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The Harvard baseball team, faced with what most observers called a "rebuilding year," completed its Florida trip Saturday with a surprising 11-1 record. Coach Loyal Park called it a "great learning trip," and added that he was "very satisfied" with his team's performance.
Playing at the St. Petersburg winter home of the striking New York Mets, the team displayed a winning combination of strong pitching, good defense, and solid hitting once characteristic of the Mets, and won a number of games on clutch pitching and baserunning.
The starting line-up, which was particularly uncertain, this spring, is beginning to straighten out. "We'll be strong up the middle," said Park, "at catcher, pitcher, shortstop, second base, and center."
The starting catching job vacated by White Sox hopeful Pete Varney is still undecided, with both Tim Bilodeau and Rich Bridich fighting for the position. In either case, Park feels that the catching will be in "very capable hands."
Hal Smith, last year's starting second baseman, has taken over at first, and had a fine trip, batting over 300. Senior Vince McGugan, who batted over .300 and stole 11 bases, will be at second. Art Serrano, the starting shortstop, had a very impressive series, and is, according to Park, "a catalyst, and glues the infield together," Captain Mike Thomas at third completes the infield.
In the outfield Park feels that two of the three positions are set, with only the right field slot still open. Kevin Hampe, next year's hockey captain, in left, and Toby Harvey, in center, both looked strong in Florida.
Park's pitching rotation, although not expected to be as strong as last year's held up well in Florida, but Park admits that here he will be "rebuilding."
"We don't have any bombers this year on offense," said Park, "but we should be able to get some consistent hitting." He indicated that the Crimson will be a hit-and-run type team. "We have a good running game, and will try and forced the other team into making mistakes." Park added.
Although their Florida record was impressive, Park feels that Harvard will face some very tough competition this spring from Columbia, Yale and Army. All three have starting nines returning virtually intact.
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