About Sports and Photography

About Sports and Photography

This blog is mostly about awesome outdoor activities and Nature pix.

Many of you know that Bulldog here is a major sports nut, too.

And when I get good shots of a sporting event, they just might end up here.

It’s all outdoor photography, right?

I’m a big fan or the University of Central Florida. The UCF Softball squad hosted the Shockers of Wichita State last week. And I got some good photos out of it!

The banner photo is of a Shockers hitter just before the bat makes contact. It’s a keeper!

The next shot shows UCF ace pitcher Alea White. Alea is a junior and is really making her mark on UCF’s program. If she finishes strong this year and has a good senior season, she’s on pace to eclipse Shelby Turnier’s record of 80 career wins.

Bunting is not a technique used that much anymore in baseball. It’s still a big deal in softball, however. In this next photo, a Shockers hitter is showing the fans how it’s done.

Ultimately, the Shockers bested my Knights, 2-1 in a very close contest. It was a hard-fought one, and I got some good pix!

What more could a fan ask for?

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile

 

Knights Knocked Out of AAC Softball Championship Tourney by Lowly East Carolina

Knights Knocked Out of AAC Softball Championship Tourney by Lowly East Carolina

Last Thursday the softball squad from East Carolina eliminated our UCF Knights on day one of the conference championship tourney. I love and support the Knights but that was a huge disappointment for me. UCF was the no. 3 seed; E.C. was in the AAC cellar before the tournament. Perhaps being the host team helped the Pirates kick it up a notch or two.

The Knights finished with a 29-23 record for the 2017 campaign; it was not a bad season considering how young the squad is and that one has to consider it to have been a rebuilding year.

Yes, die-hard fans like me can look forward to the next few years now that the team has more maturity. There certainly is no lack of talent. And coach Rene Luers-Gillispie and her staff are very good at what they do. But the quick exits from the American Athletic Conference the last two years have dampened this dog’s enthusiasm just a bit.

Damn, what a whiner I am! #ChargeOn, Knights fans!

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

Noles Beat Knights 4-0 in Wednesday Softball Action

Noles Beat Knights 4-0 in Wednesday Softball Action

I do follow softball and this was a contest not-to-be-missed. The home town Knights of UCF were hosting the no. 1 ranked team in the country in the Seminoles of Florida State. It was a good contest but in the end, Seminole bats overpowered UCF’s pitching and Seminole fans drove back to Tallahassee with smiles on their (often) painted faces.

UCF pitcher Alea White had bested the nation’s 15th ranked team five days earlier — that would be the Bears of Baylor — but FSU is no. 1 for a reason. Or reasons, I should say, and Alea White pitched well enough to beat some Div I teams, but the Noles can hit the ball like very few other squads and their eight hits translated into four runs. This time out, the Knights had no answer.

Cassidy Brewer, the hero of that third contest with Baylor had two hits, but the rest of the line-up together produced only two more. And against the Noles, that’s not enough.

In the top of the 7th, the DH for FSU, Zoe Casas, spanked a homer to right field, just inside the foul line that carried way, way over the 200′ mark. FSU head coach  Lonni Alameda does a splendid job as the skipper for Florida State and coaches for the USSSA Pride in the Pro ranks, too. If you polled folks who know their softball about who’s the best coach in the game, I’d be a little shocked if Lonni would not come out on top. And I’d bet a month’s rent that hitting is her no. 1 criterion when she and her staff are recruiting.

UCF is back in action on the diamond tomorrow, March 24th when they host the Houston Cougars. It is a conference game. The first pitch will be thrown at 5:30PM.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

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

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