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Fenway a Hit for Prospects

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

BostonBruins.com - When the prospects arrived to Bruins Development Camp, they could have never guessed what they would get the chance to do five days later.

After putting in days of work, they all arrived to Fenway Park on Saturday morning, wide-eyed and beyond ready to take batting practice aiming at the Green Monster.

"It was pretty crazy," said 2014 draft pick, and Scituate, Massachusetts native Ryan Donato. "I've been to a lot of games and being on the field and taking BP is another thing. And to be with some of your friends is another."

"I mean, it was just a great day, a great experience, and I'll remember that for the rest of my life."

Donato was joined by fellow Massachusetts natives Ryan Fitzgerald, Matt Grzelcyk, Michael Doherty and Billy Sweezey. They were all in awe (as was everyone), from the moment they saw the field.

"Growing up, watching baseball, watching the Red Sox, it was a pretty unbelievable to be able to be on the field and play on the field," said Donato. "We had a great day, and the Red Sox organization did a lot for us."

The prospects were dispersed throughout the outfield and near the batting cage, making sure to give encouragement - and some fun jabs - to their teammates.

"It was unbelievable," said 2012 draft pick Colton Hargrove, who is participating in his third camp, while still in college at Western Michigan. "It's a once in a lifetime thing, and I'm glad I got to be a part of it with all of these guys."

"Me and Zane [Gothberg] took a couple of pictures, took some video of us taking batting practice, hitting pop-fly balls out to each other in the outfield. [Cole] Bardreau actually hit one over the Green Monster - but he was about 10 feet away from it, so that doesn't really count" he laughed.

Whether it counted (or not), it was the entire experience that made it special.

"It was a lot of fun, and I would definitely want to do it again. I don't know if I'm every going to get the chance, so I took advantage of it, and had a blast," said Hargrove.

Rob O'Gara was taking advantage of the rare opportunity as well, even if the 2011 draft pick and Yale defenseman (at his fourth development camp) grew up cheering on the Yankees from Long Island.

"It was very cool," he said, before adding with a laugh, "and hopefully my grandfather won't see the pictures, he won't be too happy about that, but that was awesome, a great surprise and a lot of fun."

Boston fans won't have to worry about him choosing the wrong side, though, especially with his sights set on being a Bruin one day.

"Oh yeah, don't worry. No one has to worry about that. It's okay, I can put them aside for a while," he smiled.

The last time O'Gara was at Fenway, he was amidst a snow-covered atmosphere on the ice for Frozen Fenway. A member of Milton Academy at the time, he just remembers getting crushed in the game. This new amazing experience will help ease those memories.

"I wasn't expecting it, coming in for the week, and I wasn't expecting to be this fortunate to get the opportunity," he said. "It's something that a lot of people can't say they've done and it was a lot of fun, especially with this group of guys."

"There's a lot of characters, a lot of fun guys, guys who want to put themselves out there, you know, taking hacks up there, it's fun to watch, so I think everyone enjoyed it a lot."

The current Bruins have had strong bonds with the Red Sox for years, and now these prospects will have their own connections to the fellow Boston sports team as well.

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