By Matthew Dunn, Contributing Writer
Region – A great indicator of leadership capabilities is being able to answer difficult questions. When newly appointed manager of the Worcester Bravehearts and Westborough native Alex Dion was asked who has the best pizza around, his answer was quick and decisive: Westboro House of Pizza.
Dion has a clear love of both baseball and the area he grew up in, leaving little room for coincidence that as the Worcester Bravehearts began a search to find their new manager, Dion naturally filled the void left by outgoing manager J.P. Pyne. As such, he was selected to be a new leader of the local Futures Collegiate Baseball League team. Somewhat of a fixture in the greater Worcester area baseball scene, Dion previously worked as a hitting coach with the Worcester Bravehearts during the 2018 season and as head coach for Milford High School’s varsity baseball team.
The Worcester Bravehearts General Manager Dave Peterson quickly recognized Dion’s skill set last year during his first season with the team.
“I was really impressed by his dedication last year when he was our hitting coach. He did a wonderful job working with the players who wanted additional instruction in the batting cages and additional ways to mark their progress,” Peterson said. “He set up a whole system for us that incentivized our players to have quality at bats last year.”
It didn’t hurt that the Bravehearts finished the year with a league leading .298 team batting average.
“When you come in to a league that is only running 10 weeks a year it’s really difficult to leave a mark, and I think last year when he came on board as a hitting coach he really did have an impact,” Peterson added.
Dion now works in Milford and Worcester, but the continued connection he and his family have to the Westborough community remains strong. If you happen to speak to the right person at the Westborough Senior Center, you may hear a story about his late grandmother, Marjorie Dion, who worked as a long-time volunteer for numerous events and activities. Patricia (Patti) Dion, his mom, has lived in town for 35 years and counting. And of course, some of Dion’s favorite memories include playing baseball for Westborough High School until graduating in 2007.
“I have a ton of memories growing up there, graduating from Westborough High School and playing little league in Westborough,” he recalled.
“From ages 10, 11, 12, being down at the Little League fields every Friday and Saturday night and getting to play baseball with all my best friends and guys that I grew up with.”
Dion brought his love for the game to Westborough High School as a 3-year varsity baseball team member.
“My senior year I got to be one of Coach [Scott] Kittredge’s first captains – it was his first year as varsity baseball head coach at Westborough High School, and he’s still there today and does a great job with that program,” he noted.
A 2011 graduate of Western New England University, Dion continued to climb the baseball ladder as a member of the Golden Bears men’s baseball team. The team won the 2008 Commonwealth Coast Conference Championship, but Dion credits his experience with former coach Matt LaBranche at Western New England University in helping him focus in on a career path.
“That experience sparked my interest and really helped me figure out what I wanted to do; become a coach and teacher,” Dion said.
Dion has stayed on the same course he charted during his time in college, and now, finding himself beginning a new chapter in his coaching career, he is thankful for the continued support he receives.
“I’m very proud and honored to have this responsibility, and it makes it even more special being local, and knowing all the people from Westborough that reached out to me when the news broke.”
While thankful for the support, Dion is also ready to get to work.
“I want to make a positive impact in this organization, and that includes everything from winning baseball games, to product on the field and helping our players grow, to making sure the fans and season ticket holders know who I am.”
More and more people every year are finding out who Alex Dion is – the Worcester Bravehearts manager and Westborough native who knows exactly where to go for a great slice of pizza when he’s back in town.
To follow the Bravehearts, visit www.worcesterbravehearts.com.