Friday, May 18, 2012

Post season sports brings out the best in players.

Boyertown Devyn Heidelbaugh.
     Post season sporting events always brings out the best in athletes wanting to continue the season. And although the names and faces have changed over the years, the hard work and intensity remains the same. This was my week to cover the late shift so I photographed most of the important playoff games and the spring weather couldn't be better.
     The first game was a District One lacrosse match between Downingtown East and Boyertown. The fast pace from goal to goal had me shooting photos in rapid-fire succession. I pop off a burst of six or seven frames as plays happen in front of me. With all the constant movement, lacrosse is by far one of the easiest to get great action photos and Boyertown was taking care of business in their first round game.
Boyertown Kaitlin Dehaven.
     Early in the first half Devyn Heidelbaugh made a rush to the goal with defenders trailing her. This told the story as the Bears were a step ahead of East most of the game. Gabby Genuario, Haley Wentzel, Rachel Engler and Amanda Smith each scored three goals for Boyertown winning 15-6 over Downingtown.
Perk Valley's Sara Sermarini.
      Sadly to say Boyertown lost their second round game ending their season in a game against Radnor. Many of the players don't want their season to end and it's tough for them to call it a day when the hard fought games are over.
      The following day, the PAC-10 held the girls softball semi-finals at Pine Forge A.A. Complex. In the first game of the double header Perkiomen Valley faced Spring-Ford. The teams have battled over the last two years with Spring-Ford coming out on top. This game was Perk Valley's from the first inning as they took an early one run lead.  Viking pitcher Erin Hamm was dialed in and threw a seven hit shutout over the Rams. Spring-Ford had their chances hitting the ball hard at times and loading the bases in the top of the first but were unable to plate any runners.
Perkiomen Valley pitcher (27) Erin Hamm.
     Meanwhile Perk Valley's speedy Sara Sermarini was able slap hit some balls and outrun the throws to first. She scored the first run with the team playing small ball with bunts and taking it a base at a time. The action isn't as easy to come by in softball with both pitchers including Spring-Ford's Williams throwing hard.
     But as a senior Hamm has become a focused and intense pitcher and in the final half of the seventh inning with two outs I stayed focused on her waiting for her reaction as the game ended. She didn't disappoint gritting her teeth and signaling the final out as she jumped into the air.
     It's not the end of the road for Spring-Ford Rams. Coach Tim Hughes will have his players regroup and begin district play.
Bears Jenna Marburger is out.
     Boyertown and Methacton matched up in the nightcap in the other semi-final game. There were many more opportunities for action shots as both teams had runners on the base paths giving me a chance for good photos. I couldn't stay for the end of the second game and getting some quality pictures early made it easier to meet our sports deadline. I had plays at first and several more at home plate as both teams took chances to score runs.
Methacton's  Sarah Rambo is out at the plate.
     Both Maddy Lowery for Methacton and Jenna Marburger for Boyertown pitched well giving up one run each through the four innings that I was there. There was more than enough action but not many runs produced.
     Softball is a game of dominating pitchers and some games the bases remain empty as strikeouts pile up. After I left, the score was tied through seven innings and the game went into extra frames. Methacton won it with two runs in the ninth inning taking the semi-final by a score of 3-2.
     On the following evening the PAC-10 held the boys baseball championship with Boyertown going against Spring-Ford at Bears Stadium. Both teams sported the same 13-5 regular season record. Both have great pitching and hitting and the match up would make a great final.
A.J. Bogucki.
     Pitching for Boyertown, A.J. Bogucki had a no hitter going through five innings and Spring-Ford Richie Michaud gave up only one run throwing for the Rams. But in the top of the sixth the Bears got their bats going scoring four runs ending Michaud night on the mound. Spring-Ford rallied back in the bottom scoring five times to tie the game.
Matt Purnell scores run.
     I watched the left field clock ticking closer to 9 p.m. and my need to get the sports department their photos. If the game went into extra innings there was a chance that I'd have to leave before the winning run crossed the plate. The Bears were able to push a run across in the top of the seventh inning to give them a 6-5 lead.
     In the final half of the seventh Bears coach Todd Moyer trotted Bogucki back out to try and finish the Rams off. After the shaky sixth inning Bogucki shut the Rams down in order. I stayed focused on him and I waited for his catcher Kyle Weller to meet on the mound to celebrate. That never happened as he was swarmed over by happy teammates piling on top of him. This was my lead shot for the sports page.
Bears celebrate PAC-10 title.
     Funny how I have an idea and anticipate what might happen and though pointing the camera in the right spot the whole photo changes with these players whooping it up. Another PAC-10 title for the Bears. I packed up and quickly ran back to my car to beat the traffic out of the parking lot to stay ahead of that always looming deadline.

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