There's an old cliche that baseball coaches, writers and fans like to toss around every now and then: the one about the game not being over until (ugh) the last out. Well, that's the way it went yesterday at Soldiers Field as Harvard and Northeastern slugged it out in one of those "key" Greater Boston League tilts.
The Huskies had a man on and two out in the bottom of the ninth (it was their home game, you see, played on Harvard's field) and trailed 6-5. Big, and I do mean big, Mel Seibolt, the designated hitter, stepped up to the plate against Harvard hurler Norm Walsh and clouted one into left-center. The Northeastern team bounded from the dugout to greet the seeming hero, only to watch Don Driscoll haul it in by the fence for just another long out.
That's how it ended, fans. Harvard picked up a come-from-behind 6-5 win, thanks to fireman Walsh and a pair of clutch hits in the ninth by Don Williams and Dave St. Pierre.
Walsh came on in the sixth with the Crimson trailing, 5-4, and retired 11 of 12 men he faced to pick up the win. The senior righty took over from junior Jim Harrell, who allowed five runs, three earned, on eight hits during his five and two third innings on the mound.
The team dedicated the game to shortstop Ed Durso and manager George Russell, in honor of their birthdays, and celebrated in the top of the ninth.
Fran Cronin, who was filling in at third, led off with a walk and Williams followed with a hit and run double that sent Cronin to third. "That was the play that won it," coach Loyal Park said.
Durso drew a free pass to load up the bases, and the tying run came across on Leigh Hogan's grounder to short. St. Pierre then drove in the winning run with a single to left.
That was not the only time Harvard had to rally. The Huskies jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a couple of singles and a two-RBI double by Russ Childers in the second. The Crimson tied it in the fourth as Husky first baseman Rick DeCristoforo committed a pair of errors, dropping a throw from third that allowed Durso to score, and booting a Joe Mackey grounder that scored Hogan.
Harvard picked up single runs in the fifth and sixth on RBI base hits by Hogan and Cronin to take the lead, but Northeastern forged ahead with three more of their own in the bottom of the sixth off Harrell. Ron Wilson drove in the first on a triple and then scored on Joe Marani's base hit. Marani put the Huskies into the lead as he crossed the plate on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Dave Mudugno. But that was it for Northeastern.
Harvard boosts its record to 5-1 in the GBL and 17-7 overall. The squad, 4-3 in the EIBL, faces one of the most important doubleheaders of the season tomorrow at 1 p.m. on Soldiers Field as league foe Dartmouth, 6-3 in EIBL play, comes to town.