HARVARD -- Eleven local Little Leaguers are looking to fulfill a dream that many have, but few ever accomplish. The Harvard Hit Dogs are a team of ball players from local towns who are looking to make it to the baseball mecca of Cooperstown, N.Y., to compete in a Little League tournament with teams from as far west as California.
There is a bit of a twist, however, to the field of play the Hit Dogs will be playing on. The diamond is 50 feet by 70 feet in comparison to the Bromfield High School diamond on Pond Road in Harvard, which is similar to the dimensions of collegiate and professional fields.
The Hit Dogs are part of a new wave of Harvard ball players who are eager to put their town on the map. Seven players call Harvard home, and they are very select group of players, according to Harvard Youth Baseball Association President Darren Magan.
"The seven Harvard kids are a very special group that we have been nurturing in the Little League program," said Magan. "Harvard has had a high school program that I can't say is where it should be. A group of dads and myself have spent and nurtured these boys and tried to give these boys as much baseball as possible."
The Hit Dogs are asking that residents throw them a bone, so to speak, in the form of a $20 donation. Tomorrow, the team will be at Billiards Café on 39 Main St. from 7 p.m. to midnight in Ayer for a fundraiser event. Food will be provided with the purchase of admission, and your name will be entered into a $1,000 cash raffle.
Signed sports memorabilia from some of New England's greatest athletes will be available for bid in a silent auction, with 70 percent of the proceeds being donated to the Hit Dogs.
A Carl Yaztremski signed Hall of Fame bat is just one of the many items available for bid. If a bat signed by Yaz isn't your thing, and a day on the links is, a foursome tee-time package at Wedgewood Pines Country Club is among the various articles being auctioned off.
Children and families are welcome to attend from 7 to 9 p.m. and meet with the new Bromfield varsity baseball coaches, head coach Fred McDonald and pitching coach Mike Depietro.
The Hit Dogs are looking to raise approximately $15,000 to send all the coaches and players to Cooperstown in August for the tournament. Harvard would be given at least six games, and if they qualify for the championship bracket, the number of games will increase.
It's Cooperstown or bust, and these young athletes are poised to play America's pastime with some of the top youth players in the United States. Overall, it will cost $1,000 per player and coach to cover room and board, team uniforms and admission to the Hall of Fame museum.
The Hit Dogs are part of a new trend in Harvard Youth Baseball, which sees them either practicing or competing in games year round. Magan believes that the event is about much more than just playing baseball.
"We feel that if we expose them to top talent from around the country that they're really going to enjoy this sport and stay with it," said Magan. "It is going to be a weeklong experience of becoming better teammates. At the end of the day, the lesson is that you have to earn the right to go, and the kids are going to get to goof around with the ultimate goal of going to Cooperstown."
The Harvard Hit Dogs coaches and the Bromfield varsity coaches, look to build a better future for Trojans' baseball.
Magan cited lacrosse as baseball's number one competition.