A Week in Review

24 05 2010

It’s been a while since I posted; I’ve been super busy between school ending, moving into a new house, and the spring sports season at KECI.  But here’s some of what I’ve been up to:

WEDNESDAY:

I traveled up to Polson to cover the Missoula Mavericks taking on the Mission Mariners in a non-conference legion baseball matchup.  Needless to say the game went to the Mavericks, who 10-runned Mission 14-4 in the contest and improved to 21-1 on the season.  Having played legion baseball myself, I was surprised Missoula’s AA was even playing Mission at this point in the season, since Mission is in the A conference and thus extremely outmatched by Missoula’s AA.  Brody Miller was 4-6 from the plate for the Mavs with a double, a home run and 5 RBIs in the game.

THURSDAY:

I quickly covered a couple of early round B-C girls state tennis matches here in Missoula.  Being my third time shooting tennis, I’m starting to get comfortable with it (just in time for tennis season to be over of course).  The trick isn’t the difficulty of shooting the action since obviously the game takes place in a fairly small confinement.  The trick is staying aware of who is playing who, which matches are the most important, and keeping track of what the games and sets are at.  By now I’m a lot more confident with those aspects of covering the sport, hence it’s a rather easy/relaxing activity to shoot on a nice sunny day.  However Thursday was not so nice… I only got about 30 minutes of footage before the courts were cleared for a rain delay.

At this point Kayla and I headed to Sentinel High School to catch the 3rd game of a playoff series between Sentinel and Hellgate; the winner of which punched their ticket to the state tournament.  After losing the first game 5-4, the Spartan bats awakend in the second game as they mercy ruled the Knights 18-1 in 5 innings.  It was more Sentinel dominance when I got to third game, as they’d need only 6 innings to take down Hellgate 11-1.  The win gets the Spartan softball squad to the state tournament for the first time since 2005.  Jamie Jo Kallis had a heck of series on the day for Sentinel, she went 9-11 from the plate with 6 RBIs, 4 of which were the result of her grand slam in the second game.

FRIDAY:

Friday I took a trip all the way up to Thompson Falls to cover the semifnals of the Western B-C Divsional softball tournament, the winners of which would clinch state softball tournament positions.  I was there for the entire first game between the Loyola Breakers and Mission Bulldogs; Loyola is the most prominent class B softball team we cover (in terms of viewership, geography). Although Loyola won the regular season conference title, they were playing without their star catcher and power hitter Alex Hughes, who was not yet medically cleared to play after receiving a concussion at a tournament in Butte the week before.  The game was a tight 2-1 contest throught the first four innings but then Loyola pulled away in the final three innings, winning by a final of 7-3 and securing their state tournament berth.

I could only stay for the first three innings of the next semifinal between the Florence Falcons and the hometown Thompson Falls Lady Bluehawks but I saw enough.  Lady Bluehawks pitching ace Kyla Molzhon is the most dominant western montana picther I’ve seen this year, she struck out six Falcons through just the first three innings… her squad needed just a lone run in the fifth to beat Florence 1-0 in the game.

SATURDAY:

I covered three championship matches at the class B-C state tennis tournament.  The boys singles championship match was the only one I covered that went three sets.  Spencer Ahlborn of St. Ignatius defeated Bridger Mahlum from Bigfork 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.  The politness between the two really threw me for a loop, especially when a state title is on the line.  They complimented each other every game for impressive serves and returns.  It was nonetheless refreshing, and in no way deterred from the competitiveness of the match.  Ahlborn was very athletic playing close to the net and charged it every opportunity he had, which made it fitting that his match point came off of a dominant overhead smash at the net.  This was Ahlborn’s third victory over Mahlum in four meetings.

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St. Ignatius Rollercoaster

15 02 2010

February 12, 2010

When I set out on my trek to St. Ignatius Thursday night, I had no idea how many twists would indeed be in store for me.

Before I even got to leave the station I was informed that I would have to be shooting with a small camera [a pain in the butt for shooting sporting events, compared to the bigger on-the-shoulder cameras] due to the death of one of our station’s only three large cameras… twist number one.

Luckily I managed to easily find the gymnasium which I had never been too before.  Unfortunately, I walked into it at a sharp 7:30 expecting the boys’ game vs. Plains to be getting underway… when in actuality I was witnessing the beginning of the fourth quarter of action in the girls game.  Slightly disappointed (twist number two) at the delay I would be facing until the game I needed started, I parked myself into the stands.

This delay meant I would not have time to cover the game in Frenchtown tonight, so as the girls game drew to an end so did I draw out my weapon of media… in hopes that some type of exciting finish to the contest would deem it worthy of taking the spot of the previously assigned Frenchtown game for the 10:00 news.

An exciting finish is exactly what I got.  As the final seconds of the clock ticked to an end, the Plains girls drove down the court with just enough time for one last desperation shot.  With approximately two seconds left on the clock, a girl dropped an 18-footer to knot the game up at 32 (a score you’d expect on the gridiron… not the hardwood).  This buzzer-beating shot was the single biggest game-changing moment I’d captured yet this season in high school sports (twist number three), albeit not on the grandest stage of action.

At this point I had to call my sports director Jake to inform him of the major delay.  However due to our station being the Olympic-hosting NBC affiliate, he informed me that the opening ceremonies would push our newscast back an extra hour… thus the delay really wasn’t unmanageable (twist number four).  To overtime they went.  Once again I waited to film until the final seconds.  This time, Mission’s post converted a lay-in to tie the game at 37 with just 10 seconds to go.  However, she butchered the free throw attempt in a dramatic air-ball fashion… to double overtime we go.

In the final seconds of now double OT, a Mission post-player knocked down two free throws to give her squad a two-point lead.  This time Plains was unable to get off a desperation shot, and Mission prevailed by the final of 42-40.

I stuck around long enough to get three highlight shots from the opening seconds of the boys game and then get back in the jeep to start the 45-minute journey back to the station.  Once back, I edited the two games into just two-shot highlight sequences.  [Unfortunately some nights’ casts are so loaded I can only get the essence of the game in with two shots.  Other nights with more media-deserving high school teams and games I can get up to four or five.  And when shooting Griz athletics I can be awarded a bountiful number of up to 10 highlights.]

Remember the thrilling buzzer-beater that sent the girls game into overtime?  Well, the tape had glitched at just that point and I couldn’t use the shot (twist number five).  I have Jake look at the tape with me and there’s nothing that can be done.  Literally the most dramatic moment I’d captured in my young career of high-school shooting… and it’s useless.  Jake gives me a sympathetic shake of the head.  The single second of all my night’s footage that I desired to have was the single second of all the night’s footage that the tape had destroyed… maybe it was karma… maybe I unknowingly upset the gods of technology.