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When Ryan Mason did not make the Jamestown varsity team his junior year, he never considered quitting baseball.
“After I didn’t make the team, I talked to [Jamestown head coach Mike] Kuebler about what I needed to work on,” he said. “I just kept working harder and harder on pitching, fielding and hitting.”
A year later, Mason is a senior relief pitcher for the Eagles who has verbally accepted a spot to play for Bridgewater College.
The Division III school became interested in Mason after seeing his offesason pitching film.
“It’s that story where you don’t give up if you don’t make a team,” Kuebler said of Mason. “At some point in your life, you’re not going to make a team. You either pack it up or work hard to give yourself a chance to continue to play.”
Motivated by not making the squad, Mason began near-daily training that included throwing pitches to his father and having his dad throw batting practice to him in a cage.
Despite not making the varsity team, Mason still made a point to support his friends and attend every Jamestown baseball game – home or away. And while Mason could not play for Jamestown, that did not stop him from playing elsewhere to gain experience.
Over the summer, Mason pitched in weekend tournaments for the Virginia Swamp Things, a club baseball team based in Prince George, and Williamsburg Post 39 Gold, a junior league affiliate of American Legion Baseball.
“I would go different places and play in these big tournaments,” Mason said of his time playing travel baseball. “It allowed me to work on my pitching, fielding and hitting.”
During the summer, coaches at Bridgewater College began to take notice of Mason and became interested in him as a prospect after seeing film of Mason pitch and getting his measurables, which include height, weight and pitch velocity.
As fall workouts got underway, Kuebler also took notice of the work Mason had put in during the offseason.
“In our fall practices, he threw really well,” Kuebler said of Mason. “He just kept working. He grew a few inches and got bigger and stronger. His velocity increased and his control got better. He clearly worked through the winter.”
All of the time Mason spent working on his game was rewarded when during the 2015 Jamestown baseball tryouts, he learned he had a spot on the varsity roster.
“I’m not really an emotional person, but I was ecstatic,” Mason said of his reaction after learning he made the Jamestown team. “I’m glad to be a part of this team and what we have here is going to be great. I was just happy to be a part of it.”