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Daily News

HOLYOKE — The Valley Blue Sox of the New England Collegiate Baseball League will kick off the NECBL 2021 summer season at MacKenzie Stadium in Holyoke on Thursday, June 3 against the Mystic Schooners.

The Blue Sox will honor medical personnel, including municipal workers, firefighters, EMS, teachers, and other frontline workers at their opening game for Hometown Heroes Night, when different groups will be asked to stand during each inning to honor their dedication to the safety of the community throughout the pandemic. First responders and those with a hospital ID will attend the game free of charge.

MacKenzie Stadium is located at 500 Beech St. in Holyoke, next to Holyoke High School. The gates will open at 5:30 p.m., and first pitch is at 6:35 p.m.

Ticket information can be found at www.valleybluesox.com.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — The Valley Blue Sox of the New England Collegiate Baseball League, in coordination with presenting sponsor Holyoke Medical Group, announced three youth baseball clinic dates.

At these clinics, to be held in three different locations around Western Mass., participants will hone their hitting, pitching, and fielding skills with instruction from Blue Sox players and coaches. The dates and locations are as follows:

• June 28 to July 1, 9 a.m. to noon, Hadley Elementary School fields (rain date July 2);

• July 5-8, 9 a.m. to noon, Mackenzie Stadium, Holyoke (rain date July 9); and

• July 12-15, 9 a.m. to noon, Spec Pond Recreation Area, Wilbraham (rain date July 16).

The registration cost for each clinic is $120. The clinics are open to children ages 6-13.

Youth clinics are meant to bring the community together by introducing Blue Sox players, who hail from all over the country, to the area, in addition to generating interest in the game of baseball in young children through in-depth instruction from the college athletes and their coaches.

Every child who participates in the youth clinic will receive two tickets to the Blue Sox Clinic Night on Wednesday, July 21. This night is a way to commemorate the work put in during the clinics, and every child will have the opportunity to take the field with the Blue Sox during the pregame ceremonies.

To register for these youth clinics, click www.bluesoxcamps.com for the Hadley or Holyoke clinic, or www.wilbrahamrec.com for the Wilbraham clinic. For more information, visit www.valleybluesox.com and select ‘Youth Clinics’ from the drop-down menu.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — The Valley Blue Sox announced that an alumnus of their 2016 season, Hezekiah (Hez) Randolph, will take over for John Raiola as head coach.

Randolph, 25, of Baton Rouge, La., has had a successful career in both high-school and collegiate baseball. He was a designated hitter and second baseman for the University of New Orleans Privateers, where he was named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American in his freshman year and All-Louisiana First Team during his senior year.

Randolph joined the Blue Sox as a player in the summer of 2016, where he was selected for the New England Collegiate Baseball League All-Star Game, in addition to earning second-team honors. He then went on to join the Blue Sox coaching staff as a hitting coach in 2018.

“I think everyone’s goal is to one day fill the position of head coach, so I am first thrilled to take on this role,” said Randolph. “The dynamic [from being an assistant coach to a head coach] is different. The players feel like they can be a little more comfortable with you.”

Randolph added that he looks forward to navigating the position of head coach by connecting with his players and motivating the team to be the best players they can be. “This opportunity pretty much changed my life.”

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