Boston Shamrocks Alumna Amanda Conway throws out first pitch at Fenway Park prior to the first Red Sox-Yankees game of the season.
By Jasper Goodman
The Times Argus
BOSTON, MA — Being honored with a proclamation from the governor and a standing ovation from the Vermont House of Representatives is about the highest honor that most local athletes could imagine. What could possibly top that? Here’s one thing: Throwing out the first pitch at Fenway Park prior to the first Red Sox-Yankees game of the season.
On Tuesday night, three weeks after the Norwich University women’s hockey team captured its second ever Division III national championship, the Cadets got to do just that. Norwich players, who are already working out to prepare for the 2018-19 season, got to bask in the glory of their national title one more time. And they did it in front of a crowd of 32,357.
Asked how throwing out the first pitch at Fenway stacks up against the other honors the Cadets have received since winning the championship, Division III National Player of the Year [and Shamrocks Alumna] Amanda Conway didn’t have to pause. “It’s definitely at the top,” she said. “I’m from Boston, so it’s top of the list — hands down the best thing we’ve done.”
Conway, along with captains Laurie King and Bryn Labbe, delivered the ceremonial first pitch while the rest of the Cadets watched from behind the mound. “Bryn, Laurie and I were all really nervous because we didn’t think we were going to reach the plate,” Conway said.
Standing near the back of the crowd of Norwich players on the field was Cadets coach and lifelong Red Sox fan Mark Bolding, who has led NU for the last 11 years. “What a wonderful experience to have the players come down here,” Bolding said. “It was a long winter, and just to experience this is very memorable for them. They earned it. It just completes such a great season that they had.”
“For a lot of kids, you go to Norwich, you make New England your home,” Bolding said. “Most of these kids are Red Sox fans.” Bolding, a native of Canada, grew up rooting for the Red Sox. “Playing baseball is just synonymous with what a lot of hockey players did, even in Western Canada,” he said. “We played ball in the summer. I love Fenway, so I’ll never forget it. We’re pretty fortunate that the whole team can do this.” The Red Sox went on to rout New York, 14-1, after they scored nine runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
The Cadets beat Elmira, 2-1, on March 17 to win the national crown on their home ice. Norwich finished with a 27-1-3 record. “The reason I went to Norwich was that I knew they had a good hockey team and we had a chance to win a national championship,” Conway said. “But I never thought we’d be here, on the field, throwing out the first pitch. Pretty unreal.”