It’s an exclusive club for the feat that made Reggie Jackson “Mr. October” and Babe Ruth the greatest legend in all of sports.
Classical softball players Fallon Gaudet and Chelsey Bartlett are now part of the Lynn softball home run sorority that has few members: those who have hit the ball out of Grace Rogato Field.
Bartlett, a sophomore, belted her fence-clearing blast in her first at-bat of the season during a win over Somerville.
“It was a fastball outside and it went over the right centerfield fence,” said Bartlett, a Northeastern Conference Softball All-Star whose family is more associated with hockey playing excellence. “It was exciting. My parents [Jack and Pat] were excited. I just happened to look out and see them.”
Gaudet, a senior captain and Northeastern Conference All-Star second baseman, clouted a solo home run in a 6-3 win over previously undefeated Salem Friday.
“It went to right center and I hit an inside fastball,” said Gaudet. “I thought it was going to be a triple. I was running so hard and then when I turned first base, I realized it went out, so I started my home run trot. My mother [Lucille] actually ran into the dugout and I didn’t know who it was, and she jumped on top of me.”
The home run reception at home plate and the home run trot are all part of the experience for an accomplishment that takes power, timing, athletic ability, and the right type of pitch to hit.
“The girls were there to greet me at home plate – which was nice,” said Bartlett. “And then Mr. Warren told me, it was the first home run by a Classical player since 2002.”
Heather Kerrins, a left-handed batter, was the last Classical player to hit the ball over the fence at Rogato Field.
“Heather’s a lefty so she pulled the ball, while Chelsey and Fallon went opposite field,” said Classical assistant softball coach Lauren Phelps, who witnessed all three home runs.
Bartlett said she was excited when Gaudet hit her home run last Friday. “I was there to greet her,” said Bartlett. “I knew as soon as she hit it, that the ball was going out .”
Both Bartlett and Gaudet said that Classical softball coach Chris Warren has helped improve their hitting. “Basically, he helped me with everything,” said Bartlett.
Gaudet said she started slowly in her first varsity season and tried becoming a left-handed slap hitter. “But Mr. Warren changed me back to a right-handed hitter and that’s how I’ve hit since then. He’s taught me a lot about hitting. He’s a great guy and he teaches you how to be a good person in general, too.”
Gaudet’s home run power may have been born in her dancing career. She has danced at LeAnn Leslie’s School of Dance for 13 years and that training has helped her balance and strength in the batter’s box – not to mention her gracefulness and talent on the dance floor.
Gaudet is leaning toward Curry College and continuing her softball career at the next level. “I visited Curry and had lunch with the coach and we talked a little bit about college softball,” said Gaudet.
Warren, who presented each player with game balls commemorating their home runs, said he was proud of his two players, who have worked hard to improve their hitting.
“Chelsey works tremendously hard,” said Warren. “She always goes to the Hit Zone [Swampscott] and if she’s struggling, her dad [Jackie] will take her there and she’ll go from a practice to a hitting lesson. And no one works harder than Fallon. The personality she brings to the team, and her leadership – I’m just so happy to see her hit a home run. It’s a little feather in her cap that she can say that’s she done it. If we hadn’t defeated Salem, the home run wouldn’t have meant too much to her – that’s the type of attitude she takes and part of being who she is.”
Warren was a star quarterback at Lynn English and played in Super Bowl at Foxboro [Gillette] Stadium. But he remembers vividly his only home run.
“Kiley Park, Lynn Shore Little League,” said Warren with a smile. “That’s something you don’t forget. I still have the baseball.”