There is no debating that there are a number of question marks heading into the 2013 season for the Harvard baseball team. Out of the squad’s six leading hitters last year, only one player is still on the roster – the team has lost over 50 percent of its offensive production in the quintet. The Crimson also loses two of its top pitchers, who collectively accounted for nearly 100 innings last season. Furthermore, the team’s coaching staff has undergone a complete turnover as Bill Decker, hired out of Trinity College in the fall, has assumed the position of head coach.
Despite all the uncertainty, however, Harvard began its season with a walkoff win in the tenth inning against Bucknell, which equaled the team’s victory total in its first 17 games last year. The squad went on to drop its next three contests, but the Crimson nevertheless gained valuable experience and a much-needed opportunity to see what some of its new talent could do. Here is an overview of a few of the Crimson’s top performers from the weekend, who will most certainly have an impact going forward.
Brandon Kregel, Sophomore OF: Kregel registered at least two hits in all but one of the team’s four games. Highlights included a triple in the tenth inning of the win over Bucknell that set up the game-winning single from Rob Wineski, as well as a 3-for-4 performance against the Bison just two days later. Kregel is currently tied for the team lead in hits, and he also boasts four of Harvard’s six extra-base knocks.
Matt Doyle, Senior RHP and Baron Davis, Junior RHP: The Crimson’s opening day starter, Doyle held Bucknell scoreless for over five innings before he ran into trouble in the sixth. But Davis entered the game and quickly worked Harvard out of the jam. In sum, the two pitchers surrendered zero earned runs, five hits, and just three walks. Depending on the progress Decker sees in the rest of his pitching staff, the Doyle/Davis combination could be effective going forward.
DJ Link, Freshman Catcher/3B: Based on the distribution of playing time in the first four games, it looks as if Link will play a significant role this season. The freshman was in the lineup every game last weekend at either catcher or DH. Link notched a hit in all four games, including a combined 5-for-8 against 19th ranked Virginia. In addition to leading the team with 3 RBIs, Link also is tied for team-best with seven hits.
Harvard resumes action this weekend with three games in Myrtle Beach, SC. Look for these performers to continue contributing significantly, and keep an eye out for other untested talent to emerge.