Monday, November 06, 2006

Steve Snyder improving

Upgraded from serious to good condition:
According to hospital policies, Beth Israel categorizes patients as “good,” “fair,” “serious,” and ”critical.”

“Good condition” signifies that the patient’s vital signs are stable and within normal limits, that the patient is conscious and comfortable, and that indicators are excellent, according to hospital spokeswoman Bonnie Prescott.

“Serious condition” means that vital signs may be unstable and are not within normal limits, that the patient is acutely ill, and that indicators are questionable, Prescott said.

“It means he’s doing a lot better than he was,” she added.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Prayers for Steve Snyder

It has come to our attention that the student injured in a fall from Leverett Towers was in fact Steve Snyder '04-'08, a former Harvard baseball player who was on the roster for at least one season (2003, the righty pitcher's sophomore year).

Snyder has reportedly been improving since his fall Thursday, but is still hospitalized in serious condition. We wish Steve and his family the very best.

More: The Chronicle-Telegram (Ohio).

Friday, October 27, 2006

Frank Herrmann on pine tar

The Crimson's series of articles by the former Harvard hurler continues with another interesting entry.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Who's on first?

And now, another couple of drips from the steady IV that was my brief e-mail exchange with Coach Walsh from a few weeks ago...

* Farewell, Josh Klimkiewicz '06. First base is "up for grabs," with freshman Andrew Prince and Dan Zailskas as possibilities. We've already talked about Zailskas some. Here's a little taste of Andrew Prince, the hitter. In addition to being a clutch hitter, he also seems pretty willing to take one for the team even when he's not playing.

* This year's pre-Ivy schedule looks to be among the Crimson's deepest ever, with games against Notre Dame, Dayton, Ohio State, Illinois, UCF, Tampa, Northwestern, FAU and FIU. March of 2008 will bring Wichita State, Long Beach San Diego, San Diego State, Cal-Irvine and the College of Charleston.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A looong delayed update...

Hey, Harvard baseball fans. It's been an offseason of very few posts, but I'm hoping this one packs a punch that'll make up for some of that.

I recently checked in with Coach Walsh about four practices into the fall, and he reports the following:

* Matt Vance is swinging and lifting after his offseason surgery, and just beginning to throw. Best of luck to him as he recovers.

* Matt Rogers--whom Walsh was very high on going into his freshman season--has "had the best fall so far." Imagine a scenario in which Vance and Rogers are able to do on the basepaths what Vance and Salsgiver did for most of last season...

Also, as I don't think it was ever reported on, capable and clutch senior infielder Brendan Byrne is your 2007 team captain.

Regarding the rotation, Walsh pegged freshmen Max Perlman and Eric "Boomer" Eadington (if he's already got a nickname, he must be something...) as potential weekend starters. We know Shawn Haviland is your ace (Walsh reports that he's "improved," which is frightening) and Adam Cole is presumably your No. 2 guy and other lock. One would imagine that Brad Unger would be in contention for another spot, perhaps in a little battle with Eadington, Perlman and maybe Ian Bollinger, a freshman RHP whom Walsh describes as "the best surprise of the fall." But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Who are these guys?

We'll start with Perlman. Here's what some of we've got on Max Perlman, courtesy of an e-mailer from earlier in the summer (and if you've got profile-caliber info on any of the other freshmen, hit that e-mail link on the side):
Max is a 6’6”, 220 lb., right handed pitcher. He posted a 1.14 era in 55.1 innings with 59 strikeouts, allowing just 11 walks, 33 hits and 9 earned runs in his senior season at Lake Brantley (Fla.). His 7-3 record included 2 shut-out losses. As team captain, Max led Lake Brantley to the conference and regular season district championships. Max was a three time varsity letter winner, two time all conference selection and had a 4 year record of 26-6 at Brantley.

Max plays summer and fall baseball for Chet Lemon’s Juice, last fall’s World Wood Bat Association 18U World Champions. In 2005, Max was a Florida Diamond Club all-star and two-time Top Prospect Showcase all-star and recently pitched in the Central Florida All-Star Showcase for graduating seniors.

Stay tuned in the next few days for more on the freshmen and a peek at the unreleased schedule...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

August Update

Some Crimson notes:
* Brad Unger's summer in the New England Collegiate League ended with a 3-2 record over nine appearances (seven starts) with a 3.21 ERA. We're looking at a Haviland-Cole-Unger three-fourths of a rotation, and I can live with that.
* Elsewhere in the NECBL, the intriguing and reputedly incredibly fast rising sophomore outfielder Matt Rogers hit .273 and succeeded on 9 of 10 stolen base attempts playing everyday for the Pittsfield Dukes. Tom Stack-Babich batted .233, Max Warren (whom I inadvertently left off the poll on the side) .189.
* Steffan Wilson's summer in the Cape was a mixed bag; after a strong start, he wound up with a .241 average and 18 RBIs in 37 games (and no homers).
* Lance Salsgiver has struggled in A ball this year, Zak Farkes has had something of a bounce-back year with the Spinners and Frank Herrmann keeps improving as a starter with Lake County (Indians). Elsewhere: Birtwell Triple-A, Ben Crockett with the Somerset Patriots, Morgan Brown with the North Shore Spirit.
* Josh Klimkiewicz, who is playing in the Intercity Baseball League, also gets a mention in this Cambridge Chronicle article about Boston's Old Time Game.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Official Midseason Summer Update

From Well done. Far as I'm concerned, the big news here is Brad Unger. Should he come along as a strong third starter this year back of Haviland and Cole, it would be a tremendous boon. One wonders if there has been any thought to him becoming a one-sport man, although I don't know whether there would be a clear benefit...

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Lemonade and some stat sheets

Mash, Steffan Wilson, mash. Through eight games, Stef is batting .394 with 9 RBIs to lead the Wareham Gatemen of the Cape Cod League. Meanwhile, Brad Unger has been lights out so far for the Sanford Mainers of the New England Collegiate League, allowing 3 earned runs in his first 17 2/3 innings in two starts and a relief appearance... Lance Salsgiver is playing Class-A Ball for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, Short-Season affiliate of the SF Giants... Ben Crockett '02 has had a terrific season for the Somerset Patriots. He recently saw a 22 2/3 scoreless innings streak come to an end, and boasts a 1.62 ERA and a 4-3 record... Frank Herrmann's Crimson diary has come to an end, but he continues to pitch (2-2, 4.67 in 14 starts).

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Taking a Chance on Lance

A number of Harvard students graduated last week without jobs lined up. Lance Salsgiver doesn't have that problem.

Congratulations to Lance, taken in the 37th Round (1106 overall) of the 2006 MLB Amateur Draft last week. Good job by the Giants; the toolsy outfielder (or would they use him elsewhere?) seems a great late round pickup by Brian Sabean and crew. Meanwhile, John Birtwell '01 continues to make the most of his shot with Oakland's AAA team, Morgan Brown continues to load up on academic honors and The Crimson's commencement coverage touches on baseball here and here.

Apologies on the lateness with all of these, but commencement was very, very busy. Life is starting to calm down, and we'll take a look at some of those freshmen soon.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Summer Plans and John Birtwell

Those looking to keep tabs on their favorite Crimson players over the summer will be happy to see Harvard's listing of assignments for summer ball. Like last year, a lot of players come back with summer ball experience. Most notably, Steffan Wilson and (non-roster invitee) Shawn Haviland in the Cape League, and Adam Cole, Tom Stack-Babich, Brad Unger, Max Warren and Matt Rogers in the New England Collegiate Baseball League.

An alert commenter (and thanks, guys--this site really benefits from you guys looking out) points out that John Birtwell has happily resurfaced in the Sacramento Triple A affiliate of the Oakland A's. Given the A's Harvard connections, Birtwell's unusual delivery and past record with the Tigers and Moneyball (remember Chad Bradford!), it's probably not as surprising as one might think. In 13 2/3 innings spread out over 10 appearances so far, Birtwell's only allowed 2 earned runs while striking out 9.

Awesome. We'll definitely keep an eye on this situation, and we wish John all the best. Also, in a situation that probably plays out in amusing fashion given Birtwell's documented sense of humor, or perhaps not given Birtwell's even better documented record as a great teammate, one of his fellow Sacramento River Cats is Kazuhito Tadano.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Harvard baseball updates

Sorry for the lack of updates lately. Life has been very busy here, despite (or perhaps because of) the end of school.

News and Notes:

* As an alert commenter noted, Morgan Brown was named academic All-Ivy for the spring. Meanwhile, Steffan Wilson and Josh Klimkiewicz started and played all of the New England College Baseball All-Star Game at Fenway, which turned out to be a low scoring affair.

* Some nice news from the quasi-alumni ranks: Zak Farkes has been called up to high A ball following extended spring training. He replaces Ian Bladergroen, whom some of you may remember from the Red Sox-Mets trade that also involved Doug Mientkiewicz. Best of luck to Zak this year.

* Meanwhile, 3B Trey Hendricks '04 is batting .263 with a team-leading 33 RBI and 6 homers for the South Bend Silver Hawks, with a bases-clearing go-ahead double in his last game. And Ben Crockett is putting up some nice numbers in the Atlantic League.
* Finally, Friends of Harvard Baseball has sent out the names of the members of the Harvard Baseball Class of 2010:

Ian Bollinger – RHP – Issaquah, WA / Lakeside H.S.
Eric Eadington – LHP – Corona Del Mar, CA / Corona Del Mar H.S.
Max Perlman – RHP – Longwood, FL / Lake Brantley H.S.
Andrew Prince – C / 1B – Oakland, CA / Bishop O’Dowd H.S.
Ben Rabinowitz – OF / LHP – Brookville, NY / Jericho H.S.
Chris Rouches – OF – Peoria, AZ / Cactus H.S.
Jon Strangio – RHP – Rockville Center, NY / South Side H.S.
Dan Zailskas – INF – Marshfield, MA – Milton Academy

We will eventually do a little bit of posting on each of these guys. If you've got information about them that we wouldn't find during our customary cursory Google search and would like to send it our way, please do so. We'll start with a bit of information on Dan Zailskas.

Zailskas did a Q & A with the Boston Globe that FOHB sent out and I will duplicate in part here:
Many high school athletes have to decide between playing baseball or football in college. Milton Academy senior Dan Zailskas not only had to make that tough decision, he had to decide whether to play at Stanford or Harvard. The righthander is 5-0 this season and has an ERA of 1.06. A two-time ISL All-Star in baseball, he was also the Mustangs' quarterback and tonight he'll be honored as one of 22 EMass scholar-athletes at the annual National Football Foundation dinner. The team captain discusses hard choices, being bilingual, and what Major League Baseball should do about Barry Bonds in this week's Q&A.


What football skill helps you the most in baseball?
Probably focus because you have to be very focused at quarterback. It's the same thing when I am at the plate or on the mound.

Do you brush back hitters? Does it get you in trouble sometimes?
Yeah, you have to take command of the inside of the plate. Sometimes my coach doesn't like it. He's had to restrain me from doing it sometimes. But it's just part of the game.

Your coach says you could play Division 1A football if you wanted. Why aren't you playing football in college?
I want to just focus on baseball and see how far I can go. I'm probably a little more talented at baseball.

What do you think your chances are of being drafted by a Major League Baseball team?
Not this year, because I committed to a Northeast college. But hopefully if I improve, I would be able to.


Why did you pick Harvard over Stanford?
It's closer to home. There is probably a better chance for playing time. They have connections to the Cape league which is hopefully in the cards later down the line.

Is Milton Academy a cliquey school?
I'd say to some degree, not any more than any other school though.

You've taken four years of AP Spanish, do you think it's important to be bilingual?
Yeah, absolutely. Especially with the statistics coming out nowadays that Spanish will be the most spoken language in the US in a couple of years. I think 40 percent of the people in California speak Spanish. It couldn't hurt [to speak it.]


What is the most annoying commercial on TV?
The Burger King ones with the guys dressed up as cheeseburgers.

If you could see a sequel made about one of your favorite movies, what would it be?
I'd say "Goodfellas." I don't think it would work, but it would be nice if they did.

Should Major League Baseball celebrate Barry Bonds passing Babe Ruth in home runs?
No. I have no respect for Barry Bonds. Absolutely none.
I already like him, except that I rather enjoy those Burger King commercials. Anyway, the article notes his football days, which were the subject of an earlier article in the Globe. Three things here: 1. his dad, Dan Sr., is a member of the BC Hall of Fame, having starred on an Eagles team that went to the College World Series in '67. Zailskas Sr. eventually signed with the Phillies. And 2: The last time we lured a multi-sport star of this caliber to O'Donnell, he was pretty talented. And 3. It's interesting that the Harvard release listed Zailskas as an infielder.

All right, that's it for now. I may have something else to say mid next week. Again, if you're interested in contributing to this thing next year, let us know.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

More accolades for Wilson, Klim

Steffan Wilson (3B) and Josh Klimkiewicz (1B) were both named Second Team All-New England today.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Good luck, seniors.

Just before signing off from the last Red Sox broadcast of the season, which comes in varying degrees of heartbreak depending on the year, longtime play-by-play announcer--and frequent Harvard football pressbox visitor--Joe Castiglione reads a famous passage from the sport's most literary commissioner ever, Bart Giamatti. It goes like this:

"It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone."

This was, for a long time, the best baseball valediction I had heard. Until about five years ago, when another baseball buddha saluted the abrupt end of a college season and the players he would lose to graduation. It seems to fit all the more each year.

Good luck, 2006 seniors:

When you see a group of guys like this go out the door, it’s tough.

What a lot of people here at Harvard don’t understand is, if you come to a doubleheader on a Saturday, the game doesn’t just start at 12 or one o’clock.

Our guys are out there putting the tarp on the field, taking the tarp off thefield, raking the grounds at nine, hitting at ten, playing at 12, busting their hump until five or six o’clock and then hopping on a bus, driving four hours somewhere to do it all again the next day.

Then you come back on Sunday night and you got things to do. You’re working at three or four o’clock in the morning doing your studying. And then you come out the next day, and I’m in your face? Telling you to hustle? Telling you ‘let’s get a little running in’?

[At the baseball games], you get some administrators, you get someparents, you get some kids from the other team.

But I’ll say this about the baseball team. You go to a basketball game, they’re there. You go to a hockey game, they’re there. You go to a football game, they’re there. And they can tell you what the score of the water polo game was last night.

So I don’t think I’m just losing some good guys. I think the school’s losing some good people.

You want to keep working for kids like that. You want to be around guys like that.

Sometime when your schooling’s over, when your education’s over, you’ll look back and you say, ‘Hey, I did this with these guys.’

Those are the best memories of your schooling-making friends, meeting kids, representing your school. It’s not all about wins and losses. There’ll be plenty of time to be pushing pencils in concrete caves.

I’m hoping this is the best education these kids get-the friends that they’re with, getting out there and competing, and learning how to get through, day in and day out.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Uncle Bart Wants You!

The 2006 season has ended, but the site lives on. Next year, Martin will be in New York working full time, and Brian could be pretty much anywhere after he helps the good guys take back the Senate. Faiz, wherever he is, will be working as well. This means that we won't have anyone on the ground here in Cambridge, and that my job likely will prevent me from posting as often as I am used to doing. Although we ourselves will do what we can to keep the site going, it would be huge to have someone here in Cambridge to help out as a third full editor.

Are you going to be in Cambridge next year? Are you a fan of Harvard baseball and this site? Are you one of our more faithful commenters? Are you someone who thinks SoBB would be vastly better if the writers did a few things differently? We'd love to hear from candidates for a spot as one of the lead writers here. Drop us a line at bartbrush [at) gmail dot com, let us know who you are and what you'd be interested in, and we'll talk. As any of us can tell you, no special web experience is necessary.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Cap'n Was Here (In Class)

Congratulations to Morgan Brown, an ESPN The Magazine District 1 All-Academic First Team Selection. Rock in the infield, Rockefeller off it.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Haviland named Pitcher of the Year, Yale's Sawyer Edges Klim for POY

Congratulations to Shawn Haviland, the Ivy League Pitcher of the Year as a sophomore. Haviland beat out the only other real contender, Dartmouth's Josh Faiola, in a vote that became pretty clear on Harvard-Dartmouth weekend. Meanwhile, the other half of the Saturday starting duo, Adam Cole, was named Co-Rookie of the Year along with Brown's Stephen Daniels.

Yale first baseman Josh Sawyer took Player of the Year despite our statistical analysis that suggested Josh Klimkiewicz may have been the better pick. One can only wonder what would've happened had Josh been healthy for the Brown series with three more games' worth of at-bats. It is worth noting that the coaches, presumably recognizing the absurdity of putting Klim on the second team, simply elected to name two First Team first basemen and go without a Second Team guy. Although POY sort of makes 1 and 1A clear, I tip my cap to the coaches for realizing that both players had first-team seasons (not unlike when the coaches fudged things and named John Birtwell '01 a first team reliever, despite relatively few relief appearances, when it was clear he was a third worthy First Team starter).

For a second straight year, Steffan Wilson was a unanimous First Team choice at the hot corner. Morgan Brown joins him at short and the league's terror on the basepaths, Matt Vance, joins him as an outfielder alongside Dartmouth's Bashelor and Brown's Christian. The Vance inclusion is a nice surprise, considering that Cornell's Brian Kaufman, who arguably had the best numbers against Ivy League competition of the field, only made the Second Team. Lance Salsgiver, who was blazing hot in the early weeks of the season but cooled down the stretch, was also named to the Second Team.

No honorable mention picks for Harvard. The only other player I'd have really pulled for HM was Javy Castellanos, but in a league of very deep pitching, it would've been a tall order.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Seniors: One For The Road

From left: Chris Mackey, Lance Salsgiver, Morgan Brown, Josh Klimkiewicz, Matt Brunnig, Javier Castellanos, Mike Dukovich.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The End

The season has ended. Harvard lost the second game 8-2 and the Ivy League Championship series, 2-0. Congratulations to Princeton, league champion and winner of an NCAA regional berth.

Adam Cole mixed fastball and slider brilliantly for five innings, but unraveled some in the 6th after a hit batsman and two errors, including a ball he threw high past first. Ultimately, Princeton got seven runs out of that inning. Staehly threw very well for Princeton, and Walz, given a big lead, did the only thing he had to do: throw strikes.

After the game, Javier Castellanos knelt down on one knee in front of the dugout next to Matt Brunnig, himself stooped low and looking wistfully at the field. They exchanged words for a while, staring out in the direction of the first base line, until they eventually got up and headed to the rest of their lives. No idea what they said. I found it poignant anyway.

I thank Joe Walsh, his assistants and most of all, the players for their time and effort, the seniors in particular, and for putting up with a semi-informed but enthusiastic fan with a laptop. I thank the parents of the team for their warmth, Mr. Jim Meehan in particular for his wonderful photos and Hurricane McNeeley and Friends of Harvard Baseball for their food. I thank Brian Fallon for his incredible work on the site, and everyone else who participated or helped (Faiz, Alex, Sky, Lande). I'm a bit numb, knowing that I've seen my last Harvard baseball game as a student, and I'll probably have more to say about that tomorrow. Meanwhile, we'll have more to talk about later on next week, including hopefully a silver lining or two when they announce league awards.

Harvard loses Game One

Shawn Haviland's fastball got hit hard pretty consistently in the early innings. He seemed to be leaving it up quite a bit, and only several innings in did he really settle down. He'll have many more great starts, but this was an unfortunate time for his most troublesome start in the Ivy season.

Game Two starts in minutes. I'm headed back out there with an umbrella and a jacket, as the temperature's dropped about 15 degrees and it looks like rain. Here's hoping none of that gets to young Adam Cole. Today, Adam Cole, you become a man...

Ready to rumble...

It's 65 degrees, Friends of Harvard Baseball promises BBQ and we're two games away from a repeat Ivy championship. Let's get ready to rumble...

* Live Gametracker will absolutely, positively work today.

* Assuming WHRB is out there, the broadcast likely will be available here.

I'll be at the games and won't have an update for you until day's end. Go Harvard.

Friday, May 05, 2006

One More Day...

Well, we still don't have awards to tell you about, but here is Julie Fogarty's preview in The Crimson. Yes, Shawn Haviland's Ivy League ERA is 0.73.
UPDATE: Supplement your pre-game reading with this very good official Harvard preview by Kurt Swoboda and this pretty-good-once-you-get-past-the-lede preview in the Daily Princetonian. Scott Bradley says this is a different team than Harvard faced early on, and I believe it. I just don't think that necessarily makes them quite as good as the Crimson on a day when Harvard is hitting at all.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Tune-Up Platter

Jonathan Lehman has a recap of yesterday's comeback win downtown. Princeton, for its part, was sloppy in a loss to Rider. Interesting read: From a couple days ago, this piece about pitching in the Prince, which in addition to being unusual and informative (if poorly titled), offers this amusing nugget:
With many different pitches in their repertoire, Tiger pitchers favor certain pitches in certain situations.

"My favorite and most-used pitch is my sinker," said one pitcher, who was granted anonymity due to concerns that he would give opposing batters an advantage in the upcoming Ivy League Championship Series by revealing specific details about his pitch selection. "It is designed to generate more ground balls, which lowers my pitch count and allows me to stay in games longer. It also increases the likelihood of double plays."

"I use a slider in most 3-2 counts or counts when I really need a strikeout," the pitcher continued. "I am very accurate with it and can throw it for a strike when needed. It's also useful because many hitters will be thrown off by a 3-2 slider as most expect a fastball in such a count."
I love it. The pitcher's protection program. Ooh! Ooh! Who could it be? Here's the ultimate test of how hardcore our regular commenters are. Is it Stiller? Walz? Staehly possibly? Some anonymous reliever who will be of little consequence this weekend anyway?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Another Big Ninth: Harvard Rallies to beat Northeastern

7-5 comeback win includes an inside-the-park home run by Steffan Wilson.

Live NE Stats

Here. Things haven't gone as swimmingly for Hampton Foushee this time. Also, we've got a Morgan Brown article from a recent Manchester Union-Leader, and more of Frank Herrmann's minor league diary in the Crimson.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Klim for All-Ivy: More Evidence

A breakdown of the Ivy season stats uncovers more evidence for why the Crimson's reigning Athlete of the Week not only deserves First Team honors at first base, but also should be the favorite for Player of the Year (POY).

For starters, here are the top POY candidates' numbers in Red Rolfe Division play ONLY. This is where it counted the most (click for an enlarged view):

In the league's toughest division, Klim has arguably the best overall numbers. Others (Sawyer, Bashelor) kept pace or slightly edged him in some of the raw-number categories (H, RBI, TB), but they played three more games than Klimkiewicz. Adjusted for games played, Klimkiewicz would be the leader in nearly every category across the board. Plus, even with the missed games, Klimkiewicz sits at the top of the group in average, HR, and walks, and his separation from the rest of the field in the OPS category is pretty significant.

Also noteworthy, with regard to the POY chase: Look at how Kaufman's stats wilt compared to the padded largesse of his overall league stats. If you needed proof that his stats were grossly inflated by the awful pitching staffs of Penn and Columbia, there it is. In fact, when you line up the list's Rolfe numbers alongside their overall league stats, most every player's production value declines sharply. (Christian in particular is made to look rather ordinary.) Only Deitz and Klimkiewicz see their OPS totals RISE when you zero in on their intra-division stats. In the games that mattered most, against the league's best pitching, Klimkiewicz was one of just two players who not only matched his usual production, he bettered it.

Also on the topic of clutchness, here are a couple more feathers in Klim's cap:

He's SECOND among top POY contenders in go-ahead or game-tying RBI (Ivy only):
Deitz - 8
Kaufman - 6
Bashelor - 6
Christian - 5
Sawyer - 5
Wilson - 4
Tews - 4

And he's FIRST in game-winning RBI (Ivy only)
Bashelor - 3
Wilson - 1
Kaufman - 1
Deitz - 1
Tews - 1
Christian - 1
Sawyer - 1

And lastly, if you need any more evidence of who the most feared hitter in the league was this season, consider that in Ivy play, Klimkiewicz drew four intentional walks. That's most among the POY contenders. Sawyer, meanwhile, didn't scare opposing managers into a single one. Just as interstingly, of Klim's four free passes, three came against Yale. Add in the three other walks Klim drew in that series that might as well have also been intentional, and John Stuper pitched around Klimkiewicz a ridiculous six times in four games! There's no way Stuper can make a case for his player over Klim during this week's coaches' conference call with a straight face.

Bottom line: Had Klim not missed the three games against Brown, and making the modest assumption that his production in those three games at all would have resembled what he showed during the rest of the league season, the decision over First Team honors at first base wouldn't even be worth a debate. Player of the Year would be less an open question, as well. Sawyer is a tremendous player, but if Klim--the top performer on the league's top team--doesn't get the nod, the league coaches will essentially be punishing him for getting injured.

Northeastern Game Postponed

Rescheduled for Wednesday.

Judge Klim's league stats for yourself

SoBB brings you what the Ivy office doesn't: league-only stats from the 20-game conference season. Below are the Ivy-only stats for our top three contenders for First Team All-Ivy honors at first base. (Click the graphic for a larger view. Category leaders are highlighted in gold.)

It does seem to be a very close contest between Klim and Sawyer. No one had more overall hits than Sawyer in 2006, but Klimkiewicz's runs total and power numbers (HR, RBI, slugging) are ahead of Sawyer's, despite missing three games in the Brown series.

Also for your consideration, here is how Klim (and Steffan Wilson) stack up against, in our view, their main competition for Ivy Player of the Year. Keep in mind that players like Tews and Dietz also pitch. (Again, click the graphic for a larger view. Note that category-leading totals among the contenders are highlighted in gold, second-highest totals are highlighted in silver, third-highest in bronze.)

Brian Kaufman looks pretty good here, but--as the Lesser Division's lone rep for our purposes--there's a caveat that should go with his numbers. No disrespect to him, but he fared a heck of a lot better against Gehrig Division pitching than he did against the Red Rolfe teams. Twelve of his 28 Ivy hits, three of his six homers, and 18 of his 29 RBI came in the Big Red's four-game series with Penn, the league's worst pitching team.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Klim Factor

Alex McPhillips dedicates his notebook to some awards campaigning:
“I absolutely love having him in the lineup,” said senior starting pitcher Matt Brunnig. “He’s in the three-to-five hole, and every time he’s up, there’s people on base. Having his bat there makes all the difference in the world.”

Klimkiewicz has never been named to the Ivy League’s first or second team. The senior may soon cash in on the league’s most prestigious honor—its Player of the Year award—with his well-timed terror campaign against Dartmouth pitching.

In ten plate appearances over two games yesterday, Klimkiewicz reached base eight times, drove in four runs­—he finished with 41 RBI, the most in the league—scored five times, and hit one high, arching home run onto the street beyond the left field foul pole. He went 4-for-5 in the second game with two hit-by-pitches. The home run, his seventh of the season, came in the sixth.
Whether the coaches listen to Alex is an open question. Well, it's not, they won't, but whether the result matches with his desire is an open question. Paul Christian and others loom as potential candidates--as does Steffan Wilson. And my sense of the postseason awards has always been that the coaches conference and haggle over this stuff, so Klim's candidacy may wind up going as far as Joe Walsh wants to take it (especially since he arguably has more than one deserving candidate. I wish that the League would post separate stats for league games only online, as it once did. This would make this a useful exercise. I'm not about to disaggregate Brian Tews' league numbers from his non-league numbers on my own.
Then there's this about Matt Brunnig's power display:
His second two-bagger hit the base of Dartmouth’s deep centerfield fence, approximately 400 feet from home plate.

“That was pretty well hit,” Walsh said. “It might have been the only ball that [Big Green centerfielder Will Bashelor] didn’t come close to and that [right fielder Damon Wright] didn’t come close to.”

“[If] those two guys don’t get to a ball,” Walsh added, “that thing’s gotta be hit.”

Brunnig gave the credit for his newfound power to a fortuitous recent purchase: a set of contact lenses, which he had never before used.

“It’s definitely helped,” he said. “I’m definitely a lot more comfortable at the plate. I thought my eyes were fine before…[but] I picked up off-speed pitches a lot faster.”
Contact lenses! A ridiculous story gets even better. How 'bout we get him Lasik surgery Wednesday and bat him fifth Saturday?

Jon Lehman's recap features this line about the breakout inning:
“That’s the kind of team we’ve had most of the season,” Klimkiewicz said. “We play our best when we’re pushed up against the wall, it seems. I think a lot of other teams would crumble and throw the game away, but we came in the dugout and said ‘We’re going to score at least four runs this inning.”

Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Most Suspenseful Butt-Kicking Ever

After Dartmouth scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh, chasing Matt Brunnig, erasing what had once been a five-run deficit and tying the game at 9-9, Matt Vance stepped up and stroked a leadoff triple that sparked a five-run rally, exciting a Harvard bench you could hear over Dartmouth radio for the rest of the game.

What followed was a remarkable display of hitting by Harvard and a sustained and astonishing show of defensive ineptitude by the Big Green. We'll take it. Harvard has won the Rolfe Division, beating Dartmouth 23-9 in what amounted to a one-game playoff for the division title. Harvard will host Princeton in the Ivy League Championship series on Saturday.

It wasn't the best Brunnig we've ever seen on the mound (I actually can't remember the last home run we had given up in Ivy play), but on the flip side, it was the best Brunnig we'd ever seen at the plate (3-for-5, 3 runs, 2 rbi, extra base hits numbers 1 and 2 on the season--and that was when the hits still mattered!). Josh Klimkiewicz hit a homer that still hasn't come down. Ditto Andrew Casey. Steffan Wilson came in to close it out, which I'm excited about as well.

More on this later. I'm very interested to see whether Adam Cole will start the second game against Princeton, but we've got a week to sort all of that out.

Hats off to Dartmouth and its players for a strong bounce-back season. The Dartmouth radio broadcasters (who were actually pretty good this year) noted that the Crimson players were calm and classy upon the end of the game, which of course computes.

One for all the marbles

Harvard has lost the first game, 4-0. Javy Castellanos actually pitched reasonably well. The big concern is hitting: Vance, Salsgiver and Wilson were a combined 1-for-10, and no one hit for any power.

As demoralizing as this is, there's no time to dwell on it. The biggest game of the season looms. Destiny, meet Matt Brunnig. Matt Brunnig, destiny.

In his last start, Yale slapped Chase Carpenter around to the tune of 11 hits and 9 runs (7 earned). Game before that? 13 hits, 5 runs to Brown. We can only hope for more of the same here.

Game On!

Dartmouth Gametracker is working. Which is great, because the radio link doesn't seem to be getting us baseball.
UPDATE: They just switched over. Several minutes into the game, too. Not very professional, but then, that's Dartmouth radio.
UPDATE: I should correct myself. This actually turned out to be a not-horrible broadcast, as college stations go.

The good thing about the hit parade

The silver lining:
“Scoring eight off of Faiola, that’s their guy,” head coach Joe Walsh said. “I feel real good coming into tomorrow. I feel confident we’re swinging pretty good. And if I’m their three or four guy, and I saw us pepper Faiola around…they might be thinking a little bit.”
Good job by Pablo getting this recap up fast. Expecting Javy C. and Brunnig today, he adds.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Harvard loses, 13-8. Magic number is 1.

Very tough loss, letting the game get away earlier on a day when Faiola proved hittable. Harvard missed an opportunity. Now, the Crimson has to win one on the road in Hanover to advance.

Expect to see Jeff Wilkerson against Javy Castellanos in the seven-inning game and Chase Carpenter against either Matt Brunnig or Lance Salsgiver or perhaps Brad Unger tomorrow. Neither Carpenter nor Wilkerson has proven himself unhittable this season, particularly in starts against their earlier Rolfe Division opponents, Yale and Brown.

Meanwhile, Javy Castellanos has been at least passably good, and sometimes much more than that, in every Ivy start this season. It's also worth noting that Harvard has won all of the games Javy's started this year, and hasn't been swept in any Ivy doubleheader since April 2004. I'm feeling pretty good about having Javy out there with the season on the line, largely because I'll never forget another big Ivy game when he showed what he could do up against this kind of pressure. Go get 'em, Javy.

Still, Dartmouth stayed alive and is in a good position. They've got a chance to wrap up the division by winning two games in front of their own drunk, godless fans. We'll see how it goes. I expect Dartmouth college radio to cover the games, although watch out--in the past, these guys have made the WHRB guys, who at least try, sound like Vin Scully. As for live Gametracker, at this point, who knows? Just drive there, darn it!

Other notes:

* Josh Klimkiewicz was 0-for-8 in his return, although some will note that he should've been 1-for-8.
* Silver lining: Matt Vance appears to be out of his slump (4-for-7 today).
* Jay Brown's 77-pitch mop-up outing was huge. Salsgiver, Brunnig, Foushee, Unger, Bruton, Watson and Dukovich are all available tomorrow as a result.


Adam Cole struggled mightily in his start. He just wasn't able to throw strikes. In 2/3 of an inning, he walked four, including two with the bases loaded, gave up two hits and allowed four unearned runs (after an error by Taylor Meehan). Harvard's down 4-0 after one, facing quite the uphill battle against Faiola.

Figure on Cole joining the list of potential relievers tomorrow. Jay Brown is in there now.

What Can Brown Do For You?

Hit game winning singles. Harvard has won the first game, 2-1, in 10 innings. Morgan Brown hit a bases loaded single off sophomore reliever Kyle Zeis to score Lance Salsgiver, silence the loud Dartmouth contingent and give the Crimson a huge win. Shawn Haviland went all ten in his greatest pitching performance yet.

This was the one the Crimson absolutely had to have, with Faiola coming up later and the games tomorrow on the road. It featured Tom Stack-Babich's first Ivy start in a looong while (he had a few rough at bats but a big hit in the ninth) and Josh Klimkiewicz's return (he somehow got thrown out at first on an early single but had a diving catch in the ninth when two outs and men on that may have saved the game).

Harvard is now one win away from postseason play. They'll have three shots now. WHRB is indeed working: Listen to it here.

How Can I Follow This?

I'm trying to figure that out myself. WHRB doesn't seem to be streaming the game, and Gametracker hasn't started yet... But maybe there just hasn't been anything to report there. We'll keep checking.
UPDATE: The game has apparently started. It's 1-0 Dartmouth, bot 2nd. Color me disappointed that you can't follow the game remotely...

Friday, April 28, 2006

Two notes on the upcoming LCS

Proving once again that the classiest, most tradition-rich baseball program in the Ivy League resides in Allston, it looks like the Friends of Harvard Baseball ponied up to commission a new trophy, to be awarded from now on to the Ivy League baseball champion. The new hardware will be dedicated tomorrow before the Harvard-Dartmouth doubleheader, and is named for William C. Matthews, Harvard class of 1905 and a pioneer among African-American ballplayers. Sure would be appropriate if the inaugural bestowment of the trophy goes to Matthews' alma mater.

Also, not to burst my own bubble, but it looks like Harvard should be able to host the LCS if they earn the required split this weekend against Dartmouth. I think Marty and I always assumed hosting duties alternated each year between the two divisions, but a check of the Ivy site revealsthe "higher seed" hosts. That sounds right, now that I think about it.

Tigers roar...

...with a road sweep of Cornell. Princeton will host the Dartmouth-Harvard winner next week. Somewhere, Brian celebrates.

Down to two

Brown beat Yale in the second game, 8-3. That wraps it up for the Bulldogs. No more Rolfe Division scoreboard watching, and no more prospect of a one-game playoff next Wednesday. If Harvard splits this weekend, it's the division title. If Dartmouth wins 3 of 4, they win the division.

It All Comes Down To This

I can't wait. Harvard-Dartmouth weekend with the division at stake is Ivy League baseball's answer to Christmas morning--just as exciting and just as predictable.

Kurt the Harvard SID tells me that you will be able to follow this weekend's games on the live Gamecast at They've been working hard through some real IT difficulties to get it going again, and I really appreciate their efforts. That said, there's also a promotion at the park, where the first 150 fans (no punchlines there, please) get a seat cushion and a complimentary team photo. I've never heard of this happening before, but I'm thrilled that the athletic department is doing this. Someone's figured out that Dartmouth's tendency to bring buckets of drunk fratboys to O'Donnell eats away at our homefield advantage, and they might have to do something to counter that. Here's hoping they advertise the promotion well.

Alex McPhillips does a good job with his preview:
Said sophomore Shawn Haviland (3-5, 4.06 ERA), who will start Game 1 tomorrow, “If we have a lead late in Game 2 after a win in Game 1, we might bring in [projected Game 3 starter Javy Castellanos] to close. We want to win.”

In keeping with its regular weekend rotation, Dartmouth will likely start with sophomore Russell Young (3-2, 3.96) tomorrow in Game 1 and go with senior staff ace Josh Faiola (5-2, 1.90) in the nightcap.

It will be the first appearance for Faiola, a former co-MVP of the prestigious Cape Cod League, since going 12 innings in an epic 2-1 loss to Yale on April 22. In that start, he threw 145 pitches.

Haviland said the Crimson won’t expect Faiola to show signs of wear.

“Sometimes you throw 145 and have no stress,” he said, “and sometimes you throw 65 with all kinds of stress—you’re rearing back. So it’s different.”

“But,” he added, “to throw that in a losing effort is impressive. He’ll be a great matchup for Cole.”

Adam Cole (2-2, 4.09), the Harvard freshman, will take the mound in Game 2. On Sunday at Dartmouth, Harvard will likely start Castellanos (4-3, 5.45) in Game 3. Beyond that, Harvard coach Joe Walsh could go with a combination of his most experienced arms—including seniors Matt Brunnig and Lance Salsgiver, and possibly even Haviland in relief—in Game 4, depending on the stakes.
Lance's arm only has so much experience at Harvard, but the point is well taken. Then there's this from Haviland, the reigning Ivy Pitcher of the Week:
Dartmouth eventually won Game 4 and the division title, but Walsh has made no secret of his willingness to use his best pitchers in unusual situations.

“Every single weekend—and Coach Walsh will tell you the same thing,” Haviland said. “I try to beg my way into the games on Sunday. My arm never gets sore. If I’m on the hill [in relief in Game 4], there’s nowhere I’d rather be.”
No objections here. I want this kid on the mound (to the point where I'm ready to start wondering aloud why he doesn't pitch the nine-inning games), and I'm glad he wants it even more.

Morgan Brown provides some positive clarity on the Klimkiewicz situation:
Brown, who will be back in the field after missing a start against Rhode Island this week with a strained hamstring, said doctors gave Klimkiewicz the go-ahead to play this weekend for the first time since injuring his elbow on April 22.

“He’s a senior,” Brown said. “There’s no way he wants to miss this weekend. If there’s any way he can play, he will.”

By the time we get to Saturday, it may already be a two-horse race. The Brown-Yale series starts today in Providence. If Brown can get one win at home, Yale's out of the race.

Kurt the Harvard SID does a great job in his preview picking up on the fact that Dartmouth hasn't won two games at Harvard since the Reagan administration. In fact, I'm going to flat out recommend reading the official preview, which is the best I've ever seen Harvard put out. If you're bored after that, there's also this preview in The Dartmouth.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Baseball loses to URI

Here. Coach Walsh remains quiet about Josh Klimkiewicz and his availability, and is upset with the team's play generally. Tom Stack-Babich homers and doubles, and if he can get as hot as we thought he'd be all season, we'd sure welcome it for this weekend. Current Boston forecast calls for sun all weekend, which I'd have to think we want, since Dartmouth's weekend guys had to pitch "for real" on Wednesday...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Advantage: Harvard

Harvard is playing URI right now, but events of greater consequence happened in Hanover, NH today.

Dartmouth won its first game against Yale but got thumped in the second, meaning that Harvard (12-4) is a game up on Dartmouth (11-5) heading into this week's pivotal four-game set in Cambridge and Hanover. Yale is now 10-6 and continues to lurk. Brown, at 9-7, has been eliminated from contention.

Scenarios (Am I wrong? Hit the comments):

If Harvard wins three games this weekend, it wins the division outright.

If Harvard splits the series with Dartmouth this weekend, it clinches at least a tie for the division title. At that point, Yale would have to sweep Brown in order to force a tie and a one-game playoff for the division. Otherwise, Harvard wins the division outright.

If Dartmouth wins three, Dartmouth would either win the division outright or tie with Yale (if the Bulldogs sweep Brown). If Dartmouth sweeps, they win the division outright.

Harvard has thus earned itself the luxury of a likelihood of a division title with a mere split.

In a similar situation once upon a time (2001), Harvard went to Dartmouth for the Saturday games and came home for the Sunday games. Harvard Coach Joe Walsh saved his two best starters, John Birtwell and Ben Crockett, for the home games. The strategy did not bear fruit; Harvard lost two tough ones in Hanover (amidst catcalls from Dartmouth's classless "fans") and then dropped a heartbreaking opener in Cambridge the next day. Dartmouth piled onto the field to celebrate. In the newly meaningless second half of that doubleheader, Ben Crockett no-hit the Big Green, striking out 16. No-hitter, but no playoffs. All of this is to demonstrate that there are very real strategic components to laying out a rotation at this point in the season.

This year, with the first two Dartmouth games at home, I'd hope to see Haviland and Cole right in their usual spots, in the first two games of the weekend and the only two that are guaranteed to be meaningful. Try and make Sunday irrelevant. Exercise real patience at the plate. Be mindful of the fact that Dartmouth's Josh Faiola threw a borderline illegal 145 pitches in his last start. Throw Castellanos out there for the first Hanover game in his usual spot, where he's proven a solid weekend starter in his senior year.

And the fourth game? Hopefully it won't matter. But if all three of the early starters can go deep into their starts in games where Harvard is able to get a big lead and doesn't have go deeper than Brown or Bruton or Foushee or Dukovich in the pen--and we haven't seen that in a little while--give me Matt Brunnig against one of the Dartmouth guys who pitched today. Have Salsgiver or Wilson or Ungar ready to go, but I like our chances with the big senior. If you need to use Brunnig earlier, Salsgiver might be your next best option.

The word is that Klimkiewicz should be ready to go for the weekend. That should push Taylor Meehan back to second (I have been horribly negligent in not posting anything on the injured Brendan Byrne) and Jeff Stoeckel to the bench in the first game, although who knows. Either way, this weekend is what it's all about. Meanwhile, Princeton plays Cornell for the Under .500 Division title. I chuckle as I write that, as either team would likely be a more than worthy challenger in the league championship series.

Lock and load, gang.

A Word About Comments

Moments ago, I deleted a comment on the board that contained false information about a player's health status. The test of any internet enterprise as open as ours is how far you're willing to let it stay open until people start doing jerky things. We've have very few unfortunate incidents through the year+ we've been doing the site, and we have the tremendous Harvard baseball community to thank for that. We value updates that people have that we aren't privy to and punditry about lineups, decisions and the season generally. But we're more than willing simply to shut down the comments if things get out of hand.
Needless to say, anything posted by an anonymous poster regarding a player's health or anything similarly sensitive should be taken with a fistful of salt. If there is an inappropriate post, please don't hesitate to e-mail us so we can investigate and take appropriate action. Brian and I check the account pretty frequently, and we're serious about this.

More Post-Beanpot

A hearty thanks to the Crimson's Alex McPhillips for filling in at Fenway. THC's coverage of the Beanpot includes this recap, no BC closure and a nice visit with some Harvard parents. Somehow, there is no mention of Josh Klimkiewicz's injury status. Hopefully we'll find out something official today when the Crimson plays URI, with Ryan Watson listed as your likely starter. Meanwhile, Yale and Dartmouth make up their doubleheader today, not yesterday as I erroneously reported earlier.

Meanwhile, Frank Herrmann's pro diary gets better and better:
Over the past few weeks I have started to see what former Harvard baseball captain Trey Hendricks ’04 meant when he told me, “pro ball just ain’t the same”.

Last summer, when I was trying to decide whether or not to forego my senior year of eligibility and sign a professional contract, I reached out to a lot of people in the “baseball know” whose opinions I respected. Most advised me that signing then would be a great opportunity and something I should really consider. And when I called Trey I expected to hear much of the same.

Having already experienced two seasons in the Arizona Diamondbacks farm system, Trey was able to give me an earnest and startling perspective.

He warned that playing baseball in the minor leagues was really more about developing the individual than about the team-first, “win-at-all-costs” mentality that prevails at Harvard. This is not to say that my current teammates are in any way selfish or that winning is not their ultimate goal but the dugout just seems to lack that same buzz and excitement that is present when playing a Sunday doubleheader against Dartmouth with the Ivy League title on the line.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

That's a wrap

Tonight's 10-2 loss wasn't all that different from the 10-0 defeat at BC a couple of weeks ago. The defense was better tonight--Morgan Brown was in the lineup (he had missed the previous BC game with a strained hammy)--but the offense, this time without Klimkiewicz, was equally anemic. Ratliff was impressive with the slider; and had he not left one hanging against Salsgiver in the first inning, he would've had a one-hit shutout.

Walsh was very complimentary of BC after the game. Don't take a lot out of this loss. BC is a very good team and Harvard, despite throwing a handful of its best pitchers, doesn't quite have that depth of talent. Stay tuned for Crimson coverage in tomorrow's paper and online; there'll be a lot to read.

Bottom line: Harvard needs Klim back before the weekend...and healthy.


BC's Pete Frates launched a two-run homer into the right field bullpen in the top of the sixth. Now in the bottom of the seventh, the game is still a lopsided 8-2 and Ratliff sports this sparkling line: 6 IP, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 H, 8 K.

6-2 after five

SOBB has just felt its first raindrop blow through the press box window here at Fenway. Ratliff just struck out Lance looking to end the fifth. BC scored a single run, its sixth, in the top of the inning. The score is 6-2.

Now the field boxes are clearing; the umbrellas are out. The cloud cover isn't too threatening, so I don't imagine play will stop at all.

Now pitching for the Crimson...

You want my ellipses; you need my ellipses. Hampton Foushee, who threw well in his no-decision against Northeastern last week, has finally come in to pitch. Let's see if his slow/filthy breaking stuff from the left side can put the breaks on the BC bats.

Regardless, BC starter Ted Ratliff has settled down and is shutting down Harvard. He now has five Ks through four and hasn't allowed a runner past second since Salsgiver reached third with no outs in the first.

Through 1 1/2...

Thirty-five minutes into gametime, we enter the bottom of the second inning. It may be a long evening; Harvard marched seven batters up to the plate in the bottom of the first, scoring two on Salsgiver's christening of the Green Monster (he hit one just above the American League scoreboard for a double). In the bottom of the inning, BC put four on the board in what figures to be Haviland's last inning--a long one, for sure.

Ratcliffe, the BC starter, retired the side while I was just typing. Kramer and Stoeckel were two of his four strikeout victims for the game.

This just in: Adam Cole has entered the game to relieve Haviland. We just might get to see the whole gang, folks.

Live from Boston...

It's my SOBB debut and I bring you this exclusive: Shawn Haviland, the Ivy League pitcher of the week, will be starting on the mound in 5 minutes. It sounds as if he'll go one or two innings, after which Walsh could go with Foushee or Watson in relief. Haviland likes to work against live hitting in the midweek en lieu of his usual bullpen sessions.

Klimkiewicz is still out; Wilson is at first. Stoeckel starts at second, Meehan's at third, and Brown's at short. Kramer behind the plate. Mackey, Vance, and Salsgiver are manning the outfield.

Monday, April 24, 2006


Well, 3 out of 4 ain't bad. I was there for a good chunk of this last game, and I wish I wasn't. I'm also more curious about what happened with the rotation, with the starter ultimately being neither Salsgiver nor Unger but Mike Dukovich, who had pitched (well) earlier in the day.Of course, today would still work out well for Harvard if Josh Klimkiewicz's visit to the doctor tonight reveals nothing more serious to the hyperextended elbow he suffered in Saturday's first game. He hasn't played since (although, amusingly, he did manage to get tossed from the dugout today--Harvard assistant coach Gary Donovan was ejected from the first). A lineup without Klimekiewicz is a very different lineup.
KlimkiewiczTeam Rank
Let's see what happens. Tomorrow is the Beanpot final. I'm not there, but we may have coverage anyway, and hopefully WHRB will also offer coverage online. Meanwhile, Dartmouth and Yale will make up an all-important doubleheader tomorrow.

Harvard wins Game 3, 5-2

Thanks to Lehman on the phone. Crimson storm back from an early 2-0 deficit. Castellanos started, got into some trouble in the fifth. Salsgiver came in to shut it down, turned in two strong innings.

Game Four is starting now with Mike Dukovich on the mound.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Today's Games Postponed

Makeup tomorrow at 1 p.m. Yale and Dartmouth's doubleheader was also cancelled. For what it's worth, it's supposed to rain tomorrow as well, up until around 3pm, and we've seen the Brown series go to Tuesday before... Although we shouldn't this year, since the Beanpot final is Tuesday.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

All we are saying is, Give Lance a Chance

Weather permitting, we have been led to believe Lance Salsgiver--he of the career 11.0 K/9 ratio in 23 college innings--will earn a start against Brown tomorrow. Here's hoping he receives a longer leash than he did in his only other career start (which was more of an experiment than anything and came, incidentally, also against Brown).

Salsgiver's high school career as a hitter is well chronicled: school records in batting average and homers, Baseball America All-American twice over, Louisville Slugger All-American, etc. His pitching exploits, though frequently referenced by Joe Walsh, are less known. To the rescue is Timm Rye, Salsgiver's high school coach from Davison, Mich., who was kind enough to send along his high school pitching stats, beginning with his sophomore campaign in 2000:


As Rye explains, an asterisk belongs next to Salsgiver's 2002 stats: "Lance's senior season numbers are little short because the hockey team (he was a captain) went deep in the state playoffs and his start on the season was a little late, causing him longer to get into baseball shape." For a truer indication of what he's capable of, take a long look at the junior season numbers: 13-0 record, with a .90 ERA. For every hit allowed, he struck out three guys. Rumor has it he even relied on the jam-your-fist-into-a-bucket-of-rice training regimen made famous by Roger Clemens. Marvels Rye: "Lance still has 20 spots on our high school records page and several on the Michigan High School list as well. Lance was our starting shortstop as well as our leading pitching for his three years on varsity. 90+mph fastballs tend to do that to you!"

Final anaylsis: Salsgiver may not project as a pitcher when his career proceeds to the next level, but in these final two weeks, he's plenty capable of carrying Harvard across the finish line.

Harvard Sweeps

1-0 behind Haviland in the first game. 8-4 in the second. I didn't see either game, and I couldn't listen to HRB for very long (I mean that multiple ways today. Stop giggling, kids...). Game 1 ends controversially as Brown claims Steffan Wilson's foot came off the bag at first, but the out was called. Game 2 features both Brunnig in relief and another Castellanos save. I'm guessing this means we see Salsgiver start tomorrow. Brian Fallon, for one, is excited.

Dartmouth beat Yale 6-4 in their first game only to lose 2-1 in the second in 12 innings with Faiola going all 12 (!) in a losing effort, meaning that Harvard has gained ground on everyone today.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Hear the ping of the bat...

Although it seems that Gametracker won't be back this weekend, Ryan at WHRB tells me that their problems are fixed, and you should be able to follow this week's games with them. There are two links on that page: the regular stream and the low bandwidth stream. Should be the latter, but if not, check both.

I should add that I'll actually be blogging on a very limited basis this weekend due to other glaring commitments, but I'll stop by the park at some point Sunday.

"...And pitching for the Crimson, Number 8, Lance Salsgiver..."

As much as some have salivated over this propect over the years, especially given his great high school career in Michigan, one can still ponder: why now?
The Crimson, meanwhile, may have a few tricks up its sleeve. Salsgiver, usually a starting outfielder, could potentially start his first game of the season on the mound this weekend, most likely in one of Sunday’s games. Salsgiver pitched two innings of one-hit relief against Northeastern in the first round of the Beanpot Tournament, and his teammates express complete confidence in his starting abilities.

“Having Lance start is one of the things the coaches talked about as an option,” Brown said. He’s phenomonenally talented in outfield and on the mound, and we want to maximize his ability. He could start; the coaches may or may not decide to do it. If he does, he’s very capable, and if not, we’ve got a lot of other great guys lined up. Lance is a competitor and senior—he will throw until his arm falls off. He’s been very effective this year in relief.”
The article says maybe Sunday. That would suggest that we're going Haviland and Cole Saturday as usual (and correctly). Javy Castellanos is in the midst of his best stretch of pitching at Harvard, and I can't imagine why you wouldn't start him. So are we saying that he's getting the nod over Brunnig in the fourth game?
For those of you who forgot, here's what happened in Brunnig's last start:

Brunnig (W)7.041152100

Then he winds up in emergency relief last week, and now it seems like he may have fallen out of the rotation? Even though Cornell jumped on him the week before the Columbia start, and even though Columbia straight-up bad, I was still surprised reading this that a start like that doesn't keep Brunnig in the rotation--especially since Salsgiver's got one career collegiate start to his name, also against Brown and not a full start in any real sense.

Here's my theory.
Sunday: Periods of showers, mainly after noon. High near 49. Breezy, with a east wind between 16 and 21 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.
Walsh wants five starters at the ready given the reasonable likelihood that a game gets interrupted and the series takes until Monday to finish. Wouldn't be the first time. And he probably feels more comfortable taking his chances with Brunnig/Salsgiver at the back-end at this point than with Unger, Watson, Dukovich, Bruton et al. I'm guessing we wouldn't be hearing talk of Lance starting if the weather forecast were different.

As with everything else, I will likely be wrong. Salsgiver probably just threw a tremendous bullpen this week or something.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Joe Walsh really, really, really wants to win next Tuesday.

Fun stuff from a solid McPhillips gamer:
LYNN, MASS.—Minutes after the final out of yesterday’s first Beanpot contest on Boston’s North Shore, Harvard baseball coach Joe Walsh couldn’t help himself.

First, the Crimson dispatched Northeastern by a smooth 8-5 score, sending to next week’s consolation game “the best team,” according to Walsh, that “we’ve beaten this year, in my estimation.”

Then the coach testified to the allure of a shiny relic.

“That trophy’s been sitting next to me since I got it, and it hasn’t moved,” he said, referring to the Beanpot, which Harvard captured last year for the first time. “And I’m hoping to look at it next year, you know?”
Once upon a time, Brian Fallon and I quietly wondered whether the Beanpot mattered very much to the coaches. Between this and the fact that it'll be B.C., I think it's safe to say that this one will. And on top of this, you've got Steffan Wilson talking about a Beanpot dynasty...
“It’s going to be unbelievable under the lights out there,” Wilson said. “It’d be great to win two in a row and maybe start a dynasty-type deal, you know?”
You know what? I like it. Go ahead and care about this. It didn't hurt a bit last year.
Meanwhile, Matt Brunnig continues to produce at the plate:
Brunnig, who also executed a textbook suicide squeeze in the third inning, notched his seventh RBI of the season in just his 35th at-bat.

Brunnig’s first three years were marked by inconsistency as an ambidextrous pitcher, but the senior has found success this season as both a right-handed starter and a valuable hitting option.

“He’s coming along, you know?” Walsh said. “We’re trying to take what he’s been doing in [batting practice] onto the field, but we’re staying with him because he’s having such good at bats.”
Those of you who called Matt Brunnig muscling some of the more heralded new bats out of the regular lineup at the start of the season can collect your prizes. Now, do we get to see what he can do against Brown?
Also, Frank Herrmann says it's hard out here for a pitcher.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Beast Hampton

Hampton Foushee threw four strong innings in the longest outing of his career and his first start, Josh Klimkiewicz homered and the Crimson made its way back to the Beanpot Final by beating Northeastern, 8-5, in Lynn. Foushee didn't stay on long enough to get the win, but he left with a 3-1 lead. It's a nicer note to go into another Ivy weekend on than loisng to BC, and perhaps Harvard will get a chance to avenge that loss next week at Fenway. BC and UMass are playing right now.

UPDATE: Yep, it'll be Boston College.

Lynn, Lynn, City of Sin ...

...Foushee sets out for his first college win.

Beanpot title defense begins NOW at Fraser Field. Get your live stats here or listen to the game on Northeastern student radio.

Javy C. named to Ivy Honor Roll

Good job by him.

The Crimson also had a very nice Alex McPhillips column on Wes Cosgriff and Larry Lucchino today:
For the first time, Lucchino shook the hand of Wes Cosgriff.

In March of last year, Cosgriff, a big, 6’7 left-hander for the Harvard team, sat slumped and emotionless on the couch at his home in the New York area, doing absolutely nothing. After months of treatment, he was mired in his third cycle of chemotherapy for testicular cancer.

And at one of the worst times of his life, he said, he received an unexpected gift from an apparently anonymous source. His mother, Elyse, dropped a care package from the mail in front of him. A big care package.

“It was just this huge box from the Boston Red Sox,” he said. “I didn’t know anybody from the Boston Red Sox.”

In the box: a jacket, a shirt, a hat, a DVD of the team’s championship season, a baseball, and the last part—the best part—a letter. Lucchino, a man whom Cosgriff had never met, had himself survived cancer against the odds. Twice—in the mid-80’s with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, for which he received a bone marrow transplant, and in the 90’s for prostate cancer—Lucchino had experienced the twin hells of cancer and chemo.

Lucchino’s long letter to Cosgriff, in which he described his own battles and offered hope, put the Harvard junior in unpredictably happy straits. His invitation to watch a Red Sox game in the owner’s box, since fulfilled—“the only way to watch a game at Fenway,” Cosgriff said with a smile—made it great to think about life after cancer.

“It meant more to me then,” Cosgriff said, “than I could have imagined at the time.”

Cosgriff put down the letter and climbed into the shirts, the hat, and the jacket. There he was, a 6’7 living-room advertisement. Then he sat. "Just sat there," he said.

“I had nothing else to do. It made my day,” he said. ”I just forgot about everything else.”

Monday, April 17, 2006

Crimson coverage... Not much beyond the recap. We do get this, the last word on what actually went down at the end of Game 2, which is exactly as a commenter had said:
Then, in the bottom of the last, the infield converted a misplayed, bases-loaded pop-up into a game-ending double play. After some confusion regarding the infield fly rule, which was in fact in effect, the shallow fly dropped in fair in short left field, but Wilson alertly flipped the ball to Brown, who applied the tag to the runner leading off third to end the inning and returned the ball to Wilson for a superfluous tag out.

“The call from the umpire was infield fly rule was in effect if it was fair,” Brown said. “It came down fair by a couple of inches. Steffan and I had the old 5-6-5 triple play where only two of the outs counted.”
Beanpot tomorrow. Northeastern's coming off a win over No. 16 Old Dominion to salvage a three-game series.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Princeton sweeps Columbia

Er, got lucky?

Harvard loses, 10-8

...splitting the weekend series. What an odd weekend this has been. This game featured really rough outings for Unger, Warren and Cole and then three sparkling innings from 2005 All Ivy reliever Steffan Wilson (who hadn't pitched much at all this season) and two from Lance Salsgiver. If there's any way the Crimson can get innings out of these guys in a pinch consistently down the stretch, this is a much scarier team.

Perhaps we'll also be left wondering why Brunnig wasn't saved for the fourth game start after his spectacular start the previous week (especially since Unger was very strong in relief that same game), particularly if it seems that Salsgiver and Wilson were also available to pitch in the second game yesterday. But maybe that wasn't the case. And who's to say the net result wouldn't have been the same, since Brunnig's mastery in relief kept the Crimson in the game in yesterday's nightcap. They got a win out of him this weekend.

Very, very interested to see what the Crimson has to say about these matters, and Adam Cole, tomorrow. For now, there's at least the fact that Harvard has not lost any ground. Brown dropped three of four over the weekend to Dartmouth. Dartmouth and Harvard are now 9-3, Brown and Yale 8-4.

A note: The single-season Harvard record for stolen bases is 34, set by Howard Burns in 1927. The Ivy-era Harvard record is Hal Carey's 25. Matt Vance has 22. Ten regular season games remain, with the possibility of more.

The Beanpot starts this week, with your defending Beanpot Champions taking on Northeastern in Lynn, Mass. on Tuesday. I won't be there, but I hope WHRB will.

Game on!

Harvard-Yale baseball is on here. Not sure when they switched from softball, which was on earlier. Yale leads Harvard 7-6 after 3 1/2. Unger didn't last long, and Cole is the third pitcher in (Warren came on in relief earlier).

Señor Senior strikes again

So how about Javy Castellanos, who earned the first complete game win of his four-year career today? Over his last four appearances in league competition, including yesterday's one-pitch save, Javy's line reads as follows:

19 2/3 innings, hits, 6 earned runs, 10 strikeouts, 3 wins and a one-pitch save.

Josh Klimkiewicz drove in five runs today, including the first three, and the Crimson roughed up started Jon Hollis pretty good. 12-2 final.

Game Four coming up, but apparently the pro radio folks are going home for Easter or something... We'll check in a half hour, see if Yale radio steps in.

UPDATE: Yale radio seems to be doing softball, not baseball.
UPDATE: Nope, baseball. Thanks, commenter Jessica.

The cats who swallowed the canary

Mr. Jim Meehan with a photographic account of yesterday's finish:

(chaos ensues)

Speaking of Meehans, Yale's recap has a slightly different account of the end, one that helps clarify things still further:
Wilson, the Harvard third baseman, lost track of the ball and it landed just inside the foul line. Confused because the infield fly rule had not been called, Gorynski attempted to retreat to third base, but since it was still a force play he was tagged out for the second out of the inning. Sawyer, realizing he was obligated to move to third base, broke for the bag after Wilson attempted to run the ball to the mound to call time. [Taylor] Meehan, the shortstop, realizing the situation, broke for third and Wilson's throw to Meehan at the bag beat the slide of Sawyer to end the game with the Crimson on top 8-7.
Ah, so. That sounds like a hell of an alert play by the sophomore.
They do it all again today. Sporting News CT will air today's games as well, starting at noon. A commenter tells us that it will be Unger rather than Brunnig starting the other game. Walsh had said last week that he almost wished he had a fifth game to get his two-sport contributor a start. Now he does.

UPDATE: Back, and to the left. Back, and to the left. The plot thickens. Someone who sounds like they were there contributes the following:
It was actually much more confusing than reported. Morgan and Taylor switched positions-so Morgan was playing shortstop, but that didn't get recorded because they had just switched on the field. The umpire did call the infield fly-but he thought it was going to be foul. He said "infield fly if the ball goes fair". So the dropped ball was in fact out #2, Morgan's tag of the 3rd base runner was out #3 and the tag of the runner from 2nd to 3rd was out #4. I would check in with John Wilde if you want to know how it went down. He said he'd never seen such a finish to a game in all the years he'd been watching.
Amazing. Well, that answers Brian's earlier question about why the infield fly rule wasn't called--apparently it was.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Take them any way you can get them

Harvard has won a wild second game, 8-7. With the bases loaded in the ninth, Steffan Wilson (whose double keyed a comeback from three runs down earlier) failed to catch what looked like a pop-up foul ball after it drifted back into fair territory. He picks the ball up, throws to the shortstop covering third to get the guy (Gorynski) there, then Sawyer (on second) gets tagged out at third, 6-5... or did he? I'm not sure whether the infield fly rule was involved--the radio call was less than certain--but perhaps if it was it shouldn't have been. It all sounded very confusing. Here is one attempt to clarify things. Regardless, what should've been bases loaded situation with two outs suddenly ended, largely because Steffan Wilson couldn't handle that ball.

That meant Javier Castellanos, who had relieved Matt Brunnig on that play, only faced one batter. In fact, he only threw one pitch. He will start tomorrow. Matt Brunnig threw a good number of pitches in relief (33), and one suspects that we'll see Brad Unger pitch in the other game, if not start it.

Brown and Dartmouth also split their doubleheader, meaning that after all this craziness, Harvard has not lost any ground. They are lucky.

Cole: 3/23, 7H, 3 ER. This is the first we've seen him struggle in the Ivy season. The Crimson also committed three errors, and survived what sounded like a couple of questionable calls on the basepaths.

UPDATE: Good job by Kurt the Harvard SID:
Then things got really weird as the game moved into its third hour. The first two batters reached base safely on singles to start the Yale ninth. After a sacrifice bunt and an intentional base on balls, Harvard went to Javier Castellanos to face Ryan Lavarnway. Lavarnway hacked at the first pitch he saw and sent a towering pop up down the third base line.

Infield fly was never called because it was not apparent that the ball would land in fair territory. Harvard's Wilson twisted around several times in an attempt to catch the pop at third base but could not in the swirling wind as the ball fell inches fair. With all three Yale runners staying close to their respective bags, Wilson was able to flip the ball to Brown, the team's shortstop. Brown tagged third base runner PJ Gorynski at the bag and then flied the ball back to Wilson at third who stepped on the bag to get Sawyer on a force play at third and end the game in front of a stunned crowd of 638.

Harvard loses Game One, 3-1

...and is losing Game Two, 5-4 in the sixth. The Sporting News CT link below is working.

Listen to the Yale games...

For real this time. Sporting News CT Online is audio streaming the games, and WYBC (1340 AM, not 94.3 from this screen) should have them as well.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Crockett Relaunch

Good news to report: pitcher Ben Crockett signed yesterday with the Somerset Patriots, defending champions of the independent Atlantic League.

The Patriots, who are managed by former Cy Young winner Sparky Lyle, open their season two weeks from today. We'll be watching.

Thanks to a notable Harvard alum for tipping us off to this story.

The Real Real Season Starts Tomorrow

And now, the three weekends that matter. The Gehrig Division's rather embarrassing display in inter-division play resulted in everyone in the Rolfe Division sporting either a 7-1 (H, B) or 6-2 (D, Y) record. With one game separating all four teams, something's gotta give. (Same deal in the other division, and so I echo Brian's note about not ruling out Princeton.)Today's Crimson preview doesn't tell us anything about the state of Morgan Brown's quad and whether it'll be him or Taylor Meehan (above) starting at short this weekend. What it does say is that this week's blowout loss to B.C. affected the Crimson, particularly Coach Walsh, in a deeper way than I would've expected:
“That’s the most devastating loss I’ve ever been involved in, as a coach or a player,” coach Joe Walsh said. “I’m just hoping it doesn’t do damage to the ballclub and to our mindsets.”

But this weekend brings Harvard the opportunity to forget Tuesday and regain its recent dominance in league play.

“We’re going to get past the B.C. game,” captain Morgan Brown said. “The Yale series this weekend is going to take all of our attention. What we need to do is take care of our Ivy League games.”
"Most devastating ever?" Really? A midweek game? Granted, the team managed only one hit, and got cuffed around pretty good and booted a lot of balls. But I still find it interesting that this loss meant so much, especially since I've always viewed the midweek games more as a chance for guys to get live game action in and to try out some other arms to get a better sense of what you have for Ivy exigencies. And it's not like we were throwing Cole or Haviland out there. Maybe there was something else. I wasn't there. Or maybe it's classic coach-speak. But it's interesting.

Yale has a young, happy team...
Schropp is not the only freshman to make an impression on this year's squad. Third baseman/designated hitter Charles Bush '09, right fielder Ryan Lavarnway '09 and pitcher Chris Walsh '09 have all made important contributions to the team this season, and team members said they expect the freshmen to do well against Harvard.

"Our freshmen have been playing well," pitcher Matt Fealey '06 said. "Everyone has just been doing what we've needed them to do. We have a good shot if we come out and play our best game and everyone continues playing the way they are."

The team has been performing well recently, handily defeating Penn and Cornell and splitting doubleheaders against Princeton and Columbia.

"Everyone is pepped up and playing well," Fealey said. "The guys are filling positions well. Some of the players who might not have had the chance to play at the beginning of the season have really stepped up."
...and a healthy respect for its rival.
Team members said they think Harvard will pose a challenge both offensively and defensively.

"[Harvard] is a really good team," Rasmussen said. "They've always put a good team together on field and performed well. It's going to be really competitive. Hopefully we'll be able to come away on top."

Elsewhere, Brown also has some productive freshmen.