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06/04/2010

The boys of summer....

Rick Madonik - Staff Photographer

Rm_HSball01 Birchmount's right fielder Ryan McDougall can't gather the ball as Mitchell Triolo calls for the relay throw. Sinclair Celtics beat Birchmount Park 11-3 Wednesday at Kinsmen Stadium in Oshawa.

Generally, baseball players are known as the "boys of summer" since a large portion of the season transcends from Spring, thru Summer, and into the Fall. For high school athletics, the name doesn't hold too true since the season is over before summer begins, so I'll employ a little literary licence and employ the moniker even though it doesn't exactly imply.

Most people think shooting professional, or Olympic, sports is the only thing worthy of a big city newspaper. I disagree. In fact, I think covering local athletics, whether they be high school, league play, university or semi pro - in addtion to pro teams - really says a lot about the community. With that, I'm almost always keen to head out to the high school track and field championships, or Christmas classic basketball tournament. The venues leave a lot to be desired as far as light, or sight lines, but what you give up in those areas usually comes back in access.

This week I ventured out to Kinsmen Stadium in Oshawa for the TSSAA baseball playoff game between Birchmount and Sinclair, with Sinclair winning the game and advancing to represent the GTA school in the upcoming Prentice Cup. The two umps working the game had no problem with me being on the "field of play." The coaches, and players, were told, the photographer is part of the game and to continue playing the ball even if it slammed off of me or my equipment.

What I mostly like about covering sports at this level is it is far from perfect. Errors, mistakes, broken plays, all make for good pictures, as do the reactions of players. A ground ball in the infield handled by pro players tends to be a very routine picture whereas the same play on an uneven, long grassed infield at an outdoor stadium with high school kids can easily turn into a series of pictures. The plays tend to be far less predictable, or spectacular, but the pictures generated tend to give a more accurate representation of the game played.

Nothing earth shattering occurred during the game (Sinclair won 11-3) but routine fly balls fell short and base stealing and sliding kicked up small dust storms - which only added to the drama of the game.

Here's a few photos from the game from the edit.

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Celtics Brodie Jeffrey (4) and Joe Hawkins (24) emerge from the dust after both scored runs in early innings.

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Celtics Brandon Wood keeps an eye on the pitcher in order to try to get a good jump for base running.

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Celtics pitcher Jordan Hill hurls the ball toward homeplate.

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Celtics Julian Service (11) attempts to pat his teammate on the head, but catches helmut instead.

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Birchmount's right fielder Ryan McDougall flags down a fly ball and comes up with a tough play.

Rm_HSball02 A catcher's glove sheds dust and sand as a pitch is delivered to home plate.

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