BOSTON, Mass. – The Harvard University baseball team was invited to take an extended batting practice at Fenway Park on Monday to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the facility's first game.
One hundred years to the day that Harvard played the Red Sox in an exhibition game to inaugurate the brand-new stadium known as Fenway Park, the Crimson returned April 9 with their eyes set in the iconic Green Monster.
"I'd be lying if I said I was trying to hit ground balls right now," said junior infielder Kyle Larrow of Carver, Mass.
In an informal poll of team members during warm-ups, Larrow held no punches when sharing his thoughts on which teammate would be trying too hard to hit a homer.
"Oh, without a doubt, (captain Andrew) Ferreira can swing through a pitch trying to hit one out in BP today," said Larrow with laughter from others nearby. "If he can do it during BP at Harvard, he can most certainly do it today."
Steve Dill was the first Harvard player to send one over the wall with a towering drive that brought cheers from teammates, fans in attendance and also members of a tour group going through the stands. Other memorable shots came from Jeff Reynolds who put a homer high off the Sports Authority sign in left field and Marcus Way, with the lefty putting one into the Red Sox's bullpen in right.
The team was also delighted to share the day with Alex Wawrzyniak, a member of the team for the last three years as part of the Friends of Jaclyn program.
The batting practice was the first event of an April-long celebration of Fenway Park's 100th anniversary by marking the first game to ever take place at the 100 year-old ballpark.
"Harvard baseball is thrilled to be included in the birthday celebration at Fenway Park," said Harvard baseball coach Joe Walsh, a Dorchester native who has chronicled a long career of sneaking into the old ballpark. "Our guys look forward to any chance to set foot on a Major League Baseball diamond – in this case a batting practice session where many will take aim at the Green Monster. These are special moments that all young baseball players dream about and Harvard has been fortunate to have these opportunities every few years."
Harvard and Red Sox alum, Mike Stenhouse '80 took part in the festivities as he donned a throwback Red Sox uniform to throw an extra round of batting practice to senior Marcus Way, who was also outfitted in a throwback jersey with the Harvard "H" emblazoned on the pocket. Stenhouse spent his final season in the big leagues with the American League Champion Red Sox in 1986, posting a .424 on-base-percentage in 21 games. Stenhouse is one of only two players to don the Red Sox and Harvard uniforms, along with infielder Tony Lupien, who played for Boston in the early 1940s.