"The success of our season depends upon how fast our pitching matures," said new baseball coach Loyal Park yesterday as he listed a varsity team loaded with hitting power and enthusiasm.
Ranked twelfth in the nation by a preseason poll, Coach Park's team will tour Southern colleges and minor league teams over the spring vacation. With a myriad of outstanding batters, Park wants to play as many games as possible and experiment with different players at most positions.
Last year's squad won the Ivy and Eastern Intercollegiate Baseball titles with a 16-7 overall record, and represented District I in the NCAA World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. Much of the credit for that outstanding season went to pitchers Ray Peters, Bob Dorwart, and Bob Lincoln.
Ignacio Leads the Batters
Only Dorwart returns this year, but Coach Park can rely on a batting squadron led by captain John Ignacio. Ignacio was outstanding last season in his first year at first base. He hit .303, led the team with 17 RBIs, and had three home runs.
Ignacio will be shifted to right field this year in order to put the top eight hitters in the line-up. "He can play anywhere because he's such a good all-around ball player," Park said.
Park's move will make room for several stars from last year's phenomenal freshman team. The Yardling squad averaged ten runs a game and was the first undefeated freshman team since 1900. Many starting positions this year will not be assigned until after the spring tour, because an excellent group of sophomores are challenging the returning lettermen.
Sophomore Pete Bernhard replaces Ignacio at first base. Coach Park has picked Bernhard as lead-off batter because he has excellent speed. Chico Garcia, a star of last year's Yardling team, probably will start at second base, but junior Bill Cherry is a serious contender for the spot.
Bill Kelley, another sophomore, and junior Rich Lochsley are aiming for the shortstop position. Kelley played center-field last year but was moved to short-stop because of his tremendous arm from deep in the shortstop hole. Tremendous hustle in practice has been Lochsley's strength.
'A Real Wing-Ding'
"All I can say about third base is that we have a real wing-ding battle," Coach Park commented. John Ballantyne has worked extremely hard and has won the initial starting position. But another sophomore star, Dan DeMichele, might replace him. DeMichele joined the team late because of the hockey season, and he has improved rapidly. If he passes Ballantyne, Harvard will have an all-sophomore infield.
Joining Ignacio in the outfield is Pete Karegeannes. He has outstanding speed and will paly left field. The center field job could go to returning letterman Ken O'Connell because of his strong defensive play. But challengers for the position are Neil Hurley and Curt Tucker.
Dorwart as Starting Pitcher
Right-hander senior Bob Dorwart, who pitched excellently at the end of last season, will be the leader of the pitching staff. The leading southpaw at the moment is sophomore J. C. Nickens.
Several new players will try to replace Ray Peters, who has signed a professional contract with Seattle. Major contenders are Tom DaShiell, Ken O'Connell, and sophomores Phil Collins, Tom Kidwell, and Curt Tucker.
Junior Mike Luggen, a high school star who played on the freshman team two years ago, has been plagued by a chronic shoulder problem and has had to quit the race for a mound spot.