ITEM PHOTO BY KATIE MORRISON
All eyes were on Katie Burt, a Lynn Babe Ruth alum, as she threw out the first pitch as part of the Babe Ruth 15-year-old New England Regional tournament’s opening ceremonies.
By STEVE KRAUSE
LYNN — Katie Burt stood on top of the pitching rubber at Fraser Field and uncorked a pitch that said a little high and wide for North Shore Navigators player Nick DiBenedetto, a Nahant native.
Naturally, she was disappointed.
“I’ve done it better than that,” said Burt, who, before she was helping to backbone Boston College to the NCAA women’s hockey final last winter as the starting goalie, played Babe Ruth baseball in Lynn and threw many pitches from a regulation distance.
Burt was at Fraser Thursday night for the welcoming ceremony at the Babe Ruth 15-year-old regional tournament. She was asked to throw out the first pitch for the Navigators’ game that followed the ceremony.
Burt said there isn’t a lot of down time in her life these days. Between four-day-a-week structured workouts and her job as a ballgirl at Fenway Park, she keeps very busy.
Her job at Fenway Park provided her with her most recent bout with fame. Friday, July 8, she was stationed in foul territory between first base and right field, in the vicinity of “Canvas Alley,” when a vicious foul ball came her way.
“At first,” she said, “I couldn’t tell whether it was going to be fair or foul, so I didn’t move right away.”
Then, she saw the ball coming right toward her.
“If you look at the film (which got a lot of airplay on Boston TV news stations), I reacted right at the last minute.”
She leaned over and caught the ball just before it hit a member of the grounds crew.
“They’re the ones who would have gotten that if I hadn’t caught it,” said Burt, who treated the incident like it was just another save.
And why not? Her goaltending was a major reason why BC made it to the national championship in women’s hockey. And even though the Eagles didn’t win, she said there were no regrets.
“I think it was worse the year before,” she said. “That’s when we thought we had a better team, and should have won.
“But last year, we gave it all we had,” she said. “Minnesota (which defeated the Eagles) was just a better team.”
Burt is working hard this summer with more than one purpose in mind. First, she wants another crack at the national championship. But she also would very much like to be on the U.S. Women’s Olympic Hockey team that travels to South Korea in 2018.
“I think about that every day,” she said. “And I’ll definitely do what it takes to get there.
“I’ve been on world championship teams, been to two national championship games, and I’d really love to be on that team.”
Meantime, she’ll continue to work out. Earlier this summer, she went to Colorado Springs to an off-ice camp, and works out in Woburn at “Stop It,” which is a goaltenders camp.
She has fond memories of her Babe Ruth days and of being the local celebrity because she was the “girl playing with boys.”
“I never saw it that way and neither did (the boys),” she said. “I grew up with the same group of kids, and we were all friends. They all respected me and as far as I was concerned I was one of them.”
She’s always been somewhat athletically precocious. She won the Little League Home Run Derby in her Wyoma days, and was the starting goaltender for the Lynn/Saugus/Winthrop combine girls hockey team when she was in the seventh grade.
But, she said, she never won a state title for Babe Ruth “and I’m jealous of my cousin, Christian, because he’s playing in this tournament.”