Diamond updates

Baseball stands three wins away from division title

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The Princeton baseball team has four scheduled games against Cornell this week, but head coach Scott Bradley sees the matchup as a best-of-five series: With the Tigers and Big Red tied atop the Ivy League’s Gehrig Division, the first team to win three games will clinch the title and earn a spot in the Ivy League Championship Series.

“You want to put yourselves in position to play important games,” Bradley said earlier this week. “Right now, it’s here in front of us.”

While three wins against Cornell would guarantee a title for the Tigers, Columbia does have a chance to force a three-way tie for the division title if Princeton and Cornell split their games. The Lions would need to sweep their four-game set against Penn.

For more than a decade, Princeton has been an Ivy powerhouse, winning five league titles in Bradley’s previous 11 seasons, but the Tigers stumbled at the start of the year, losing six of eight games against teams in the Ivy Rolfe Division (Brown, Yale, Dartmouth, and Harvard). In the last two weekends, Princeton’s bats came alive against Columbia and Penn, and the Tigers pulled even with Cornell at 8-8 in Ivy play.

Dan DeGeorge ’09 (.368 batting average, 12 doubles) has been Princeton’s most consistent hitter, and Greg Van Horn ’11 and Jon Broscious ’10 have made key contributions in the last two weeks as well. On the mound, Brad Gemberling ’09 (5-1, 59 strikeouts) has anchored the league’s top pitching staff. Gemberling, DeGeorge, pitcher David Hale ’10, and catcher Jack Murphy ’10 have attracted attention from pro scouts, Bradley said, and may be selected in the Major League Baseball first-year player draft in June.

Game time: Princeton hosts a doubleheader against Cornell April 24, beginning at noon, and travels to Ithaca for two more games April 26.

Softball knocked out of Ivy race

Princeton softball has won more Ivy titles (17) than the rest of the league combined, but this year, the defending-champion Tigers will not repeat. Even with four games remaining against division-leader Cornell, Princeton (8-8) won’t be able to catch the Big Red (13-3).

That means Princeton fans only have a few more chances to see Tiger star Kathryn Welch ’09 in action. Welch, a four-year starter, ranks second on the program’s career lists for doubles and home runs and third in runs batted in. Her .353 career batting average also is among the program’s top five, and she has a chance to hit over .400 for the first time this season (through April 19, she was hitting .402 for the year).

Game time: Seniors Kathryn Welch, Erin Miller, and Brianna Moreno will play their final home games April 24 when Princeton hosts a doubleheader against Cornell, beginning at 12:30 p.m.

An insider’s view of Obama’s new-media campaign

One out of every six people who voted for President Barack Obama opted to help with the campaign, said Joe Rospars, the campaign’s new-media director, in an April 16 speech titled “Making Change Happen: Lessons from the Obama Campaign.” Rospars, a founding partner at Blue State Digital, explained how the campaign used technology to help “lower the barrier to entry” for supporters to participate in the campaign.

The Obama campaign’s new-media program used text messaging, blogs, YouTube videos, and e-mail to encourage supporters to organize themselves into smaller regional and common-interest groups. Rospars and his team posted more than 2,000 campaign videos on YouTube, broadcasting everything from informal chats with Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, to instructions on how to participate in the Iowa caucus. Led by documentary filmmakers and journalists, Obama’s new-media team focused on “both the presentation and weaving together the story of our supporters,” Rospars said.

The plan proved successful — more than 45,000 grassroots volunteer groups helped bring voters to the polls for Obama. Connected to campaign headquarters through e-mails and text messages, these volunteers “knocked on millions of doors and made millions of phone calls,” Rospars said. Obama’s staff gave volunteers the necessary training and resources, he said, and allowed them to work as if they were staff members.

Though the use of new media brought Obama closer to his supporters, don’t be fooled into thinking that he is just an e-mail or text message away. “I hope that no one felt like it was actually Barack who was responding to your friend request on MySpace. If so, I hope that you would have been less likely to vote for him,” Rospars joked.

The new-media team’s job, Rospars said, was “to generate an emotional response and to turn it into concrete outcomes.” The result on Nov. 4, 2008, solidified new media’s position on the political stage. By Sarah Harrison ’09

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