Sunday, January 14, 2007

When Harvard Faced Ross Ohlendorf in the Ivy Championship

The most prominent Ivy baseball alum in the news lately has been Ross Ohlendorf. Here with thoughts on Ohlendorf is our own Faiz Shakir '02:

Former Princeton hurler Ross Ohlendorf's name has been in the news of late because he was a key part of a blockbuster trade between the New York Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks that sent LHP Randy Johnson back to team he helped lead to a world championship in 2001. Ohlendorf, along with fellow minor league pitcher Steven Jackson, infielder Alberto Gonzalez, and Diamondbacks reliever Luis Vizcaino, were shipped to the Yankees.

Ohlendorf has enjoyed a very promising young career in the professional ranks, having been named to Midwest League all-star team in 2005. Clearly, Ohlendorf has developed and progressed as a pitcher a great deal since my teammates and I faced the freshman ace in Game 1 of the 2002 Ivy League Championship.

Ohlendorf came into the game with a 6-2 record, and with a reputation as a hard-throwing big right-hander. For those of us who had faced Chris Young, Ohlendorf seemed to be the second coming. 6'-4”, 200+ lbs, Ohlendorf was a big presence on the mound. While he threw hard, he didn't rely on his overpowering stuff. Rather, he pitched a great deal to spots (specifically, throwing low and away a gret deal) and he accompanied the fastball with a hard slider that seemed to be his strikeout pitch.

Our senior right-hander Justin Nyweide outbattled Ohlendorf on that Saturday – Nyweide went all nine, striking out 14 and winning 5-1. What I remember most is that the Princeton defense let down Ohlendorf on that day. Early in the game, Ian Wallace and I laid down back to back sacrifice bunts that were misfielded by the Princeton third baseman, loading the bases for Trey Hendricks to drive in the first (and game-winning) runs. Ohlendorf left after 5 innings, striking out 6. He certainly left his mark as someone who was going to have a bright future, but for a freshman pitching in his first Ivy Championship game, it seemed his nerves may have gotten the best of him. Certainly, in the time that has passed since, Ohlendorf used those experiences to develop maturity and poise on the mound and seems not too far away from one day pitching Yankee Stadium.

Congratulations and best of luck to Ross.

1 comment:

Micah Picasso said...

I cant wait to see Ohlendorf come up, I hear he could be the next Rivera and fit right in as a future closer. He has the stuff for it.