Ballpark Opening Day
Monroe, NC - February 28, 2023 - Ken Stanley, a former Union Academy teacher and coach who tragically passed away in January 2021, was honored with the new ballpark named in his memory.
UA Foundation Board Chair Ray Black said, “The fields were in the planning stages when Coach Stanley passed away. Immediately, the idea of naming the ballpark in memory of Ken Stanley was overwhelmingly approved. His love of Union Academy and baseball were well known, and we are glad he will always be remembered.”
Family members, current players, former players, and a grateful school community gathered at the Ken Stanley Memorial Ballpark where the family was recognized and presented a framed Cardinals jersey to remember the day. The family of former middle school baseball coach Scott Moore, who passed away in October 2021, was also recognized with a jersey.
Members of the Stanley family and friends wore red and white jerseys with the number 8 under the Stanley name. Coach Stanley was a huge fan of former Cincinnati Reds player Joe Morgan #8, and he even named his daughter Morgan as a tribute.
The dedication included a ribbon cutting and tree planting prior to the ceremonial first pitch. The Stanley family planted a magnolia tree at the entrance to the park as a symbol of strength and magnificence because of its towering stature and abundant blooms.
On the baseball field, Stanley’s son, Ian, was surrounded by the Stanley and Moore families as he threw the first pitch to Moore’s son Brett at the plate. Ian and Brett were both coached by their fathers when they played middle school baseball at UA. Ian graduated from UA in 2012, and Brett is a current sophomore and varsity baseball player.
Fourth grade student Helen Patterson, daughter of donors Jason and Heather Patterson, threw out the opening pitch on the softball field.
The project by Myers and Chapman took roughly one year to complete from the groundbreaking on March 2, 2022 to opening day February 28, 2023.
The ballpark is home to both the softball and baseball fields. The side-by-side fully turfed fields each have their own batting cages and bullpens. The spacious press box overlooks both fields and sits atop the concession stand and restrooms.
The new facility is especially meaningful to current and former players who played through many seasons on borrowed fields. Athletic Director Michelle Phifer said, “Having a home field for our athletes is a dream come true. There’s a new level of pride in being able to play here on campus in this beautiful facility. We hope our alumni will attend the games and know they helped to build a successful baseball and softball program.”
Both the softball and baseball teams won their first games of the season on the new fields. To top off an already emotionally charged night, Brett Moore came in to pitch relief the last three innings to seal the victory over Carmel Christian 4-3 on the field where his dad is memorialized. The softball team defeated Anson 5-1.
In a statement from the Stanley family: “The dedication of the Ken Stanley Memorial Ballpark in memory of our dad means his legacy will live on through the athletes playing on these fields. If he was with us today, he would definitely be doing his famous cartwheels as he entered the park on opening day.”