Spotlight on Baseball
Sophomore summer is the one term that almost every Dartmouth student can't wait to experience. Beautiful weather, an intimate setting and professors who are more relaxed than during the rest of the year. What kind of student in his right mind would want to miss out on that?
Answer: Mike Levy. No, he doesn't hate the sun or having fun. He just loves baseball.
The senior catcher from Atlanta voluntarily missed out on his sophomore summer so that he could play in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. And he has no regrets.
"I couldn't imagine a better way to spend a summer than playing baseball," Levy says. "Granted, I chose to skip out on my sophomore summer, but at the same time I got to play baseball. I just love the game so much that it was a tradeoff that made sense to me."
Watching Levy play, it's easy to see how that love for his sport permeates every game, play and at-bat. And it's more than just the sport of baseball for Levy - it's the whole Dartmouth team.
"Let's just say that the guys on this team are the best friends that I have ever had and ever will have," he said. "The best part of every day is the time that I get to spend with these guys."
It's not quite as difficult to work hard when you're having a great time.
And all that work is certainly paying off - most people agree that Levy is one of the best catchers ever to wear the Dartmouth green.
He's racked up award after award, from All-State and USA Today honorable mention All-America in high school to first team All-Ivy his sophomore year and honorable mention last year.
After a freshman campaign in which Levy was hampered by a torn rotator cuff - though he managed to hit .290 as a designated hitter - he's become a cornerstone of the rapidly improving Dartmouth squad.
"I love my role on this team," Levy says. "In my opinion, my main job is to be the best catcher that I can be. That is more than simply being a good receiver and thrower.
"There is a lot of communication and mental stuff that goes into pitching. I think a catcher that actively involves himself in that aspect of the game can actually make pitchers better."
Levy and his rock-solid leadership have helped make the Big Green baseball team into an Ivy League powerhouse.
Last season Dartmouth won a school-record 29 games, including a 6-5 win over defending national champion Miami. In Ancient Eight play, the Big Green easily out-classed the rest of the league, winning the Red Rolfe division with an Ivy League record of 17-3.
But Dartmouth's sparkling season was dulled in the Ivy Championship series, as Lou Gehrig division winner Princeton disposed of the Big Green in two games.
While Levy had a solid season, hitting .264 with 23 RBIs and a team-leading 12 doubles, the end of the 2000 campaign left a bitter taste in his mouth.
That bitterness will drive Levy and his teammates in 2001.
"Our goal is simple," he says. "On May 6, we expect to win the Ivy League ring in front of the home crowd at Red Rolfe Field. To be perfectly honest, I want Princeton again. This time, we will be at our best."
The Dartmouth team will be heading to California over spring break for the annual spring training trip. Levy, for one, can't wait to get things started.
"Generally, we will be disappointed with anything less than a championship this season," he says. "We tasted it last year. Now we want to bring the hardware to Dartmouth."
With a possible Ivy title in the sport he loves coming up soon for Levy, it's no wonder he'd give up just about anything for baseball - even sophomore summer. (Jarratt Clarke 01) °
Mike Levy's recruiting trip to Dartmouth was made possible by the generosity of Gustave T. Broberg Jr. '41 and J. William Craig Jr. '44 through the Athletic Sponsor Program.