Baseball flourished at Harvard this year. As probably the only Harvard team that was led by both seniors and freshmen, the Crimson nine won the Eastern League for the first time in two years, and combined that kudo with a Greater Boston League title for the first time since 1971.
And the Crimson did it with style. Forced into several must-win situations over the course of its long season, each time Harvard came up with the needed victory--until St. John's spoiled the dream of a berth in the College World Series by downing the Crimson twice in the NCAA northeast regional.
Eastern League competition (the Ivies plus Army and Navy) provides the meat of the Crimson's schedule and it was there the team had to gain its spot in the NCAA regionals. Second-year coach Alex Nahigian's charges made it largely because of its gutsy come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Cornell late in the season, on two runs in the bottom of the eighth.
The Cornell victory came courtesy of the right arm of senior Rob Alevizos, who went from the oblivion of spot-starter to the sunshine of the staff's stopper, with a 7-0 overall record. Senior Ron Stewart (3-3), freshmen Bill Doyle (6-3), and Bill Larson (6-3) were the workhorses of a staff that kept the often weak-hitting Crimson in a long pennant chase.
Offensive power came largely from senior captain Charlie Santos-Buch and the keystone duo of freshman shortstop Brad Bauer and senior second baseman Bobby Kelley. And, of course, despite a late season slump, first baseman Mark Bingham finished a brilliant career, that concluded with the New Yorker the all-time Harvard and New England leader in both hits and runs batted in.
Though Harvard will lose several key players to graduation, the future still looks bright. Any team that could pull off the three-game sweep of the playoff which earned the Crimson the Eastern League crown has the mettle and verve for years of championship talk.