There was a guy working out in the Crimson infield yesterday who would be pretty fine to have in uniform this afternoon. An experienced shortstop and a fine clutch hitter, this ballplayer would go a long way toward solving some of the problems that confront Coach Norm Shepard.
However, Bill Cleary is just on a two-week furlough from the Army, and Shepard won't be able to use him in this afternoon's 3 p.m. E.I.B.L. opener against Army at Soldiers Field.
But fielding does not figure to be the major problem in today's contest against the Cadets. The double-play combination of Bob Hastings and Bob Cleary worked smoothly against Holy Cross, and the team as a whole made no errors.
Nor does pitching present a difficulty. Captain Rossano will seek his third victory in a week, with Joel Bernstein, Bob McGinnis, and Dom Repetto all ready for relief work if necessary.
The main question mark lies in how well the Crimson can solve the slants of Army hurler Bill Shepard, a righthander. The Crimson squad, which figured to be a powerful hitting team, if perhaps weak on the mound and in the field, has been just the opposite recently.
Only two of the eight starters, excluding Rossano, are hitting over .300. Left fielder Dick Fisher leads the team at .440 and right fielder John Getch is hitting .384. But since returning to the North, the regulars have hit only .213. As long as the pitching holds up, the team can win on two or three runs, but the averages of late are somewhat discouraging.
Besides Rossano, Fisher, and Getch, the team will line up with Bing Crosby behind the plate, John Simourian at first, Cleary at second, Hastings at short, Matt Botsford at third, and Walt Stahura in center field.