The Crack of the Bat Is Finally Here


There is only one sport, and it is baseball.

In the long, winter off-season, we pretend to be interested in other sports, but most of us are only statues, disembodied figures who are waiting for that first pitch, that first crack of the bat.

But, just as baseball rules the hearts and minds of fans, the pitcher rules baseball.

It's no coincidence that baseball begins with the rite of spring. And it's also no coincidence that the team with the best pitchers usually wins the World Series.

Don't listen to Met or Oakland fans. The Dodgers won the World Series because of pitching--because of the "Bulldog," Orel Hershiser.


Genius may be 99 percent perspiration and one percent inspiration but, in baseball, genius--or success--hits the corners and strikes out the side. In other words...

"Ninety percent [of winning] is pitching," Harvard baseball Coach Alex Nahigian said.

As the Crimson prepares to battle in the Eastern Intercollegiate Baseball League and plays a pair of doubleheaders each weekend, Nahigian believes that four, solid starters are needed to win.

Harvard has five returning pitchers: righthanders Greg Ubert, Mike Dorrington, Jon Biotti and Zach Hope along with southpaw Bob Baxter.

Dorrington was the Crimson's workhorse and the team's best hurler last year. The junior pitched in 72 innings and has a 3.86 ERA.

Baxter is returning from an injury-plagued sophomore season, in which he appeared in only one game and pitched four innings. In his freshman year, Baxter posted a 5-1 record. And his return gives the staff a solid foundation.

"We're a better team than last year," Ubert said. "With the short season of the [EIBL], when you lose a pitcher, it puts you in a hole."

Two freshmen, leftie Sean Johnston and rightie Todd Forman, should also contribute to Harvard's staff this year.

While Nahigian is building his team around a deep starting rotation, an injury to catcher Aron Allen threatens to break the battery down. Allen has aggravated a shoulder problem in his throwing arm which first surfaced in high school.

The sophomore backstop won't be ready to catch the season opener March 25 against the University of Redlands (Ca.). Allen was named first-team All-EIBL and first-team All-Ivy as the Crimson's third baseman last season.

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