Northeastern University baseball player Ryan Maguire called his shot in the dugout, and then backed it up, launching a home run on the first pitch of an exhibition game against the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night at City of Palms Park in Ft. Myers, Fla.
“I was joking with my teammates, saying how crazy it would be if I swung at the first pitch and hit a home run,” says Maguire, a slick-fielding infielder who clubbed a total of six long balls during his first three seasons with the Huskies. “We were laughing at the time, but it turned out to be true.”
Maguire’s dinger provided the lone highlight for the Huskies, who lost 13-2 in front of 4,616 fans at the Red Sox Spring Training facility. Northeastern kicked off its annual trip to the sunshine state with regular season losses to Sacred Heart, St. Bonaventure and the University of Rhode Island.
Maguire, who calls the home run “a surreal moment that I’ll remember forever,” hit a 95-mile per hour fastball thrown by Kyle Weiland, a prospect in Boston’s farm system. He geared up for a heater and lost the ball some 30 feet over the left field wall.
“I like to take my hacks on the first pitch, so I took a hard swing and made solid contact,” says Maguire, who might have an opportunity to play professional baseball in Europe next year. “If I see a fastball, that’s great, but if it’s a slider, I might look funny.”
Maguire had a chance to chat with Boston outfielders Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury before the game. The fleet-footed players graciously signed a couple of balls for the lifelong Red Sox fan, who hails from Arlington, Mass.
Maguire told the players that he’d like to see the club bring home another World Series title. “They laughed and said, ‘We’ll try,’” says Maguire. “There’s a lot of pressure playing for the Red Sox, and they’re used to everyone telling them that.”
The Huskies will play seven more regular season games in Florida and then travel to North Carolina for three games against UNC-Wilmington. The club will play its first home game on March 16 against Brown University.
Maguire is excited to find out how competitive the team can be. “It looks like we have a lot of potential,” he says.