“Hot soup! Soup’s hot!”
Anyone who has been to a Yale baseball game will quickly recognize these otherwise unusual phrases. After all, how could you forget hearing 30 guys yelling about the temperature of soup?
The Yale baseball team is currently enjoying one of the best starts in program history. In fact, this is the best start the Yale team has seen since head coach John Stuper’s first season, in 1993.
Trust me, this is a bandwagon you want to jump on — and fast. Since tallying a 6–3–1 start during spring break, the team has kept its momentum to improve to 11–6–1 on the season.
Not too shabby for a team that posted only 13 wins all last year.
Speaking of which, isn’t anyone else a little surprised? After all, a less-than-stellar 2009 season and the loss of starting pitcher Brandon Joselyn ’09, the hurler with the most wins last season, didn’t exactly scream “break out year.” Did anyone actually see this coming?
Yes. The players did. And they won’t let you forget about it.
The 2009 season was a rebuilding year. It’s everyone’s favorite term to throw around when the chips are down and team is struggling, but in retrospect, its plain to see that the experience the team gained last year has been invaluable to its success this season.
Consider the following:
Every current starting player is enjoying either his second or third year as a regular in the lineup. Six of the Bulldogs are batting above .300 with Gant Elmore ’11 and Trygg Larsson-Danforth ’10 leading the pack at .400 and .388, respectively. The team’s overall batting average is a more-than-formidable .327. Dust your shoulders off, boys. Not bad.
Yale also boasts possibly the best defensive infield in the league with only seven errors to date among the four current starters. They also have at least a season’s worth of experience on which to build.
Additions to the team have also been important this season, especially in what was thought to be the biggest question mark for this season — pitching.
Bulldog quarterback/pitcher Brook Hart ’11 has seamlessly made the transition from the gridiron to the bullpen, and fortunately for the Bulldogs, Hart’s three years away from the game haven’t hurt his slider. With a 2.62 ERA and two Ivy League Rookie of the Week selections under his belt, Hart has quickly made a name for himself and improved the consistency of the Yale pitching staff.
But statistics can only say so much — the real difference this year has been the way each player has stepped up to the challenge at hand.
For instance, Andrew Kolmar ’11 has already earned Ivy League Player of the Week honors while enjoying a .304 batting average. Ryan Brenner ’12 hit three bombs in one game to help lift the team to a win. Vinny Lally ’11, Pat Ludwig ’12 and Chris O’Hare ’13 are combining raw talent and hard work to toss a collective ERA below 4.00. Greg Lyons ’12 earned Ivy League Pitcher of the Week status with his first career win. Trey Rallis ’11 returned from a two-season hiatus to add a .377 batting average to the team efforts.
All of these are great examples of this year’s squad’s biggest asset: the ability for new players to step up each game and get the job done.
This recipe has spelled success for the Bulldogs so far. But if I know anything about baseball and the men who play it, they will probably be a little reluctant to talk about it. After all, in the words of Bull Durham, “A player on a streak has to respect the streak.”
And that usually means not talking about it.
So get out to the fields and enjoy a little of this newfound success..
Tracy Timm is a senior in Pierson College.