November 14 - Mason Balsis has had an eventful fall.
The 6-foot, 180-pound catcher learned in September that he had made the USA Baseball 15U National Team roster for next summer’s team trials. Now, the Osbourn Park freshman has made a commitment to play for the University of Virginia, announcing his decision late last night via Twitter.
“So grateful and honored to announce my commitment to play baseball at UVA,” Balsis wrote on his Twitter handle. “I am thankful for my family, coaches and teammates for helping me get here.”
Balsis becomes the third area player from the Class of 2022 to commit to the Cavaliers, joining Paul VI Catholic left-hander Bradley Gagen and St. John’s (D.C.) right-hander Jack O’Connor, a resident of Arlington. The commitment of the three young players continues a recent trend of players committing to national-level Division I programs prior to making their prep debuts.
The freshman will turn 15 in January.
At Osbourn Park, he will play for coach Jack Ferrick, who has developed a reputation for developing catchers through his roles as a coach with the Yellow Jackets, the Marucci Stars travel program and the owner of his Prince William County-based Catchers U training academy.
“I have known Mason since he was seven years old, and he has always been a talented, humble and one of the hardest-working players I’ve had the opportunity to be around,” Ferrick wrote via text message this morning. “I’m looking forward to coaching him at Osbourn Park over the next four years.”
Balsis, who plays with the Stars, hit .467 with five RBI in seven games in June at the Perfect Game WWBA 14U National Championship. He reportedly recorded a 1.94 pop time (measuring the time between throws from home plate to second base) at the Perfect Game 14U National Showcase in Fort Myers, FL in August, then posted an impressive weekend at USA Baseball’s NTIS Champions Cup later that month en route to earning a spot on the national team.
Virginia went 29-25 overall and 12-18 in the Atlantic Coast Conference under coach Brian O’Connor this past spring, when it had a streak of 14 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances snapped. As the NCAA early signing period begins today for high school seniors, the Cavaliers are expected to secure a third straight Top 20 recruiting class.
Photo of Mason Balsis courtesy of Balsis family