Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Slenker's Diamond Debut

Bedford's Slenker is batting .308 (Yale photos)

A year ago this spring, Richard Slenker '17 from Bedford was spraying singles, doubles, and long balls all over the diamonds of Westchester County for Fox Lane High School on his way to being touted the best high-school baseball player in the area by the local media.  Yale recruited him, and he was smart enough to gain an admission offer. A year later, more of his talent has emerged. As a freshman, he managed to squeeze himself into the starting line-up at third base for several games. He has played in eight games and is batting a sound .308 with a double and a steal.

College baseball has launched its season, even for teams in the cold Northeast and while the sports-minded populace devotes the month of March to  college-basketball fury and billion-dollar brackets. By mid-March, Yale baseball had already played 11 games and returned from an early-season journey through warmer terrain in the South. The team sports a 6-5 record before it dives into Ivy play.

The team's surprise this season was its stunning 8-7 victory over powerhouse LSU down in Baton Rouge, La., Mar. 2.  Local LSU followers scratched their heads to figure out how a Yale team, hindered by a difficult, snowy winter, could maneuver a win over a program that is ranked sixth in the country and  has won six national titles in the last 25 years. Slenker had a single and scored once in the game.

The Ivy League portion of the schedule starts with a weekend of games down at Penn and Columbia, last year's Ivy leader, Mar. 29-30.

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