With Soldiers Field transformed into a Winter Wonderland ("You couldn't even see the field from the steps of Dillon, let alone think about playing on it," said Brad Bauer), the Harvard baseball team is faced with an unwanted week off before returning to action.
The Crimson was scheduled to host MIT in the season opener yesterday and Boston College this afternoon, but the foot of snow that fell on the Greater Boston League made that impossible.
Unless the games are rescheduled for this weekend--and the way the field looks now, they probably won't be--Opening Day. Take Two will be next Tuesday afternoon at Soldiers Field, with UMass in town for a doubleheader.
Practice Makes Perfect
Until then, the squad will return to Briggs Cage for practice sessions and simulated games, moving outside if conditions allow. Greg Brown, yesterday's scheduled starter, will throw in the Cage today with Billy Doyle on tap to do the same tomorrow. The rest of the staff will be skiing laps in the outfield.
"As long as you get your work in, your 90 pitches, you can stay sharp," said Jim Curtin, who had been slotted for the final four or five innings yesterday. "You just don't want too long a layoff, like two weeks without doing anything."
The cancellations mean that Harvard will open the season with back-to-back doubleheaders, forcing Coach Alex Nahigian to utilize a four-man pitching rotation right away. While all three freshmen hurlers have pitched well this spring, the rotation probably fell into place yesterday when junior Billy Larson, whose eligibility had been in doubt, received word he will be able to compete.
Although he didn't make the squad's trip to Florida, Larson, whose 5-2 record last year paced the team, is "almost ready right now" to get a starting assignment "I worked out at home over vacation, and I had been throwing on my own before that," he said. "I'm in good shape and I'm just about set."
Larson's return means that the pitchers responsible for all 17 of Harvard's wins last year are back, as well as senior John Sorich (0-0), who led the team in ERA. While Nahigian is far from set on a regular schedule. Doyle, Brown, Larson and Curtin should be the four starters in the early going, with Sorich. Mike Smerczysnki and the freshmen operating out of the bullpen.
One benefit of the revamped Eastern League schedule-doubleheaders on both Saturday and Sunday instead of a three-day weekend-means that just about all the pitchers will get enough work, especially if bad weather forces more early cancellations and the games are rescheduled later on. Larson's return gives the Crimson one more good pitcher and that much more flexibility.
Watch for a complete baseball preview in Friday's Crimson.