1. this is kinda a cool and unusual shot, I like it. It is nice as a horizontal, but there is kinda a lot of dead space to the right, and I really wish one or more of the hemets had the specific teams you are talking abou,t that helps the picture to say things more, rather than relying on the caption.
2. I dont particularly care for this - it kinda sets a mood, but for newspaper work (if this is intended for the paper), I have a few problems. First, no faces - sometimes this ca nstill work, but usually when the jersey has names on the back it works better. Second, focus point, to my eye at this resolution the ump is more in focus than the batter, and unless the ump is part of the story (ie, "While her father calls the game as umpire, Kasey McTeague slams a base hit), then you didnt focus in the right place IMO. For this same reason I am not sure if I even want or care if the ump is in the shot...
3. I think this plays best as a single shot (the one in the middle) rather than the sequence, just my opinion but the other two shots are superfluous, the change in cropping/perspective is not helping, and finally what lense are you using? You have too much DOF, ideally you don;t need to see the old codgers on lawn chairs in the background so sharp, again unless they are instrumental to the story. I sldo don;t like your caption because I dont know for which team the slider is and which the catcher is, and I dunno if she was or was not tagged out. "Middletons Casey Whatever is tagged out at home by Goshen' Hannah Roebeck in the fifth inning. Middleton would cruise to a 10-0 victory." or ""Middletons Casey Whatever beats the tag (slides under the tag, evades the tag) at home by Goshen' Hannah Roebeck in the fifth inning. Middleton would cruise to a 10-0 victory."
4. this should be cropped MUCH tighter. Are you trying to get teh shadow in the shot? Shadow shots work best when you are elevated, but at ground level I would just crop vertical on the runner - I want to see her facial expression, not a lot of empty field.
5. TYhis is interesting as a wide shot because the batter is like 20 feet closer to the pitcher than the catcher, which is odd, and interesting to my eye. However the DOF is KILLING you, hustle your paper to get you a f/2.8 lens 180/2.8 on the cheap end, 300/2.8 on the expensive.
6. a sequence works ok here, but I would still crop much tighter on your pitcher. Shots 1 & 3 are stronger, and I know you like shot 2 cause the ball is just leaving the hand, but the rest of her position and facial expression makes it weaker. It is often a hard balance because you are freezing a discrete moment in time, but want to convey motion to the viewer as well. I like shot 3 best I Think because I like having the OOF ball flying at you, I think it makes the readers eye move around the shot more (which is good IMO), however I would work on the same thing at a bit more of an angle, ie. not directly behind the catcher if you can. trying to play a bit more with diagonal compositon within your frame for excitement.
I am not thrilled with some of your other captions, but I have to think about them more, some are english issues/phrasing, some are sentence structure, some are what you choose to say.
lots of good info there twig. thank you! the ones with the series, i would never send in that way. thanks for the input on cropping, captions etc. captions arent one of my strong points and i know i need to work on them. i used my 80-200 2.8 with all of these (except the ones behind the ump. in that case, 50mm 1.8)
I would practice by looking at as many sports images as possible in local papers, NY Times, Daily NEws, NewsDay, si.com or on sportshooter, and reading their captions, there is also an AP style guide that your paper might be able to provide you with that can help. For a newspaper photographer it is very important to give your editor good captions, sometimes it pisses them off if they have to spend time re-doing them, they like to have their field workers nail them if possible.
Also, I dunno if your images are exclusively for print (which is how my critique was intended), or for web display. Some newspapers provide additional local color by having on-line photo essays and galleries for local events, in which case all of your shots, and even the sequences would work fine (though I still am a fan of tighter crops).
If you can position yourself at all closer without becoming a problem to the players, I would try, it will help blow out your backgrounds. A Sigma 120-300 would be awesome for these assignments, put that on your wish list & the next time your editor compliments your work mention it to him... (for day gmes a 200-400 f/4 would be even better, but lets not go nuts).