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Would like some quick critiques

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by smsu_scribe, Apr 17, 2009.

  1. smsu_scribe

    smsu_scribe Guest

    Sorry to post this here, but it's tough to get timely feedback in the Writers' Workshop. Just turning this in tonight, and I want to get some feedback and suggestions for the piece. The baseball team won the last state championship, and this is a story on the program in general and its success.

    It was a simple gesture on Tom Breyfogle’s part.
    When the Wabasso baseball team made it to the Class A state tournament last June, Breyfogle, the Rabbits head coach from 1972 to 1982, approached current head coach Chad Olson between games with a stack of his old stat books to share some memories with the seventh-year coach.
    Olson said the former skipper didn’t give him much advice or pep talk. He just wanted to support the program that was his years ago.
    “It’s neat to see all these people that are happy for our success,” Olson said. “He was just happy to see that the program was having success. He wanted to come up and support us.”
    Wabasso went on to win the state championship with a 5-2 victory over Southland, and whether or not Breyfogle had anything to do with it, his show of support exemplified the tradition of the school’s baseball program, which has reached the state tournament three times since 2003 and each of the last two years.
    “There’s a lot of community support,” Olson said. “We have a lot of good sports programs in general. It’s just great community support and the athletes - they all work hard.”
    The Rabbits wouldn’t have needed to win the Class A title last year to validate their successes. Wabasso has finished with a winning record in the Tomahawk Conference – which has produced seven state champions in the last nine years – for two consecutive seasons. Still, Wabasso athletic director Joe Kemp says the championship has now cemented the program in the eyes of coaches around the state.
    “It elevates you another step,” said Kemp, also an assistant coach for baseball team. “To win state is a pretty elusive thing. It gives your program a lot of credibility.”
    It also raises expectations. In addition to the baseball team, the softball squad finished third in the state tournament last season, and the girls basketball team brought home a title from the Target Center in 2004. Kemp believes that in a short time, the community has begun to look for state championships in any sport.
    “I think that’s maybe in the back of our minds in town here,” Kemp said. “You look back a few years and maybe just getting to the state tournament was the next step.”
    So after taking a healthy stride last season, Wabasso entered its 2009 campaign with the eyes of the state upon its uniforms. But things weren’t simple for the Rabbits, with three key players from the state championship run lost to graduation. Chris Eichten, Mike Wotschke and Andy Rohlik were all named to the All-Area Independent first team as seniors in 2008.
    Both Eichten and Wotschke hit over .450 last season, while Rohlik knocked in 13 doubles and 23 RBI. Without hitters of that caliber in this season’s lineup, Olson knew changes would be in store.
    “We’ve been working a little extra on bunting for hits, finding the lines,” Olson said. “We’ve got some team speed, so we’re going to try to take advantage of it.”
    The Rabbits ran into a Tomahawk Conference buzz saw early this season, with opening games against 2007 Class A champion Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s and 2008 state participant New Ulm Cathedral. Both teams beat Wabasso, but the Rabbits then responded with three consecutive wins and are now 3-2.
    Maybe the most crucial component to last year’s success, however, is still on the team. Johnny Pistulka went 10-3 with a 2.55 ERA and 105 strikeouts from the mound in 2008. Pistulka pitched 13 innings in the Rabbits’ last two games in the tournament, and allowed just three hits in the title game.
    Like Olson, Pistulka has had the benefit of having some local support on his side, and similar to Breyfogle, the source has plenty of experience.
    “Even my grandpa gives me advice,” Pistulka said. “So that’s taking it back pretty far.”
    During the summer, Pistulka has been known to ditch bullpen sessions for a little pitch-and-toss at Emery Pistulka’s farm, where he learned the curveball and a two-seam fastball that he now throws in excess of 80 mph.
    “He’d show me what I needed to work on,” Pistulka said. “It’s great hearing that experience from a guy who’s been at it for so many years. Our mechanics today have changed so greatly from his, but his pitches are the same as mine.”
    How long will the high school of just over 130 students continue to send out state tournament-caliber teams, though?
    If Wabasso’s baseball alumni continue to keep close watch over their program, the future could be as strong as the past six years have been. Pistulka will play for Ridgewater College next spring, but says he won’t be quite finished with the Rabbits.
    “What I learn up there I’ll bring back home and help these kids improve,” Pistulka said. “I want to make this community a lot better and keep the program going.”
  2. PeteyPirate

    PeteyPirate Guest

  3. smsu_scribe

    smsu_scribe Guest

    I like that Pirates. Here's a little revision, just to see how this works in place of those last two grafs.

    Like so many members of the Wabasso baseball family before him, Pistulka plans to keep watch over his former program in years to come. Pistulka will play for Ridgewater College next spring.
    “What I learn up there I’ll bring back home and help these kids improve,” Pistulka said. “I want to make this community a lot better and keep the program going.”
  4. 2underpar

    2underpar Active Member

    dump the buzz saw cliche.
    use something like conference powers or something similar.
  5. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    ...tore through them like Zeke through a plate of lutefisk..
  6. DirtyDeeds

    DirtyDeeds Guest

    Piggybacking on FDP:
    1. Just use said.
    2. How bout "the eyes of the state upon it."
    3. Maybe more like: "Wabasso's baseball alumni are doing everything they can to keep the tradition going" or something to that effect.

    Also dump the word dominating in describing the Tomahawk Conf. The fact that it has produced so many titles tells the reader that without you having to.

    And dump the buzz saw line, 2up said. Just say they got off to a rough start or something similar.

    Overall, a pretty good read.
  7. GBNF

    GBNF Active Member

  8. GBNF

    GBNF Active Member

    Some thoughts:

    1) This is a nice, quaint feature, but nice and quaint should not be your goal. There is not one good quote in the bunch. Quotes can make or break the story, and with this one, they did neither. They're just there.
    2) I was most interested by the stuff about the kid's grandpa. Who is he? How does he know about throwing a curveball? Why is he an authority figure in Pistula's life?
    3) The "graf, quote, graf, quote" style is fine, when there is good quotes. When there is not, it's just like playing that old Atari game, pong. Just back and forth and back and forth, and boring and boring and boring and boring.
    4) Your structure is good, and the lede is fine, but challenge yourself to go further, and throw in some style.
  9. smsu_scribe

    smsu_scribe Guest

    Thanks GBNF. Can you elaborate on "throw in some style"? I kind of know what you're saying, but what sort of things can I do with this piece to give it more style? I'm 19, and I want to elevate my work.
  10. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    That wasn't too bad at all for a 19 year old writer.
    I agree the quotes are dull but I don't know how you can get better quotes in this case. Maybe you should have quoted Breyfogle.
  11. smsu_scribe

    smsu_scribe Guest

    Thanks, Fredrick. I'm minoring in Professional Writing/Communication, because sportswriting is my dream, but probably won't be reality with the way things are today. But I'm getting experience part-timing at the local shop for now, so we'll see.

    But I did go back and look through my transcripts and I think I've upgraded the quotes a bit. Thanks for all the feedback.
  12. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    Sounds like you are doing it the best way. You do have some talent I think. Not everybody could make their first six, seven paragraphs readable and you did that. Don't fall into the trap of majoring in journalism. Just keep working for the local shop and major in something else. You are a smart 19 year old.
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