Before they reach The Show, they must watch a different Show.
The Harvard baseball team--save those members with finals--will meet at the Grille at 3 p.m. for the ESPN2 selection show, which will announce the pairings for the NCAA regionals.
Previously, captain Peter Albers was the only team member to play in an NCAA tournament--and that was as a soccer goalie. Last Friday, though, the baseball team purchased an NCAA ticket--its first in 13 years--with a 4-1 victory over Army.
"We needed [sophomore] Don Jamieson to come through," freshman Erik Binkowski said. Jamieson did just that, improving to 5-2 with the five-hit, complete-game win. For dramatic measure, Jamieson staved off a bases-loaded threat in the ninth.
If "Veritas" is Harvard's motto, "coming through" is its baseball team's.
"We've been on the spot for pretty much the entire season," junior Brett Vankoski said. "We're used to being in a situation where you had to win games."
After dropping two games to Princeton, including an 8-6 loss in which the Tigers scored all of their runs in the bottom of the ninth, Harvard faced elimination from the Ivy League race. Harvard swept Yale in four straight in its next series.
In the decisive third game of the Ivy playoffs against the Tigers, Harvard further redeemed itself, pummeling Princeton 22-4.
"Coming into the season, all we really wanted was to get back into the playoffs," Vankoski said. "We were that close to winning last year. We wanted another chance."
Naysayers might have proclaimed a lost season after the Crimson dropped its first three games. On March 28, Miami routed the Crimson, 22-4. Again, though, Harvard responded, defeating the Hurricanes, 9-6.
"It was sweet winning that last game against Miami," Vankoski said. "It was a great thing. It made the whole trip worth it."
All the pressure this season has prepared the team for a tense postseason.
"Pretty much nobody showed [any inexperience against Army]," Vankoski said. "We played like we had every game this year."
Binkowski probably had the most to worry about. His cousin, Paul Andrzejewski, was a wideout on the Army football team.
"My dad was rooting for Harvard; my uncle was rooting for Army," Binkowski said.
Binkowski hopes that Harvard will travel to Tuscaloosa, Alabama in the regionals.
"All the rest of my family goes to Alabama," he explained.
No matter where Harvard ends up playing, the team's success has necessitated adjustments for players during the end of the school year.
Binkowski had three exams during the Army series alone. Vankoski has finals today ("but it's pass/fail"), tomorrow and a one-hour final on Thursday that he may take on the road. He also has a final paper due.
"A lot of guys need exams moved up, or they may have to take them on the road," Binkowski said. "They'll definitely affect our performance. But all good teams have to come through."
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