Phantom phenom Jim Harrell, who pitched his way to a 3-0 record and a 1.16 ERA in 31 innings on the road, made his home debut yesterday against Army at Soldiers Field. Unfortunately the handful of fans on tap to witness the unveiling of Loyal Park's newest secret weapon were sorely disappointed.
The usually strong lefthander didn't have the stuff in Harvard's first home Eastern Intercollegiate Baseball League (EIBL) contest, and was rocked by the Cadets in the third for four runs. The Crimson went down to a 4-3 defeat, and the Black Knights of the Hudson, as they are less commonly but more correctly known, handed coach Eric Tipton his 200th career coaching victory.
Norm Walsh pitched a strong six and two-thirds innings for Harvard after Harrell was knocked out of the box, and shut out the Cadets on three hits. His teammates, however, could not pull out the win for the senior righty, though they came close in the ninth.
Army starter George Koontz almost picked up the complete game victory, but had to leave after 8 and two-thirds innings due to the clutch hitting of Jim Thomas and the near-heroics of Leigh Hogan.
With two out in the ninth and Harvard trailing, 4-1, catcher Dan Williams staated a rally of sorts by drawing a walk off Koontz. He was followed to the plate by Ed Durso, whose hard shot caused Army third baseman Augie Fucci to bobble the ball and Durso beat the throw to first. Meanwhile Mike O'Malley, who was sent in to pinch run for Williams, scampered to third.
Jim "Turtle" Thomas, who leads the team in the number of times hit by an opposing pitch, then came up with a clutch double to right scoring O'Malley and Durso to narrow the gap to one. That's when Tipton, anxious not to leave Cambridge without that magic number 200, yanked Koontz in favor of Mike Pantaloni.
Pantoloni picked up the save, just. Hogan lashed one back at the box that hit Pantoloni in the arm, glanced to short stop Pete Jackson who threw out Hogan by a step for Tipton's celebration.
Koontz scattered seven hits in the contest, the first of which was Leon Goetz's single in the first inning that drove in the Crimson's first run for a quick lead. Other than the first and last innings, the only other time Koontz was in trouble was in the sixth when he gave up back-to-back two-out singles to Dave St. Pierre (the only Harvard player to get two hits) and John Friar.
Army, on the other hand, managed to bunch most of its hits into one inning, the third, against Harrell. The Cadets banged out four of its eight hits for the game and came up with its only runs of the contest.
Fucci and Jackson started things off with one-out singles. The duo advanced a base on a long foul to St. Pierre after tagging up. The Crimson launched an appeal (to no avail of course) to the umpires that the pair took off before the catch, but it didn't much matter as the next batter, Brent Clark, walked to load the bases.
Carl McNutt, the captain and designated hitter, drove in a run with a single and two more scored as Harrell's pick-off attempt to first went astray. The fourth and final run came in on Gary Miller's double, and that was all for Harrell, who exited in favor of Walsh.