How five of the Daily Record’s top baseball and softball players fared this summer
Summer means something different for every high school student. For the best baseball and softball players, it might be the busiest time of the year.
Most of these athletes go straight into their travel balloon seasons after high school season ends. There isn’t much of a break.
Here are some highlights from five of the region’s top returning players:
Hailey Massaro, Triway
The titans senior riser lit up opposing pitchers this spring to help her team advance to the Division II State title game. Unfortunately for opposing teams, it didn’t stop once the summer ball arrived as Massaro continued to cement her place as one of the best players in the state, period.
Massaro crushed opposing pitchers for a .430 batting average and crushed five home runs over the summer. Along the way, she helped her team, the Ohio Hawks Gold Hutchinson, finish second at the Olympics in Georgia and finish sixth at the US Nationals in Virginia. His team was also playing well in the Thunderbolts, which were held in Alabama, before it was called off due to the rain. Massaro also replaced a team in the Colorado IDT.
However, throughout it all, she said the best part was just “memories.”
âTraveling all over the world with some of my best friends,â Massaro said when asked what was best to play with his team. “Also took the field for the OJ Cup in the championship game, because in 1996 that is where the Olympics were held. Legends like Lisa Fernandez and Shelly Stokes played on this same field where I played. got to play. “
As for how she improved over the summer, Massaro said it was more about getting healthy after injuries suffered last spring.
âDue to a knee injury, I had to prepare myself mentally, know my limits and take care of my body when I needed it,â she said. “Sometimes that just meant being a good teammate and cheering.”
Still a warrior, Massaro had to balance the fire of the competition with what was best for herself in the long run, but that didn’t stop her completely as she always hit the diamond hard. Having the chance to see top pitchers and competitions has only gotten her better as she continues to hone her already sharp skills.
“I got to play against some of the best teams in the country,” said Massaro. “It was about mentally preparing each pitcher in a different way. Some would bring speed, some would bring movement, and I was really focusing on seeing the ball well.”
It’s safe to say that the region’s top player has only gotten better and will be fully ready once spring 2022 arrives. For now, her focus is on the volleyball court, where she’ll be looking to help the Titans succeed this fall.
Jed Hanzie, Norwegian
The rising senior from Norwayne was a key part of the squad last season and is a big part of the squad’s high goals for next spring. So far, Hanzie has shone playing for his travel team, the Ohio Wildcats, leading the team in ERA and RBI.
âI really improved my game by finding solid ground to (go) with my fastball,â said Hanzie. âPlus I have a lot of confidence to pitch them, and seeing more shots has helped me become a better hitter. “
Playing in tournaments like the CABA World Series and the Buckeye Elite Tournament, the Ohio Wildcats and Hanzie were on a mission. They won the Mid-Summer Classic and also added a finalist to a tournament.
âThe best part about playing with my team is meeting new guys and playing on different fields all over Ohio and in different states,â Hanzie said.
Emily Yacapraro, Triway
Yacapraro was a spark plug in the batting order and on the field for the Titans in the spring and she put her on overdrive once travel ball season hit.
Preparing for the Ohio Emeralds 04 and substituting for the Orange Lasers a few weekends, the titans light-footed rising senior showed why she is one of the best in the area. She blistered the ball for a .626 batting average, used her speed to sweep 28 steals and was a key component for her team in many tournaments.
She has performed in high profile tournaments like the Lasers Nation Showcase, Sheer Madness, Midwest Firecracker Showcase, Stingrays Showcase, Great Lakes Showcase and most recently Nationals in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The gist was clear: Yacapraro only got better as the summer wore on no matter the competition as she continued to hone her craft.
Still, the best part of it all was the competition, said the Titans star, who has been doing a lot of stuff all summer.
âI was able to really improve my game by participating in a lot of games, training and camps,â said Yacapraro, who said she enjoys playing with her teams. “We made so many memories together on and off the pitch.”
As for the future, she said she was thrilled to be offered and will play for Lasers Black this fall and summer.
Blake Bowen, Wooster
Beating baseball with authority and shining leather at third base, Bowen was a must-see spring show for Wooster. And the Generals’ rising junior continued that trend over the summer playing for Ohio Elite Baseball.
Hitting the ball with a solid .403, he finished with 14 extra hits, 20 RBIs, 27 runs scored, two homers, four triples and eight doubles.
âI was really focused on getting stronger and faster this summer,â Bowen said. “Working on the pitch as well and improving there was key.”
He had many opportunities to perfect his game as his team traveled to Tennessee to play in the Music City Classic, played at the University of Cincinnati and Ohio University in Miami, and made won all three. Most recently they made the trip to Kansas City, Missouri, to play in the PBR Midwest Premier and to Buffalo, New York, to compete in the Canada / American Invitational.
âThe best part of playing with my team was getting close to all of my teammates, just hanging out with my friends at team hotels inside and outside of state tournaments,â said Bowen.
Taylor Morgan, Hillsdale
As a freshman last spring, Morgan played a big role for Hillsdale, the eternal league contender. And she’s only taken it up a notch over the summer and has continued to excel and improve her game for next spring.
From spinning a perfect game to Findlay in which she struck out 14 and induced a pop out for the only other out, Morgan was dialing it in from the circle. Totaling 73 strikeouts in just 48 innings, she shone. And, when she wasn’t throwing, she was playing a rock solid first base. Concluding the summer with a tournament in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, she finished with a batting average of .379 and hit a home run last weekend.
âThis feeling is probably the best,â Morgan said of his tour. âThe perfect match was also a big moment for me this summer. “
Most of the summer, according to Morgan, has been getting to âperformâ as she prepares for softball next spring.
âI was able to lift a few times a week, and it helped me improve my game,â Morgan said. âI focused on being more relaxed at the plate and being more aggressive when taking goals.
âThe travel ball has helped me get the reps I will need for the high school ball and gives me more long-term experience. “