Pre-season predictions are ever dangerous, but the experts of the Ivy League baseball circuit seem certain that the Crimson nine will find itself on one of the lower rungs of the ladder come June.
Picking the current champion, Princeton, to repeat this season, they give the Harvard team little chance to improve their 1941 tie for fifth. Coach Floyd Stahl, recognizing the Tigers' threat, also sees them as the squad to beat.
"Harvard," says the E.I.D.L. dope sheet, "will base its hopes for a good season on pitchers Burgy Ayres and Mort Waldstein, but even if they are in form, the Crimson may have trouble finding sufficient hitting power to provide them with a fairly steady supply of runs."
Varsity Weak Hitters
Backing up these assertions with facts and figures, the analysis points out that the Crimson hit .214 last year, lowest in the circuit, and scored only 43 runs in 12 contests, less than four tallies per game. Captain Lou Clay and infielder Bart Harvey are the only two returning players to average .250 at the plate last season.
As yet, the nine his shown little to disprove the experts' claims. Like last year it split its two-game series with Penn, taking the first but losing the second by a lone run. Mort Waldstein, who won all of the team's four League triumphs in 1941, has already started down the victory road with a successful five-hitter over the Quakers.
At bat, however, Stahl's men have exceeded expectations and in the Penn set averaged better than .300, enough to take any title in last year's campaign. Stahl admits guardedly that they have been hitting way over their heads and foresees a drop in that figure.
One of the greatest assets in this department has been Sophomore first-sacker Ned Fitzgibbons. Brought in from his Yardling spot in the field, Fitzgibbons has replaced Bill Tully, who graduated, with errorless finesse and has proved more than capable of filling the offensive clean-up slot.
Erratic on Bases
The Crimson has been weakest on the bases, going from radical dare-deviling to conservative timidity over night. Partially the result of the inavailability of outdoor practice, Coach Stahl expects to be able to straighten out that kink in the coming weeks.
If all these factors of strong pitching, competent hitting, and improved work in the fields are not just an early-season fluke, the Crimson aggregation may yet surprise their League opponents and shame the experts.