Shot the Cage Fighters at U.S. Cellular Coliseum Saturday night. There were 13 fights on the card. Show-Me’s in downtown Bloomington was hosting a post fight party and supplied the ring girls for all the matches. Ashley & Lexi were a huge crowd favorite and they were as classy as they were beautiful. The first and last fights were the most competitive and both went to the officials scorecards. Joe Davis won a unanimous decision over KC Pitithory in the 170 lb class. After Buddy McGinnis (13-0-1) dominated Brandon Swank in the 145 lb title fight there was a classic heavyweight battle. Dave Swafford battled Brian Schell who had wrestled in a tournament earlier that day in Chicago and then drove to Bloomington and arrived only 15 minutes before his fight. He put up a valiant effort but lost on judges decision. The Hive from Bloomington, IL promoted the event and had several of there fighters enter the cage. It was great to spend an evening with my good friends John Butler and Bart Rogers who manage the Coliseum. It is always a challenge to photograph the fights when shooting thru a chain link fence. My Canon 1D Mark IV with 35mm f/1.4 L lens, 85mm f/1.2 II L lens and 135mm f/2.0 L lens did there job. Having the best equipment makes shooting in challenging lighting conditions look easy.
Update: Scroll to the Bottom of this post for a Montage Video.
Pekin High School captured both the Mid-Illini bass tournament held Friday April 17th at Banner Marsh and then repeated as Sectional Champions again on April 24th.They were led by senior Alex Cufaude who brought 15.13 lbs (5 bass) to the scales. He caught all five of his teams fish on a special spinnerbait. Dunlap High School placed second (five bass, 12.28 pounds) and Limestone High School was third (five, 12.02). The top three teams advance to the state finals May 7-8 at Carlyle Lake. Canton High School sophomore Austin Rhodes thought his 5.02 lb largemouth would win big fish of the day until Peoria Christian sophomore Luke Stewart brought a 7.12 lb lunker from his livewell. The tournament was once again run by Joe Stoner and his staff from Illini Bluffs High School. Jim Mattson from WHOI-TV was on hand to to gather interviews from the kids and Peoria Journal Star Outdoor writer Jeff Lampe covered the event. Last year 2,496 students fished in the IHSA series and 55 percent were students who did not compete in any other school activity. Reaching kids like that was one reason the IHSA started this series. I only wished it was available when I was in High School. Got a chance to put my 600mm f/4.0 L IS lens to work with my Canon 1D Mark IV body. They are simply the best tools for this job and it shows in my images. You need to keep your distance from the fishermen as they work in the shallow bays.
The Eureka College softball team continued its march to its first-ever St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament berth on Thursday, sweeping a SLIAC doubleheader from Principia in Eureka. Senior outfielder Amy Scammahorn (Decatur, Ill./Warrensburg-Latham H.S./Parkland) singled home the winning run to give Eureka a 3-2 walk-off victory in the opener, while the Eureka offense smashed 15 hits in support of a two-hit shutout by sophomore pitcher Sarah Jesse (Bloomington, Ill./Dee-Mack H.S.) in a 12-0 win in game two. Principia (0-16, 0-12 SLIAC) took control of game one with a pair of runs in the top of the third inning for an early lead. Marina Whitney and Jocelyn Shoemake smacked back-to-back RBI doubles, each with two outs, to push the Panthers in front, 2-0. The Red Devils (11-17, 9-5 SLIAC) responded in the bottom of the frame with an RBI single from senior catcher Cathy Kalnicky (Bolingbrook, Ill./Plainfield H.S.) to trim the deficit to 2-1. Eureka scored again one inning later on an RBI groundout from Jesse to score sophomore shortstop Carissa Alig (Metamora, Ill./Metamora H.S.) to force a 2-2 tie in the fourth inning. Principia threatened to take the lead in the top of the sixth inning when it loaded the bases with only one out, but Eureka starting pitcher Kelsey Brandt (Morton, Ill./Morton H.S.) fielded a soft ground ball hit by Maggie Sweeney and turned a 1-2-3 double play to end the inning, the second 1-2-3 double play of the game executed by the Red Devils. In the bottom of the seventh, senior third baseman Jill Doty (Metamora, Ill./Metamora H.S./Illinois Central) drew a one-out walk to set the stage for Scammahorn, who singled to right field two batters later. Sweeney misplayed the bloop single in right field, allowing Doty to score the winning run from first base and secure a 3-2 win for the hosts. Brandt was sharp in the circle for Eureka, allowing two runs on five hits for her sixth victory of the season. Scammahorn finished the game 2-for-3 and collected her first extra-base hit of the season when she hit a one-out double in the fifth inning. Eureka pounced on the Panthers early in the nightcap, taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning behind an RBI single from Kalnicky. The Red Devils pushed their lead to 4-0 in the second before breaking the game wide open with a six-run third inning for a 10-0 lead. Freshman outfielder Lauren Kao (Normal, Ill./Normal Community H.S.) delivered the big blow in the inning with a two-run home run to left-center field. Eureka knocked out seven hits in the inning, four of which went for extra bases. The Red Devils added two more runs in the fifth thanks to a two-run single from sophomore outfielder Allie Trainer (Manito, Ill./Midwest Central H.S.). The game ended after the fifth inning via the SLIAC’s eight-run rule. The offensive outburst was more than enough for Jesse, who allowed only two hits through five innings for her second complete game shutout of the season. She struck out three and walked none. Kalnicky went 3-for-4 in the nightcap, while Doty was 2-for-3 with her first career triple and a career-high five RBI. The doubleheader sweep improves Eureka’sSLIAC record to 9-5. As of early Monday evening, the Red Devils own a half-game lead over Greenville for the third spot in the tournament and a two-game lead over MacMurray for the fourth and final berth.
Greenville senior first baseman Stefan Neece smashed a pair of home runs and junior second baseman Kyle Hobar went 7-for-9 over the course of Wednesday’s St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference doubleheader against Eureka, helping the Panthers to a 12-7 win in game one and a 13-6 triumph in game two over the Red Devils at Henry Sand Field.After falling behind 1-0 in the top of the first inning of the opener, Eureka responded with an RBI groundout from junior first baseman Tim Cashdollar (Morton, Ill./Morton H.S.) in the bottom of the frame to force a 1-1 tie. Greenville, however, responded by plating runs in each of the first four innings to race to a 9-2 lead. The Red Devils nearly cut their deficit in half in the bottom of the fifth, plating three runs to trail 9-5. Sophomore Jordan Krone (Minonk, Ill./Fieldcrest H.S.) hit his third sacrifice fly of the year for Eureka’s first run of the inning before sophomore Kyle White (Gilman, Ill./Iroquois West H.S.) drilled a two-run single two batters later to draw the Red Devils within four runs. Junior catcher Alex Hess (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S./Illinois Central) made it 9-7 one inning later when he clobbered a two-run shot, his team-leading 11th home run of the season.Greenville provided some insurance runs in the top of the seventh behind a two-run single from Hobar and another run-scoring single from Neece for a 12-7 lead. Greenville relief pitcher Scott Voyles pitched around a throwing error and a walk to record a scoreless seventh inning and lock up the game one win for the visitors. Freshman Tanner Schreck (Monmouth, Ill./Monmouth-Roseville H.S.) went 3-for-4 with two runs scored to lead the Eureka offense, while Hess, Cashdollar and White added two hits apiece. Senior starting pitcher Tyler Glaub (Metamora, Ill./Metamora H.S.) allowed only three earned runs but suffered his first loss of the season. Batting first in the nightcap, Eureka took advantage of some shaky Greenville defense to jump to a 3-0 lead. Senior Nick Eeten (Eureka, Ill./Eureka H.S.) smacked an RBI double down the left field line to score Schreck, who led off the inning by reaching on an error. Two batters and another throwing error later, Cashdollar made it 3-0 with a two-run single. Greenville answered with two runs in the bottom of the first, but Eureka pushed its lead to 5-2 with single runs in each of the next two innings. Schreck hit an RBI single in the second, while senior Clay McConkey (Fairview, Ill./Spoon River Valley H.S.) hit a sacrifice fly for Eureka to regain the three-run lead. Greenville tied the game at 5-5 in the bottom of the third. Neece, who entered the week as the Division III leader with a 1.025 slugging percentage, hit his first of two home runs during the game when he smacked a two-run shot to right-center field. The Panthers took the lead for good when Hobar singled home Juan Mondragon for a 6-5 lead in the fourth. Eeten and Krone collected two hits apiece to pace Eureka in game two. Krone and sophomore Scott Meyer (Taylor Ridge, Ill./Rockridge H.S.) each tripled for Eureka, while sophomore Greg Osman (Macon, Ill./Decatur Eisenhower H.S.) connected on a pinch hit single in the seventh for his first collegiate hit.
I ventured down to beautiful Bradley Park to capture some game images of the 12 and under PGSL Power softball team. My friend Mark Petersen coaches the Power . They played like they were in mid-season form with a solid defense, timely hitting and strong pitching. They will be playing all over the midwest this summer and will be traveling first class in there new team bus. These young ladies play the game with great passion. I was able to get up close by shooting over the outfield fence with my trusty ladder and Canon 600mm f/4.0 L IS lens.