SE senior commits OU Bobcats

ATTICA – Mason McWilliams still has his senior year of high school and final season of prep baseball to go for the Seneca East Tigers, but he already knows what will follow.

The southpaw has committed verbally to pitch for Ohio University and plans to sign his letter of intent to pitch for the Bobcats in November.

He said the decision was an easy one to make.

“I took a visit there. I felt very comfortable. I like the campus. I got along with the coaches. They have a very good program for what I want to go into for schooling and I thought it was a very good fit for me,” said McWilliams, who plans to study sports administration and possibly become an athletic director.

“I’m glad the recruiting’s over. I’m extremely happy with my decision and I’m not going to change my mind,” he said. “November will come when it comes. I’m proud to be an Ohio Bobcat.”

But before that happens, he’ll have one more chance to be a force for Seneca East.

He went 8-2 as a junior, posting a 1.99 ERA and fanning 110 over 66 2/3 innings while allowing just 23 walks and 19 earned runs en route to Division IV second-team All-Ohio honors.

McWilliams also shone at the plate, batting .433 with 29 runs, nine doubles, two triples, a home run, 32 RBIs and 16 steals to help lead the Tigers (23-5, 8-2 Midland Athletic League) to their second district championship in as many years.

Seneca East coach Frank Lamoreaux said he expects more of the same next spring with the Tigers, as well as the springs to come for the Bobcats because of McWilliams’ love of the game.

“Each year he’s just tried to increase his level of competition and it’s paid off for him,” Lamoreaux said.

“It’s pretty gratifying just knowing that you’ve maybe had a little part in a player’s development,” he said. “In Mason’s case, he’s loved baseball ever since he was a pretty young one. He’s really taken that passion he has and developed it.”

It’s something Ohio University can use.

The Bobcats haven’t had a winning season since going 29-24 overall and 18-9 in the Mid-American Conference in 2009. Their lone winning season in the MAC since then was a 16-11 mark in 2012.

The Bobcats went 14-39, 9-18 MAC this past spring, and the pitching staff ended with a 5.68 ERA.

“They’re talking of using me my freshman year. My goal is to fight for a weekend starting spot. They’re talking like they’re going to use me as a freshman,” he said, adding that he knows things will only get tougher for him when he faces Division I college athletes.

“First off, the hitters are going to be a lot better. I’m going to have to mix up my pitches a lot more.

Second of all, the speed of the game,” he said. “Everybody’s going to be the best of the best. I’m going to have to adjust to how the hitters work as compared to high school.”