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Batsmen Ready for Playoffs

Team Confident About Facing Tigers in Ivy Championship

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

The last time Harvard's baseball team won the Ivy League title, Ronald Reagan had just completed his first term as president and all the team's current players were still in grade school.

But since mid-April, the Crimson (23-14, 14-6 Ivy), the Red Rolfe division champion, has found it hard to lose. Harvard hopes to keep this tradition alive as it battles Princeton (21-18, 13-7) for the league title tomorrow.

Harvard and Princeton have met twice already this season, and both games resulted in Crimson wins.

Coach Joe Walsh said yesterday that he is more concerned with his own team's performance than Princeton's.

"I'm not worried about what they're doing," he said as he got on the bus to New Jersey.

Other players echoed their coach's comments as they awaited the outcome of the eventual 5-4 Princeton victory over Pennsylvania yesterday.

"We're real good no matter who we play," said captain Marc Levy.

"The way we're playing, we could beat anybody."

Judging from this past year's performance, the team has reason to be optimistic.

The Crimson has won 12 of its last 13 games and has 41 runs over the last three games.

Wednesday, Harvard avenged its 2-13 loss to UMass with an 11-10 upset victory over the Minutemen. And last weekend, the team swept league rival Dartmouth in two double-headers, outscoring the Big Green 31-15.

But although the team has gone on a winning rampage over the past few weeks, the beginning of its season did not look so spectacular, as the team averaged .500.

Freshman second baseman Hal Carey attributes the upturn to better pitching, increased confidence among the players and an enthusiastic coach.

"In the latter part of the year we just put it together," Carey said.

Levy agreed. "I think it's all about attitude," he said. "It took a while to develop a winning attitude."

Walsh, who has emphasized aggressive play all season, said his strategy for this weekend will not change.

"We're going to run, run, run," Walsh said. "[But] the pitchers need to be more aggressive in the strike zone."

Junior Frank Hogan is slated to start on the mound in the first game for Harvard. Hogan, the Crimson's top pitcher, is 4-2 with a 4.21 ERA this year but has been suffering from a tendinitis in his throwing shoulder.

Junior first baseman Peter Albers, however, will not be able to play this weekend because of a sprained ankle.

Even though they've beat Princeton twice this year Walsh said he still sees Harvard as an underdog because of the large number of seniors who have never experienced a winning season and the large number of first-year players.

"We're gonna be new to this," Walsh said. "But, if they beat us they're gonna have to work for it."

Senior catcher Dennis Doble was a little more blunt than his coach:

"We're gonna crush 'em."

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