By Emma Rose Johnson, Globe Correspondent
Last summer, Wrentham T-ball coach Jim Lucas had a vision of creating the world's longest baseball game. He thought the event would make a great fund-raiser and would be a perfect way to bring the community together.
Terry McGovern, a fellow coach who is also the league president, was skeptical.
"To be honest, I greeted Jim with about 10 seconds of silence," McGovern said. "I just couldn't figure out how it would work, logistically."
Despite others' doubts, Lucas persevered. The game began at 8 a.m. today, and plans call for it to continue nonstop for 36 hours, until 8 p.m. Sunday.
More than 800 chidren, ranging from 5 to 15 years old, will play in shifts at Sweatt Recreational Complex. The event features a silent auction, raffles, and a community campout near the field for those who wish to watch the action through the night.
“It’s just been a magical, magical event,” Lucas said. “This could be Wrentham in 1909.”
McGovern, head of the Wrentham Youth Baseball and Softball Association, said his group kicked off the weekend with $40,000 raised and would like a total of $75,000 by the event’s end. Lucas said the crowds have been very supportive.
“I had one father come up to me and offer tickets to the next Yankees-Red Sox game for the silent auction,” Lucas said. “Even the parents are excited about this.”
The funds will go to a variety of nonprofits, including Curt’s Pitch for ALS, the March of Dimes, and the Wrentham Food Pantry. Players who raise $250 or more will get to have lunch with former Red Sox player Curt Schilling, who lives in Medfield.
Lucas estimated the game would end with about 300 runs in roughly 100 innings. The game would beat the previous longest baseball game (32 hours, 29 minutes) in the Guinness Book of World Records, which was played by a St. Louis men’s senior league in 2007, he said.
Lucas said he was thrilled with the event and how the community has responded.
“What started out being about breaking this record has turned into the most unique community event I’ve ever been a part of,” he said. “I’ve never seen more smiles.”
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