Posted tagged ‘Top 31 Sports Moments in UP’

Top 31 Moments in the UP! #21 – Aaron Woods 21 strikeout performance

October 7, 2013

WOODSI have been up and down with continuing my countdown on my blog with the top Upper Peninsula moments and I guess that is how the Tri-City North Stars felt on June 24th, 2012.

Starting left handed pitcher for the Marinette Redbirds,  Aaron Woods (Menominee, MI native and Saginaw Valley State baseball player) took the mound that day against the Tri-City North Stars and must have felt like Roger Clemens or Kerry Wood. Once the first pitch was thrown, he began to mow down hitters looking and swinging at his fastball, struck out the side in multiple innings, and controlled the strike zone with ease for the umpire behind the dish.

This was his final line: CG, SO, 9 IN, 2 H, 2 BB, and 21 K. (See video below)

To strikeout 21 batters is impressive but to do it in his 4th straight start is amazing. That was the first 20 strikeout game I have ever witnessed from little league to major league and I can’t say I have seen anyone dominate the hitters like I saw #41 do out on the mound.

His delivery was very smooth and the life on his pitches were exceptional. He used great deception as a left hander of hiding his pitches until the last moment so his opponents couldn’t pick up the pitch until it left his hand.  He had success as a reliever the past few seasons in college and I can understand why he did so well.

Mr. Woods, after only working  one week on the job, you surprised me with a pitching performance I will never forget. As a huge baseball fan I will never forget your 21 K performance in Ishpeming that Sunday.

Top 31 Moments in the UP! #22 – Remarkable catch caught on camera!

September 3, 2013
(Photo By Grandpa Camo)

(Photo By Grandpa Camo)

Being a camera man and shooting at any sporting event is fun. But shooting High school football is a real treat. When I first started out shooting with the big, Panasonic DVC Pro Tape camera it was tough to follow the football through the air. But after a while, I truly got the hang of it and captured one of the more remarkable catches I have ever seen through a lens.

Ishpeming was playing Pewamo-Westphalia in the Division 7 Semifinal game at the Superior Dome with the hopes of traveling to Ford Field for a chance at the state title. But the Hematites had to go to through the Pirates first on November 17, 2012. The Hematites pulled out the victory 8-7 thanks to some great defense but that wasn’t the key memory for me. The memory was capturing the Pirates only touchdown.

In the first quarter, from the Pirates own four yard line, junior quarterback Kyle Nurenberg fired a pass which deflected off Ishpeming’s Tyrus Millimaki and into the hands of 6-foot-6 junior wide receiver Lane Simon for a 94-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead. While Simon was streaking down the sideline, I got run over by the team cheering and jumping all over the place. I was cheering inside too because I was able to capture that amazing play on tape which is so hard to do in this industry.

During halftime, my colleague at the time Mike Ludlum said, “Did you get the touchdown?” I said, “I sure did. Perfectly!” Even our competition didn’t get the catch on camera. That was an awesome feeling!

I still watch the play from time to time just to remind myself how much I love shooting football and how I am proud of what I do for a living. Capturing that one moment may not be the difference in the world for the Ishpeming faithful, but I know people from downstate sure appreciated the great camera work I displayed that day on the sideline.

Check out the highlight below!

 

 

Top 31 Moments in the UP! #23 – Watch out for Lexi Gussert!

September 3, 2013
lexi guss vol

(Photo by Grandpa Camo)

Being a sports anchor and reporter in the Upper Peninsula means you have to shoot and edit your own highlights for the evening newscasts. That means getting in a TV 6 vehicle and driving to many schools on different days. Well on November 6th, the day after election day, I went to cover some regional playoff volleyball action in Kingsford and Iron Mountain. This was the day I got to see Lexi Gussert do work on the court. People kept telling me she was amazing at basketball and was very good at volleyball too. I had to learn the hard way.

In the second set against Lake Linden-Hubbell, Lexi went up for the kill and slammed it right into the hardwood floor towards me. Now the ball had so much spin that when I looked in my viewfinder, I had two options. (1. Look like a fool and get hit. or 2. Try to get out of the way and look like a fool.) I choose number 1 and well the crowd knew my consequences. Everyone in the crowd was laughing, including myself, and I posted the video on YouTube for everyone to see. There are few things you don’t forget and this was one of them. Lexi got me good and she still has another season to get another cameraman out there.

Top 31 Moments in the UP! #25 – First look at 8 Man Football

July 22, 2013
Photo by Grandpa Camo

Photo by Grandpa Camo

This countdown has brought up conversations discussing multiple sports that take place during all four seasons in the Upper Peninsula. #25 in the countdown will be about a sport I did not even know existed until I showed up to Eben Junction and saw Superior Central take on Bellaire on August 31, 2012 to shoot some 8 man football.

The concept is relatively simple. Instead of 11 boys playing on both sides of the ball, there are only 8 playing on offense and defense. The field is also constructed differently, The size of the playing field is often smaller in eight-man football than in eleven-man. Some teams opt for a smaller, 80-yards long by 40-yards-wide field.

In terms of gameplay, eight-man football is quite different from its eleven-man counterpart. Due to a smaller field and fewer players, the tempo of the game is noticeably faster-paced. Scores tend to be higher, even in high school games where quarters are only 12 minutes long (rather than 15).

Especially in high school, a higher percentage of plays are trick plays; direct snaps, Wildcat formation plays, and fake punts and field goals are somewhat more common.

I had no idea what to expect from this game going into it but all I have to say is that I was extremely entertained and it was a blast to watch. I watched Rapid River, Mid Pen, Superior Central, Cedarville, and Bellaire play. Two of the best offenses that I watched were Superior Central and Rapid River. The Rockets and Cougars both averaged 37 points per a game last season.

The Cougars had Trevor Maki at QB and Dan Steward at WR and that one two combo was hard to stop. For the Rockets of Rapid River, QB Jake Pearson was unstoppable with his arm and his legs. His teammate RB Eli Orth did a fantastic job finding the end zone with his good speed and soft hands coming out of the backfield.

What I loved so much about this style of football was the amazing plays that are created by the coaches and players. In the first highlight. Go to 0:30 seconds in and you will see a perfectly executed fake field goal for a two point conversion. In the second highlight, at 8:00 mark you will see a nice option by Mid Pen and then a nice long run by Rapid River to counter attack.

But my favorite play of them all is when I went to see Rapid River take on Brimley on September 4th 2012. The moment takes place at the 7:30 mark in the last video. The snap to Jake Pearson on third down goes over his head about 15 yards so he has to run and recover it but what happens is he turns up field and returns it all the way to the end zone breaking tackles by all 8 players. It was sure fun to watch. Definitely one of the better ways to play the game of football.

Top 31 Moments in the UP! #26 – “Teenage Dream”

July 15, 2013

DPP_GG00047Continuing with the countdown I was doing research on the sports news in the upper peninsula and I came across an article stating that the first round of the UPLGA has been completed and all the high seeds advanced. That brought back to mind one of my favorite days during July when I saw a young 16 year old junior from Marquette Senior High School win the ULPGA Championship at Indian Lake Golf Course in Manisitque on July 18, 2012. Her name was Avery Rochester.

In the championship match held that afternoon, Avery beat seasoned veteran Polly Anderson of DePere, Wis. in match play 4 and 3 but she did it in remarkable fashion. On the 15th hole, she sunk a 20-foot birdie putt to seal the deal. (You can see the shot on the highlights below) 

I had never been to this golf course and I never got to watch Avery play during the High School season because I started working at TV 6 in June when the season already finished. When I got to the first tee of the championship hole I saw Avery and Polly and I thought this was going to be “David vs. Golliath” match but it was actually the opposite.

After seven holes Avery was 3-up, but Anderson stormed back to win the next three holes to even the match heading to the back nine. So you thought this is when the tides were turning? That was not the case. This Redette had an immense amount of composure as she won the next four holes in a row starting on the 12th.

I had never seen anything like that before in my time up there. When I parked my car outside the golf course, I saw Avery walk out of a trailer next to the station car and I thought to myself, “She won this tournament staying in there the whole week? That’s extremely impressive for a young teen who probably just celebrated her sweet sixteen this past year!”

Now here is the quote of the entire moment. When I asked at the clubhouse how she felt about being crowned UPLGA championship she said, “I don’t really know what to feel right now. I’m happy, I’m excited, it’s just overwhelming,”

Avery is such a fun girl who cherishes every moment and doesn’t forget anything. I wish her all the luck going to University of Missouri to play golf. She will do great as a Tiger for the next four years!

Top 31 Moments in the UP! #27 – Battle of Rockets and Wolverines

July 12, 2013
Justin Marietti |Daily Press

Justin Marietti |Daily Press

High School Basketball in the UP can be described in one word, “Heart.” The passion the kids display on the court every time they play, the mom’s and dad’s in the bleachers cheering on and watching their child play for their hometown, and the fact these athletes represent the city name on the jersey rather than just a mascot or a school name.

So on a cold night in Perkins on December 28, 2012 I witnessed a few things I had not seen before in my entire life. (Watch highlights below)

I got to the game at half time after covering the first few minutes of the Superior Central at Gwinn. The scoreboard read Rapid River Rockets 25 Mid Peninsula Wolverines 15.  I thought to myself, “What? That is not the score. Rapid River has not won a game all year!”

Then I saw Daily Press reporter Justin Marietti and he told me as time expired in the first half, Rapid River’s Robert Metter made a three at the buzzer and Rapid River fans in attendance went crazy. I was in for a tremendous second half. It was so good, it created a lasting memory in my mind.

The Wolverines kept chipping at the lead in the third quarter with points in the paint and the Rockets went into the fourth quarter clinging to a 37-34 lead. While they may have had the lead, the momentum clearly changed in the third quarter.

That’s when the monster himself came to life, Double B aka Brett Branstrom. He grabbed big rebounds, went coast to coast with speed and athleticism to finish at the rim, and not to mention showing that shooting touch by knocking down a big three with hands in his face. He finished with 27 points and 18 rebounds to go with six blocks. I had not seen a player all season up to that point put a team on his back. He became a star in my eyes right after seeing that performance. It truly was an incredible display of perseverance by the senior.

But here was the key play! The game was tied at 45, Brett Branstrom block a shot on defense that turned into an outlet pass to Chad Branstrom, who was fouled at the basket. Two free throw shots were in order until a Rapid River fan went ballistic in the stands about the previous call by the referees and started to yell and point at the two gentlemen working the game.

So the zebras stopped the game and threw the fan yelling at the refs out of the gym which resulted in a technical foul on Rapid River Coach Craig Carter. Now those two free shots turned into four in just a matter of minutes. Mr. Chad Branstrom proceeded to hit all four free throws to secure the 54-49 win that night.

I had never seen anything like that before in my life. The game was basically decided on a technical foul. The lead went from a tied game to a Wolverine four point advantage with under 2 minutes remaining. The Rockets fan base were so upset with the referees calls in the second half, every play resulted in screaming and yelling. The gym got loud and changed from excitement to anger in just a matter of 12 minutes. Crazy!

The lesson I learned from that game was let the kids play and allow the kids to make the difference in the game, not the parents. It’s something that is ongoing in youth sports in this day and age and it showed in this high school basketball game just days before the New Year. I think a lot of fans made a few New Year’s resolutions after driving home from that contest.

Top 31 Moments in the UP! #29 – Little Dribblers star on the basketball court

July 10, 2013

little dribHey Sports Fans! Sorry for the delay on the countdown, I have been traveling the country by plane and by car exploring new places and new lifestyles as I went to Lafayette, Louisiana to visit my brother in doctorate school. So let’s keep the countdown going and start with number 29 about the NMU Littler Dribblers camp on April 16, 2013.

Every year, the NMU Women’s Basketball puts on a Little Dribblers camp to teach the fundamentals of basketball to young children. This two day events is really cool for youngsters to go to the PEIF on NMU’s campus and show off their basketball talent with the women’s team.

What I loved so much about this event was the gym was absolutely packed with basketball players. It looked like their was over 300 kids in a small gym working on passing, shooting, dribbling, and teamwork. (See Video Below)  So when I got a chance to put down the camera after getting all the excellent footage, I picked up a basketball and decided to shoot some hoops with the campers.

My main goal coming to the Upper Peninsula was to be involved with the community and learn more about people and their wonderful stories. So after a few minutes, I started to build up a fan base with a lot of the children. They all wanted to play basketball games against me and they wanted to steal the ball and score over me as if I was the “Jolly Green Giant.” (I’m not a giant but I can do work with a basketball in my hand)

Seeing the kids smile and laugh and tell their parents that they played with the nice sports man from TV 6 was a moment I won’t forget and I know the kids will remember that for a very long time. When I was done playing, I wanted to do interviews with some of the participants to get their reaction on the fun day to put on the 11pm news.

Once I talked to one camper, a big group of children surrounded my camera and microphone and they all wanted to talk to me about the day of activities. Normally, kids don’t want to go on camera because they are shy and usually don’t know what to say with the light shinning in their faces. But when my TV 6 mic flag was showing, it was like I was the Beatles entering the stage to play on the Ed Sullivan show. That was as cool as it gets.

And when you get that much love, it always sticks in the back of your mind. I love the game of basketball so much and I know those kids went home smiling knowing they loved basketball as well.