Yesterday afternoon I shot the third Univ. of Texas v. Texas A&M Univ. baseball game of a three game series for the Statesman and the Bryan/College Station Eagle.
UT lost the first two games and was expected to lose the third, which is why I imagine they sent a stringer to cover it, rather than a staff member. I’m, of course, always supportive of them doing that because that means that I can go play–I mean work.
I knew it was going to be a good day when I saw Ray Benson, guitar in hand, walking out to the field to sing the national anthem. He was with a handful of other Texas artists, but it’s hard to notice anyone else when Ray towers over and sings lower than anyone there.
Both Austin and College Station needed photos, so that made a game that was 1-0 (Aggies) until the bottom of the ninth a little more interesting for me. I got pictures of the pitchers and then a few batters and then went up to send my first edit. Then I came back down to the field and shot the new pitchers, and by then the batters were giving the infield a little more to do, so I shot them too.
Seventh inning stretch rolled around, and I thought about going back up to the press box to send another edit, but the score was still 1-0, so I figured the game was just a time bomb waiting to go off. The ninth inning started and UT kept A&M from scoring a second point. I was about ready to pack it up and call it a third UT loss. Then UT got a few hits and some guys on bases and before long, it was 1-1.
It was starting to get hot, so I was thinking, please don’t go in to extra innings! I’m sure I wasn’t the only one because a softball game across the street was about to start and most of the media had to cover that game as well. Extra innings would have meant camera guys donning a uniform and running from home through the outfield between plays.
Anyway, UT’s Jonathan Walsh was on third and Jordan Etier was up to bat. Etier hit a ground ball and Walsh dove in to home plate, probably saying a little prayer as he flew through the air. The A&M catcher had the ball in his glove and reached out to tag Walsh, but the ball fell out of his glove and missed Walsh.
The umpire called safe, bringing the score to 2-1 in UT’s favor and craziness ensued.
Before the play, I focused on Walsh at third, knowing that if he made it to home plate, the game was over and UT had won. I didn’t watch Etier batting, just got a shot of him on first right after the safe call was made. At the end of the game, I had three shots that I was pretty proud of – Walsh diving in to home, the umpire calling safe with fan reaction in the background, and UT players jumping in the air with Etier. Here are those shots:
After those shots, the rest of the game photos didn’t really seem that important. Those three pretty much told the story. But since A&M will be leaving the conference and it will be a rarity to see these two teams play again, I’ll leave you with some photos to reminisce over. Do you have the memorial ballad of your choice playing in your head? Okay, here they are…
If you want even more nostalgia, click on one (or all) of these links to read about the game and see my photos: