The snowdrifts are finally gone from the outfield, but only two of Harvard's starters have pitched this year anywhere north of Disneyland.
It wasn't supposed to be that way. The Crimson had scheduled six warm-up games before powerful Navy was slated to roll into town for the league opener. But winter went into overtime, and even though it's mid-April only two games--Wednesday's doubleheader spilt with Northeastern--have found their way into the books.
Still, a date is a date, and Harvard has one with the Middies this afternoon at Soldiers Field. It seems Annapolis wasn't hit as hard by the snow because Navy has already piled up 13 wins since coming North, including a 5-1 Eastern League mark. That's not the kind of team you want to get the kinks out against.
"I think we could have used a few more games up north, especially the pitchers," says junior first baseman Eddie Farrell, who has played exactly two games in New England since May of 1980.
Probable first-game starter Billy Doyle has not pitched since the squad returned from Florida two weeks ago, while Bill Larson missed the Florida trip and has not faced anybody at all since last year.
Navy's staff, on the other hand, has seen plenty of work. Bob Adrion (4-2, 5.58) and Craig Michael (3-2,2.68), the visitors probable starters, are both in mid-season form, and junkballer Craig Gibson has already earned himself a reputation in the Middie bullpen.
One of the few college pitchers who prefers to work in relief, Gibson earned a win and a save in Navy's sweep of defending-champion Yale last week, helping to stretch his squad's winning streak to six.
Navy's pitchers will be challenged by a hard-hitting Crimson squad that is averaging ten runs per outing beyond the Florida state line. Nahigian has been batting Brad Bauer and Vinnie Martelli (five RBIs apiece) three-four in the lineup, followed by Farrell and Donnie Allard, and all of them rapped out at least two hits against Northeastern.
"Donnie's been hitting the ball real well, and that helps me out," says Farrell, who should continue to see plenty of pitches to hit. "I like having Vinnie hit in front of me, too, because he gets on base a lot and we can work the hit-and-run."
Sunday, Harvard completes its first four-game weekend of the season with a 1 p.m. twinbill against Princeton. The Tigers have compiled a 2-4 EIBL record this season, with senior hurler Bob Holly and junior Steve Kordish leading the way.
Jim Curtin, originally scheduled to pitch today, will get another day to rest his strained bicep muscle and pitch in the opener for Harvard tomorrow. Freshman Charlie Marchese, who threw six innings in Wednesday's first game, is penciled in as the starter in the night cap.
Former Brandeis Coach Tom O'Connell will return to the Boston area as Princeton's head coach. O'Connell, whose Judges won five consecutive Greater Boston League championships in the late '70s, joined the Tigers this year after ten seasons in Waltham Another Tiger with area ties is Tom Hagerstrom, who played baseball, hockey and soccer at Newton North.