Opening day for Harvard baseball this spring has suddenly become the home opener, as today's clash with UMass, originally scheduled at the Amherst campus, will be played at Soldiers Field this afternoon at 3 p.m.
Larry Brown, coming off a sensational performance in Sanford. Florida, over spring break--he was 3-0 and co-MVP of the round-robin tournament--will start on the mound for the Crimson.
Coach Loyal Park was delighted with Brown's hurling down South, saying. "His fastball really moves now. He has become quite a pitcher."
Should the change in climate or competition affect Brown's endurance on the hill, Park will probably use either senior Steve Baloff of sophomore Ron Stewart in relief.
The starting lineup will look basically the same as the one that reeled off an impressive 22-7 record last season. Gone are outfielders Tommy Joyce and Dave Singleton, and in their places this year are sophomores Charlie Santos-Buch and Mike Stenhouse.
Santos-Bush is no stranger to the Soldiers Field outfield, as he started in right field last year as a freahman and hit a solid .313. Taking over for the fleet Singleton in center this season is a tough assignment, but Park said, "We don't have to worry with Charlie out there."
Stenhouse is an interesting story. Up until last week in Florida, if anybody had told you that Stenhouse would be playing left field and Paul Halas second base on opening day you would have thought that person had munched on one too many Bill Lee sunflower seeds.
Stenhouse fielded more than adequately at second last year, as did Halas when he was in left, so why the change?
Park's logic was sound: "We all know that Sten has a future in baseball, and that future is either in the outfield, first or third. We're set at the corners, so he's playing left now. As for Paul, he played extremely well down South at second. It's definitely a move that strengthened both areas. Mike is a good outfielder and Paul is a real hard worker," he said.
Eight of ten starting position are set for today's game, with the other two dependent upon whether the batsmen will face a lefty or righty.
The sure starters today are Brown pitching, freshman Joe Wark catching, Mark Bingham at first, Halas at second, Burke St. John at shortstop, Rick Pearce at third. Stenhouse in left, and SantosBuch in center.
Senior Peter Bannish will start in right field if the Minutement throw a right-hander, if not, it will be Jim Peccerillo out there.
The designated hitter today will be either sophomore speedster Bobby Jenkins or perhaps Dave Knoll.
Harvard unfortunately will not enter today's clash injury-free, as St. John, Stewart, and pitcher Timmy Clifford all have ankle problems of some sort. Clifford, who severely sprained his right ankle about a month ago, has the most serious injury; the others are hopefully minor. "We'll know a lot better around Saturday what the story on those three is," said Park.
The Notebook: Word has it that one of reserve slugger Dave Knoll's two homers against Mt. St. Mary's College last Friday was not exactly a prestigious clout. Seems that a 70-year-old man caught the Chinese round-tripper bare-handed as it cleared the fence.