May 2, 2009

Courtesy of Amherst

AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College baseball team will help celebrate the 150th anniversary of collegiate baseball when the Lord Jeffs take on archrival Williams College Sunday, May 3 at Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, Mass. Amherst and Williams first squared off on July 1, 1859 in Pittsfield, which has been recognized as the birthplace of collegiate baseball.

Prior to the 1 p.m. varsity showdown will be a three-inning vintage game featuring baseball alumni from Williams and Amherst. The teams will use 19th century equipment and uniforms, playing by the 1859 "Massachusetts Rules". An intercollegiate chess match will also run simultaneously with the vintage game to revive a tradition that began during the 1859 meeting.

Fans unable to attend will be able to follow a live webcast of the varsity game on ESPN360. Twitter updates will be made available throughout the varsity game.

The varsity game will also be shown on ESPNU on May 4 (7 p.m.), May 6 (4 p..) and May 13 (12 a.m.).

General admission tickets for the 150th year anniversary game will be sold for $5 each and can be purchased in advance by calling The American Defenders of New Hampshire offices at 603-883-2255. Amherst and Williams students with a valid student ID will be admitted free of charge.

National Public Radio’s “Only a Game” and the nationally syndicated radio talk show “Talkin’ Baseball” are also expected to be on hand in Pittsfield for the day’s events.

In addition to being broadcast on local and national media outlets, Sunday’s varsity game will determine which school hosts the 2009 NESCAC Baseball Championship. Although Williams has already clinched a spot in the postseason, an Amherst victory over its archrival would give the Lord Jeffs hosting rights throughout the three-day championship, which is set to begin Friday, May 8.

When Amherst and Williams met in Williamstown earlier this season, the Jeffs out-scored the Ephs by a 16-2 margin to earn a significant doubleheader sweep. Legendary Amherst head coach Bill Thurston, who will retire at the end of the 2009 season, is 92-34-1 against Williams in his 44 years at the helm.

A pre-varsity game ceremony will feature local elected officials and representatives from the College Baseball Hall of Fame, Williams College and Amherst College. Hall of Famers will be “honorary captains” and throw out the first pitch.  A commemorative print by a Berkshire County artist will be unveiled, officially recognizing Pittsfield as the “Birthplace of College Baseball.”

Dan Duquette ’80, who played a vital role in bringing national attention to the 150th anniversary game, has paired together the College Baseball Hall of Fame and the Dan Duquette Sports Academy to provide a free baseball clinic for local youths (ages 8-14) on Saturday, May 2. The clinic, which is set to begin at 3 p.m., will feature a member of the College Baseball Hall of Fame along with the Duquette Sports Academy staff.

There will be other special events throughout the weekend with Mayor Ruberto and the College Baseball Hall of Fame at Wahconah Park for alumni and friends from both schools.