Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Yale Baseball Meets "41"

Yale baseball made a swift journey to Texas to play a series against Texas A&M and meet baseball alum George H.W. Bush '48. This year's team features at least four Westchester players, including outfielder Tim McGraw '19 (no.2 above) from Rye. (Yale, 12thMan photos)

As it does every year in the first days of March, Yale Baseball jetted to the South for sunshine, warmer days, and pre-spring baseball to launch the season. This year, the itinerary called for a trip to College Station, Tex., where the Bulldogs competed with Texas A&M in a three-game series, Mar. 4-6.

A trip to Texas in 2016 was no accident. And it wasn't meant to be a kind gesture by Texas A&M to extend an invitation to a cold-climate, Ivy League squad to grab 2-3 fairly easy wins. 

This year it was about George H. W. Bush '48, who welcomed and greeted the team in Texas at the start of the series--the same Bush who captained Yale baseball teams that played in the College World Series in the 1940's and who served as the U.S.'s  41st president.  Bush tossed out the first ball in the first game on a field where the outfield grass had been mowed to shape the number 41 in honor of Bush.

In three games, Texas A&M, a ranked SEC team with national-title aspirations, beat Yale all three times.  In fairness to the Elis, the Aggies had already played 9 games before Yale had started its season.  Bush, the alumnus, couldn't be embarrassed by the showing from his college team that traveled over 1,700 miles to the home stadium of the Aggies.

Four Westchester athletes are on the team this year. All four played during the series in Texas.  Two are starting fielders. Two are pitchers.  Three are freshmen who just a year ago at this time were warming up for competition in Section 1, New York State.

Richard Slenker '17 from Pound Ridge is an infielder who had a spectacular freshman year, earning all-Ivy status. At Fox Lane in Westchester, he was named the Journal News' top baseball player in Westchester/Rockland in his senior year.  Tim McGraw '19 from Rye is a centerfielder, who has started games for Yale even as a freshman.  He the only Yale player to have stolen a base in the first four games this season.  At Rye High, McGraw was an outstanding football wide receiver, but chose baseball in college. 

Kumar Nambiar '19 from Mamaroneck is a left-handed pitcher, who was instrumental in Mamaroneck High's run to a New York State championship last year.  He has already pitched in two of Yale's four outings.  Griffin Day '19, also from Pound Ridge, played in high school at Kennedy Catholic. At Yale, he had two hits Yale's game against UConn.  He has already appeared in games as a pitcher and as a first-baseman, the same spot Bush commanded at Yale played 68 years ago.

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