Senior overcomes recruiting difficulties en route to commitment

Baronian to play baseball at Pace University

Senior+Mason+Baronian+and+coach+Will+Lynch+participate+in+a+signing+ceremony+for+college-bound+athletes.+Baronian+will+be+continuing+his+academic+and+athletic+careers+at+Pace+University.

Matt Austin

Senior Mason Baronian and coach Will Lynch participate in a signing ceremony for college-bound athletes. Baronian will be continuing his academic and athletic careers at Pace University.

Nolan Wasserman, Sports Writer

Mason Baronian couldn’t live without baseball. Or maybe he could, but he would rather not find out.

“I don’t know what I would do without [baseball],” Baronian said. “A lot of kids [have stopped playing], doing other stuff in their free time. For me, that’s just not something I want to do. I want to keep playing.”

Baronian will be doing just that, as he is committed to play baseball at Pace University, marking the next chapter in his baseball career.

The desire to not let a childhood game go could come from many places, but for Baronian, it is at least partially the result of a strong bond with older brother, Wes. The two grew up playing together, and their shared love for being on the diamond has only brought them closer.

“[Wes] is only one year older than me – we always played together,” Baronian said. “He really taught me how to play, and I kind of always looked up to him.”

Wes Baronian graduated from PV in 2020 after spending the entirety of his high school career playing baseball for Valley. PV baseball coach Will Lynch recognizes the bond between the two brothers after coaching both. According to Lynch, Wes’ support for his younger brother is very apparent.

“Wes is at just about every single game in support of Mason,” Lynch said.

Mason Baronian is quick to realize what the game has done for him in regards to his relationship with his older brother. “[Baseball] definitely has a greater meaning to me [because I was able to play with Wes],” Mason Baronian said. “[Going on] family trips and stuff over the summer, going to tournaments – it really brings us closer together. It’s a great bonding experience.”

After Wes made the leap to college baseball at Utica College in upstate New York last year, Mason realized there could be a spot for him at the next level as well.

“[At first], I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to play in college.” Mason Baronian said. “But by junior year, I knew I 100% wanted to go to college [to play] baseball.”

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has made just about every aspect of life more difficult, the already complicated college recruitment process had its fair share of new obstacles. For starters, the all-important showcase season looked way different this year.

“If you want to play college baseball, you have to play in showcases,” Baronian said. “Last year, [the season] got pushed back, and then we all had to wear masks at the beginning. Also, there were a lot less scouts. No D1 coach was allowed at any game.”

This created a tough situation in the crunch time of Baronian’s recruitment, but in the end, everything worked out for Baronian, as he started receiving offers during the summer following his junior year at Valley.

Baronian had many potential landing spots, having talked to a wide variety of coaches and scouts, including some at the D1 level, since his sophomore year. In the end, he decided that he wanted to attend a school closer to home, and he narrowed down his choices to two schools: Montclair State University and Pace University.

This decision was not too difficult for Baronian, as two of the coaches of his club team, the Complete Game Colonials, based out of Allendale, played college ball at Pace.

“My [coaches] played [at Pace University], which was really the deciding factor between Pace and a couple other schools,” Baronian said. “They really had high praise for [Pace], and the program seemed really good.”

As his final club season came to a close this past fall, Baronian finally decided what was next in his baseball career.

I think we can win the league.”

— Mason Baronian

For now, Baronian is happy to focus solely on his last season in the green and white, and is excited to see what he and his teammates can accomplish in 2021. It only took him a few seconds to rattle off the expectations the team has for this season.

“This year, we are a really good team,” Baronian said. “I think we can win the league. We even can go really far in states [and] counties.”

So far this dream is on its way to becoming a reality, as the team was seeded 4th in the Bergen County Tournament, and reached the semi finals before falling to Don Bosco Prep.

Lynch says that Baronian is definitely a big reason for the team’s success, and that his personal success comes as a result of his work ethic.

“[Baronian] works very hard at all parts of the game,” Lynch said. “He works hard on defense; he works hard offensively,” Lynch said.

Even after years and years of playing, Baronian’s love for the game has not faded.

“I always loved playing baseball. My whole life kind of revolves around it,” Baronian said.