WILTON – It’s been 40 years since Wilton resident Bob Caswell played on these fields, but his post-graduate, painstaking care for the playing field at the Wilton-Lyndeborough High School has not gone unnoticed.
On May 25, the dugouts were dedicated to the long-time baseball coach, prior to a double-header between WLC and Mascenic. Caswell, who built the dugouts years ago when he was caretaker for the fields, was a 1974 graduate of WLC, where he played baseball, and he later coached baseball at Mascenic for 11 years. He maintained the fields in Wilton for 10 years.
A big crowd was on-hand for the dedication, which illustrated how well-respected the 58-year old Caswell is in the baseball community, including classmates from the Class of 1974, who are celebrating their 40th year as alumni.
“For all you did for the support of this community and for your beloved fields, we dedicate the dugouts to you,” WLC athletic director Brice Miller said.
Bruce McComish, who coached Caswell in high school, gave a moving speech. The two met in 1972 during high school soccer tryouts and was instantly impressed with him.
“When asked to speak about Bob, the letter “D” came to mind because he has the drive, the desire and the determination to do the best job he can do and always has,” McComish said.
After the speeches, the National Anthem was played, the Mascenic and WLC players shook Caswell’s hand to congratulate him and he then tossed out the first pitch.
“I was very honored and surprised,” Caswell said. “A lot of people went to a lot of effort to set this up and I appreciate it. My time here was priceless. I did it for the love of the game and to help the kids and to promote baseball here at Wilton and also at Mascenic.
“It was a hobby of mine to take care of the fields and I put my love and soul into them with a small budget or no budget at all. I didn’t sign up for money and I wanted the baseball field to particulate a little more notoriety and it was all for them. I did not do more or less for the soccer or softball fields, but the baseball field was my baby.”
From 1999-2009, Caswell was responsible for field maintenance in Wilton, and during that time he coached an AAU team at the WLC field on the weekends when it was not used by the high school.
“He did a great job with the fields,” Miller said. “We may not have had the best teams at the time, but we had the best fields. They never looked better and kids getting off the buses from other towns would think they were at Fenway Park here.”
Caswell has done much more for local baseball than care for fields. His dedication came as a coach who fostered many athletes to be their best and helped them refine their skills along the way. Now Caswell runs Power Series in Wilton, where he gives private lessons and operates a batting cage.
Caswell’s long and outstanding career as a baseball coach included Merrimack College, Southern New Hampshire University, St. Anselm College and the Nashua Pride.
“Wilton was lucky to have him,” said Steve Claire, the Milford baseball coach who was a 1987 WLC graduate. “I remember him coaching against me in high school and I always remember his intensity and the love for the game. He made a huge impact for many kids over the years. He lives and breathes baseball and he taught at every level of the game, including professional and was a great influence to so many players of the years.”
In high school, Caswell was three-sport athlete playing soccer, basketball and baseball but baseball was his true passion.