Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Same Party, Different Location

I'm not one for making demands of the Creator of the Universe, but, please God, we could use a little help down here.
We're not out of the woods yet folks. It's 5:30pm, quitting time in my book, but noooo, somebody had to go and start another wildfire. This one started on the Scott Ranch in Irion County. And by the time I got there it had burned about 2000 acres. Small pickings compared to the Wildcats' almost 160,000 acres. To tell the you truth this one doesn't look as if going to be that bad. The fire was slow-moving and the volunteers created some of the best fire breaks I've ever seen. They must have been at least 30-yards deep from the side of the road.

But, we really could use the rain. I'm sure those of you in east Texas would gladly donate some of the waterfall you've received over the last few days. Minus the hail and tornadoes of course. And, unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any relief in sight.
But the job has to be done, and might as well be done by me... and Jennifer, our cops/courts reporter... and Matthew, our general news reporter... and Eva, our Scripps Fellow and main video shooter. Okay, it's a team effort and we're going to have to buckle down for the long haul. I just wish I could clear my lungs, nose and ears from the dirt and ash flying through the area.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Wildcat Fire Newspaper Clips

Okay, so I'm going to write just one more post concerning the Wildcat Fire that required so much of my time last week. I wanted to post to some of my favorite pages we published covering the fire. The fire started on a Thursday, or at least we started covering it on a Thursday, but I didn't get my first assignment until I started heading home from the state gymnastics meet in Arlington that Sunday.
The design of the pages are pretty clean, though I would have run the front page lead photo at five columns everyday since we deemed it necessary to cover it everyday. It was a big story worthy of the amount of time we were spending on it so I say let's do it up big.

On Thursday of last week, fire crews started to really get control of the fire and by the end of the day had it 75 percent contained. It was also the day we learned that we would be producing a 6-page special section to publish in Sunday's paper to recap and end our coverage of the fire. It would be mainly photo driven (always a good idea) and, unlike the Library tab we produced earlier this month, it was going to be a broadsheet. Perfect. Photos always run better in a broadsheet production. I've only posted four of the six pages (below) because the other two pages were mainly text and a graphic or two. You see, don't 6-column photos look great on the page?


Southwest Texas State of Mind

I was honored to have been asked to go on a quick weekend trip down to the Marfa/Presidio area in southwest Texas with a buddy of mine here in San Angelo. After a long, hot week of covering the Wildcat Fire I needed to get out of town, unwind for a bit and have a little fun. Originally, the plan was to go down and help out with some sort of road race I'd never heard of before, but I'm into motor sports, so I thought it sounded like fun even if we were just going to sit around for 12 hours guarding some rancher's gate.
But when that fell through, Chris (my buddy) suggested that we go anyway, head down to Presidio to visit his brother who works as a border patrol agent, and spend all day Saturday 4-wheelin', gun shootin' and bbq-in'. Sounds just as good.
The Alpine/Marfa/Big Bend area is by far one of my favorite, if not favorite, regions of Texas. I don't get to travel there too often, but I'm humbled every time I go. The vastness of the open space, the rich color of the high desert mountains and the lonely sound of the wind through the scrub brush, devoid of the noise of population, appeals to me greatly.

There's nothing like stepping outside early on a crisp, cool morning and watching the sun come up over the mountains, or taking a Jeep ride out to the middle of nowhere and listening to the wind blow through the canyon, or watching the fading light of the sun outline the clouds of a building thunderstorm in the west. Every time I go out that way I'm never there long enough, this trip included. Chris and I didn't get out of town until almost 5:30 pm on Friday, which wasn't going to put us at his parents' house in Marfa until 9:30 pm. We spent the night there and early the next morning drove the 60 miles south to Presidio to meet up with his brother John.
By all accounts, Presidio is an ugly place. It's hot, dirty and has a bad reputation for being an epicenter for gun running, drug smuggling and human trafficking out of Mexico. But it's the area around the town that's so beautiful for all the reasons I mentioned before. We hopped into the Jeep and headed out for the trails. It was a great 6-hour ride ending back at the house for lunch. After the food, we headed back out to the desert with the guns and load of ammo. Once sufficiently satisfied with our marksmanship abilities, it was back to the house where we set up shop for the rest of day on the porch with assorted adult beverages and bacon-wrapped, cream cheese-filled jalapeno peppers on the grill. It was a great day.
Due to the short duration of the trip, I was only able to take a few shots of the surrounding area. I was mostly hanging on for dear life in the back of the Jeep as we sped through river washes and bounded over rocks. I'm probably the worst landscape photographer on the planet, but I keep trying, hoping one day I'll get lucky and take a photo someone might like. Sorry for the lackluster photos. Brooke and I are still planning a Big Bend National Park trip at some point so perhaps having more than just a few hours to shoot, I'll be able to better capture the beauty of this place.


My Catholic Fitness Program

What is it with the Catholic faithful and walking? Every time I go to cover a Catholic event I end up having to walk five miles in the burning sun. Fortunately, the participants' warmth and cheery disposition make up for the sunburn and the athletes foot. Okay, that was a little gross, but you get the idea.
Each year on Good Friday, members of the Catholic Diocese of San Angelo gather at St. Margaret of Scotland Catholic Church for a lunch and the Procession of the Cross. Led by Bishop Michael Pfeifer, about 200 to 300 members of several parishes take turns carrying a cross through the streets of east San Angelo while singing songs and reciting prayers. Whether you are a religious person or not, some admiration is due for the blind faith people have in a higher power. Religious traditions that have lasted for thousands of years have shaped this world culturally, artistically, socially and economically.
It's a great world we live in. Our diversity not only defines who we are, but offers us the opportunity to get to know one another and experience new things. Go out and meet a stranger today.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Central and the State Gymnastics Meet

What the heck is this? A post about something other than a wildfire? That's crazy! Believe it or not, I think we're out of the woods with this Wildcat Fire. We were told they have 75 percent containment and the cool temperatures and higher humidity have helped greatly.
So I'm going to go ahead and do a post of the state gymnastics meet Central High School participated in last week in Arlington. I have covered the state meet several times now and I really enjoy doing it. But, there was something different about this year that I just couldn't put my finger on. The first day started off without a hitch. The boy's meet was first and lasted most of the morning. The meet was being held at the gym at Martin High School in Arlington, so space to move around was pretty limited. I'm always afraid of being on the floor when competition is going on for fear of being in someone's way. But the organizers were very friendly and allowed me to roam freely. The Central boys team has really come along over the last few years under the leadership of head coach Kern Arrott. They were posting good scores as was junior Ryan Terrill, who was the only Central boys gymnast competing in the all-around competition. By the end of their first day of competition the team was sitting in fourth place and Terrill was in first place in the all-around.
The girls competition started later in the afternoon and Central is always one of the top teams. Stormy Luera is the only girls gymnast competing in the all-around, but she was a serious threat. The girls competition seems to take longer even though they have two less elements to compete on. Maybe it's because there are more teams competing than in the boys meet. The girls did really well, finishing the first day just tenths of a point in second place and Luera was in first place in the all-around.

The first day of competition was a 12-hour day for me and adding in the awards ceremonies the second day, it was easily going to be a 14-hour day. I never really noticed before this last meet, but gymnastics meets are filthy. Chalk and dirt cover everything not to mention the inside of your lungs. This particular gym had terrible ventilation and you could see the dust and chalk particles floating by. I was all geared up for a great showing from the Central teams starting with the boys. But as the first rotation started, something was terribly wrong. The team came out on the floor and began their warm up on the vault, their first rotation for the day, but someone was missing. Where was Ryan Terrill? He was with the team during team introductions just a few minutes ago, but he was nowhere to be seen now. The competition started without him and without a score recorded in every event, Terrill would not be able to keep his first place spot in the all-around competition. As the vault ended Terrill came hobbling out of the practice gym with his ankle and foot wrapped in ace bandage. Crap. While warming up for the vault, Terrill was practicing a new technique and landed badly rolling his foot, straining tendons, ligaments or maybe even a fracture. Whatever the case was it meant the end of the competition for the Bobcats. Terrill did compete in a few of the rotations: the pommel horse, rings, high bar and the parallel bars, but did not participate in the vault or the floor exercise. You could tell that it eating Terrill up inside as well as Coach Arrott. In the end the team finished out of the top ten.
Things looked better for the girls team. Everyone was healthy and ready to go. Luera needed to post consistent high scores to keep herself in the lead for the all-around. The girls did well, though faltering a little on the balance beam. It was going to be a close one. In the end the girls finished in second as a team and Luera also took home the silver medal in the all-around. They seemed disappointed, naturally, but happy they did so well even with two freshman on the team. Luera was even picked to be a part of the Texas team that will compete at the national meet during the summer. Congrats to the Central gymnasts.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wildfires Calm, Promise of Rain

A "cold" front moved through our area last night giving us moderate temperatures and a slight breeze for the Concho Valley. Thank God! The calm winds helped to quell the daily re-igniting of the Wildcat Fire that started about a week ago. Today, the volunteer fire departments were released from duty and only the state and federal guys were left to check for hot spots. My morning started with a casual drive north on U.S. 277 looking for activity. Finding none, I cut across State 158 from Bronte to Robert Lee and south on State 208. Still nothing. Hmmm... this could be a slow day. I circled back up to 277 and found a trio of Colorado-based U.S. Forest Service firefighters checking the roadside for hot spots from yesterday's fire line.
These guys are cool in every sense of the of the word. Athletic build, but laid back demeanor. They have the best gear, but do everything by hand. They wear Oakley Sunglasses to work, for crying out loud. These are guys that look as if they spend most of their time rock climbing or surfing or mountain biking and do a little firefighting on the side. Bill Ross, a 27-year veteran of the forest service who could have easily passed for 32-years-old, was the senior of the group and thankful that I was there to report on the work that was taking place after the flames had subsided. "We don't see the media much after the flames have died down," Ross said. "Thanks for coming out."
The bulldozers plowing fire breaks along the roads created small berms of dried grass that lined the roadside and it was the task of Ross's crew to check for hot spots still smoldering in the buried grass. "We've worked too hard the last couple of days to let this re-ignite and compromise the line," Ross said as he dug through the berm with a shovel feeling for embers with his ungloved hand. "Here, feel this," Ross said as he cradled what looked like a charred pile of sewing needles in his hand. I placed my hand on top of his, held it there for a few seconds before jerking my hand back looking for instant blisters forming. Idiot. It's like when you see someone take a canister out of the refrigerator and pull off the top, take a whiff and cringe with horror and immediately ask you, "Hey, smell this." Well, I took the bait and burned myself. But, it was a good lesson. Just because the fire looks like it's out, doesn't necessarily mean it's out.
The Wildcat Fire looks to be on it's death bed, and as I write this there is a severe thunderstorm passing through our area, though to far south of San Angelo and the burn site to do much help other than lower the temperature a bit. We'll take what we can get. Now I'm going to have to come to terms with taking on regular assignments.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Fighting Texas Wildfires From the Air

Boy, yesterday was rough. Got to work at 8:00am and was told to head out to the Wildcat Fire for more breaking news photos. Fine. I know we're going to be covering this thing for a while, so I pack up my gear and head out. I was out there all day, hot, sweaty, thirsty and was really hoping I wasn't about to pull another 12-hour shift.
I ended up getting a little sick, maybe because I was tired, stressed, something I don't know. Plus I had spent most of the day inhaling thick smoke and my throat was killing me. I went home, unsure of how I was going to feel the following morning.
I got up this morning feeling a little beat up, sore and tired because of lack of sleep, but functioning. Today I teamed up with our breaking new reporter Jennifer Rios and we headed out to the fire, first to a staging area at the Goodyear Proving Grounds on U.S. Highway 277 for a press conference and to view a McDonald-Douglas DC-10 bring in a load of fire-retardant material. That was pretty cool. The air drops seemed to be the rule of the day as we didn't see many firefighters doing any actual groundwork. Perhaps they were working while we were waiting the the first DC-10 drop, which by the way happened almost and hour after officials said it would. Jennifer and I decided to see what trouble we could get ourselves into and head north to the smoke. We met up with a few U.S. Forest Service guys out of Florida who were nice and it put us in close proximity to another air attack by two helicopters. We caught a few showers as we watched and took photos. We decided to head down the road, but little did we know that a blockade had formed cutting off access to 277 from both ways while we were working , so we were promptly stopped by law enforcement and told to leave. The day was done.
I'm hoping that Wednesday will be my last day to really hit the fire hard. I've got a bet going with Jennifer that the fire will be 85 percent contained by end of day Thursday. As of right now it's only 10 percent. Think I'll win?


Second Verse, Same as the First

I've had it with this fire.

My eyes are blood-shot and watery, I'm tired of digging dirt out of my ears and nose, my head is so stopped up my own voice sounds muted, my throat is so raw from breathing in so much smoke and dirt it hurts to even talk and the smell of burnt earth is so overpowering in my car, gear and clothes it makes me nauseous.

I've had it with this fire.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Texas Wildfires Rage On

It's 1:10 Monday morning and I'm supposed to be in bed asleep by now next to my wife who I haven't seen since Tuesday morning of last week when she left for school.
I'm supposed to be coming off a casual two days off of sailing and going to the arts fair in Fort Worth with my parents after a hellish two days of state gymnastics. (Post forthcoming.)
But I'm not. Here I am, now at 1:15am, trying to process the day of driving back from DFW earlier than I wanted to and being thrown into yet another marathon of shooting wildfires in the perpetually dry West Texas. A fire broke out last week on Wednesday and it has grown enormously over the last couple days. Several towns have been put on alert to be ready to evacuate at a moments notice. I was first told to head to the town Robert Lee, where the evacuation order had already been given. It was going to be a challenge to get there since the roads surrounding the town were already closed to highway traffic, so my editor and I decided it would be best if I head to Bronte and see if there was any way I would be able to make the crossing on Highway 158. Turns out as I was just pulling into town, the evacuation order had been given for Bronte. Almost immediately the weather sirens started moaning out their call which was accompanied by a row of local and area volunteer fire trucks rolling through town with their lights and sirens blaring. I decided to stay in Bronte and shoot the local citizens packing up their cars and leaving. I cam across the Coke County sheriff, Wayne McCutchen, walking the streets going to every household banging on doors enforcing the mandatory evacuation. But, just as quickly as the order came, it was reversed... for now.

I decided to stay in Bronte, foregoing the crossing to Robert Lee, and try and find a few photos of the volunteer firefighters staging a few streets up. I ran into a group of guys out of Eldorado, struck up conversation and secured a spot on the fire truck when they receive their orders for the fire fight. Volunteer firefighters are cool. They're laid back, happy to answer any questions you might have and will share their Gatorade and burritos with you as if you were a member of the team. I was on Eldorado VFD Truck E42 with assistant chief T.J. Rodriguez at the wheel and Shay Parker and Michael Jenkins working the hoses. We were positioned on the FM 2662 about 10 miles south of Bronte trying to catch an oncoming fire line before it jumped the road. I've never seen a fire move through with such speed. As we were moving down the road dousing the fire as we went, the smoke and ash was almost unbearable. I only had a thin handkerchief to cover my nose and mouth with. As we make our way through the smoke I feel the oppressive heat of the fire begin to burn my exposed skin, often unable to catch my breathe as the smoke seared my throat and lungs as tears rolled down my face collecting bits of dirt and ash in my beard. It was intense at times, but I'm thankful for the opportunity to ride with those guys. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. I've posted a gallery HERE if you're interested in more photos.
It's now 2:02am and I still have yet to take a shower or completely wind down my brain from the exhausting day. But, I need to get a move on because I've got be back at work in six hours.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Headed to State Gymnastics, Arlington

I've been fortunate enough for the past few years to cover Central High School at the state meet. Last year sports reporter Nate Wright and I traveled all the way down to Alvin, near Houston, to cover the meet. Boy, did that drive suck. But, the god's have smiled on us this year, by cutting our drive time almost in half with the meet being held in Arlington. It's double sweet for me as I will be staying with my dad and step-mom for most of the week. I'll leave Wednesday afternoon. Normally I would stay with my sister and brother-in-law, but decided to stay with Dad this time.
This is a great group of kids to shoot. The team is small, so getting to know them is easier, not to mention a lot easier to remember names. But, at the same time, gymnastics can be a difficult sport to shoot. You have to know the routines of the various events in order to capture the peak moments. Last year I had the luxury of shooting the district and regional meets before the state meet, so I knew what to expect from each of he gymnasts. But, this year I have only shot one meet and feel as if I'm going into this a little blind. I'll make it through. More to come...


Friday, April 8, 2011

ASU Squeaks Past Central Oklahoma

Well I shot my first baseball game of the season tonight at Foster Field as the Angelo State Rams played Central Oklahoma. Man, am I rusty. I didn't even get any of my "safe" shots because I was struggling so much. It's always like that with me though. I usually have a difficult time getting into that first game. Not to mention that I'm a little gun shy when it comes to shooting baseball and softball, no matter if I'm shooting ASU or some random high school team. I've had several near misses and, fortunately, no actual hits. Though I did catch a ricochet once. Does that count has a hit?
To put it simply, baseball just moves to slow for my personal taste. Not that I don't have respect for those that can play the game, hitting a baseball has got to be hard, but unless a line-drive ball is bouncing off an unsuspecting pitcher, a second baseman is getting cleated during a stolen base attempt or a manager/coach/player is being ejected from a game for calling someone's momma a dirty name... I don't have any interest in what's happening on the field. But on the upside, ASU won 2-1. HERE is a gallery of more photos.

SIDE NOTE: I've got a few videos for you today. The first is a time lapse video shot by Nate Bolt using a Canon 5D Mark II, a 16-35mm lens, a tripod, and an intervalometer on an Air France flight from San Francisco to Paris. The camera snapped a photo every 2-30 seconds throughout the 11 hour flight, roughly capturing one photo every two miles of the journey.

SF to Paris in Two Minutes from Beep Show on Vimeo.

The next is another time lapse shot by Philip Bloom of the Seattle skyline. It's a bit long-winded, but the imagery is beautiful.

The Space Needle from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

And the last video is on legendary photo editor John G. Morris. John played a major role in how we viewed major events of the 20th century.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Hal Churchill... One of a Kind

I had the pleasure of spending most of the morning with Hal Churchill, a local 85-year-old who started roping as a young boy and, except for his two years in the Navy, has done it for his entire life. He even competes in senior rodeos once a month to this day. He will compete in Stephenville next week. Hal is going to be inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in Fort Worth this Saturday. "I've performed in rodeos all over the country," Hal said.
"This one time a buddy and I hopped a train to New York City to go perform in a rodeo." "We got off the train at Grand Central Station with one can of ropes and a paper sack full of clothes," Hal said with a chuckle.
"We performed for 48 days, with Gene Autry as the entertainment." "I've heard 'Back in the Saddle Again' live 48 times."
Hal is a cool guy and it was nice having breakfast with him and a few of his friends. Some of the stories they tell really have nothing to do with the great scheme of life, they just like picking on one another. After breakfast we headed out to his home in Carlsbad where he introduced me to his horse Rio. "This is the best horse around," Hal commented. "A good roping horse needs to have three things," he added: "One, attitude, a good horse has to have the right attitude to be able to perform. Two, athletic ability, the ability to start, stop, turn around and backup when they're told to, and finally, three, well, I guess this could go for a woman to," Hal, a long-time bachelor, said with a grin, "it's nice if it's pretty, but it doesn't have to be."

Be sure to check out Jennifer Rio's story on Hal next Tuesday on the Standard-Times website. Congrats, Hal.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Stephens Central Library Opens

For the last several months I have been working on a special section that published this last Sunday to celebrate the opening of the new Stephens Central Library in downtown San Angelo. The main branch of the Tom Green County Library System shared a building with several other county offices and was kind of a rundown facility. Fortunately, with the numerous empty buildings in downtown San Angelo, the main branch moved into the old Hemphill-Wells department building just a block over. Renovations on the building took quite a while, and after a few setbacks, the library was opened to the public Monday evening.

The new facility is very cool and boasts more room and amenities than the previous location. It has four floors, three housing the various sections of books and a top floor reserved for meeting space. The decor is very colorful, modern and there are little nooks all around the building to hide away and read for a spell. There is also a new cafe on the street level (run by my friend Toro) that has free wifi internet. Is it un-American of me to be 31-years-old and not have a library card? Perhaps I'll get one this week. I have a feeling I'll be spending many mornings and afternoons in the cafe.

One of my favorite features that was added to the building was the glass brick put into the exterior of the building. When viewed from the inside, the bricks glow from the natural sunlight, offering a soothing and colorful experience. The project was met with some criticism, as most things do when it concerns matters of the county or public buildings. Some community members had problems with the triangular windows that surround the building, some thought is was too colorful and not very inviting, and there were even complaints about the glass bricks, even naming the new facility the Stephens Central Library caused controversy. Steve and Pollyanna Stephens donated millions of dollars and countless hours of their own time during the completion of the new facility, so to honor them, the county named the new branch after them.

Last year I was approached to take the photographs for the special section for the library. Cool! I'll never turn down an opportunity to work on a big project. I was already beginning to pre-visualize how the project might look once it was published. When I think of the term "special section" I automatically think of a broadsheet publication. A broadsheet is your typical newspaper shape and size, a vertical rectangle. I was disappointed to find out earlier this year that the publication was actually going to be printed as a tabloid, basically a broadsheet turned on it's side and folded in half to make a square. It is my personal opinion that the design of a tabloid suffers because of the square format, limiting the size and placement of photos and stories around the inevitable advertising. I understand why we choose to publish tabloid-sized projects. I think it mostly has something to do with the cost. I just prefer the look and feel of broadsheet more. Here are a few of my favorite pages from the library tab.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Photo Column Reborn

Last year we started a monthly photo column in March that ran for most of the year up until the football season started. Both myself and our other full-time photographer would find a community member to do a short feature, photo page and audio slideshow on. The name of the column is I Am West Texas. I'll say it again, I've never been a fan of this title, but I've been told that I don't get paid to make decisions. Anyway, last year Cynthia and I had to come up with one column a month which has changed this year to producing a column for every Monday. That means we will each have to come up with at least two, sometimes three, columns a month. I have to be honest, this makes me a little nervous considering how difficult it can be to find someone willing to let me hang out a stick a camera in their face for several days.
Today (Monday) was the start of this year's photo column, one I produced on a local high school senior, Brittany O'Connor, who is going to the Culinary Institute of America in hopes of becoming a pastry chef. The photo above ran with the column below:

SAN ANGELO, Texas — It all started with Mom, as most good things in life do, in the family deli making brownies.Then 11-year-old Brittany O'Connor began icing Asian symbols on the top of those brownies for her mom and did so well that she decorated the entire batch herself.
"That was my first memory of decorating anything," Brittany said. "I look up to her a lot; she's taught me everything I know."
It was in that moment Brittany would start down a path that would eventually shape the rest of her life. Now 17 and a senior at Central High School, Brittany has decided to make a life in the culinary world. Coming up through the Central culinary arts program under the instruction of Gail Bickle and chef Earl Mulley at River Terrace Restaurant, Brittany has won several competitions with fellow aspiring student chefs.
While at one of those competitions, she got a call from her mother saying something had come for her in the mail.
"It was a letter from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y.," Brittany said. "I got in," she added with a beaming smile.Some of the best chefs in the world have graduated from CIA, and Brittany will be following in their footsteps."I don't get to go until February because that's when they have an opening," Brittany said. "I want to start as if I don't know anything, go in with an open mind and take it all in.
"It doesn't hurt to learn something new."With a passion for pastries and baking, Brittany will pursue a bachelor's degree in pastry and baking arts, hoping one day to do an externship in Europe before graduation."If I get into breads, I would like to go to France," Brittany said, "and the desserts in Europe are just amazing."
And mom couldn't be more excited.
"She's really excited about me going to culinary school; she can't wait," Brittany said. "But she's really nervous, though, about me moving so far away because we're really close, like best friends."
Perhaps a mailed care package of brownies will soothe an aching heart.

Along with the column on the front page there was also a photo page in the A-section and a slideshow on the website:

Friday, April 1, 2011

Tough Game for ASU Softball

Good grief, what is up with this weather? It was 40-degrees when I shot soccer on Tuesday and today it's over 90-degrees at the softball tournament. It needs to find a happy medium and stick with it. I was supposed to have a short day today, only shooting Angelo State University's first game against Midwestern State at the Lone Star Conference Crossover Tournament. I have to put in a correction from yesterday's post. I stated that ASU was the top team in the nation in Division II when in actuality they are the No. 2 team.
Unfortunately, they didn't play like the No. 2 team today against No. 3 Midwestern State. It was a dismal display of poorly thrown balls, bad fielding and their bats were quiet all day. Throw in a mix of bad calls by game officials and all you had was a bunch of hot, sweaty people watching a one-sided ball game that ended 8-0. I put up a small gallery HERE.