Greetings and salutations all, I hope this finds everyone well. It's been a very hot summer down in Southeast Texas and busier than usual for me, so I hadn't been able to keep up with the blog until this week. There hasn't been much to share since the last week of May, when I made my annual pilgrimage out to Sugar Land, TX for the Southland Conference Baseball Championship tournament at Constellation Field. This was the third straight year and fourth in the last five that I covered the tournament as the Southland's photographer, and it was a job that I'd been looking forward to once again. And I was a tad smarter this time around, securing a second shooter for some of the action on Thursday and Friday. Unlike the 2016 tournament, this year's action was not marred at all by the weather, which was great. The only issue with the weather was the heat and the crappy air, which contributed to my allergies flaring up like crazy. It sapped my strength and hindered me for the first two days, but thanks to some Claritin-D, Benadryl and a little bit of help from one of my associates, covering the action on Friday and Saturday was much better.
Anyways, the on-field action was as intense as ever with conference and personal storylines abound, such as the return of the Houston Baptist Huskies to the Southland tournament (two years after winning the title) or the top two seeds (McNeese State and Southeastern Louisiana) getting beaten before Friday's semifinal games. Strangely enough, the one team that flew under the radar from the outset was the Sam Houston Bearkats, the defending Southland Champions. Despite being the third seeded team, they were ultra confident as they easily won their first three games to advance to the championship final. In the title game, the Bearkats faced off against the Central Arkansas Bears, who were Southland champions themselves in 2013. Riding an early flurry of runs, Sam Houston outgunned the Bears to win the final and repeat as Southland tournament champions, advancing to the NCAA tournament (eventually making the Super Regional round).
Overall, despite my allergies not cooperating early on, I think I had the best tournament in my four times shooting the Southland Championships. The adulation and such from the various SIDs and the Southland media officials was always good, but I felt internally accomplished as well. It’s always satisfying to have a plan of attack, executing it and seeing the results come to fruition.
Anyways, that’s all I’ve got for this entry. Many special thanks to the Southland communications staff and Maria Lysaker for their tireless assistance. Thanks for reading and as always, fare the well!
All images copyright 2017 Erik Williams/Southland Conference Media Relations