The four-game battle between Harvard and Brown, two very similar teams, this weekend on College Hill in Providence will most likely decide this year's Ivy League Championship.
The teams will be battling for the title of Red Rolfe Division champion. The winner will go on to battle the winner of the Gherig Division for the Ivy League Championship in early May.
The Crimson (18-12, 10-2 Ivy) may feel like it is looking in the mirror when looks ahead to the Bears (18-12, 10-2 Ivy) squad it will be facing.
Not only do both teams sport identical records, but they have both been hot recently, both play an identical style of baseball and both have aggressive coaches who have turned their school's programs around.
But Harvard feels it has an advantage.
"We're the defending champions and Brown is coming into our house," Coach Joe Walsh said. "They've got to worry about preparing for us, not the other way around."
Yet the Crimson cannot deny it--the Bears are hot. After a shaky start, they have stormed back to take 16 of their last 20 games.
Still, Brown cannot be comfortable. Its 18 victories approaches the school record of 23 wins back in 1986. Harvard won 36 games last year.
"This is familiar territory for us, but foreign territory for them," junior first baseman Eric Binkowski said. "We are relaxed and confident; they must be nervous."
As if that weren't enough, Brown fields a youthful team. Captain Peter DeYoung, a versatile infielder, is the only senior on the entire squad. Harvard has seven seniors.
DeYoung leads the improving Brown offense after coming off of a solid season in his junior campaign. He hit .316 with 49 hits including 13 doubles.
Sophomore Dan Kantrovitz plays the supporting role in the offense. A scrappy 5'8 shortstop who started every game last year, Kantrovitz hit .316 with 47 hits as a freshman.
This year, he is simply on fire. He won Ivy League Player of the Week honors last week after thrashing Columbia and Pennsylvania, going 10-for-16 and leading the Bears to three wins. He is also in the midst of a 13-game hitting streak.
You can even smell the greenery of the Bears' pitching staff. Seven new pitchers take the mound this year, led by freshman Jamie Grillo. Grillo, who is 32 with an ERA of 4.17, won Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors this week after he pitched his way to two impressive victories.
Junior John Sunderdick has also been a clutch hurler for the Bears. The reigning Ivy League Player of the Week, Sunderdick is currently 4-0 with a 2.32 ERA and 23 strikeouts after leading the team in victories last season.
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