Monday, May 30, 2005

Crimson Readies To Face Ricky Romero

The first and perhaps most important question to ask after learning that the Crimson will be facing the defending-national champion Cal State Fullerton Titans is: will we see sure-to-be-first-rounder Ricky Romero in Game 1? Romero is the returning left-handed superstar ace for the Titans, having pitched for Team USA last summer. It was Romero along with fellow ace and 2004 College World Series MVP Jason Windsor who led the Titans to the championship last season. Romero was named to the 2004 CWS All-Tournament team. Windsor is now in the Oakland A’s farm system, where he is pitching in High A for the Stockland Ports.

So will we see Romero? To try to answer this question, I took a look at how Cal State handled their regional games last year. In 2004, they faced #4 seed Minnesota in the first round at home. Windsor, the ace at the time, pitched and dominated the Gophers. Romero pitched the second game against Pepperdine, but the bullpen failed to hold the Titans' lead. The Titans then faced Arizona State and beat them to advance to the final where they had to beat Pepperdine twice and did (with Windsor coming back to start the second game). They then swept Tulane in Super Regionals at home with a dominating performance by Windsor and a less-than-dominating performance by Romero. And we all know the Titans then went on to take the 2004 CWS Title on the strength of Windsor’s 2 victories and a save, and Romero’s victories over Miami and Texas. Past performance suggests that we will see Romero because Coach George Horton does not appear to be one who keeps his bullets in the gun.

But yet, I still pause in saying that the Titans will surely go with Romero, primarily for two reasons. First, they’ll take us more lightly than Minnesota (read “Ivy League”). And second, because they have a quality second starter in LHP Scott Sarver who last year came up with big pitching performances against Pepperdine and South Carolina in the post-season. This year, Sarver is 9-3 with a 3.97 ERA, with 51 Ks, 26 walks in 77 innings pitched. (Romero is 12-4, 2.80, 119 IP, 129 Ks, 31 walks).

So either way, the Crimson will most likely face a lefty starter which seems to be bode well given the strength of our right-handed bats. I’m still hesitant to say the Titans will pitch Romero because they may be looking ahead to a second-round matchup against Arizona, a team that Romero lost to 1-0 during the regular season (Fullerton took 2 of 3 in the regular season match-up). If Fullerton takes the Crimson too lightly, they may be surprised by the offensive strength of the club, a department in which I think we stack up quite well. More on this later.

Breaking News: NCAA Regionals Announced: Crimson Heads West

In order to be the best, they'll have to beat the best.

Mike Morgalis and the Crimson will invade national No. 6 seed Cal State Fullerton, the defending national champions, on Friday on a game to be televised nationally on ESPNU. Missouri and Arizona are the other teams in a very stacked regional.

More to come...

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Crimson Bats On Fire Heading Into Regional Play

Morgan Brown had a career day – literally, hitting his first career homerun – as the Crimson took the third straight game from Quinnipiac. Those victories should ensure that the Crimson will be a higher seed come tournament time (attention Baseball America, hope you’re watching).

Brown went 3-3 with 2 runs, 3 RBI, and a stolen base. Ian Wallace, quietly having a very consistent senior season, went 2-4 with a run scored and an RBI. As an aside, on a Crimson team full of all-star sluggers, Wallace is fourth on the team in average (.316). Matt Vance also went deep – his 2nd of the season.

Good news for the weekend is the bats don’t seem to be that rusty. Bad news is that the pitching does. Morgalis may have had the best performance of the weekend, which is good news given that Coach Walsh has pledged he’ll be the Game 1 starter in the Regionals. Jake Bruton came up with a clutch relief appearance today, saving the day for the Crimson by leaving the bases loaded in the 8th.

The Crimson bats continue to impress, though let’s be honest, the pitching they saw probably doesn’t compare with Blake Wood, Bryan Ball, Bryan Henry, or Ricky Romero. Still, it doesn’t appear that the hitters have lost anything during exam period. Major kudos go out to Coach Walsh for getting the Crimson three big games against a competitive team. He’s put them in a position to do well next weekend, and as an added bonus with the 3-game sweep, he has given even more confidence to the club that they’re ready to go up against some heavyweights.

The 16 Regional sites were announced today. We’ll get the big announcement on Monday at 11:30am.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Salsgiver Slam Lifts Crimson a 12-11 win over Quinnipiac. Morgalis and Herrmann each went three innings. They do it again in Cambridge tomorrow.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Baseball America: Westward ho?

Baseball America's currently projecting Harvard in the Fullerton Region, along with No. 2 seed overall CS-Fullerton, Stanford and Oklahoma. (Subscription sites: ESPN Insider or Baseball America).

Return to Fenway for Mann, Farkes, Wilson

Schuyler Mann, Zak Farkes and Steffan Wilson were named to the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association All-Star Team, with Mann named a first teamer. Steffan Wilson was the only freshman among the 25 honorees. The all-stars will play a team of Division II and III all-stars on June 5.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

The Ivy League: Scott-free?

Duke's baseball coach has resigned and Princeton's Scott Bradley has emerged as a frontrunner for the job. Bradley, who played college ball for UNC, is no stranger to that part of the country.

Should Bradley leave Princeton, this would be a huge development for the league, and in some ways a very unfortunate one given his accomplishments. Winning four of the past six Ivy Titles and nine straight Gehrig Division championships before Cornell's breakthrough year this spring, Bradley's program has produced most of the league's standout pro prospects over the few years.

Of course, one could also see it as an opportunity for the generally stronger Rolfe Division to rack up Ivy championships in the forseeable future.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

It's getting a little Nippi in here again

Harvard will play two more tune-up games with a home-and-home against Northeast Conference Champs Quinnipiac (turns out they weren't champs last time, my bad, but now it's true) this weekend. The first game will be in Hamden, CT this Saturday at noon, followed by a 1 pm game Sunday at O'Donnell. The selection show is Monday at 11:30 on The Deuce.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Very Early Seeding Indications

So far, there have been three teams who have qualified for the NCAA regionals: Harvard, Army, and North Carolina A&T. I think we should be the highest seed so far. Army, 37-11, hasn’t faced very tough competition all year. North Carolina A&T’s 27-25 record wouldn’t appear to stack up well next to Harvard’s 27-15 record, and I’m not sure the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference is so much stronger than the Ivy League to justify placing them above us.

Quinnipiac, Sacred Heart, Monmouth and Wagner play for the Northeastern Conference title this weekend. Quinnipiac (23-19) is the #1 seed. I would think that Harvard’s recent win over them gives us the edge over whoever ends up being the winner of that conference as well.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Farkes ink

There's a short feature on him in today's Boston Herald.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Crimson Stacked, Hyphenated for 2006

Word of a recruiting development came by way of the little birdies in the home stands today and was confirmed later on. There's another power hitter on the way to Cambridge: Thomas Stack-Babich has transferred successfully from Wake Forest, and could wind up right in the heart of the Harvard order next spring.

Here was the scouting report on Stack-Babich prior to the 2004 Perfect Game World Showcase, one of the major scouting events:

Xaverian HS
Scituate, MA
Signed Wake Forest

Stack-Babich has your classic right field tools. He’s strong and angular at 6-3, 215 lb and generates very good bat speed and leverage on his swing. He’s going to hit some long home runs at the next level. Stack-Babich also had big league average arm strength from the outfield and threw 85 mph off the mound.

Stack-Babich's move, perhaps partially precipitated by the resignation/retirement of the man who recruited him to the Demon Deacons, is Harvard's gain. Meanwhile, between Stack-Babich and this year's freshmen recruits, someone down south must be getting at least a little annoyed by all this.

Nay, Bobs

Mann is greeted after his three-run homer in the 8th. Image hosted by

Harvard beat the Quinnipiac Bobcats today, 8-5, thanks largely to Schuyler Mann's 3-run homer in the eighth off the last of the Bobcats' 8 pitchers. This marks the last game before exams, and possibly the last game before the NCAAs, although the team will try to squeeze something in Memorial Day weekend (at this point, possibly against the Aggies of NCAA-bound North Carolina A&T at a neutral site). We'll keep an eye on that one for you.

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Morgalis (started, threw 2 innings including an 8-pitch second), Haviland, Herrmann and Javy Castellanos all got in some work, but the key development on the mound today was the return of Matt Brunnig, who threw the final two innings and had his most substantial outing since the Yale series. Coach Walsh, perhaps somewhat surprisingly given Brunnig's inconsistent availability throughout the season and indeed his career, sees Brunnig as somewhat whom he would need to potentially start for Harvard to go deep into the postseason. "There's a point where you get past those first games and you look down your bench and you have to have someone that talented available to pitch a third or fourth game," Walsh said of the junior, who had been clocked at 92 earlier in the season but who has seen his role change throughout the season from closer to spot middle reliever to, at points, non-factor due to injury issues that, from Walsh's vantage point, remain somewhat unclear.

Mann's home run ties him with Zak Farkes atop the Crimson career lead (27) and Josh Klimkiewicz for the season lead (9).

Monday, May 16, 2005

Another game

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Steffan Wilson (above) and the Crimson will take on Northeast Conference Champion Quinnipiac tomorrow at O'Donnell Field for a 9-inning tuneup recently added to the schedule. The game will start at 1.

Monday, May 09, 2005

...Now On To the Real Season

First things first. Here are the results of our prediction contest.

1) Who wins/by what score/how many games?
2) Who are the MVPs * batting and pitching separately?
3) Who ends the series with the career Crimson homerun record * Mann or
4) How many bases do the Crimson steal?
5) How many runs does Vance score?
6) How many homeruns do the Crimson hit?
7) How many different pitchers pitch in the Series?
8) How many different positions (including DH) will
Wilson/Salsgiver/Farkes play (a number for each)?

Bonus: Describe in detail Coach Walsh’s unusual and unanticipated
coaching move of the Series.

The Real Answers

1) Harvard won both.
I was the only one who had a sweep. One point.

2) MVPs are tough here – Herrmann or Haviland would work on pitching. Wallace, Wheeler, or Mann I think would work on hitting.
Faiz had Mann and Herrmann – half point for each.
Marty had Haviland and Klim – half point.
Brian had Klim and Herrmann – half point.

3) Farkes
No one said that.

4) strangely enough, no stolen bases for the Crimson
Marty was closest with three, but I’m not awarding points for zero productivity.

5) Vance scored zero
I had three which was closest – same deal, no points

6) zero Crimson homeruns
I had five which was closest – but not rewarding it

7) three Crimson pitchers
I had four, and I am taking that.

8) Wilson – 3B, P – Faiz, Marty, Brian all had it
Farkes – 2B, 3B – Marty had 2 positions (though not the right ones), but I’m awarding that
Salsgiver – RF – no one had just one position for Salsgiver
A third of a point for each.

Faiz – 3.33 points
Marty – 1.16 points
Brian “the answer key” Fallon - (what’s a half plus a third?) .833

For the Bonus question, the correct answer was:

Coach Walsh surprises us all by not surprising us. Stability, predictability, and consistency marked both games. Haviland starting game 2 might have drawn some attention, but of course, it was a relatively obvious move, holding Morgalis back for a deciding third game.

Congratulations to the Crimson. Congratulations to Coach Walsh who continues to build upon his dynasty (yes, dynasty)… and congratulations to Coach Donovan and Coach Hyde. It’s a great day to be a Harvard baseball alum.

That being said, here’s a message to the 2005 Crimson baseball team. I don’t mean to diminish this significant achievement in any way, but you have earned only what many Crimson teams before you have achieved. You now have the opportunity to separate yourself and fulfill the aspirations of past teams by taking this current Ivy League Champion squad beyond the 1st round of the NCAA Regional, beyond the often-quoted “two and a barbeque.” Without diminishing the great accomplishments of the ’97 and ’98 Crimson teams who, in a different NCAA Regional format, were able to turn quite a few heads in the postseason, the ultimate dream remains very much alive. There is a real palpable feeling among the Harvard faithful that this team has what it takes to play on national TV.

Having been a part of 2 teams that made it to the Regionals, I have to say that the most difficult challenge will easily be staying sharp. Between now and June 3rd (which is a long ways off in baseball time), there should be very little lapse in conditioning and preparation. Bullpens and BPs must go on as if you were in the middle of the season. Intrasquad games (hopefully even some games against local teams) are important. And given how much this team lives on its hitting, and hitting tends to be the first thing to go when you stop practicing, there's an extra burden to keep those bats sharp in whatever way you can. So when you take on the conference tournament champions of whatever league -- who just got done playing a couple days ago and are playing at the top of their game before a home crowd of 5,000, you can confidently march in knowing you’re prepared to take them down.

You never know if you'll get this opportunity again (some of you know you won't). No excuses – that’s the ticket.


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Above photo courtesy of Friends of Harvard Baseball

Harvard Crimson: 2005 Ivy League Champions!

The Harvard baseball team won the second game, 4-2, to sweep the Ivy League Championship Series 2-0 and win its first league championship since 2002. Fittingly, Ian Wallace raced out to the warning track to catch the final ball, setting off this celebration in the infield.

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Freshman Shawn Haviland pitched a brilliant clinching game. According to Coach Walsh, the nod went to Haviland today because Mike Morgalis has been absolutely lights out those few times when he's gotten more than the standard week's rest, and he wanted to give him the extra day. (Walsh also, unprompted, committed to starting Morgalis in Game One of the NCAA Regional).

Senior Rob Wheeler continued his recent and incredibly timely string of clutch hits, answering with a single up the middle shortly after Cornell had ended its 19 inning scoreless streak.

Hats off to the Cornell Big Red, who play the game well and in a manner not unlike the previous string of Harvard championship teams. Unfortunately for them, Harvard reached back into its not-so-recent past and played the exact same game, only better, enabled to do so by its deeper lineup. (Zark Farkes' bunt for the Crimson in their breakthrough inning was enabled by the reality of Mann, Wilson and Wheeler lying in wait in the on deck circle and on the bench.) Not one ball, as it turned out, left the park today, but it didn't matter. "It was nice to win a couple on pitching a defense for a change," Walsh said after the game and moments before being bathed in Gatorade.

It was odd in a way to see someone other than Princeton there for the conference title, but Walsh felt otherwise. "I'm actually surprised some years when Princeton's there," he said after the game. "This is a good team, and they play the right way. I've said that there are two coaches in this league who really know who to coach games well, and [Cornell's Tom Ford] is one of them." With a sly grin, he added, "And I'm not the other one."

That may be, but a lot of things went right for Walsh and the Crimson this year. Identifying Frank Herrmann as the frontline starter from Day One was one of them. Morgan Brown as the starting shortstop from Day One was another (Brown fielded a league high 29 double plays, and Walsh provided some insight as to his Second Team All-Ivy status today. "I told the other guys when we were deciding, 'Morgan Brown is my MVP. So you can take that .278 average and throw it out the window.'") Ian Wallace's re-entry into the lineup was another move that worked out. Wallace didn't make the team's opening weekend trip to Minnesota. But when he did start playing, he never stopped hitting. Walsh eventually opted not to go with the lefty bat in Chris Mackey and put Wallace in left field, and Wallace responded by batting .324 and, as Faiz noted in response to the previous entry, coming up huge in Game One of the ILCS. Lance Salsgiver, he of patience and versatility, was bumped around the lineup more times than he probably cares to remember, but produced in every spot. Brendan Byrne proved a revelation at the plate after hockey season wrapped up. Rob Wheeler had his finest season and settled in well as the DH, coming up with huge hits in the last few Ivy Games. Schuyler Mann got absurdly hot in the second half, as is his custom. The entire freshman class panned out. And so on.

Former Harvard catcher Brian Lentz once referred to the Farkes/Klimkiewicz/Salsgiver/Brown class as a group that was going to "win some championships." The possibility within that plural remains alive today. And now comes the chance for a different sort of Harvard baseball team to enter the spotlight of NCAA Regional play. Brian Fallon has noted on several occasions that this is "not your father's Joe Walsh team." And he's right. They can play that way on some occasions, as they did today, but they're not. They're bigger. They're more prone to make mistakes in the field, but far more likely to them all with a big at-bat. They play for the big inning, and they're hoping for the one big inning against a Florida or an Arkansas to bring them to the Super Regionals one of these years, to the uncharted territory a small but loyal generation of Harvard players and fans has hoped for...

“That’s the expectation level... I think it would be one of the greatest accomplishments in college baseball—in a sport that is so dominated by scholarships—that we could get there someday. … I think it would be a great story, seeing a school like Harvard, a Northeast school, all the things stacked against you…”

In three weeks, Harvard baseball will get that chance again. In the meantime, there is this victory to celebrate, and no one should diminish that. And there are other victories that no one can diminish.

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Wes Cosgriff (center) embraces Zak Farkes after Game Two.

Frank The Tank

Herrmann scatters 8 hits and wins Game 1, 2-0. Game Two starts around 2:35.

ILCS: Live Radio Feed available online here after some early technical difficulties. Harvard leads 1-0 heading into the bottom of the 4th. Note that all the games in this series will be nine-inning affairs.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Predicting the LCS

Once upon a time, scenes like the Harvard football pressbox and press row at Lavietes Pavilion played witness to the most illicit insider sports gambling by Boston-area college students this side of Chestnut Hill. Those were the glory days, when--as Our Man in the Ivy Office knows--many a free lunch was earned taking the under on Nick Palazzo rushing yards and the over on Jen Monti turnovers.

Clearly unacquainted with said knack for prognosticating, Faiz like jazz has decided to bring it, proposing the following categories for a Harvard baseball guessing game, LCS-style. Faiz's and Marty's entries appear below, followed by the answer key.

1) Who wins/by what score/how many games?
2) Who are the MVPs * batting and pitching separately?
3) Who ends the series with the career Crimson homerun record * Mann or
4) How many bases do the Crimson steal?
5) How many runs does Vance score?
6) How many homeruns do the Crimson hit?
7) How many different pitchers pitch in the Series?
8) How many different positions (including DH) will
Wilson/Salsgiver/Farkes play (a number for each)?

Bonus: Describe in detail Coach Walsh’s unusual and unanticipated
coaching move of the Series.

FAIZ SHAKIR (WARNING: Has a tendency to come up big this time of year)

1) Harvard in 2-game sweep; 9-3 and 10-4
2) Sky Mann (hitting) and Frank Herrmann (pitching)
3) Mann
4) 6 stolen bases
5) 3 Vance runs
6) 5 homeruns
7) 4 total pitchers
8) Wilson, Salsgiver each will play 2; Farkes will play 1 position

Bonus: The Coaching Move of the Series: Steffan Wilson pitches twice in
the same game. He comes in to relieve a starter late in Game 2; Coach
brings in another pitcher to relieve Wilson; he faces a hitter or two,
while Wilson is put back into the field; then Wilson comes back in to
close out the game.

MARTIN BELL (Battles illness to take Faiz on mano a mono)

1) Harvard. 7-3(L), 5-4, 9-1.
2) Haviland. Klimkiewicz.
3) Mann.
4) 3 stolen bases.
5) 5 runs.
6) 8 home runs.
7) 8 total pitchers.
8) Wilson: 2.
Salsgiver: 2 (LF/RP).
Farkes: 2 (DH/2B).

Bonus: In an attempt to even further capitalize on the massive All-Ivy chip on
his first baseman's shoulder, Walsh will bat Josh Klimekiewicz seventh in
Game One. He will also warm still-woozy Morgan Brown in the pen five innings
into the pivotal second game. Decoy? No reason at all? We'll never know.


1) Harvard in 3 games; 6-5, W; 7-5, L; 10-6 W
2) Batting: Klimkiewicz. Pitching: Herrmann.
3) Mann.
4) 7 steals.
5) 4 runs.
6) 6 home runs.
7) 6 pitchers.
8) Wilson- 3rd/Pitcher
Salsgiver- RF/CF/Pitcher
Farkes- DH

Bonus: Accepts homemade chocolate chip cookie from eager Harvard parent between games of Monday doubleheader. Also, spots subtle, hard-to-discern balk move by opposing pitcher and shames umpire into calling it in crucial situation.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Ivy Awards: Wilson ROY

In addition to announcing this weekend's rainout, the league also announced its end-of-season awards. Among the highlights: Steffan Wilson is your Ivy League Rookie of the Year, as well as the unanimous selection at third base and your second team selection as a relief pitcher. Schuyler Mann is the first team catcher, and Farkes is (unanimously) the utility guy. Lance Salsgiver is a second team outfielder and (surprisingly? maybe not so much, looking at the numbers) Morgan Brown the second team shortstop. Honorable mention to the three-man rotation and Josh Klimkiewicz. Brown's Kutler is Player of the Year, Sowers Pitcher of the Year, and both shock no one.

Klimkiewicz could've easily been a first teamer in what may have been the most difficult position, and was arguably the best hitter on the best team in the Ivies. But his numbers did fall a bit during the Ivy stretch (Sawyer by contrast got hot in the Ivy season), and that must've done it.

Looking at the season as a whole, though, with OBP, SLG, HR and RBI:

Klim: .408 / .602 / 8 / 31 in 36 games.
Sawyer (Yale): .381 / .494 / 0 / 23 in 40 games
Holden (Columbia): .420 / .575 / 5 / 27 in 38 games.

The Season That Wouldn't End

With another rainy weekend ahead of us, the Ivy League Championship Series has been postponed until Monday and Tuesday. Thanks to our man in the Ivy Office for this news.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Cornell Bats Silenced By LeMoyne

If you’re heading into the biggest games of your season, I would imagine the last thing you want is to have your team lose its momentum and confidence by being no-hit. That’s what happened to Cornell this week. They faced LeMoyne for a doubleheader on Tuesday. They played many of their starting positional players, yet LeMoyne starter Ryan Toth hurled a 7-inning complete game no-hitter against the Big Red.

The other game didn’t go very well either for the Red bats. They managed only 4 hits and one run against LeMoyne starter Mike Lewis.

Coach Ford seemed to acknowledge that the Red bats are a weak point right now:

"We need to be locked in to swing the bats and we did not execute… We need to find a way to score more runs… For the most part, out pitching did pretty well… We did well enough to put ourself in a position to win the game.”

I guess we shouldn’t read too much into those games, given that we didn’t play so hot against Northeastern. But then again, I’m not sure that getting a combined 4 hits in 14 innings is the best way to build confidence heading into a weekend series against a Crimson ballclub that you know is going to put up runs.

Cornell as a team is hitting .244, compared to the Crimson's lofty .296. The Crimson have 33 homeruns as a team, with a slugging percentage of .444. Cornell has less than a quarter of the homeruns (7), with a slugging percentage of .322. Cornell's team ERA rests at 4.87, right on par with the Crimson's 4.85. So, what I draw from all this is pretty much the obvious:

High scoring games this weekend favor the Crimson, while low scoring games and solid defense are what Cornell will need to stay competitive.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Awards and a game.

Zak Farkes has been honored for his return to form, and Matt Vance is the Ivy Rookie of the Week. Also, there was a relatively meaningless game yesterday. And there's a Crimson piece about Ivy Leaguers in MLB front offices that mentions a few familiar names.

Steffan's Summer Plans

From the Centre Daily Times, 5/3/05:

Former State College slugger and current Harvard freshman Steffan Wilson will remain in New England this summer to play for the Torrington (Conn.) Twisters of the New England Collegiate Baseball League.

The NECBL, founded in 1993, is a 12-team summer league stocked mainly with Division I players looking to stay sharp or catch the eye of pro scouts. Teams play a 42-game schedule from June-August.

Wilson is listed on the Twisters' roster as a third baseman, outfielder and pitcher. Pitcher Bobby Lasko, a native of Athens, Pa., currently playing at James Madison, will join him on the Twisters.

Wilson, State College's career leader in home runs and runs batted in, currently leads Harvard in several offensive categories, including batting average (.368), hits (49), runs scored (34) and total bases (78).

Matt Brunnig pitched for the Torrington Twisters in the summer of 2003. I think there are other Harvard baseball alums who played for the Twisters, but not sure who.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Cornell Breakdown

Kyle Sheahen, senior sports editor with the Cornell Daily Sun, was gracious enough to share with us an advance copy of an article he'll be writing to set the stage for the Ivy Championship. I've posted portions of the article that should help you get a basic understanding of the key players and matchups heading into the weekend. It's almost a certainty that the Crimson will be seeing LHP Tad Bardenwerper in the first game. My initial impression is that whereas a lot of teams struggle against lefties, the Crimson -- with its snap, crackle, and pop coming predominantly from the right side of the plate (Farkes, Mann, Klimkiewicz, Salsgiver, and Wilson) -- should be at relatively little disadvantage in that matchup.

Here's what Sheahen writes:

Cornell has been bolstered by a range of exceptional performances on the mound and at the plate, with significant contributions coming from each class year. Senior shortstop Matt Miller leads the offensive charge with a .376 batting average, .560 slugging percentage and three home runs. Rookie outfielder Brian Kaufman has failed to disappoint with his bat, having recorded team-highs in RBIs (20) and doubles (12). Second baseman Seth Gordon has also proved to be priceless in the clutch - including his 3-for-3, game-winning RBI effort against Princeton on Sunday, the junior is hitting .324 for the season with a team-leading 29 runs scored.

"The thing that we are seeing is getting production from so many guys," Ford said. "It helps to get some balance in the lineup."

Yet, championship-caliber teams never rely solely on their offense, and recently, the Red's pitching staff has more than held up its end of the deal. Senior Tad Bardenwerper (4-3) leads the staff in victories after tossing his second consecutive complete-game victory on Saturday, this time dispatching the Tigers with a three-run, eight-hit outing to preserve Cornell's 5-3 game one win. On Sunday, junior right-hander Rocky Collis (2-3) kept
Princeton at bay with six strong innings before handing the ball to sophomore Jim Hyland (3-0), a right-hander who effectively crushed the Tigers' title hopes with 1 1/3 innings of shutout ball.

"Going into the season, we thought our pitching staff was one of our strengths - and we still feel that way," Ford said.

Kyle's full article is on the message board.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Harvard Wins Rolfe Division

10-6, in a game that was largely given away by Dartmouth. Thanks for that.

Now, with the final game utterly irrelevant, everyone can relax. And relax everyone is: Unger starts the second game, Friedman gets a nice chance to start at center, Griff Jenkins plays second, Rob Nelson's at third.

Bigger and Greener

Crimson coverage of yesterday's games here, here and a very nice Wes Cosgriff column here.

As for today's games, I'm not holding my breath for Dartmouth College radio to get it's act together (and even when you can hear them, they're really terrible), but once the game starts, it might be worth poking around here to see if one of those links works. Otherwise, I'd check Dartmouth's athletics site for a CSTV Gametracker link.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

More notes on the Dartmouth games.

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This was the best pitch thrown all day. Almost literally. After the national anthem played, Joe Walsh got on the PA and said something along the lines of the following:

"I wanna call Number 28 out to the mound for a ceremonial first pitch. Number 28, get out there... At the beginning of the year, the coaching staff, we thought we had a big left hander to do battle in the Ivy Leagues. But he had his own battle to fight. A battle against cancer. Making his triumphant return to O'Donnell Field after beating cancer, Number 28, Wes Cosgriff."

The rest of the day was a blur of comebacks and more bizarre comebacks. A few odd points:

1. Why did Zak Farkes play centerfield, swapping with Matt Vance, for the second game? No idea. Farkes played a very good first game, and Vance, the shortstop-apparent for 2006-on, had several tough balls hit to him in the second that he did a good job even though some will show up in the boxscore as singles.

2. That Harvard could take both games on a day when neither starting pitcher had anything close to their best stuff says a lot about how well the Crimson's been hitting the ball. And about the kind of can't-catch-a-break season it's been for Dartmouth.

3. Dartmouth's idiot brigade of hecklers consisted of about 7 or so people today. Aside from inexplicably heckling Rob Nelson (not a factor in either game) the whole day, nothing they did was funny.

4. Neither Schuyler Mann homer even touched the trees. Bombs.

5. Morgan Brown has missed the last few games with illness. No injury or anything there.

6. Sidearming sophomore Jason Brown pitched in both games, and looked particularly good yet again. Count me among the observers who thought he was removed an out too soon.

7. Steven Perry threw at least 120 pitches out there before being removed for Peay. He was hit pretty well, but his velocity stayed pretty high, and I admire his grit.

8. At least five scouts were around today, presumably for Faiola, but they also clocked Perry and Salsgiver. Salsgiver was clocked around 90.

9. The Wheeler homer to left was the biggest of the day, and perhaps the biggest hit of the year.

10. Who starts tomorrow? Haviland gets the one game, but the other is a question mark. Considering that he threw a lot of pitches today in his 1 inning plus (probably more than Walsh had bargained for), and considering arm trouble kept him from possibly starting one of the games last week, I doubt he pitches tomorrow, as had been discussed in some circles. Castellanos pitched in the cancelled game (a start not without meaning, as it probably removed Dartmouth's Wilkerson from the equation for tomorrow). I expect a patented Joe Walsh hodgepodge, with generous amounts of Jake Bruton, Brad Unger and perhaps Steffan Wilson as circumstances allow.

11. For that reason, and many others, winning the first game is exceedingly important. You don't want any piece of a one-game playoff if you can avoid it.

12. The League Championship Series will be played at the Rolfe Division winner (record). The League moved away from alternating hosts by division recently, and both Brown and Harvard have better records than Cornell.

Very quick thoughts

I was at both games. I'll have more later, but let's for starters note that the "infield hit" that led to Dartmouth's go-ahead run was one of the worst calls I've ever seen. Schuyler Mann tagged the guy halfway up the first base line, which--while not the most prudent call on his part instead of throwing to first perhaps--definitely happened. You could hear it, see it, smell it... And Mann fell on the play and wasn't able to recover, but he shouldn't have had to. The umps almost lost this one for Harvard.

That said, Drew Casey's "sac fly" in foul territory should never have been caught by the Dartmouth right fielder, as it assured that a run would score. One of the more questionable decisions I've ever seen made in slow motion.

More on all this later tonight.

Comeback Crimson Do It Again

Similar to Game 1, Harvard fell behind early against Dartmouth but used their relentless and potent bats to come from behind again and take an extremely important Game 2. After falling behind as much as 7-3 early on, the Crimson chipped away, beginning with a homerun off the bat of Josh Klimkiewicz. They had tied the game going into the 9th, but Dartmouth managed to get a run with 2 outs in the top of the inning when Matt Vance, playing shortstop, failed to field a ball cleanly, allowing a Dartmouth runner from 3rd to score. In the bottom of the 9th, Steffan Wilson led off with a single, stole second, went to third on an Ian Wallace single, and scored on a sac fly by pinch-hitter Andrew Casey. Wallace was on third with 2 outs when Matt Vance, just having earlier committed a costly error, delivered the favor back to the Big Green by hitting a ball to Dartmouth shortstop Eric Bell, who failed to field the ball cleanly. Vance beat the play at first, Wallace scored, and the Crimson walked off with the big victory.

What does this all mean? All the Crimson has to do is win one game tomorrow, and they will secure the division title and face Cornell in the Ivy Championship. Brown is two games back in the loss column. The Crimson are already assured of playing in a tie-breaking game should it lose both games tomorrow in Hanover, so it’s in prime position to seal the deal.

Big Comeback Victory

Should the Crimson go on to win the Red Rolfe title, it will look fondly back on the 5th inning against Dartmouth in Game 1 today. Down 7-3 entering the inning, Zak Farkes began the bottom-half with a homerun and awoke the Crimson bats. Later in the inning, Doggie came up with the big hit, driving in two runs on a solid single to center to put the Crimson up 8-7. After the inning was all said and done, the Crimson had sent 10 batters to the plate, plated 6 runners, and left with a 9-7 lead – eventually winning by that same margin with Steffan Wilson coming on to get the save. Maybe Marty was at the game and can give us some first-hand impressions later on. Magic number is down to two...

Playing for the Right to Face Cornell

Congratulations to Coach Tom Ford and the Cornell Big Red. They clinched the Gehrig Division Title with their Game 1 win today over Princeton, 4-3. For the first time in ten years, Princeton will not be representing the Gehrig Division in the Ivy Championship.

Cornell recovered well from their 1-5 start to the Ivy season, losing twice to Harvard during that span. In that doubleheader, Frank Herrmann shut down the Red bats over 7 innings and Klim and Mann had 2 hits and an RBI to pace the Crimson to a 3-1 victory. In Game 2, Mike Morgalis and Steffan Wilson combined to shut down the Red bats once again and the Crimson scored 2 runs in the 7th inning off Brown and Wallace RBI singles to win 2-1.

Back to the present, we're told by the WHRB broadcasters that Brown is up 8-4 in its first game against Yale. Harvard is down 6-3 presently to Dartmouth -- the one shining moment being a three-run bomb from Private First Class Doggie Wheeler. Way to go Doggie! Need a win...

WHRB Broadcast of Harvard-Dartmouth

WHRB is broadcasting today's games from cold and wet O'Donnell Field. First game start-time pushed back to 1:20 pm. Congrats to the station for giving the games the attention they deserve.

Click here.