STORRS, Conn. -- The UConn baseball team got a major roster boost on Monday (April 20), as five-year old Grayson Hand of Sturbridge, Mass. officially joined the program with the signing of his National Letter of Intent.
Partnering with Team IMPACT, the baseball team formally introduced its newest member at a press conference at the Mark R. Shenkman Training Center. Grayson's sister Sophie (age seven) was also introduced as an honorary UConn cheerleader during the event. Following the press conference, Grayson participated in his first team workout and will soon be assigned his locker inside the UConn Batting and Pitching Facility at J.O. Christian Field.
Team IMPACT partners children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses with local college athletic teams to improve their quality of life. Grayson, currently in his second year of treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, is the second Team IMPACT member to join up with a UConn team. The men's hockey program adopted five-year old Camden Soucy prior to the 2014-15 season.
"We have found that the best teams never have enough brave, courageous and tough people to make them up...in reading about Grayson's story, we know he is one of those people," 12th-year head coach Jim Penders said.
Penders was quick to credit seniors Carson Cross and Blake Davey as two Huskies that spearheaded the effort to bring Grayson aboard. Cross and Davey joined Penders alongside Grayson when he signed his NLI.
"We're extremely happy to have Grayson, he is going to be a big part of this team for a long time," Davey said.
"It's a very exciting day," Cross added. "I believe it will be an awesome experience for our team, for Grayson, his family and everyone else involved. I am proud to welcome him to our team."
Grayson will attend his first home game as a Husky in the near future and plans on coming out to a practice as soon as this week. For more information from Grayson and the Hand family, click HERE. To learn more about Team IMPACT, click HERE.
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