Worcester Red Sox

WooSox Thankful for Partnership with Assumption; Recall Football and Baseball Feats on the Field

November 30, 2022 - International League (IL)
Worcester Red Sox News Release

Throughout November, the Worcester Red Sox have recalled moments and memories that move them to give thanks. This story illustrates how their partnership with Assumption University has provided extraordinary experiences for their student-athletes.

Assumption University, whose baseball players have taken to the Polar Park diamond twice in two years, gave way to their gridiron fellow students on Sunday, October 9, 2022, and handily defeated the "visiting" Franklin Pierce Ravens, 28-14. The late-morning D-2 game, whose kickoff launched the contest a few minutes after 11 a.m., drew more than 1,500 vocal, partisan fans.

"It was a great opportunity, and an even better experience, for our team to compete in an elite facility like Polar Park," said Andy McKenzie, head coach of the Greyhounds, who went on to win the conference championship and earn a spot in the NCAA D-2 playoffs. "The environment was first class, exciting, and it was an experience our team will remember for years to come."

The Greyhounds' triumph came in their first football affair at Polar Park, part of a three-game weekend series that was preceded by Holy Cross's 57-0 demolition of Bucknell Saturday in a D-1 contest, and was followed by Worcester Technical High School's 20-19 cliffhanger over Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School in a prep match later Sunday afternoon.

By Monday, Polar Park's baseball diamond was gleaming again.

"We enjoyed this foray into football for the second straight year," said Dr. Charles A. Steinberg, President of the Worcester Red Sox. "The crisp autumn air, bright blue skies, and beautiful orange leaves begged for gridiron greats to use the field at our ballpark.

"The civic vision for this public park always included football in the fall, and we are pleased that Holy Cross, Assumption, and Worcester Tech could all play host to games at this new gem."

Assumption is one of Polar Park's 21 "Founding Partners," and displays its sign prominently down the left-field line. The university's baseball team played the first-ever baseball game at the new park on "508 Day," May 8, 2021, just three days before the official home Opening Day of the Worcester Red Sox on May 11. Slugger Matt Schneider clubbed the first home run at the brand new ballpark, etching his name in the Greyhounds' and Polar Park's history books. Assumption beat Southern New Hampshire in a double header, 2-1 and 10-5.

"Assumption helped us with a 'shake down' of the ballpark before our official opening," Steinberg said. "It's good to make sure the faucets work and the grills cook before your Grand Opening. Nearly 30 years earlier, we had an exhibition at Oriole Park at Camden Yards featuring the Orioles and the New York Mets. That run-through of a ballpark was also enormously helpful. We remembered that experience and invited Assumption to participate."

The Greyhounds' Starting 9 again took the field in 2022 before the WooSox' second season. This time, Stonehill College edged Assumption, 6-5, on April 9.

In addition to baseball and football, Assumption's partnership includes flourishing academic components, including internships in the WooSox' front office. The club's Director of Baseball and Game Day Operations, Alex Richardson, met the WooSox' Chairman and Principal Owner Larry Lucchino at the announcement of the partnership and became an intern shortly thereafter.

"I have a lot of pride seeing the impact of Polar Park and how it has directly influenced these student athletes at Assumption," Richardson said. "This became full circle. This is where I work, and this is where they play.

"When Matt Schneider hit that historic home run, it brought me so much joy seeing how hard he has worked. He was my teammate three years and he's one of the top people to deserve it."

The Greyhounds' football roster included Matt Amissah, who worked for the WooSox Foundation in the summer of '22.

"Matt Amissah is a good story, the story of Worcester," Richardson said. "He was educated in Worcester public schools, graduates from Burncoat and goes to Assumption, works for the WooSox Foundation, and then hits the gridiron on this new field in Worcester. He is the heartbeat of the Commonwealth.

"It was cool to see so many alumni, so many students, and so many smiles."

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