Challengers get a crack at Fenway Park

By Joan Hunt - Managing Editor
South Windsor, Bolton - posted Fri., Aug. 12, 2011
Andy Jones, 17, of South Windsor, swings at the Green Monster in Fenway Park. Photos courtesy of Constance Brown Photography. - Contributed Photo

Summer sports camps are as much a part of American life  as – well, baseball – but some local kids got the camping experience of a lifetime in early August, when they became guests of the Boston Red Sox at the CVS Caremark All Kinds Can™ Baseball Camp.

Seventeen members of the South Windsor Little League Challengers team, which includes players from Bolton, Glastonbury, Willington and Enfield, spent a day at Fenway Park that they will never forget. The experience, described by their coach, Steve Callahan of South Windsor, as “absolutely phenomenal,” included batting tips from Boston Red Sox Hitting Coach Dave Magadan, an up-close with mascot Wally the Green Monster, a VIP tour of Fenway and early entry to the evening’s Red Sox batting practice and following game against the Cleveland Indians.

Callahan said his players got the opportunity to bat and hit off the tee in the batting tunnel under the stands and also from home plate at Fenway Park. “Dave Magadan is such a gentleman, with the right personality to be the host,” said Callahan. “To have gotten instruction from a major leaguer who instructs the likes of Big Papi [David Ortiz] and Adrian Gonzales, and he gave them the same amount of attention,” Callahan mused.

The Challenger Division includes boys and girls with physical and/or developmental challenges, who are between the ages of 5 and 18. Callahan said his more experienced players hit some good balls toward left field, and he was extremely proud of them all.

“We are so grateful to CVS Caremark and the Red Sox for this experience of a lifetime,” said Callahan. This is the seventh year of the camp, part of a continued partnership between CVS Caremark and the Boston Red Sox, demonstrating their shared commitment to local children with disabilities. “CVS is a great organization, and I can’t say enough about them for the opportunity they afforded our kids,” Callahan said.

The players also enjoyed lunch in the Red Sox dugout and got to meet some of the Red Sox and Indians players, but maybe the biggest thrill of all was being on deck when Magadan hollered, “Batter up!”

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