Lance Mazur was on pins and needles the Friday evening of June 21, awaiting to see his name called much like a player on draft day.
Having attended a tryout about two weeks before for the 2019 United States Specialty Sports Association All-American Baseball Games, the results for the USSSA’s “Far West” and “Northwest” regions – the latter made up of players from Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Alaska, Washington, Oregon and northern California – were to be announced on a selection show broadcast via USSSALive.com.
Fast forward a month to the present, and Mazur will experience jitters of a slightly different sort when he and his folks hit the road Sunday with the USSSA Space Coast Complex in Viera, Florida, their ultimate destination in the wake of his name being revealed to, essentially, the world.
“We’re going to take a while to get there. My mom’s still psyched about it, my dad’s excited; they’re both real proud,” Mazur said Wednesday night. “I was kind of surprised, but I was happy at the same time that they chose me.”
Mazur was one of 25 players selected for the Northwest’s 14-and-under crew after being favorably evaluated on his hitting, running, throwing, fielding and pitching – or catching – abilities down at the Rio Rancho Sports Complex on June 6 in New Mexico.
It was actually a showcase for Midwest Region prospects, but geographically speaking was much closer to attend than the nearest Northwest tryout which was held May 31 at Addenbrooke Park in Lakewood, with others held in Ripon, California and Tacoma, Washington. Mazur was allowed to have his results transfer and pertain to possible home region inclusion.
“It was organized, and you just had to perform when it was your turn to go up,” he recalled, noting he felt his best work was with the glove. “And if you didn’t, it didn’t help you out too well. Like everybody else, you just try to do as best you can.
“I was nervous,” admitted Mazur, 14, son of Melanie and Robert, “but after I kind of got situated and realized what was going on, I got pretty comfortable.”
Expected to play either third base or pitch for the Navy Blues, though ready to man any position if circumstances warrant, Mazur’s Games experience will get underway July 28 with check-in procedures, a first practice, team photographs and, finally, opening ceremonies that night.
Pool play will then begin the next morning and continue through July 31 before bracket action commences that evening and concludes Aug. 3 with championship day play. But because of the Sunshine State’s unpredictable summer weather, as well as other unforeseeable delays requiring games to be paused and resumed the next day, exact championship times won’t be determined until mid-week.
“That complex is crazy,” said Mazur, his voice hinting the 85-acre site’s wow factor will be something with which he’ll also have to contend, in addition to opponents from seven other regions. “Fifteen fields, a $350 million complex, three championship fields. It just makes me remember that I have to do my job, use my fundamentals, the easy plays you have to make to get through a game, get easy outs and get everything done as best as I can.”
Having come up through the ranks of tee-ball, then youth baseball in Ignacio and Pine River Youth Baseball, Mazur’s buildup to All-American has also included springtime ball in both Aztec and Farmington, this year with Farmington-based Strike Zone, plus summer action in Bayfield – this year with a BHS underclassman squad guided by varsity skipper Bert Miller.
“I’ve been playing since, basically, January, almost,” said the freshman-to-be, who said Thursday afternoon that his return journey will stop in the Dallas, Texas, area, where he’ll stay, soon to be joined by his family, and begin his high-school days. “Staying focused on the game and on what I’m trying to do. And just keeping that mindset the whole time.”