After scoring just four runs last Monday against Penn, the Crimson bats came alive, erupting for 37 runs in four games against Ivy foes Princeton and Cornell over the Easter weekend.
Though senior outfielder Mike Martin went 5-for-8 and sophomore infielder Drew Reid went 4-for-8 at the dish in the doubleheader against the Big Red, it was a new face that shone brightest for all four games—freshman infielder John Fallon.
Though the Houston native entered Harvard’s first Ivy homestand with just three hits in 14 at bats, with just one run batted in, Fallon clearly showed that past performance isn’t necessarily the best indicator of future performance.
“Opportunities are scarce, so I had to take advantage of every opportunity I get,” Fallon said. “I guess this weekend was a pretty good showing for me.”
A “good showing” might have been quite an understatement. The freshman infielder went 11-for-15 in the four weekend games and also had five runs scored and eight runs batted in to boot.
“I think [it was] just being comfortable up there hitting, seeing the ball real well, getting some good swings off earlier in the count,” Fallon said. “The guys that were on the field with me were great...on base getting the pitcher nervous.”
Tiger and Big Red pitching staffs struggled all weekend to get the ball by Fallon, with the Crimson’s number seven hitter now batting .667 in Ivy play with a .778 slugging average.
The performance was a feat that did not go unnoticed by more veteran players on the team.
“I remember back in my freshman year…. It’s always hard for freshman to adjust to their roles on the team,” senior infielder Jake McGuiggan said. “I think that it’s definitely hard for a situation with John where he didn’t play a lot early on in the season. it’s been great over the last week to see him not only in the game against Holy Cross, but [also] in the four games these weekend and step up and be a huge addition to our offense. The more he gets comfortable having that role as a freshman, the better he’s gonna be off individually and the better of our team is gonna be.”
Despite the prominent role that he has quickly claimed as a part of the batting order, Fallon had a rough go-around at the beginning of the season. The 6’3” Texas product went 0-for-3 with a strikeout in the Crimson’s first game of 2015, way back on Feb. 27 at Wofford.
After that first game, Fallon did not see his name penciled into the starting lineup until seven games later in the Crimson’s 7-1 loss to Mercer on March 8. And just as his first start, Fallon went hitless in three plate appearances—but did have a walk.
Then, from March 15 to the second game of the doubleheader against Penn, Fallon watched from the bench as the Crimson first had a five-game win streak and then a four-game losing streak before he made his way back onto Harvard coach Bill Decker’s starting lineup card.
After this four-game weekend of dominance at the plate, one has to wonder what the Crimson offense may have missed out on with Fallon not in the lineup.
“Anytime [John] can get on base three-fourths [of the time] on average, that’s just incredible, because that paces the rest of the offense,” McGuiggan said. “I think it’s huge for us offensively to have John playing so well—he’s been very steady at third base and shortstop over the last week. He has a strong arm which can make some plays for us, we’re definitely excited to see what he has in store for us.”
Even before Fallon came to play for the Crimson out of high school ball in Houston, the coaches and players could see that the recruit had potential that can extend past a single weekend.
“I think it’s one of those situations where he needed a chance to get in there and play on a consistent basis for all that talent to really show,” McGuiggan said. “I think that over the last week or so he’s been able to get some consistent reps out there, not only defensively but [also with] plenty of outback plays—I think that’s really important for any baseball player whether you’re a freshman or anyone else—to get that consistency and get in the groove. I think he’s definitely found his groove this week.”
—Staff writer Caleb Y. Lee can be reached at email@example.com.
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