Princeton Paul-ishes Baseball Off In Three

PRINCETON, N.J.—A game that had begun shrouded in mystery—from the identity of Princeton’s game three starter to whether the rain would hold up long enough to squeeze the Ivy League Championship game in—wound up being as unambiguous as Thomas Pauly versus Frank Herrmann with two on and two out in the ninth. For the seldom-used Herrmann, a freshman and Harvard Coach Joe Walsh’s last pinch-hitting option on a thinning bench, and Pauly, arguably the conference’s most dominant pitcher, the moment was a collision of implausibility and perfect clarity.

“We were looking for a dream come true up there,” Walsh said after the game.

A dream did come true, but it wasn’t Herrmann’s or Harvard’s. Herrmann struck out swinging, sending Princeton’s players into a frenzied pile in the infield as they celebrated winning the Ivy League Championship Series two games to one on a 5-2 victory in Game Three at Princeton’s Clarke Field yesterday.

A day after the bat of freshman third baseman Josh Klimkiewicz had opened the door to another extended run for the Red Rolfe Division champions, Pauly slammed it shut. Although not as dominant as he has been for most of the season, Pauly hurled a complete game four-hitter and settled in after the Crimson (20-23, 12-11 Ivy) touched him up for two early runs.

Harvard’s season ends one victory shy of back-to-back Ivy League Championships, while Princeton (27-21, 17-6) has now won three of the past four. The Tigers gained a measure of revenge for last season’s ousting in the championship series, the latest in a rivalry that has seen Princeton and Harvard play for the title six of the last eight years.


“It’s tough,” said senior Kenon Ronz, who started Saturday’s first game and is one of eight departing seniors. “It’s tough to know that baseball for me is near an end.” He paused. “At an end, maybe.”

Meanwhile, the rest of a fairly young team was left to watch the pile near the mound and think about the future.

“As a coach, you start to think about next year as soon as you get on the bus,” Walsh said. “We’ve got some cornerstones in place, and it’s good that they’ve gotten some championship game experience.”

Princeton 5, Harvard 2

Despite the dominant Pauly on the mound and a raucous Princeton crowd in attendance, a bad hop on a grounder to first was what did the Crimson in.

With runners on second and third and two outs, freshman Mike Dukovich was unable to field a ball off the bat of B.J. Szymanski that took an odd bounce off him into right field. Freshman second baseman Zak Farkes deftly recovered and threw the ball to first, where pitcher Mike Morgalis had rushed to cover the play.

Morgalis hustled to first to get the out, falling backwards with his feet on the bag as Szymanski charged through, but an umpire called Szymanski safe. Morgalis, still on the ground, turned and threw to home plate after a moment’s hesitation, but both runs had scored.

Sophomore catcher Schuyler Mann threw Szymanski out at second to end the inning, but a 3-2 game had swelled into a 5-2 Princeton cushion. Pauly (7-1) would not let it get any closer.

For the Crimson players, who had seen countless botched plays in the infield cost them runs earlier in the season, it stung to watch the game slip away on an out they thought they had.

“I think the umpire missed a call there,” Walsh said. “Morgalis thought he’d beaten him. I kept saying that with all of these bad hops and bounces we got that the baseball gods would have to turn it the other way eventually, but they didn’t.”