March 12, 2002

Shuffling up the Divisions

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Lou Gehrig Division

1. Princeton

2001: 24-25, 14-6 Ivy

The Tigers romped to their second straight league title last year behind the pitching duo of Ryan Quillian and David Boehle. The bad news for the rest of the league is that both pitchers return stronger than ever in 2002. In Quillian, last season’s Ivy League Pitcher of the Year, Princeton has a workhorse capable of easily throwing six innings a contest. His six complete games and 68.2 innings pitched were both team highs. There are question marks concerning offensive production with the departure of star first baseman Andrew Hanson. Senior shortstop Pat Boran will look to make things happen with his speed and base running ability. Boran hit .335 in 2001 with 19 doubles and 17 steals.

2. Columbia

2001: 20-27,10-10 Ivy

Last year, the Lions finished a surprise second in the Lou Gehrig division despite having an inexperienced roster. This time around they can be forgiven for thinking that a run at the league title is a distinct possibility, with seven of nine position players and eight of 10 pitchers returning. All-Ivy selections Nick Solaro and Derek Johnson will be charged with providing much of the offense, while senior centerfielder Matt Buckmiller is one of the best all-around players in the league. The pitching will be solid, if not spectacular, with seniors Adam Schwartz and Matt Waldman leading the rotation.

3. Cornell

2001: 12-22, 7-13 Ivy

4. Penn

2001: 22-18, 8-12 Ivy

In 2001, the Quakers rode the hitting of Chris May to finish third in the Lou Gehrig division. With May’s graduation, it remains to be seen where Penn’s offense will come from. Last season’s Ivy League Player of the Year hit a remarkable .455 with 10 HR and 55 RBI. Second-year outfielder Andrew McCreery will look to build upon a stellar rookie campaign, but it won’t be enough to replace May’s production. McCreery will also look to contribute with his pitching after going 5-2 last year.

Coach Ford’s take: I think it’s really gonna be a four-way battle. Princeton’s won it the last three years, but they’ve lost some people. They’re all very good baseball teams — I would throw us right in there with all of them.

Red Rolfe Division

1. Brown

2001: 23-23, 12-8 Ivy

After losing the Red Rolfe division in a heartbreaking playoff to Dartmouth, the Bears will be determined to redeem themselves this season. Despite the graduation of hard-hitting shortstop Dan Kantrowitz and pitching ace Jim Johnson, Brown returns four All-Ivy selections. The infield promises to be one of the strongest in the league, with senior co-captain Shaun Gallagher manning first base and sophomore Robert Deeb at second. The rotation is led by second All-Ivy selection Jonathan Stern (5-4, 1.92 ERA).

2. Harvard

2001: 17-25, 11-9 Ivy

The Crimson stayed neck and neck with Brown and Dartmouth last season before suffering a devastating defeat at the hands of the Green. With pitching ace Ben Crockett returning for one final year, Harvard has the talent to challenge for a division title. Crockett’s solid 2001 campaign culminated in a no-hitter on the final day of the season. The offensive spark will be provided by senior third baseman Nick Carter, who batted .380 and led the team in home runs (8), doubles (14), and was second in RBI (30).

3. Dartmouth

2001: 22-18, 12-8 Ivy

After winning two straight Red Rolfe division titles, the Green will be hard pressed to three-peat. The void left by the departure of star catcher Mike Levy to baseball’s first-year draft and the graduation of All-Ivy third baseman Brian Nickerson will be difficult to fill. Between them, Levy and Nickerson combined for 15 home runs and 68 RBI last year. Nevertheless, enough talent remains for the Green to contend for the title; the last two Ivy League Rookie of the Year winners return in outfielder Scott Shirrell and first baseman Mike Mileusnic.

4. Yale

2001: 12-22, 6-14 Ivy

A year after picking up the league’s wooden spoon, the Bulldogs are counting on a youthful roster to hoist them back into the league’s elite. Nineteen freshmen and sophomores make up Yale’s roster. Junior outfielder Chris Elkins will be expected to play a key role after leading the Elis in at-bats, total bases, and runs in 2001. Even if the offense sputters, expect senior ace Craig Breslow to keep the Bulldogs close in many games. The southpaw struck out 66 in just 51.2 innings to finish 11th in the nation in strikeouts per nine innings.

Coach Ford’s take: “Brown’s a team that’s been knocking on the door the past few seasons. I kinda look at them to be one of the favorites — it may be their year.”

Archived article by Soo Kim