Sports, Spring, Baseball

Fenway’s finest

Tuesday evening at Fenway Park, Boston College and Harvard University’s baseball teams played for the baseball Beanpot championship. Fenway was by far as empty as it will ever be seen. Though one could find larger crowds at most Cape Cod League games, and Red Sox tickets are as costly as any in the big leagues, the chance to spend $5 for any seat at America’s most beloved ballpark is not usually passed up. Boston is a baseball town, but only a sparse crowd in the low hundreds showed up at Fenway for the game to see BC claim a 10-2 win and the Beanpot title. The last time BC and Harvard played, the Eagles beat the Crimson 10-0 behind the arm of Ted Ratliff. Tuesday night, Harvard was introduced to a familiar nightmare that starred BC’s junior righthander Ratliff from the mound, and sophomore Pete Frates from the plate. Frates went 4-for-4 from the plate, and hit the only home run of the day, a blast into the bullpen in right field. Ratliff got off to a rough start, walking the first batter and hitting the second. A wild pitch moved two runners into scoring position, who eventually scored on a double by Harvard’s Lance Salsgiver.

There were no outs to this point and the Crimson had a 2-0 lead. The situation didn’t look good for BC, but it would change soon after. Ratliff quickly settled down and began mowing down the Harvard lineup. Nine strikeouts and nine innings later, Harvard was hoping to never see him again. Ratliff credited his slow start to the exceptional condition of the Fenway mound. “I’m not used to pitching on such a great mound, but once 1 got used to it, I settled down,” said Ratliff. He also attributed success to his slider, saying it was his best pitch of the night. Frates, the Beanpot MVP, had a very impressive night hitting out of the nine spot in the Eagles’ lineup. His home run, double, and three RBls propelled BC’s offense to another 10-run night against Harvard.

After the game Frates said, “I haven’t had a 4-for-4 day since high school.” And he was very excited about “bringing the Beanpot back to BC, where it belongs.” Well before Frates’ home run shot, the game was more or less over.

In the top of the second, BC scored four runs and never looked back. A double down the right-field line by Ryne Reynoso brought in a run. Frates followed with a single up the middle to bring in two of his RBls.

Strangely, Harvard used five different pitchers during the game. This was done in stark contrast to BC’s consistency on the mound, with Ratliff going all nine innings. Regardless of the score, it was a good reason to see a game at Fenwav Park.

BC stepped onto Fenway Park for Tuesday’s Beanpot championship game and came away with a 10-2 victory over Harvard to bring the title back to Chestnut Hill.

April 27, 2006