Keene State Celebrates Centennial Night at Swamp Bats Game
KEENE, N.H., 6/16/08 - Last Saturday night was Keene State Centennial night at the Swamp Bat game. Red and white mixed with purple and black in the stands, the Owl met Ribby, there were hall of famers on the bases and in the field, an alum in the dugout and one in the broadcast booth, and a president on the mound. What better way to kick off a year-round celebration?
Before the start of the game, members of the Keene State College and Keene community got an opportunity to meet the KSC alumni athletic hall of fame inductees and coaches while viewing photos of the College's rich athletic history.
"It's amazing to see how much history is here," marveled Carrah Fisk Hennessey '99, a former soccer and softball standout for the Owls. "As student athletes we get caught up in the years that we were there. But it's really nice to learn about who came before us and the accomplishments they achieved while they were in school, too."
One by one, hall of famers representing different eras in Keene State athletics were introduced to an appreciative crowd. The divisions and conferences might have changed over the years and the institution may have gone through a metamorphosis of its own - from Keene Teacher's College to Keene State College - but the Owls who took the field that night had a common bond that led to a tradition of success.
There were athletes like Susan Woodworth-Scheinman '89, Renee Bernier '90, and Fisk Hennessey, who shined on the field, court, and diamond, respectively, and athletes like Howard "Bucky" Main '59, Arthur "Joe" Giovannangeli Jr. '66, and Bert Poirier '83, who also made names for themselves in the coaching fraternity. There were All-Americans like Kurt Schultz '78 and aspiring All-Americans like Jared Samuel '10, who represented current members of the KSC athletic program.
"This is really cool," said Samuel, looking over at the group of honored athletes. "Hopefully, I can add my name to the list of All-Americans next season."
Fittingly, Ron Butcher was the first to be recognized. Longevity has its advantages. "I remember seeing many of these athletes during their playing days," said Butcher, who is getting set for his 38th season coaching the Owl men's soccer team. "It's great to see them come back, not only as successful athletes and coaches, but also as respected members of the community. That's what the Centennial is all about."
Following the introductions, President Helen Giles-Gee made her way to the mound for the ceremonial first pitch.
"Keene State College Night at the Swamp Bats provided a wonderful venue for an exciting beginning to our Centennial Celebration! It was great to see many staff, faculty, students, alumni, and friends at the game, cheering for our hall of fame athletes who took the field with me to throw out the first pitch - and the Swamp Bats, coached by KSC alumnus (and current admissions counselor) Marty Testo," said Giles-Gee. "My thanks to the Swamp Bat organization and the Centennial Committee for organizing this event. What a wonderful way to celebrate ourselves and our community!"
And then it was time to play ball!
In addition to the NECBL action, fans at the game got to know more about Keene State athletics between inning announcements while fans at home, listening to Bob Lund '75 on Sunny 97.7, went down memory lane with Giovannangeli, John Scheinman '89, and present KSC baseball coach Ken Howe '86, who visited the broadcast booth.
The game provided alums, family, friends, KSC staff, and the community a chance to relax and, in some cases, reminisce.
"Seeing so many people after so many years brings back great memories," said Woodworth-Scheinman, a former record-setting goalie for the Owl women's soccer team. "It was a priceless time that helped me throughout my life."
It was a winning night all the way around as the Swamp Bats remained undefeated with a 4-0 shutout over the Sanford Mainers.
Before taking his spot in the dugout, Marty Testo '98, the first-year Swamp Bat coach, summed up his feelings on the special night. "This means everything to me," he said. "This city has been so good to me, both from an education and baseball point of view. And to bring it all together on the field tonight is great."
For more information about Keene State College's Centennial Celebration visit www.keene.edu/ksc100.