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Tweak this gamer (please)

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by Sweetness, Apr 2, 2007.

  1. Sweetness

    Sweetness Member

    Just your average, daily prep story. Regular powerhouse team A versus relative podunk team B in obligitory league game. Not many fireworks, especially late.

    Most of my daily gamer stuff reads close to this so I figured it would be a good sample for some general writing critiques. What did I miss? At this quick glance, how/would you have written this differently. I tried to shift up-and-down between game-recap details and broad season-long storylines. I try to limit my play-by-play without cheating the "how'd it happen?" question.

    Still feel like I missed something, though. Have at it, please.


    PALO CEDRO -- Torre Swanson had never pitched a complete game for the Cougars.

    His catcher, Casey Storme had never called the pitches before.

    Friday's late innings changed that.

    The two juniors blanked Oroville High School 3-0 as Foothill won its fifth Eastern Athletic League game with an uncharacteristic meager offense and green battery.

    Skipper Corey Rossman said he turned the pitches over to Storme "somewhere in the fifth-sixth-seventh" when the Cougars felt Oroville had stolen a sign.

    "I think they were picking my pitches," Rossman said. "But he's (Storme) been wanting to do it for a long time now, so I just let him have it."

    Both players were nervous to elaborate details on the switch -- baseball signs to a teenager are like nuclear secrets -- but Rossman said he clued in on the Tigers' dugout chatter.

    "I thought they were a little more verbal on the fastballs," Rossman said. "Maybe I'm seeing things, but I thought they were tipping their hitters a bit."

    Oroville coach Rick Giovannoni, who coached Tigers runners from third, said he didn't notice it.

    "I wasn't," Giovannoni said. "I don't know what our kids were doing. We only had like two hits (in the seventh) so we couldn't have picked up on much."

    Swanson hummed through the first six innings with minor trouble; a two-out single in the second, two hits and a plunked batter in the third, a walk in the fifth, a booted grounder to short in the sixth.

    Then Oroville's No. 8 hitter, Jarred Gramps plugged a single to lead off the seventh.

    But the Tigers (1-5 EAL, 8-6) killed their own rally.

    Right fielder Charles May was called out when he stepped in front of Storme on a pickoff throw to second. Then Gramps was pickled between second and third with one down.

    "I got a lot of help from my catcher and my defense," Swanson said.

    Swanson's last pitching start was March 16 when he one-hit a tough West Valley team through six innings.

    Rossman said the junior was anxious for another start to solidify his place as the No. 2 pitcher.

    "He was itching to prove he's a part of that rotation," Rossman said.

    Swanson and fellow junior Shane Cadaret have battled all season for the gig, behind Foothill ace Tommy Briner.

    Briner, playing third, drew two walks and singled in the fifth to push his season batting average to .636.

    He and senior Jason Cooper scored in the third when Josh Crisosto ripped a first-pitch single into the gap and the ball scooted under Johnny Nickelson's glove in left.

    It was the highest octane Foothill (5-1 EAL, 12-2) could manage against Tigers lefthander Greg Ruloph.

    "He's wild enough he's good," Giovannoni said of Ruloph. "He's not trying to be perfect on every pitch. He's just wild enough he keeps hitters off balance."

    Foothill managed four hits. The Cougars came in averaging 10.5 per game.

    "We'd been hitting the ball lately," Rossman said, "just not today. It was nice to see him (Swanson) finish."
  2. dawgpounddiehard

    dawgpounddiehard Active Member

    Good job on finding the story behind the gamer... the fact the pitcher never pitched a complete game and the catcher never called a game, that is really interesting stuff and drew me in. But it seems to just skim the surface. I don't know how much time you had until your deadline after the game, so maybe that contributed to it. I was left wanting for more. It was such a good angle, then it seemed to fizzle out.

    But like I said, that is the way to turn a gamer into something more than just play-by-play. Good job.

    Watch out for things like "skipper" or "ripped a single" or "plugged a single." That doesn't make you a good writer, but finding stories and presenting them to a reader — like what your lede centered around — does.

    Also, you can be descriptive with out using these ESPN words... words you hear on SportsCenter highlights.

    And I can't think of too many instances, but the one that sticks out is "Oroville coach Rick Giovannoni, who coached Tigers runners from third, said he didn't notice it."

    That is how you talk, not how you write. Does that make sense? Maybe I'm being picking but this is where you can clean up your writing.
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