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Stepping Up to The Plate

Southern’s baseball team will be on hand Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, as both volunteers and riders for the 12th annual Closer to Free Ride in New Haven.

According to their website, the Closer to Free Ride “fuels research and care at Smilow Cancer Hospital and Yale Cancer Center while giving riders of all levels the chance to experience five professionally designed and fully supported routes ranging from 10 to 100 miles long.”

Several players, along with head coach Tim Shea, discussed this meaningful volunteer opportunity with NBC Connecticut ahead of Saturday’s ride. Watch the full story here.

Pitcher Nick Guarino, ’22, said he will be riding for his mother, a cancer survivor, and his friend, who passed when he was 12 years old.

Shea’s brother Jackie was in attendance for the 2019 ride before loosing his battle to cancer.

“So for me, it was really a fulfilling day. Not just as a coach, but personally because I was there supporting my brother,” Shea said.

“You know, it was a great opportunity for us to give back to the community,” said centerfielder Andre Eng, ’21, MBA ’23. “And being a state school, you want to be a part of New Haven as a whole.”

Since the first Closer to Free Ride in 2011, riders, volunteers, sponsors, and supporters have generated more than $21 million for the life-saving and life-changing work of Smilow Cancer Hospital and Yale Cancer Center.

This year’s ride will be their first in-person event since 2019 and the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.


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