The Final Day of the NCAA Baseball Tournament Louisville Regional

I have been lucky enough to photograph NCAA regional games for the last three years. I love the atmosphere that the tournament brings. Everything means a little more. The teams you are covering have highs and lows that they go through. You hope that the team can end on a high. In the three years that I have covered the tournament I have had two teams make the final, but never win. Maybe next year I can cover the winning team and get that dog pile shot at the end.

The Happy Organ

One of the best parts of the weekend was the organ during the games. You really always have a big game feel at Jim Patterson Stadium because of the way that they run gameday. The organ music being played during the game really helps the atmosphere.

The Day Started With a Rematch…

The first game of day three was a rematch between Xavier and Oklahoma. Oklahoma won the first game thanks to a big 7th inning. In the rematch Xavier had a huge eight run first inning that pretty much set the tone for the game. I ran into the same situation that I did on day one with Oklahoma. At one point of the game they had not scored yet, and I was wondering what my photo story was going to be. On day one they scored seven in the seventh to guide the story. On Sunday they did not score at all so the story had to be the journey.

…And Ended With A Classic

The nightcap featured a game between Xavier and the host Louisville. Both teams traded the lead multiple times as they fought for the regional crown. It was like watching a heavyweight fight as each side took their best shot. You thought that each blow might be the last one until the other team answered. It really was a fun game to be a part of. The extra emotion also helped my photos as well.

Making the Best Photo Available

I have said it before on this blog that sometimes you just make the best photo available. After a big three run bomb put Louisville ahead against Xavier I quickly scanned the field. The Xavier players were not emoting much so I panned to the plate to get the celebration there. I would rather make a positive picture of the other team than a negative photo of the team I am shooting.

Shooting For Oklahoma

As I said above after their loss to Xavier Oklahoma was eliminated from the tournament. It was a fun couple of days getting to know some of the players and their tendencies. They had a good run, but ran into two very determined teams. Each year of this tournament I seem to find a team to follow. This year the team I found was Oklahoma.

Shooting For Xavier

This was the end of a good first year working with Xavier. They have been very good to me since the NCAA baseball tournament last year. They even brought a few copies of some magazines littered with my photos. The beginning of each magazine has a sort of leading off type section with some photos. It was amazing to see some of my work from the past year show up there. This has been a fun year working with Xavier, and they ended it with a heck of a game. Considering the stakes it was the best game I have seen all year.

A Little Luck

Sometimes in sports photography you are good, and other times you are lucky. In the case of the photograph above it was a little of both. I was searching for a place to make a different photo. I wanted to put the crowd and the bunting behind the pitcher as he pitched. I moved way down the line in left field to make that happen. I was crouched down and shooting through the fence to do so. The third baseman was in the way of my shot, and in my mind I kept telling him t0 move. Move he did as a line drive was hit to his left. He dove straight out and made an amazing catch. I quickly panned, and had one photo of the catch in focus. That is the photo above.

The Sad Walk

When I am on the road I miss my wife and kids quite a bit. At some point though the tournament becomes what I am doing. Everything is put into making the photos and getting them out. As I left the stadium for the last time Sunday night I felt like I was doing the sad walk from Arrested Development. It is a testament to what the people in charge of the tournament did that I didn’t want to leave. They did a great job putting on a great show all week. I never really wanted for anything. It is great to be home, but that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t mind shooting a couple of more games.

The Week in Photos

Like last week this week’s edition of the week in photos is littered with baseball shots. You can see my Exposure page with my favorite shots from last week here. I was a little late in getting the gallery up as I was shooting baseball and getting home. Looking back with a little time on my hands was a good way to see just how cool the weekend was. At this point of the year I am not sure what baseball I have left to photograph. If this was the last real gig of the year it was a good one to end on.

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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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