UCF knocks off Illinois, advances to NIT Final Four – Orlando Sentinel

I was on the UCF campus yesterday evening to see our Knights take on the Seminoles in softball. No. 1 ranked FSU bested the Knights by a score of 4-0. It was a good contest and I don’t think the UCF softball stadium could have held one more fan.

While that contest was going on, we all could see the crazy traffic on campus, knowing that the crowds were turning out for the Men’s BB game that was going to tip-off at 7:00. I was delighted to hear the Knights won and are now headed to the final four in the NIT. Hope they leave their mark on Madison Square Garden! Charge On!

Great write-up all about their big win here from the Orlando Sentinel:

UCF held off a late Illinois rally at CFE Arena Wednesday night, advancing to the NIT Final Four.

Source: UCF knocks off Illinois, advances to NIT Final Four – Orlando Sentinel

Cassady Brewer’s Blast Helps to Power UCF past the Bears in Sunday Softball Action

Cassady Brewer’s Blast Helps to Power UCF past the Bears in Sunday Softball Action

Our UCF Knights knew that the Baylor Bears were going to be a handful. They were sporting a 22-4 record as their bus motored down I-75 toward Orlando last week. They were ranked 15th nationally and had bested some very good softball squads in the first half of the 2017 season.

The Bears pretty well mauled the Knights in game one on Friday night. Game two Saturday was closer and at some point the home team knew that beating Baylor was, indeed, possible.

The contest Sunday was a whole different thing; the Knights played pretty darn good defense, Freshman hurler Alia White gave up just two runs to the Bears and first baseman Cassady Brewer went 2 for 3 from the plate including a solo homer in the 4th. It was White’s first-ever win against a top 20 team in her short collegiate career.

I snapped a pic of Brewer’s blast just after the ball leapt off the bat. I just had to use that pic as the featured foto this time around. Brewer is a bona fide local product, coming out of Apopka High.

Baylor was a very good team. On Wednesday the Knights will face a great team when FSU comes to town. The Noles are ranked nationally at no. 2 at the moment; this one is going to be intense!

Tickets are still on sale but won’t last long. For tickets to any UCF sporting event, call 407 823-1000. Operators are standing by…

 

A big fan of UCF Athletics, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

They’re Back in Black!

They’re Back in Black!

If you read Bulldog’s rant about the white unis worn by the Knights on opening day, you might be thinking to yourself: “what’s wrong with a White Knight?”

He just didn’t like the blinding whiteness of it all and the fact that it made the numbers on the players’ backs almost impossible to read. Yes, he went too far. Ranted too long.

But today, all is right in the world again. The Knights are Back in Black! Yay!

 

Bulldog Ben Basile

 

Full Foto Disclosure: This amazing photograph Ben took of the Knights in their awesome black-on-black togs is from the 2016 season. But that’s what they wore Saturday night in the rematch with FAMU which they won 1-0. Ben can get on with his life again!

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

The photo at the bottom is an official UCF photo. It shows UCF Ace Hurler Shelby Turnier wearing the best Knights’ uni ever in a game with the Gators from last year’s season. As you may know, Shelby is now pitching in the NPF with the Chicago Bandits. The Pros kick off their season in early June shortly after the College Softball World Series wraps up.

2016 UCFSB vs. UF
2016 UCFSB vs. UF

Photo of Shelby Turnier UCF Athletics used with permission

 

 

Loved the First Day of the 2017 Softball Season, But Those New…

Loved the First Day of the 2017 Softball Season, But Those New…

In my previous post I talked about how today was the opening day for collegiate softball all over the nation and how the tournament sponsored by our hometown UCF Knights got it started here in the Central Florida area. I loved at least a thousand things about the start of this year’s season and about our team and the top-shelf tournament they’re hosting.

This ardent UCF fan’s one complaint about opening day was the new uni’s. The “white on white wear” that debuted today was awful. Just awful. The very plain jerseys just look like tee shirts and make one think of a sand lot game where players are actually wearing — their tee shirts. And the blinding whiteness of all white makes it almost impossible to see the players’ numbers. Not good. All sports, pro and collegiate have been sold a bill of goods — literally — and change their look and their unis every season now. Designers and uniform makers’ sales reps love it. Fans not so much.

Now I know that all teams have several sets of unis and I’ll probably see those awesome black on black togs for which the Knights have been well-known for years again this year. But the white on white is awful. My two bits of advice would be scrap those new, boring outfits as fast as you can and next year give the contract to some other sportswear maker.

A team’s look is not a trivial matter. Uniforms, specifically, are a big deal to fans. It’s one of those things in the sports world where a little tradition goes a long way. Folks, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

 

Strong supporter of UCF Athletics, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

P.S.: Let the record show that I love the white pants with the muted-gold jerseys the knights wear a lot. Good design. Not too plain, not too flashy. Just right.

P.S. to the P.S.: I’m looking back over the hundreds of photos I took last season to make sure that these accursed white on white on white togs haven’t been a thing before now. If they’re not new, I’ll delete this post and take out a full page ad in the UCF newspaper to give my heart-felt apology the widest possible audience.

<Here the author titters, giggles and guffaws, knowing full-well that none of the 13 souls who have ever read his blog know that the campus paper, The Central Florida Future, folded in 2016 after a 48 year run>

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Opening Day of the 2017 NCAA Softball Season

Opening Day of the 2017 NCAA Softball Season

The 2017 Softball Season kicked off today all over the country and our home town UCF Knights helped to get this year’s campaign started in fine fashion.

The 2017 UCF Knights Invitational featured four well-respected teams from Florida and beyond. Florida A&M is the other squad from the Sunshine State. The University of Kentucky Wildcats and the Pitt Panthers are the other teams in this four-way tilt.

In today’s action, our Knights bested the FAMU Rattlers in their first contest 10-2 but then fell to Pitt in the 6 PM game by a score of 6-0.

There are four games on tap tomorrow — meaning Saturday — and two more to close out the tournament on Sunday. The Knights will face Kentucky tomorrow at 3:30 and then mix it up with A&M one more time at 6:00. They’ll close out the whole shebang in a rematch with Pitt at 11:30 Sunday morning.

Here’s the site for tourney results and to see the exact times for games. UCF’s excellent softball field is on the back side of Bright House Stadium. The Knights’ facility was pretty darn good before this season but the addition of chairs with backs over the old bleachers has kicked it up a notch or three. Loved the changes. The $1 hot dogs for opening day were a big hit, too. Judging from the number of fans I saw juggling hot dogs as they headed back to their new-and-improved seats, it wasn’t just me taking advantage of this awesome “dollar dog” promotion!

I had one complaint about opening day but I’m saving that rant for the next post! I love softball and love the Knights so I’ll let this bright, happy post about opening day live on the internet completely unspoiled by the irritation-filled screed coming next!

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Damn! The Bucs Lost! But This Could Be the Cowboy’s Year!

Last night’s contest between the Bucs and the Boys was well worth watching. You saw two QB’s who are going to have very impressive, if not Hall of Fame, careers. The Buc’s Jameis Winston had a good outing but Dallas rookie QB Dak Prescott was on fire! He set a new Cowboy’s season record for TD’s by a Quarterback with six and couldn’t miss his receivers; he went 32 of 36 for a stunning 88.9 percent. And it still was a very competitive game that wasn’t decided until the final 25 seconds.

This one made me proud to be an NFL fan! This season has been a damn good one and there’s still a lot of unknowns as far as the playoffs. I believe only three teams have punched their ticket so far, so there’s plenty of suspense here in the last two weeks of the regular season.

Hope you guys had a fine weekend. My vacation begins today, I’ll be cooking my eggs and grits on a Coleman stove at a state park for the next few days. Looking forward to that! And, yes, I’ll be watching Monday Night Football in my tent tonight as I’ve got a power pack with AC capability! See ya when I’ve had enough tromping around in the woods!

The Tampa Bay Bucs Are Still in the Chase!

The Tampa Bay Bucs Are Still in the Chase!

The Bucs are still in the chase for the NFC South Championship! As of this writing, the Bucs have won five straight and are tied with the Atlanta Falcons for the lead in the NFC South; both clubs have 8-5 records with three games left in the regular season.

If you weren’t tuned in for yesterday’s 16-11 thriller over Drew Brees and the Saints, it’s your loss! I enjoyed every minute of this one. Jameis, Doug Martin and wide-out Cameron Brate sparked the offense and the Buc’s D shined brightly, as it so often does; three interceptions of Drew Brees is a BFD and it really sealed the win on Sunday.

The three teams the Bucs will face in the closing weeks of the 2016 season are the NFC East leading Cowboys, then the Saints again and finally the always-dangerous Panthers.

Ol’ Bulldog is not going to say the division is a lock, but it’s great to see that they’ve got an excellent shot. Jameis Winston is all that and a bag of frickin’ chips and I’m quite sure the Bucs organization is still thinking that taking Jameis no. 1 overall two years ago was a damn good pick! He shone brightly in his rookie season and is doing quite well now in his sophomore outing. It does this long-time fan’s heart good and it’s just one more reason why the 2016 NFL season has been a good one.

The overall playoff picture will look much clearer after next week’s contests; for now I’m content that those of us who’ve followed the Bucs from  Day One are feeling good as we get into the last few weeks of the season.

And, if you also follow FSU, it’s very cool to note that place kicker Roberto Aguayo — another illustrious former Nole — has pretty much broken out of that freshman slump. Some fans have soured on Aguayo, as the organization used their 2nd round pick to get him, but I’m quite sure Roberto will have a long and good career in the NFL. Good to see these two FSU alumni tearing it up on the gridiron right here in the Sunshine State!

If you’re a Bucs fan too, and you missed it yesterday, here’s a link to the highlights. Well worth a look even if you did catch it in real time.

My recipe for a damn good Autumn Sunday afternoon: Bulldog, burgers, Bucs and Beer!

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile