be a while before it is moved off of my portfolio if ever. Notre Dame third baseman Kyle Fiala is shown sliding into third base safely after hitting a triple. I love the slide, the dirt, and the reflection of the third baseman in his helmet. This photo has a lot going for it. When I made it in April I knew that I had a high bar set for the rest of the season to make a better photo than this one. As I transition from college baseball to other leagues this summer I still have a high bar set to try and top.