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High School Baseball Gamer

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by e_bowker, Apr 26, 2009.

  1. e_bowker

    e_bowker Member

    Wrote this the other night, and I was hoping for some feedback. The things I was worried about were the lede (is it too wordy or flowery? Too narrative?) and the quotes. I talked to the guy who got the winning hit, but he's not a very good talker and didn't give me much to work with. So most of the quotes were from the two coaches. I'm also worried there weren't enough quotes in there. It just felt like I should've had one or two more.
    Basically, this was one of those great back-and-forth playoff games you could write all night about and I'm worried I left something out or glossed over too much. Figured I'd throw it out there and see what you guys thought. Thanks in advance.
    Here's the link:
    http://www.vicksburgpost.com/articles/2009/04/25/sports/doc49f29d5437a85006083276.txt

    And here's the story:


    As the series-clinching run stood 90 feet away, Pierson Waring raised his arm to call time.
    It wasn’t granted, and a fastball zipped across the plate for a strike. After a brief moment of disbelief and protest, Waring shook it off and settled back into the batter’s box. Showing uncommon cool in a tense game that frazzled the steeliest of nerves, he slapped at the next pitch and sent a chopper through a drawn-in infield. Joseph Brown pumped his fist as he trotted down the third base line with the winning run, and Waring slid uncontested into first in a show of celebration and exhaustion.
    Waring’s hit — his fourth of the game — gave St. Al a 7-6, eight-inning victory in Game 2 of its Class 1A playoff series over archrival Cathedral, and a series sweep. The Flashes (22-3) advanced to the third round of the playoffs for the second straight season, and will face West Lowndes in a best-of-three series starting on Thursday.
    “Right now it’s tough to even talk about it and describe it,” said St. Al coach Clint Wilkerson, whose team overcame a three-run deficit in the fifth inning, then later wasted a two-run lead in the seventh before winning it in extra innings in front of an estimated crowd of 800. “I put these guys through so much work the last couple years. Rugged, tiresome practices to force feed it to them that they’re never down. There wasn’t a single guy on this roster that wasn’t battling tonight.”

    Cathedral, which was undefeated coming into the series, finishes its season with a 21-2 record. The Green Wave also fought hard, first overcoming a spirit-crushing 15-6 loss in Game 1 and then getting off the deck when they were down to their last out in Game 2.
    Trailing 6-4 heading into the top of the seventh, Tyler Ballard doubled and Daniel Jenkins — who went 4-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored — singled to start the inning. Cole Mann bunted them into scoring position, and Hunter Foster lined a two-out single into right field to bring in the tying runs. Aaron White followed with a hard grounder that skipped past Brown at first base and was then bobbled by right fielder Corey Jones. The St. Al duo made up for their misplays with a strong relay throw to gun down Foster, who was trying to score from first.

    Cathedral’s Preston Edwards and St. Al’s Stephen Evans — the Game 1 starters — both returned to the mound to finish Game 2. Edwards pitched out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the sixth and struck out the side in the seventh. Evans allowed the two runs in the top of the seventh, then retired the side in the eighth. When it was Edwards’ time to match it again, though, he cracked.
    Edwards hit Brown to start the eighth, then sailed a pitch to the backstop. A passed ball moved Brown over to third. Edwards came back to strike out Regan Nosser for the first out, but quickly fell behind in the count 3-0 to Waring.
    After the strike call on the botched plea for time, Waring chopped a base hit through the right side of the infield to bring in the winning run.
    Waring finished the game 4-for-5 with a double, three RBIs and a run scored. Despite that, Cathedral coach Craig Beesley declined to put Waring on with first and second base open. Beesley said the options — facing Waring or facing the rest of St. Al’s potent lineup — didn’t leave him much choice. The next two hitters in St. Al’s order, Blake Haygood and Ryno Martin-Nez, only had one hit between them in Game 2, but combined for five hits in Game 1.
    “We thought about walking the bases loaded. But with the umpire calling so many balks, we weren’t sure about that,” Beesley said. Two balks, one on each side, were called in the game. “And Haygood had three hits in Game 1, and then we get to Ryno and we didn’t want to get to him either.”

    St. Al’s eighth-inning rally marked the fourth lead change in the game. Cathedral took a 4-1 lead in the fifth, only to watch St. Al tie it with three runs in the bottom of the inning. St. Al then took the lead in the sixth when Justin Rushing hurdled the Cathedral catcher, Jenkins, on a fielder’s choice play at the plate with the bases loaded. Jenkins dropped the ball, but Rushing was also called safe because Jenkins was blocking the plate, Beesley said.
    That run made it 5-4, and Haygood was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to give the Flashes a two-run cushion and set up the rest of the late-inning theatrics.
    “I knew he was sitting on the bag, but I didn’t want to run over him and get ejected. So I did the first thing that came to my mind, and I jumped,” said Rushing, who went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored.
     
  2. jlee

    jlee Active Member

    You caught the moment well. It does get too wordy in places, but it was fun read. Thanks for posting.

    As the series-clinching run stood 90 feet away, Pierson Waring raised his arm to call a time out.



    It wasn’t granted, and a fastball zipped across the plate for a strike. After a brief moment of disbelief and protest, Waring shook it off and settled back into the batter’s box. Showing uncommon cool in a tense game that frazzled the steeliest of nerves, he slapped at the next pitch and sent a chopper through a drawn-in infield. Joseph Brown pumped his fist as he trotted down the third base line with the winning run, and Waring slid uncontested into first in a show of celebration and exhaustion.

    That's a bit much.



    “Right now it’s tough to even talk about it and describe it,” said St. Al coach Clint Wilkerson, whose team overcame a three-run deficit in the fifth inning, then later wasted a two-run lead in the seventh before winning it in extra innings in front of an estimated crowd of 800. “I put these guys through so much work the last couple years. Rugged, tiresome practices to force feed it to them that they’re never down. There wasn’t a single guy on this roster that wasn’t battling tonight.”

    Way too much information to slide in a quote.



    Trailing 6-4 heading into the top of the seventh, Tyler Ballard doubled and Daniel Jenkins — who went 4-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored — singled to start the inning. Cole Mann bunted them into scoring position, and Hunter Foster lined a two-out single into right field to bring in the tying runs. Aaron White followed with a hard grounder that skipped past Brown at first base and was then bobbled by right fielder Corey Jones. The St. Al duo made up for their misplays with a strong relay throw to gun down Foster, who was trying to score from first.

    Too heavy on the play-by-play. I'd simplify much of it to: "Tyler Ballard and Daniel Jenkins scored on a line out by Hunter Foster." I'm guilty of overloading pbp, too (that sacrifice bunt seems so crucial at the time).



    Waring finished the game 4-for-5 with a double, three RBIs and a run scored. Despite that, Cathedral coach Craig Beesley declined to put Waring on with first and second base open. Beesley said the options — facing Waring or facing the rest of St. Al’s potent lineup — didn’t leave him much choice. The next two hitters in St. Al’s order, Blake Haygood and Ryno Martin-Nez, only had one hit between them in Game 2, but combined for five hits in Game 1.
    “We thought about walking the bases loaded. But with the umpire calling so many balks, we weren’t sure about that,” Beesley said. Two balks, one on each side, were called in the game. “And Haygood had three hits in Game 1, and then we get to Ryno and we didn’t want to get to him either.”

    This is a great point. I'm glad you addressed it.
     
  3. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    Maybe I'm guilty of being slave to an unnecessary rule, but I will always think:

    "Pierson Waring raised his arm to call time as the series-clinching run stood 90 feet away."

    Sounds better than:

    "As the series-clinching run stood 90 feet away, Pierson Waring raised his arm to call time."
     
  4. ringer

    ringer Member

    The run stood 90 feet away? You mean the runner.

    You can also make the scene clearer by saying: "With one out (or however many outs) and the series-clinching runner on third base, the batter, PW, raised his arm to call time....

    I agree with the other posters who suggested trimming the fat off many of your sentences. Example of how to make it leaner:

    ...It was denied, and a fastball zipped across the plate for a strike. After a moment of disbelief and protest, Waring settled back into the batter’s box. Showing uncommon cool in a tense game, he slapped the next pitch and sent a chopper past the drawn-in infielders. Joseph Brown pumped his fist as he trotted over home plate, and a happy yet exhausted Waring slid into first."

    Or something like that.
     
  5. e_bowker

    e_bowker Member

    Thanks for the feedback, fellas.
    One thing I've always struggled with is putting too much in a sentence. I'm just afraid of it being too choppy, so I use commas where I might should've used periods. It's something I've made a conscious effort to work on, but you know how it is. You get in a groove or get under deadline pressure and you fall back on where you feel comfortable.

    Yeah, I thought that too at the time. I just couldn't figure out where else to put it without it feeling clunky. Same with that bit about Jenkins going 4-for-4. You think it would've worked better as its own sentence before the quote?

    I'll disagree about the time/time out bit though. It's a bit of baseball vernacular. In baseball, you "ask for time" or "call for time" or "call time." In football and basketball, you have actual timeouts that you call.
     
  6. ringer

    ringer Member

    It might be worth studying AP game stories. Look at how AP writers separate their thoughts and where they put those details that you wanted to sneak into at the end of an attribution. AP writing may not be poetic, but it is clear.

    Other than that, here are a few tips that have helped me resolve similar problems.

    * Count your prepositional phrases. If you have more than two per sentence, break it up. (Not an strict rule, but if you have more than two, it's probably getting dangerous)

    * Avoid using words that end in -tion. They're usually more effective if converted into verbs or adverbs

    * Try not to front-load your sentences with phrases. It's OK once in a while, but it usually ends up being confusing and kills the flow.

    Hope that helps.
     
  7. spud

    spud Member

    I'm not sold on the lede. Maybe somebody can make me see, but I don't think the batter watching that strike get past him adds anything or ties in to anything else. And it's wordy.
     
  8. e_bowker

    e_bowker Member

    Spud:
    I was trying to capture the moment, and how calm the guy was. After the strike was called, everybody on his team was pissed that he hadn't been granted time. The coach had even started walking toward home plate to argue with the umpire. Waring seemed to be the only one who realized it wasn't a big deal, since the count was 3-0 and he probably wasn't swinging at it anyway.
    He just shrugged it off, said OK, then hit the next pitch for the game-winning single. It was a moment that could have easily gotten in a batter's head but Waring didn't let it. That's what I was trying to convey.
     
  9. I'd just say "time." I don't think anybody in baseball calls those little breaks "timeouts."
     
  10. spud

    spud Member

    I'm just spitballing here, but you said yourself it wasn't a big deal, especially with the count the way it was. Of course his teammates went apeshit... they're his teammates. I just don't see any batter getting rattled by that. It's just a missed time call on a pitch no batter ever swings at anyway. Maybe if he took a fastball to the face, but not being granted time? Seems trivial to me for a gamer.
     
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