Archive for May, 2010

Amazing game, problematic broadcast

May 8, 2010

First of all…I REALLY need to update this space more often.  So, for the two or three of you (probably being optimisitic with those numbers) who still check in on it frequently – thanks for your patience.  Spread the word that it’s been updated.

I had the privelege of broadcasting one of the most exciting and dramatic high-school playoff games in ANY sport I’ve ever witnessed Friday night when Seguin completed its two-game area playoff sweep of Dripping Springs with a 7-6 victory on the Tigers’ home field. 

Unfortunately, smack dab in the middle of the game’s biggest moment, and perhaps the team’s biggest moment of the season, my call got knocked off the air.

I’ll get back to this , but allow me to set the scene first by recapping the game’s events that led to the big moment.

Seguin jumped out to an early 4-0 lead over Dripping Springs with three runs in the first inning, and another in the second.  The Tigers got right back into it in the bottom of the third with a four-run rally that was unfortunately sparked by a Matador error when  McKayla Mayfield and Taylor Woodall ran into each other chasing down a routine fly-ball. 

The Matadors reclaimed the lead at 5-4 in the fourth with help from a Dripping Springs error, and the Tigers knotted it back up at 5-all in the bottom of that inning.  Dripping Springs capitalized on an overthrow to the plate by Seguin centefielder Alex Bothe in the bottom of the sixth to take a 6-5 lead.

Bothe would make ammends for that mistake in a BIG way in the next half inning, and our listeners on KWED wouldn’t get to hear the entire play.

Seguin started the top of the seventh with an infield single.  Two batters later, with one out, Kelly Koenig was hit by a pitch and replaced at first by courtesy runner Emma Martinez.  After Ally Tovar popped up to second, Bothe came to the plate with her team an out away from being forced into a third and deciding game on Saturday.

With a one-ball, two-strike count, Bothe hammered a line drive to the right centerfield wall for a triple, Mayfield sprinted home to tie the game, and Martinez followed to score the go-ahead run.

I went nuts with my call, reacting to a moment that big as I always do and trying to deliver the excitement back to the listeners who couldn’t attend.  As I’m settling down and preparing to talk about the next batter, Megan Reiley, I hear a commercial playing in my headset?  What?  Why would we go to a commercial in the middle of an inning?  I tell our producer, “Fade this down and bring me back on!”  I finish out the inning  and the game not knowing that Seguin’s biggest play of the season wasn’t heard on the air.

After the game, Seguin Sports Booster Club president Cathy Beicker tells me that she received a call from somebody indicating that the game had gone off the air during Bothe’s hit in the top of the seventh.  So I call our producer back in the studio, and sure enough, it had – he said my feed to the station went instantly silent, and that’s why he played the commercial. 

I listened to the digitial recording of the broadcast back at the station, and sure enough, all you hear is “swing and a line drive to right field, this could be trouble, AND IT DROPS……….(dead air).”  And dead air for about 30 more seconds, then the commercial starts playing, then you hear me, on the air, telling our producer to fade the commercial and come back to me.

What the……???

The only plausible explanation I can think of is that I briefly lost power to my remote mixer without knowing it.  I never lost the cell-phone connection that was feeding the mix back to the station, because I didn’t have to redial to get back on.  I can tell you that I did the broadcast from a platform outside the press-box, and that the mixer was plugged into a power strip whose extension cord was plugged into an outlet inside the building.  Maybe in all the excitement (slamming their fists on the table, stomping on the ground because their season was about to end) somebody in the press-box knocked or kicked my connection loose for a moment, then plugged it back in.  I can’t fathom any other way we’d have gone silent in that manner.

What a complete, thorough, and absolute bummer that one of the most exciting plays I’ve witnessed and had the good fortune of calling in five years of broadcasting Seguin High School athletics was cut off by the sound of dead air in the middle of the play.  And what anquish for fans sitting on the edge of their seats waiting to hear whether Bothe’s hit produced the tying and go-ahead runs!  For the anguish, I apologize.  Sometimes, even if very rarely, things happen in the crazy business of broadcasting that are beyond the broadcaster’s control. 

Now…a few noteable talking points from Seguin’s sweep of Dripping Springs: 

  • It’s good to see Bothe swinging the bat well again.  After hitting over .300, leading the team in home runs and RBIs, and earning a first-team All-District selection as a junior in 2009, Bothe spent much of her senior season mired in a hitting slump.  Her averged hovered around the .170 mark most of the regular season, and nobody could figure out why.  As it turns out, she discovered she needed to wear glasses or contacts to see the ball well, so she began wearing glasses when she came to bat a few weeks ago, and PRESTO….the hard-hitting Alex Bothe of old is back.  She called them her “magic glasses” in my post-game interview with her Friday night, and after that triple in the seventh inning, I can’t think of a better word for them.  Bothe has been a solid performer and a fierce competitor at the varsity level for four years, and it’s a boost to the team for her to be finishing her senior year this strong.
  • Ciara Luna is a freshman who just grew up in a hurry in the span of seven days.  Being asked to protect a one-run lead in the seventh inning of a playoff game THREE TIMES in one week will do that for you.  On Friday, April 30, Luna took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh against Burbank, allowed a leadoff double to Stephanie Contreras, regained her composure, and retired three straight to preserve the Matadors’ playoff-opening victory.  This past Thursday in Game One against Dripping Springs?  Deja vu.  1-0 lead in the bottom of the seventh, the first TWO Tiger batters reach base, and Luna buckles down to retire three straight.  Friday, Luna came on in relief of starter Kate Bateman in the fourth with the game tied at 5-5, and she found herself with a 7-6 lead after Bothe’s heroics in the bottom of the seventh.  After two straight outs, a Seguin error allowed Dripping Springs’ Jill Keeper to reach base, but Luna induced a pop-up that she fielded herself from Tina Cisneros.  Ballgame and series.  That’s three playoff games in seven days that a FRESHMAN protected a one-run lead in the seventh inning with the potential tying or go-ahead run on base.  Clutch, clutch, clutch.
  • Other offensive standouts in the series against Dripping Springs:  Taylor Woodall was a combined 4-8 (and came into the series batting .445 – first-team All-District lock, I think) with two runs scored in two games – now that’s a leadoff hitter, people.  Brooke Abrameit was 2-6 with an RBI-double, a run scored, and a successful sacrifice.  McKayla Mayfield went 3-7 with two runs scored and one RBI.  Kelly Koenig was big in Game Two, with an RBI-single and a successful sacrifice, as well as drawing the hit-by-pitch that turned into the go-ahead run.  Inserted into the nine-hole of the lineup after not batting at all in the bi-district round against Burbank, Taylor Roberson went 2-5 with a double and a walk agains the Tigers.
  • In the regional quarterfinals, Seguin will be in the same position Dripping Springs was just in:  The Matadors will be facing a team they eliminated in the 2009 playoffs – San Antonio-Edison.  The Bears will be a tough out.  The perception that District 28-4A is a pushover district is exactly that – a perception, and not a reality.  Burbank was tough and scrappy in two bi-district losses to Seguin.  Edison made easy work of Kerrville-Tivy in the first round, and Brackenridge gave Alamo Heights all they could handle in a 4-2 loss.  Remember…Seguin had to come from behind to complete its sweep of Edison in last year’s bi-district round, and there’s no doubt that loss has been a motivating force in the Bears’ 2010 season.  So the Mats have to be focused to advance through the regional quarterfinals, and I’m sure they will be.  Too much upperclassman leadership and talent up and down the roster to slip up at this point. 

Let’s just hope the most exciting moment from the Seguin – Edison series, whatever it may end up being, is actually HEARD by our listeners on KWED.