First Day of R-B Summer Shootout in the Books

Riverside Brookfield High School was packed on Friday evening (June 21, 2019) for the Summer Shootout. Fun to see this year’s versions of high school teams.

There were a million college coaches in attendance. The special seating areas were packed.

I only saw parts of a few games: Notre Dame v. Ridgewood, De LaSalle v. Nequea Valley, Whitney Young v. Oak Park River Forrest, DePaul Prep v. Belleville West.

I got a preview of the Notre Dame Dons with recent Evanston transfer Luis Lesmond. The Dons did not impress in win over Ridgewood. They just looked they were going through the motions but poured it on in the end winning 63-37.

DeLaSalle did not not impress. Lots of reckless individual effort without a whole lot of team coordination. I did not get a good sense of Nequea Valley, except they were big.

I saw a little of the Whitney Young v. Oak Park River Forest game. I was impressed with the OPRF’s point guard Demetrius Dortch.

DePaul Prep knocked off Belleville West 46-30. The Rams led the whole way. Brian Mathews dominated early play on the boards and scoring inside. He made the difference early. In the second half, the Maroons dialed up the pressure. The Rams struggled to score inside and Maroons cut into the lead. Three 3-pointers late kept the Rams ahead. Under two minutes, the Rams made their free throws and expanded their lead to 16 points.

It was a typical Tom Kleinschmidt win. Get a lead, push the ball up the floor—“Go with it,” run a weave, shoot the three and make free throws.

Headed back out there this afternoon to see the rest pool play.

As for the photos, I really wasn’t there to take photos. So I apologize if the photos were not up to my usual standards. The light was pretty good in the Fieldhouse. I pushed the ISO high and didn’t worry about it too much. The photos are pretty grainy but the only purpose for the photos is this blog post. They are not going to a newspaper or website so it doesn’t matter.

Come out and see next year’s players and teams.

DePaul Prep Edges Latin 4-3 to Win 2A Regional

The DePaul Prep Rams survived a very good Latin Romans team 4-3 Saturday evening at Kerry Wood Field to win their second consecutive 2A Regional Championship.

Wonderful game played by both teams. Romans played flawless defense. Rams pitching got the better of the Romans.

Rams move on to face Lisle High School at Illinois Benediction on Wednesday evening. The Rams beat Lisle 10-6 at Lisle in March. They look to repeat that performance and advance to the Sectional Final on Saturday against the winner of Aurora Christian (or Westmont—game suspended with Aurora Christian winning 10-0 in the 4th) v. Holy Trinity.

As for the photos, despite a 50/50 chance of rain at game time, conditions were pretty good. It did not rain at all. It was overcast but still pretty bright. No harsh shadows.

I shot at 1/2000 shutter speed and about 1000-1250 ISO. The high shutter speed is necessary for baseball. Next time it is bright I will go higher. The ISO graininess showed up on the tight crops but the real tight crops weren’t usable anyway.

I mostly changed around positioning. I was out on the field away from the fence, which I would rather not do but I had to change things up.

Not too many more baseball games this season. We’ll have to carry on next year. Hopefully by then I will have a 300mm 2.8. Absolutely necessary lens for baseball.

St. Ignatius Defeats DePaul Prep 10-2

The DePaul Prep Rams hosted the St. Ignatius Wolfpack Saturday (April 13, 2019) afternoon at Kerry Wood Field. The Wolfpack hitters were crushing the baseball, scoring two runs each in the first three innings. As is their way, the Rams keep fighting but could not come back, ultimately falling to St. Ignatius—10-2.

This had to be the high school baseball game with more well hit baseballs than any other I have seen. The Wolfpack absolutely pasted the baseball. Triple to the gap after triple to the gap after triple to the gap. St. Ignatius catcher J. Loftus hit a ball that I thought might leave Kerry Wood Field. I have never even seen one come close to hitting the fence. I had to watch to see if would go out. It didn’t.

St. Ignatius student photographer, junior Luke Hales, made his way up to the 47th Ward’s Kerry Wood Field for the game. He got some bad info on the start time and arrived a little later for the 4:00 p.m., start time. It didn’t much matter. He got some great shots. Luke is a very talented photographer and he’s like 16 years old. He knows how to operate the camera. Great color on his photos. He is developing an eye for composition.

My photos are not my best work. I struggled a little with the late afternoon light and shadows. The manual ISO was a problem. I should have gone auto. Nevertheless, shooting the game was useful. The photos might be ordinary, or worse, but I learned something.

DePaul Prep v. Peoria Richwoods

These are not my best photos. I had not planned to shoot this game. I knew I could not stay. I was driving by, my camera was in the trunk, so I thought I would stop and take a few photos. I used the 24-300mm, f5.6. Not the right lens for night baseball but I thought I would give it a try. This pushed the ISO too high making the photos grain and not sharp.

Okay, excuses out of the way, I got lucky on a few. I will be back to get some good ones when I can plan it out better and use the proper equipment.

Stay tuned.

High School Basketball Starts Today!

The high school basketball season starts today.

 I have been looking forward to this season for months now. Since the disappointing end to the DePaul Prep Rams season last March in the Sectional final.

The Rams come into this season ranked 21 in the Sun-Times Super 25 and 10 in Joe Henricksen’s Top 80 teams. Preseason rankings are all about expectations. So expectations for the Rams are high—very high. This will be the third season that this group of players have played together now at the varsity level. Each year they have gotten better and better. The Rams have one of the area’s top players—Perry Cowen. The Rams are among the favorites to win the Chicago Catholic League with Loyola, Leo and St. Rita.

The Rams are also seen by many observers as among the top teams in 3A with Morgan Park, Bogan, St. Viator and St. Rita. So the expectations are high for a deep run into the IHSA 3A playoffs.

It seems only a few short years ago that the Gordon Tech Rams had lost 33 Catholic League games in a row. Those days are long gone. Under Coach Tom Kleinschmidt, the Rams win games they should and pick off favorites here and there.

Personally, I am going to approach this like the 2016 Cubs season. Take the season in phases, enjoy every minute and not get weighed down by the expectations. God willing, we will all be in Peoria on March 16th for a matchup with can tell our grandkids about.

First phase, the Battle of the Bridge Tournament. So, see you at the Tom Wienicki Gym tonight at 6:00 p.m.

And I will also be shooting as many other games as I can get to while still remaining married.

Evanston Takes Down Lane Tech 9-7 in 4A Sectional Semi

Evanston played Lane Tech last Thursday (May 31, 2018) at Loyola's Munz athletic fields campus. It was a great game. Evanston jumped out to a two run lead. Lane rebounded with seven runs a couple innings later. Then Evanston put up seven runs of its own an inning later and took a 9 - 7 lead. The Indians were unable to make up the difference. Evanston won 9-7 and advanced to play Loyola on Saturday. 

The  photos were high shutter speed and high ISO. The Loyola announcer was gracious enough to let me shoot photos from the mobile press box which helped me get some great shots.