Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Summer of Softball in South Florida

Story and photos by Mike Drew

JENSEN BEACH, Fla. -- This year's Babe Ruth Softball World Series took place in the city of Jensen Beach, Florida, a small suburb just south of Port St. Lucie. Over 21 days, a total of 65 teams from six age divisions competed for championships. For my capstone internship, I had the pleasure of broadcasting many of the games and producing daily recap videos for the World Series website,

In the midst of all the action, I managed to capture some of the moments that helped make the experience so memorable. Click on any photo or video below to start a slideshow.

Heartland, Missouri's Head Coach Casey Hilleman makes a mound visit.

Shelby Carlstrom of the Wildcats takes a cut in her USA uniform.

Here's one of our broadcast locations. The people on the far right are operating the scoreboard and keeping the official score-book.

One of our production crew members (Mack Williams) ended up pitching against China in an exhibition game.

The Treasure Coast outfield makes sure everybody is on the same page.

The umpires get together to discuss a call.

Treasure Coast Head Coach Frank Smith goes out for a word with his infield.

One of the many unique batting helmets players had custom made for the tournament.

A look at the "host team" (the Treasure Coast Wildcats) practicing before the rest of the tournament field arrived.

Brylie Orton lets one go during one of her starts for the Wildcats.

The main logo for the World Series.

These banners covered the outfield fences at all 8 of our fields.

The view from inside the pitching circle.

The giant ball that greeted all the teams when they entered Media Day.

These are gold glove and medal awards that are presented to players during the Closing Ceremonies.

The small black cable that you see here actually gave us the internet connection we needed to stream all of our games.

An in-progress look at one of our Pool Play games in which teams wore their custom-made USA uniforms.

The Florida State Champion Longwood All-Stars making their entrance during Opening Ceremonies.

 Here, the 14U, 16U and 18U divisions let loose at the end of Opening Ceremonies.

The postgame handshake line that is mandatory for all teams to enter after a game. A great sports tradition.

Here's an inside look at our production truck, each volunteer was assigned a different computer and produced 3-4 games a day from that spot.

The signs we posted next to our broadcast locations.

Jaelyn Jackson of the Colorado Eclipse uncorks a fastball during one of her starts. Her team went on to win the 18U title with a 7-0 record.

These outfield banners were put in place only for the championship games.

A closer look at a streaming computer. We used a program called Stream-Star to get our games online.
Two of the volunteer umpires for the World Series: Julio Soto (left) and Chip Searing (right). 

This monitor shows the view from one of our "PTZ" cameras. These were installed behind home plate at every field and could be moved around with the click of a mouse.

A bright rainbow that we saw right after a violent thunderstorm caused games to be delayed for about 45 minutes.

A team came all the way from Beijing, China to play in the World Series. It's the first international team Babe Ruth has ever had compete in an event.

Some of the teams enjoy a meal with team China.

The view of the 43 teams that showed up for Week 2 of the event. This was nearly double the amount we had in Week 1 (22). 

                     The 8U, 10U and 12U teams have some fun during Opening Ceremonies.

The Chinese team lines up for postgame handshakes.

At the end of each game, two "Player of the Game" awards get presented (one to each team). In this game, China was beaten 17-0, but you can see the smiles on all of the kids' faces as the awards were given out. It was incredible sportsmanship.

Another look at a computer streaming a game in progress.

These are some of the player banners each team brought with them to hang outside their dugout. It helped the broadcasters figure out who was playing on which field.

The Chinese team roots on a teammate at the plate.

Two Chinese pitchers help each other warm up in the bullpen.

 Here's a look at me calling a batter during one of our championship games. This clip shows you how much of a dance play-by-play really is. You can see me look down at my notes in between pitches, always looking for something fresh to add in. The other voice you hear belongs to Jess Cusimano. She was my analyst for almost all of the games we did.

All the teams get in position for the Closing Ceremonies on the field.

That's it. Wheels up. This was a great experience for me and I'm very grateful for everyone at Babe Ruth League and Syracuse University allowing me to take part in it.

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