CAREER HOME RUNS: 1. Zak Farkes, 22.
SINGLE SEASON HOME RUNS: 1. Zak Farkes, 14.
No matter what happens the next two seasons—no matter if the draft-eligible sophomore leaves Harvard baseball forever after the Amateur Draft this June—his name is there, and probably will be for a long time.
He made his mark, just like everyone knew he would.
“The thing I expect from Zak that I didn’t expect from him last season,” Harvard coach Joe Walsh said back in the beginning of March, “is for him to put his stamp on the ball club.”
And with four home runs in four games this weekend, the sophomore infielder put his stamp on more than just the ball club. He left an imprint on Harvard baseball history.
“What can I say?” Walsh asked after Farkes knocked a trio of homers in Saturday’s split with Dartmouth. “Every time the kid comes up to bat, I’m down at the third base box just saying, ‘Hey, what’s going to happen next? He’s a heck of a player.’”
The literal blow-by-blow assault on the record book began in the third inning of Game 1. With the bases loaded, Farkes blasted a 1-0 offering from Dartmouth starter Patrick Dowling into the centerfield trees to claim sole possession of the single-season mark. That was No. 11.
In the sixth inning, he sent Rob Steinsdoerfer’s first pitch to about the same spot for No. 12. No. 13 came in the second inning of Game 2, a three-run shot off of Josh Faiola that tied Farkes for the career mark with 21.
And then there was No. 14, the home run that put Farkes all alone, making him the uncontested premier slugger in Crimson history after just two seasons.
With Harvard clinging to a 2-0 lead in the top of the fifth inning of a must-have Game 3 on Sunday, Farkes swatted a towering three-run shot off of ace Tim Grant to put the Crimson ahead by the game’s final margin, 5-0.
“I just went up there and tried to keep my swing going,” Farkes said. ”When I hit the ball well, it’s going to go out, and I know that.”
That’s Farkes. Always understated. Always calm. And always supremely confident. Before the season, Farkes said he wanted to be the Ivy Player of the Year. He won’t be, but he’s been a heck of a lot for Harvard this season.
With injuries spreading across the diamond like a bad rash, he played three infield positions—second, shortstop and third base—and played all of them well. Besides senior Trey Hendricks, he was the team’s most consistent hitter.
And, oh yeah, the home runs.
“Well, I’m just going to sit back and watch,” Walsh said in March. “I’m looking forward to it. There’s not set expectations, but the sky’s the limit with that kid.”
Yeah, the sky just beyond the outfield fence.
—Staff writer Lande A. Spottswood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.