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There is no such thing as an undefeated team in baseball, but Harvard's remarkable 1964 squad seems determined to prove it can almost be done. Last weekend the Crimson beat the two clubs that had to be mastered--Army and Navy--to gain complete possession of first place in the Eastern League with a 5-0 record. Even the weather was good.
The twin victories over the pennant-contending service teams gives the Crimson a commanding position for the remainder of the race. Dartmouth is the only team left to play which has demonstrated consistent excellence, and a dose of the Crimson's Paul Del Rossi could prove fatal to the Green's chances.
Big Del was certainly deadly in Saturday's match with the Army, although he almost was mastered at his own game. For eight innings Del Rossi and Cadet sophomore Barry DeBolt hurled competing shut outs. For awhile it appeared that the most interesting contest was going to be the strike-out duel, which DeBolt eventually won, 14-11.
But Del Rossi and Harvard won the game, 1-0, on an unearned and unusual run in the eighth. Skip Falcone started the inning with Harvard's fourth hit, and moved to second when George Neville atoned for three strike outs with a soft line single to center. A perfect sacrifice bunt by Mike Patrick advanced the runners a base apiece.
Tom Stephenson then stepped up to hit, with instructions to place a squeeze bunt. Suspecting this to be the case, the Cadets suddenly called for an intentional walk. Neither the runners nor Stephenson heard the calls from the bench, and when the pitch came wide Stephenson just stepped back.
This left Falcone, who came charging down third, mercilessly stranded. He retreated desperately while catcher Bob Michela threw to third sacker Tom Carll. Carll couldn't hold the peg, however, and Falcone reversed his direction once again, turning his reprieve into the decisive run.
Even Crimson fans hated to see the brilliant DeBolt defeated by such a fluke, for the side-armed fastballer had been magnificent all afternoon. After the first inning, in which both he and Del Rossi had pitched their way into and out of bases loaded threats, he had been practically invulnerable. Both pitchers permitted five hits apiece, and a tough scorer might easily have called most of these safeties errors. Del Rossi is now 5-1, DeBolt 3-1.
Luther Is Unbeaten
Friday's 7-2 victory over Navy was another personal triumph for senior Andy Luther, who distributed two hits and eight strike-outs over nine innings for his fifth win without a defeat.
Navy optimistically took a two run lead in the third, but this edge was cancelled by a three-run Crimson effort in the fourth. John Dockery's line drive double was the highlight of the rally, Harvard added three more unearned insurance runs in the seventh.
Luther got himself in serious trouble in the first inning, but alert fielding, including a tremendous throw to the plate by center fielder Neville, prevented any scoring.
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