LOWELL, Mass. -- Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski and quarterback Brian Hoyer turned back the clock on Friday night, taking batting practice with the Lowell Spinners baseball team (Red Sox Single-A) prior to a game against the Williamsport Crosscutters (Phillies) at LeLacheur Park.
Both played baseball prior to their NFL days.
Gostkowski, a pitcher, was 16-2 with a 1.00 earned run average while leading Madison Central High School to the 2002 Mississippi state championship. He also played baseball at the University of Memphis.
Hoyer was a pitcher and outfielder, compiling an 8-1 record with a 1.99 ERA as a sophomore, leading St. Ignatius (Cleveland) to the 2002 Division I state championship.
Gostkowski and Hoyer took part in a unique promotion with the Spinners on Friday night, with Gostkowski kicking autographed footballs into the stands and Hoyer throwing them into the stands.
"It's part of the overall idea of entertainment and what we do at LeLacheur Park; it's a family experience and not just baseball," explained Jon Boswell, the Spinners' director of media relations. "One night you could be having footballs kicked into the stands, another night it could be a 69-year-old man flying over the wall; you never know what it will be."
Spinners hitting coach Rich Gedman, the former Red Sox catcher, tossed batting practice to Gostkowski and Hoyer. The experience brought back memories for the two Patriots.
"Baseball was my first love growing up; it's nice to be around guys who are around the game every day," Gostkowski said. "It's a great park and the people here in Lowell have always been real nice to me, coming out here. I'm probably going to hit the cold tub after all those swings."
"Baseball was always my first love too," added Hoyer, who donned a green Spinners' jersey for his alma mater, Michigan State. "When Steve told me about the opportunity, I was like 'I definitely want to do that.' On the ride up, we were like little kids, 'who's going to hit more runs?' We tied, so I guess it's all good."
Hoyer and Gostkowski had one home run apiece.