“There’s no crying in baseball”

…or so the saying from A League of Their Own goes.

This was my first full season covering baseball. I covered the Southridge Raiders in most of their playoff games, including their first trip to the state finals in school history.

My favorite partour focus as a community newspaperwas documenting not only the team, but the community’s relationship to the team. (Also, A League of Their Own was filmed at the Raiders’ home stadium).

Southridge lost in the state finals 5-4 after their near comeback: scoring 4 runs in the seventh inning. Tom Hanks’ character, Jimmie Dugan, is wrong… there’s actually a lot of crying in baseball. But that’s the beauty of it: witnessing how much everyone cares.

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Ellie Bardwell of Huntingburg, 11, got her nails painted like baseballs at a salon on Thursday before the Southridge send-off at League Stadium in Huntingburg. Bardwell collected Raider signatures on her baseball.
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Jill Harter, left, mother of Jayce Harter, and Staci Smith, mother of Colin Smith, sang the Southridge High School song at the pep session at League Stadium in Huntingburg following the Raiders’ Class 2A semistate victory. Harter, who went to Southridge, joked about Smith, who went to Jasper, “we’ve converted her.”
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Southridge’s Joe LaGrange leaned on the fence in the dugout as the Raiders faced Vincennes Lincoln in Huntingburg on April 28, 2018. Southridge won 4-3.
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The Southridge Raiders dog-piled on the field after defeating Indianapolis Scecina 7-2 in the Class 2A semistate game.
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Southridge bus driver Don Astrike’s sign sat outside the Patoka Township Trustee’s office in Huntingburg. The Southridge Raiders traveled to Indianapolis to compete in the Class 2A state finals for the first time in school history.
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Colson Montgomery, center, watched the Class 1A state finals which went into 9 innings and delayed the Raiders’ Class 2A game at Victory Field in Indianapolis.
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Southridge’s Ethan Bell pitched as the Raiders faced Boone Grove in the Class 2A state finals at Victory Field in Indianapolis.
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The Southridge Raider mascot Kamden McKeough of Holland, 13, right, Graham Bolling of Huntingburg, 5, and Aidan Wibbeler of Holland, 9, watched the awards ceremony after the RaidersÕ 5-4 loss to Boone Grove in the Class 2A state finals at Victory Field in Indianapolis. Graham said he was sad the Raiders lost.
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Southridge head coach Gene Mattingly collected himself after hugging his wife Traci following the Raiders’ 7-2 semistate victory in Jasper on Saturday. “You just put so much time and energy into trying to make sure you don’t let anything sneak up on you,” Mattingly said. “So sometimes you get caught up in just the work of it all and you don’t really sit back and enjoy it. Just trying to take it in; that’s what it’s all about.”
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Southridge’s Justin Lammers rode the bus with teammates through Huntingburg on a victory lap after winning the Class 2A sectional championship on Monday. Southridge won 14-0 in 5 innings.

These images are from the final Raiders games. I loved being able to cover the same team over and over, and to build rapport with them.

Photographers: what are your tips for building rapport with teams?

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