Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.14
Greater Lawrence Technical High School 57 River Road Lawrence, MA 01810
Year Opened: 1965
Warriors, Come Out and Play
Merrimack College is a private Augustinian university in North Andover, Massachusetts located about a half hour’s drive northwest of Boston. It was founded in 1947 with a mission to educate World War II veterans returning home. It has since grown to an enrollment of just under 5,500 students studying in 13 academic divisions.
Traditionally Merrimack’s athletic teams, known as the Warriors, competed in Division Two, while the school’s ice hockey teams competed in Division One. In 2019 Merrimack College began to transition all of its teams to Division One. The Warriors will become full Division One members in 2023, competing in the Northeast Conference. Prior to elevating to Division One, Merrimack baseball had qualified for three Division Two Championships, winning four conference titles.
One Merrimack alumnus (Ryan O’Rourke) has reached the Major Leagues. There is a baseball Hall of Famer who attended Merrimack College-Carl Yastrzemski, who attended school there to get his B.S. in Business Administration during his first few seasons in the Majors. Another Warrior baseball player who moved on to greener pastures was Charlie Day, better known for his role in “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” among others.
The Greater Lawrence Technical High School opened in 1965 to serve students of Lawrence, Andover, North Andover and Methuen interested in an education with a vocational focus. Beginning in 2010, the school began a long project to modernize its athletic facilities. The entire project came with a price tag of $4.8 million. When plans for a new baseball field on the Merrimack campus fell through, the team moved their home games to the newly turfed field at GLTHS.
Food & Beverage 0
There is no food available at GLTHS. Fans are welcome to bring in their own drinks and snacks. Since this is New England, you’re sure to see lots of Dunkin’ cups on these chilly April and May afternoons.
You wouldn’t expect an elaborate game day presentation here at a small field like GLTHS, and you certainly won’t get one. Most of the energy present here comes from the players on the field and their family members in the stands. If you enjoy being able to hear the chatter on the field, you’ll love your time at a Merrimack baseball game.
A small scoreboard in left-center field displays basic game stats. There is a PA announcer who tries WAAAYYYY too hard, and each Warrior player gets three seconds or so of walk-up music. Aside from that, there is nothing, and I mean nothing, to distract you from the action going on down on the field. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Lawrence is a city with a population of about 90,000 residents a half hour’s drive northwest of Boston on the New Hampshire border. Located on the banks of the Merrimack River, Lawrence came of age during the Industrial Revolution as mills and factories were built along the shores of the river. Like many other cities in the northeast that suffered through the decline in manufacturing after World War II, Lawrence has struggled to redefine and modernize its economy in the decades since.
The Merrimack campus is located five miles from GLTHS in neighboring North Andover. Fans looking for other sporting options in the area during baseball season can pair a Warriors game with a UMass-Lowell Riverhawks game at LeLacheur Park, or if visiting in April, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Boston Red Sox and Worcester Red Sox all play within an hour’s drive of Lawrence.
Visiting fans will find nothing of interest within walking distance of GLTHS, although several hotels are located nearby along the I-93 corridor. In fact, a Courtyard by Marriot is located just beyond the left field fence. Fans looking for a place to eat nearby will likely check out The Chateau Restaurant or Andiamo Restaurant Bar and Café, both located near I-93. Otherwise, visiting fans are likely to head towards Boston for dining and lodging options or other attractions.
The crowd at a Merrimack baseball game can accurately be described as a “friends and family” type of crowd. For the game Stadium Journey attended, the crowd numbered about 100 fans on a chilly Sunday afternoon. Most of the fans in attendance appear to have a personal connection with the players on the field and are very invested in the action. It makes for a very low-key, friendly atmosphere, as everyone seems to know everyone in the stands.
GLTHS is easy to get to, located just a half mile from Interstate 93 as it runs through western Lawrence. Simply take exit 42 off of I-93 and follow the signs to Greater Lawrence Technical High School, which will be on your left as you travel down River Road past the industrial park. The ballfield itself is located behind the school along with the other athletic fields. Ample parking is available for visiting fans right next to the ball field.
Limited seating is available on a pair of aluminum bleachers on either side of home plate. Standing room is available right behind home plate, as well as down the left field line. There is room on a hill down the left field line for fans to set up their lawn chairs and take in the action. This appears to be the most popular spot at GLTHS. Sitting on the bleachers will require you to look through both a fence and some netting that serves as the backstop. Seats down the line are free from all obstructions.
While construction is still ongoing at the facility (landscaping work is going on near the entrance and far down the left field line, where the hill is being terraced and it appears a building with restrooms and possibly a snack bar is being built), it is easy to access all parts of the ballpark. At the present time the only restroom facilities at GLTHS is a port-a-john, but this appears to be a work in progress.
Return on Investment 5
You will not spend a single cent to watch a Merrimack baseball game. Admission and parking are free at GLTHS.
There is nothing at a Merrimack baseball game that can be considered extra. This is a bare-bones game day experience.
At first look, it may be hard to believe that a Division One program plays their games at a local high school. A deeper dive shows that the ball field at Greater Lawrence Technical High School is in fine shape and is comparable to other facilities in the area.