July 30, 2009
By Tim Simard
While advertised as Vermont Day at Fenway Park in Boston on Sunday, it was more like Williston Day. Two Williston residents were chosen to be guests of honor during the Boston Red Sox pregame ceremonies honoring the state.
Jake Bouffard, 9, gets ready to be the Boston Red Sox’s honorary batboy on Sunday during the team’s Vermont Day celebrations.
Williston resident Lori Camp (left) stands with Gov. Jim Douglas, team mascot Wally the Green Monster and Red Sox Nation Vermont Gov. Glen Jardine before Sunday’s first pitch during Vermont Day at Fenway Park in Boston.
Lori Camp was selected to throw out the first pitch of Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles. And 9-year-old Jake Bouffard had the privilege of being one of Vermont’s two honorary bat kids.
The Red Sox routinely celebrate the baseball team’s fan “Nation” by honoring all six New England states at select games during the season. Vermont Day came on July 26.
For Bouffard, a Red Sox fan for “as long as I’ve known about them,” being the team’s batboy was a dream come true. Bouffard helped organize the team’s helmets and bats while hanging out in the dugout before game time.
“I also had to carry (the team’s) coolers,” Bouffard said.
He was introduced via the loudspeaker to more than 36,000 fans on hand at Fenway Park. Randolph Center’s Samantha Tullar, 10, was the batgirl on Sunday.
Several Red Sox players signed Bouffard’s baseball hat, including second baseman Dustin Pedroia and outfielder J.D. Drew. He was also lucky enough to get a high five from slugger David Ortiz.
Bouffard also left the park with another souvenir when Orioles catcher Gregg Zaun gave him a baseball.
Bouffard was randomly selected from a list of Red Sox Kids’ Nation fan club members from Vermont. Bouffard’s father Jeff, mother Pam and sister Nicole, along with several other family members, enjoyed the game from the grandstands.
“I liked being out on the field,” Bouffard said of the experience.
So did Camp. A lifelong Red Sox fan, it was a “thrill” to throw out the first pitch of the game, she said. Gov. Jim Douglas and Red Sox Nation Vermont Gov. Glen Jardine escorted Camp to the mound. The nerves didn’t hit her until her name was announced over the loudspeaker.
“I got (the pitch) across the plate, and that was very good,” Camp said, adding that she was able to keep the ball after the pitch.
Like Bouffard, Camp was randomly selected from a drawing of Red Sox Nation fan club members.
Camp’s passion for the Red Sox runs in her blood. Her great uncle was former third baseman Jim Tabor. He played on the team before World War II, with legends that included Ted Williams and Johnny Pesky.
While she didn’t meet any players this time, she’s met them in the past. At a Red Sox game against the Chicago White Sox in Chicago, she gave outfielder Jason Bay a Vermont Expos baseball. Bay used to play on the Burlington minor league team, which has since changed its name to the Lake Monsters.
And even though Sunday’s Vermont Day was a blur for Camp, it was still the moment of a lifetime.
“I’ve been going to Fenway since I was a little girl,” Camp said.
Camp and Bouffard said they had fun at Fenway, even though the Red Sox didn’t win the game. Veteran pitcher John Smoltz took the 6-2 loss.