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The candidates for the Freshman nine have now been practicing on Soldiers Field for two weeks. In that time the squad has been cut down from 30 to 20 men, exclusive of battery candidates. The daily routine of work has consisted almost entirely of the customary fielding and batting practice, besides short scrub games played between picked nines.
It has been considered advisable this year to choose a first team early in order that team-play may be developed to a greater degree of perfection than is possible when the make-up of a team is in doubt up to a late time in the season. Consequently, in the course of the next few days a first Freshman team will be chosen-with a provisional make-up, of course-and against this nine a second team will play daily games.
So far the practice has been held exclusively on Soldiers Field and it is very probable that the Freshmen will have to remain there till after the spring recess. Then they may be given the use of Holmes Field for the rest of the season, although it is still likely that the 'Varsity may not be enabled to avail themselves of the new diamond as early as that.
From the very first, the number of men that turned out for the 1901 nine was smaller than that of recent years, as at no time was the number more than 40. Nevertheless, with the exception of the outfield, the material could hardly have been better. For the infield a number of men have shown up most promisingly, having displayed unusual capabilities both in fielding and batting. Of these, Robinson at third, Fincke at second, and Kendall at first seem to be the best. All are good fielders and strong hitters.
At short, there is no man who combines the qualities of fielding and batting to the extent that these men do. Cropley, G. Putnam and Coolidge are all fairly sure in handling batted balls, but all are rather uncertain at the bat.
In the outfield are several men who cover their positions fairly well, but who have so far done nothing to speak of in hitting. Jaynes, a candidate for first base, does not seem to be quite the equal of Keudall at that position. He is a good fielder however, and has been doing some good work in batting, so that there is a probability of his being tried in the field. The other men are Whittemore, Hayes, Quincy and Merriam.
It is still a little early to tell anything definitely about the battery candidates. They are working regularly under Mr. Lewis, but as yet have been confined mostly to straight balls. The most promising of the pitchers are McDonald and Stickney, and of the catchers Milne, Hall and Bertholf.
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