It's been a somewhat frustrating season for the Crimson hardball heroes. They were tabbed as pre-season favorites to take a fourth straight Eastern Intercollegiate Baseball League title, and are now only 5-4 in EIBL play. But neither the team nor coach Loyal Park has given up, by any stretch of the imagination.
"It's been one of those springs where the ball just hasn't been dropping in for us," Park said last weekend after a tough doubleheader his weak-hitting squad split with Dartmouth. "But we could turn around and win five straight league games and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised."
Well, that's exactly what the Harvard squad has to do in order to win the EIBL--take the final five contests. Which means the diamondmen have to sweep three games this weekend against Navy (today at 3 p.m.) and league-leading Princeton (doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. tomorrow) on Soldier's Field.
Captain Mike O'Malley will hurl this afternoon against the 6-3 Middies. O'Malley most of all has felt the lack of Harvard hitting, as he has lost three close EIBL contests despite pitching well. The senior righty has the fifth best earned run average in the league (2.02) and an 0-3 record.
But if the last two games mean anything as far as the return of the Harvard bats, O'Malley just might get some offense to back him up today. Granted Holy Cross and MIT aren't exactly EIBL caliber, but in those two games Harvard picked up 21 hits and 17 runs, an amazing total. The ball is finally dropping in, and the runners aren't all being stranded on base. "It all evens out in the end," a philosophising park said yesterday.
Milt Holt is slated to toss the first game against the powerful Tiger line-up on Saturday. Princeton (9-2 in the league) boasts the number two through five hitters in the league (Ed Kuchar, .481, Kevin Kaufman, .474, Tony Riposta, .452, Ken Beytin, .417 and Kevin Plunkett, .417) while Harvard has no one in the top 20. Holt will have to come up with another strong performance, like his five-hit shutout of Dartmouth last weekend, to contain the Tiger hitters.
Park is still undecided about the starter for the nightcap. "I want to keep the options open," he said yesterday, but hinted that ace fireman Norm Walsh may get the nod.
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