Athlete of the Week: Ben Crockett '02

In a League of His Own

Each time Harvard senior Ben Crockett has toed the rubber this season, he’s been his usual fearless, tireless, intimidating self.

But his best quality? He’s contagious.

“There’s so much I take away from every time I watch him pitch,” said sophomore pitcher Marc Hordon, who hurled a three-hit shutout against Yale on Sunday.

The day before, Hordon watched Crockett set the standard for silencing the Yale bats in an 8-3 win. Working in a light but steady rain, the Harvard captain turned in a complete-game masterpiece, saving the Crimson bullpen for Sunday and crushing the spirit of the Bulldogs.

For a while, Crockett was every bit as dominant as he was in his no-hit classic against Dartmouth last May. He gave up just one hit during his first six innings while striking out ten and walking none.

Even on the rare occasion when he fell behind a Yale hitter, Crockett still kept his cool. Yale catcher Darren Beasley worked the count to 3-0 in the sixth, putting himself in perfect position to sit on a fastball and do some damage.

Easier said than done—Beasley got a fastball, but he couldn’t get around on it quick enough. He popped out weakly to first base, becoming the ninth hitter in a row retired by Crockett.

But hey, at least Beasley made contact. Others weren’t so lucky. Yale DH Dave Fortenbaugh, batting from the left side, whiffed three times, lasting just four pitches in one of his at-bats.

“The lefties couldn’t hit his offspeed stuff,” freshman catcher Schuyler Mann said.

The Major League Baseball draft is just weeks away now and Crockett couldn’t be more ready. At times, he looks every bit like the minor league star he might already be, had the Boston Red Sox come to terms on a contract with him last summer.

Earlier this year, Crockett held No. 2 Rice to just two runs in eight innings. He fanned six in that game and had 12 more against Ohio State a week later.

Then, last week, he made a cameo relief appearance in the eighth inning of Harvard’s blowout loss to Boston College. The Eagles had lit up Harvard pitching for four home runs by that point. Against Crockett, they went down in order, two on strikeouts.

The sea of radar guns that appears behind home plate with Crockett’s every pitch is a constant reminder of the great things in store for him. On Saturday, Yale became his latest victim. Years from now, they can say they knew him when.