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My first softball gamer

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by MN Matt, Apr 18, 2007.

  1. MN Matt

    MN Matt Member

    Rain, rain, go away. These must be the sentiments of the BVU softball team as their schedule continues to be shuffled around to accommodate the weather.

    The team played just its second series since returning from Florida on April 4 in Pella. The conference opener for both teams was a rough starting point for the Beavers, having to go up against the seventh-ranked Central College Dutch.

    In the first game of the doubleheader, the Beavers loaded the bases with one out, but were unable to bring anyone across the plate. Junior pitcher Brandi Sykora took to the mound and quickly racked up two outs, but four consecutive singles led to four runs for the Dutch. Both teams managed a hit in the second but nothing more and the Beavers were sent down in order in the top of the third.

    The Dutch continued to swing the bats in the bottom of the third and racked up another eight runs in the inning to force the Beavers' backs against the wall. Shut down to just one hit again in the fourth, BVU finally got on the board in the fifth but needed more runs to avoid the early stoppage.

    In the second game the Beavers started off slowly, going down in order in the first. First-year pitcher Amy Hasbrouck limited the Dutch to just one run on an RBI triple. BVU made good on its second trip to the plate. Junior Adrienne Scott scored after doubling to center and then the Beavers executed a sacrifice steal to bring in another run. Senior Lesley Salton homered in the third inning to increase the lead to 3-1.

    That was as far ahead as the Beavers would get as Central gathered up steam and charged back, driving in six runs in the third and another seven in the fourth to bring out the ten-run mercy rule again.

    The Beavers finally got to host Wartburg College in the home opener in Storm Lake after several postponements on Monday after easter. Junior outfielder Angela Hartwig took to the mound for the Knights, putting her 9-0 record on the line. The Beavers managed to hold the Knights to just one run in each of the first six innings, but their own bats failed to swing as they were just five for 26 at the plate for the game. Senior outfielder Amy Kamies provided a spark in the sixth with a solo shot to left field. The Beavers added more consolation runs in the seventh with a first-year infielder Amanda Mordhorst 2-RBI double.

    The second game again saw Hasbrouck on the mound, but after eight runs in just two thirds of an inning Sykora was brought back for the remainder of the game, bringing her total innings pitched on the day to 11-and-a-third.

    "Pitching 11-and-a-third innings was frustrating for me. Wartburg is a very good hitting team and they made a lot of contact very early on. I think we learned a lot from the situation we were in and it will give us the opportunity to show our true potential in the upcoming games," Sykora said.

    After the rough start, Sykora allowed no more runs to cross and just five hits, but the only hit for the Beavers on the chilly day came from Scott.

    Players refused to put blame on an ever-changing schedule and unseasonably cold weather.

    "On a cold day we need to come out as a team and be mentally tough. The weather is something that we can't control. The quicker we get out there and get the job done, the sooner we can get warm again," Sykora said.

    What can I change in this to make it better?
  2. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Well, for starters Matt, there are two basic facts that appear to be missing:
    Who won these games and what were the scores?
    Without those facts, there's no sense discussing the rest of it.
  3. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    I was going to critique the horribly cliched lede, but I'll just leave it at what spnited said.
  4. dawgpounddiehard

    dawgpounddiehard Active Member

    Well, Matt... it sure does read like your first softball gamer.

    You need to tell the reader the score of the game early in your story... by early, I mean the first couple of graphs.

    Also, it reads as if I'm watching highlights and you're talking over them... that's fine for TV, but this is a newspaper story.

    Rarely weather should make it into a game story. Sure, BVU hasn't played softball in a while because of the weather, but so have a lot of teams in that area. If you do want to take that angle, how has it disrupted the team?

    But as far as game stories, you need to limit play-by-play... sure, a key play here or there is worthy, then throw in a quote from a coach or player about said instance.

    Basically, it's like gamer 101... you need to learn the basics and you can do that by reading game stories from decent papers.

    One final note on your quotes, you need to break those up...

    "Blah blah blah blah blah," Coach Johnson said. "Blah blah blah blah blah."
  5. MN Matt

    MN Matt Member

    So what do you do if the team plays more than one game? We print on Fridays and since last week the team has played 6 games. Do I fit all of the scores in right up front or merely the most recent double header and work backwards to the others?
  6. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    I assume you are writing for a weekly.
    If that assumption is correct, then you shouldn't do any game stories in my mind. You should probably run a fact box with a run down of the scores and then pretty much just do feature stories or wrap ups.
    If you are writing on six games, then you shouldn't have any play-by-play in there at all.
  7. MN Matt

    MN Matt Member

    Yes, our college paper is a weekly. We run a large scoreboard on our section's front page with scores of all the games from the week.

    So you're saying just attack the stats of each game and get some reaction quotes?
  8. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    First off I didn't realize you were working at a college paper, so maybe it changes things. I never worked at one.
    Anyway, I think I would handle it like this:

    1. Write a lead brief on the best/biggest game of the past week and write two-to-three sentence recaps on the other games
    2. A feature at least every two weeks
    3. A short preview of the following week's games, including a capsule on the team or teams they will be playing (with statistical leaders for those teams)
    4. Run your team's stats and conference standings

    Just don't write a full on game story on six games after the fact. I also would try to get away from the large scoreboard on your front page and try to do something more design-oriented (hi DyePack) out front. Run a scoreboard on the inside if you must, but I've never been a big fan of the giant scoreboard with all the scores out front.
  9. dawgpounddiehard

    dawgpounddiehard Active Member

    Excellent points, Angola.

    If you are a weekly college paper, you should be sticking to more featurey stories, profiles, game previews. Have a box where you can put not only the score of the last six games, but provide a few sentences of stats, etc.

    Use the space for copy with the features and previews.

    Say you come out on Fridays, do you really think people are going to care about a game that happened that past Sunday? Unless it's something extraordinary... probably not.
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