Baseball/Softball Preview 2011
If you can play solid defense on the baseball diamond, then you are dependable. If you can take the mound and hold off the opposing offense on a consistent basis, then you are reliable.
But if your coach can put you wherever he needs, knowing with full confidence that you will give 110 percent no matter where you are on the field, then you are indispensable.
As the old expression goes, pitching wins championships.
But that wasn’t quite true for Harvard last year. Despite boasting the best team ERA in the Ancient Eight, the Crimson fell to Cornell—number two by the same metric—in a deciding third game of the Ivy League Championship a season ago.
For most baseball players, spring officially begins with the high-pitched “ping” of a ball hitting a graphite or aluminum bat. Yet, players, coaches, and fans alike will have to adjust to a new, duller sound of bat-to-ball contact due to the NCAA’s new bat regulations. Effective Jan. 1, 2011, bats used in NCAA competition will have a different standard, making metal bats behave more like wooden ones.
The new testing system is called the Bat-Ball Coefficient of Restitution, or BBCOR. Unlike the previous Ball Exit Speed Ratio (BESR) standard that measured the exit speed of the ball compared to the incoming ball speed and swing speed, BBCOR measures what the ball and bat do on actual impact. In essence, BBCOR measures the “bounciness” of the ball when it comes into contact with a bat. When a ball hits an aluminum bat, the barrel compresses a small amount, causing the ball to “bounce” back quickly. This is known as the trampoline effect. In order to reduce the significance of the trampoline effect, NCAA regulations prohibit a bat from having a BBCOR coefficient higher than 0.500, which is about the same as a wooden bat.
Power, speed and confidence are just a few of the words used to describe this year’s softball team’s freshmen. As the weather starts to warm, the Harvard softball team will be looking for its freshmen to contribute to what is expected to be a successful season.
Last year, the Crimson fell just short of winning the Ivy League Championship in a single-run loss to Cornell. Harvard looks to make this the year that it takes it all.