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Despite the disappointment in the canceling of the America East Baseball Championship due to the COVID-19 health crisis, the University of Massachusetts Lowell is just beginning to be a focal point of major season-ending events in the conference. Had the baseball championship taken place in late May, it would have been the first of four straight Spring of season-ending events on campus. Next spring, it will be the Track & field championship, in 2022 it will be softball’s turn. Then in 2023, baseball will return as UMass Lowell puts themselves in position to be the go-to place for league championships to be decided.
Before the Track and Field event takes place, UMass Lowell will spend this summer doing some work on the outdoor venue. The track itself will be torn up and replaced with a new surface. That should be installed by the time students return for the start of school in the fall. This should give the members of the team a chance to try out the new surface and request any changes to it as they deem fit. Other improvements will be done to the area as well. This will be the first time that the school has hosted the championship since becoming a division one member.
In 2022, it will be softball’s turn to host the America East Softball event. As with Track & Field, the softball program will be getting their first opportunity to host the championship. Six of the seven members of the league will come to Lowell to play at River View Field in early May of 2022 to see who will move on to the NCAA softball championships. For softball, it will be a chance to show off the program and park to players in the Merrimack Valley area that may have UMass Lowell on their radar.
Baseball will get the championship back in 2023. It will mark the fifth time that America East will hold this event in Lowell. It does not hurt that the ballpark in question, Lelacheur Park, is home to the short-season Class A Lowell Spinners of the Boston Red Sox organization. The idea of playing an event like this in a professional setting is always good for the players and league. And for the first time, the River Hawks will be able to play in the championship in their own ballpark. The previous times the team could not play in the championship because they were making the jump from division two to division one. Their possible presence in this event, hopefully, will bring out the local baseball fans to see some good college baseball. As with the Softball event, six of the seven schools will come to Lowell to take part in a double-elimination tournament.
UMass Lowell seems to be becoming the place to go for springtime championships in America East. And with improvements taking place in and around the campus, the school is giving themselves a chance to show off the area to interested student-athletes that makes this a win-win for both the school and America East.
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