Dunkirk native Messina pushes dreams to Triple-A baseball with Boston Red Sox

Submitted Photo Pictured is Dunkirk High School baseball coach Frank Jagoda, left, and Chris Messina (DHS Class of 2010) at a AA game at UPMC Park in Erie on Aug. 9, 2018. Messina was a catcher for Jagoda in high school and is now the strength and conditioning coach for the Boston Red Sox AAA affiliate, the Pawtucket Red Sox.

SUNY Fredonia and Dunkirk High School graduate Christopher Messina recently completed his third season as the Strength and Conditioning Coach with the Class AA Portland Sea Dogs, the Boston Red Sox’s Eastern League affiliate and was named the 2018 Eastern. League Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year.

But as far as he’s concerned, that’s always been just the start.

Messina has recently been promoted within the Red Sox organization, as his new assignment in 2019 will be with Class AAA Pawtucket of the International League, getting Messina one step closer to The Show.

Messina played baseball at Fredonia State through the 2012 season and earned a degree in Exercise Science. He went on to graduate school at Salisbury University and worked at Texas Christian University before joining the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, which earned him a job in the Arizona Fall League during the 2016 season.

Messina described his in-season grind to the SUNY Fredonia athletics’ page as “12-hour days, and a lot of bus rides.” No stranger to work ethic, he was valedictorian at Dunkirk High School and graduated from Fredonia in three years. He credits his father, Dean and his grandfather for insisting he strive to do his best.

“My dad always pushed me to be doing something and doing better,” Messina said to SUNY Fredonia. “If I got a 95 [on a test], he would say I could have gotten a 97… He saw potential in me and never settled for being okay. My grandfather was the same way.”

According to his high school coach Frank Jagoda, Messina has always had his head above the clouds.

“I’m sure he’s doing a lot of background work to get to where he wants to be,” said Jagoda about Messina in the summer. “To love the game as much as he does — it’s not easy to be as high up as he is. And with his work, I’m sure he’ll bump up even higher. The sky is the limit for this kid.”

As Messina continues to move up the Red Sox organizational ladder, his mission stays the same: Make a positive impact on people.

“We as strength coaches just want to help people, educate and make an impact on people,” said Messina during his Professional Baseball Strength and Conditioning Coaches Society podcast. “I think it’s just in all of our blood as strength coaches — we just like to help people any way we can.”

Now living in Arizona, Chris and his wife, Kerrin, were guests of the parent Red Sox for Games 1 and 2 of the 2018 World Series. He will receive a World Series ring.