With 11 lettermen returning from last year's squad, the Crimson baseball team will open its 26-game schedule against Washington and Lee on Monday. The game is the first of six the Crimson will play on its annual southern tour in preparation for the beginning of league competition April 11.
The other teams the Crimson will face are Lynchburg College, the University of Maine, to be played at Lynchburg, the University of Richmond, and Loyola University of Baltimore.
Coach Norm Shepard views the trip as a good chance to "evaluate the personnel" and "get into condition" since the team has been restricted thus far to work-outs in Briggs Cage. We're taking 25 players and I want to see them all play, he said.
At this point, Shepard is confident of his team's chances against this year's three strongest teams--Army, last year's pennant winner, Navy, and Penn--in the battle for the Eastern Intercollegiate League title. The Eastern League, in which the Crimson finished sixth last year, includes the Ivies and the service academies.
The big problem--inexperience--should be solved because of the number of returning players who saw valuable action last year, despite the team's losing 9-13 record.
The second problem facing the Crimson, exceptionally weak hitting, has been eased by the promising early showing of several key players. Shepard still admits the lack of a good power hitter, but he thinks that the team can improve over last year's performance, which included three regulars under .200 and a top average of .280.
Experienced personnel should fill most of the starting line-up. Captain Al Martin, second baseman last season, will switch to first base, with junior Mike Drummey moving into Martin's old spot. Dave Morse, one of the hockey team's leading scorers and last season's top hitter is the shortstop, while sophomores Jim Combs and Corky Cronin are in contention for the third base position.
Charley Ravenel (yes, the same one) will be in left field, and Dick Schima in center. The rightfielder could be senior Charley Lockwood, Billy Rodgers, or even Tom Boone, who was a relief pitcher last season.
Besides lefthander Boone, a football halfback, the pitching staff lists right-hander Al Yarbro, a starter last season, Dave Larkin, Andrew Kamalien, and Dick Garibaldi. The top catcher is senior Dave Borkhagen.