The expectations are high when you are a University of Kentucky commit, but Mason Hazelwood has certainly exceeded them. During his last season as a Mercer County Titan, Hazelwood earned first team all-state honors for his stellar play.
“It’s definitely a great achievement for me,” said Hazelwood. “Starting on the preseason second team all-state wasn’t where I wanted to be, but as the year went on, receiving the honor for first team all-state showed me throughout the year, I have improved as a player overall.”
Hazelwood pitched in 14 games this season, starting 12 of them. He had a record of five wins and four losses during those 12 starts, with three no-decisions. Hazelwood led the Titans in strikeouts with 104 out of the 216 strikeouts Mercer had as a team.
He was the go-to guy all season long. He talked about the loss to Boyle County in region play and wishes his senior year could have ended on a better note. He spoke very highly of the new coaching staff consisting of Adam Shartzer, Austin Horn and Brian Howard.
“Although senior year didn’t end the way we all hoped, it was an honor to play beside each and every one of my teammates,” said Hazelwood. “For their first year as a coaching staff, coach Shartzer and coach Horn both lead us in the right direction.”
Hazelwood said a lot of teams fall apart after a coaching change, but it was different with this group.
“We all could have grieved over the loss of a coach like Shope, but instead they stepped up and made us bust our butts every single day,” he said. “Coach Howard was a key part as well. He gave the team life. He knew exactly what it would take to get us motivated to go out and play our hardest and he was the constant reminder to me and hopefully everyone else on the team that no matter what the outcome was, it’s just a game for fun in the long run.”
It was easy to see how intimidating Hazelwood was on the mound this year. With his six feet four inch frame and long arms, his ability to put movement on the ball attracted D1 attention all season long.Hazelwood has shown throughout the season why he is playing at the college level by being unhittable at times.
“There’s no better feeling in the world than being on the mound knowing even though the guy in the box is trying his hardest to get a hit that he physically couldn’t,” said Hazelwood.
Hazelwood knows he is mentally ready for the next chapter of his life in Lexington, but the main goal for him before starting his freshman campaign is to get better from a physical standpoint and he knows the coaching staff at UK will improve his mechanics and mold him into the player that he needs to be to benefit the program overall.
To learn more, check out this week’s issue of The Harrodsburg Herald.