Daniel Yeow for Columbia Daily Spectator…

Softball is an interesting sport. It is similar to baseball in many ways except that it is played with a different ball, on a smaller pitch and with a different pitching style. There are other subtle differences in the rules but I think those are the main ones. Softball is played primarily by girls. The US are generally dominant in softball and have only been beaten in important international competition once – by Australia, who went on to win the Olympic gold medal at the Sydney games. I was charged with the task of photgraphing some softball games for the “Spec”. Here are some of the photos…

Take me out to the ball game… they say…

This is a lion. The mascot of Columbia University Sports is a lion. Coincidence? Not at all.

The first game featured here was played against Princeton, who are also known as the tigers.

The first base person for Princeton pulled out this rather impressive stretch to get one of our people out.

Our first base person didn’t need to resort to such extreme measures… she just stood and waited…

The rules surrounding the home base are slightly different than those governing the other bases. To be “out”, one must be physically tagged, that is, it is not good enough for the fielding side to simply hold the ball and “touch base”. This results in some rather spectacular crashes when there are close runs for home.

Oh look! We caught the ball, looks like we’re going in to bat…

If i had the time, I would’ve added one of those really tacky bubble-things saying “clink” next to the bat. But alas, I am too lazy even for that.

uh oh… I think we’re about to be caught out

Our third base person demonstrates what happens when you pretend that the softball is actually a javelin.

The catcher makes good use of her knee pads.

Underarm pitching actions are funky – they often involve a wind-up which includes lifting the front foot off the ground and slamming it down as hard as possible while swirling the right arm in circles.

If I didn’t know better, I’d say our first base person was checking out the Princeton girl… just sayin’

I believe this is called a “bunt” which sounds a bit like it should be the word used to describe when you burp and accidentally bring some of your lunch up from your stomach.

Winding up for a throw.

The Princeton pitcher definitely had the better of us this game. Here our batter resorts to distracting the fielding side by seeing how far she can stick her read-end out without overbalancing.

This looks more like a poorly-timed defensive cricket shot than anything else…

Uh oh! Is she going to make it? Is she going to make it? It’s going to be close!! (she didn’t make it)

If you squint a little, it looks like the pitcher is kicking a soccer ball which has been painted to resemble a softball.

The Princeton girl looks like she’s trying to make a run for it… I’m not sure if stealing happens much in softball.

I’m not sure what’s going on here, but I’d hazard that these two don’t get along so well.

The catcher seems to have been temporarily distracted by something.

Team debrief. Result: we got hammered. This is not unusual for a Columbia sporting team, I can only imagine why the coach is pointing the finger the way she is.

The next game was against U Penn. We are sporting a slightly different kit this time, not only different from last time because of its colour, but also because the players’ numbers are visible from the front and back, which is very useful for photojournos like myself when filling out caption sheets. This little move ended happily, the player able to slide into second base without going out.


team meeting… notice the war paint on number 3… they take this fairly seriously here

This is what I was talking about with the foot-stomping action. It really is quite spectacular.

Textbook catch, while the Penn batter looks on helplessly.

oohh… just didn’t quite make it. Our first base person catches the ball AND waves her butt at the opposition in one deft movement, forever caught on camera…

Later in the game, she too would come up a bit short while sliding into base, the Penn girl easily touching the base before she does…

…and whoever had the crazy idea of wearing white is probably regretting it now.

“clink” (I don’t know why, but I love these ball-on-bat shots)

ok guys, if we make a bigger huddle, maybe we’ll play better…

a throw with gusto

…a catch at full stretch

…and a rather cramped batting style.

Ball caught at first base, and the batter isn’t even in the picture (I didn’t even have to crop her out)

Nothing like a photo with the fisheye

oops! I dropped the ball.

mouse over the image…

Did i mention that I was appreciative of the new jerseys having the numbers on the front as well as the back? (interesting choice of jewellry as wel)

She’s running pretty hard…

is she gonna make it?

is she gonna make it?

yay! she made it!

the catcher takes the time to read the writing on the ball… unfortunately, by this stage, the writing was already on the wall. we got creamed by penn…

Oh well, the fact that we were loosing badly, didn’t stop the pitcher from looking cool while doing her wind-up.

nor did it stop any of the players playing as if their lives depended on it

…but it did occasionally catch me going slack with adjusting the white balance settings on my camera…

on of the penn girls has a shot at sliding glory…

…and she keeps sliding…

good thing we misfielded the ball… she slid just a little bit too far this time.


the end… in all my coverage of Columbia softball, I didn’t see our team win once. Conclusion: Columbia aren’t very good at Softball.

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