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

 

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 firstĀ 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

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

The Chicago Bandits Do It Again

The Chicago Bandits Do It Again

On Tuesday night the Chicago Bandits took the Cowles Cup for the second straight year. I know that Professional softball is not on the typical sports fan’s radar, but I’m a serious fan of the game and watching the National Pro Fastpitch Championship was pure delight!

Those of you who know me from the real world, know that I have long roots in Central Florida; a part of my interest in the NPF league stems from the fact that the Chicago Bandits took former UCF pitcher Shelby Turnier in last year’s draft; I just loves me some Knights sports! She was the first pick in the second round, eleventh overall. Shelby had a very good year as an NPF frosh and really shined in the post-season.

Turnier got nine innings of work in three games in the NPF playoffs and didn’t allow a single run. Her ERA was 3.69 at the end of the regular season and shrank to 3.22 with her strong performances against the Scrap Yard Dawds and the front-running USSSA Pride.

As a staff, the Bandits performed well overall. Angel Bunner was solid — as was Michelle Gascoigne — but when you look at the stats, Shelby was on fire. She has positioned herself as one of the best relievers in the business, and she — and the Bandits organization — have to be very pleased with her inaugural season.

For more about National Pro Fastpitch, the only Womens’ Professional softball league in the U.S., follow this link.

 

Photo UCF Athletics used with permission

 

 

Bubbalou’s Bodacious Barbecue is As Good As It Gets

Bubbalou’s Bodacious Barbecue is As Good As It Gets

The best I can remember, I first visited Bubbalou’s Bodacious Barbecue back around ’85 or ’86… Not exactly sure. What I know for sure is that I’ve gone back about a bajillion times. And I’ll be going back many, many times more.

At the time I made that first killer visit to this Mecca of Florida barbecue, the Lee Rd. location was it. (If you haven’t been there, that’s just west of where Lee Rd. begins at Hwy 17-92.) I didn’t know that one day Bubbalou’s would have five locations. Or that they’d all be way bigger than the original one. And that people from every corner of the Orlando metro area would come to love their chow the way I did.

I prefer cafeteria-style service at barbecue joints, as you tend to have your dinner in front of you faster that way. That’s the system at Bubbalou’s. But their staff will be table side several times while you’re chowing down even though they’re not actual wait staff. You can tip at the time you order. They tend to fill up for lunch and because seating consists of picnic tables, you may be enjoying your selection with friends you haven’t met yet. But that adds to the charm of the place. And they feature a decent beer selection.

I’ve had five or six entrees, all told. I tend to order my faves over and over so it’s true that there are things on their menu I’ve never tasted. Some of my “stand-bys” that I’ve had a thousand times would include the Pulled Pork Sandwich, The Ribs and the Catfish Dinner. I recommend them all. If you opt for a sandwich, you can go with a bun or the grilled garlic toast you find at many barbecue restaurants; yeah, I know that “authentic” barbecue should come with plain white bread, but that is the one thing about old-school barbecue that I really hate. Give me the not-authentic garlic toast every damn day of the week!

Let me say one more thing about the catfish; it’s been consistently good and I go that route fairly often because catfish is not on the menu at most barbecue joints. So that’s one of the reasons I go to Bubbalou’s often.

Their sides are killer; there are many from which to choose. I especially love the collards and the black-eyed peas. But all the ones I’ve had are top-shelf.

I’ve been to four of the five locations; have not made it out to the Apopka store yet. Give me a little time. I’m not out in the UCF area that much, but the Alafaya location is huge and has a full bar and a substantial patio. You can play bean bag toss after dinner and they feature live music on weekends. I’ve visited that one four times in all; its vibe is quite different from the others. And, yes, you’ll see plenty of UCF kids there. Both as patrons and crew.

If you’d like to wrap a train trip around your lunch or dinner, the Altamonte Springs location is the way to go; it’s within easy walking distance of the Altamonte Sun Rail Station. I’ve gone that route and it was a lot of fun. In fact, they have a train rider special but you’ll have to show your Sun Rail pass.

They are family-friendly too. I’ve always seen every kind of diner on my visits. Check them out whether you’re with family, friends or “flying solo”, as is my usual custom.

You’ve gotta love Bubbalou’s. Five great locations. Top-shelf barbecue and very yummy sides. Fast service from an efficient and engaging crew. What’s not to like?

Bubbalou’s accepts most credit cards. American Express is not on that list, however.

I am not going to list the addresses of the five locations here. For that, I recommend their site. To see the locations and their fabulous menu, justĀ follow this link.