For Brandywine’s Masi, Major League Pro Day Was Opportunity Of A Lifetime
By: Matthew Carney
MEDIA, Pa. – Baseball has always been a part of Matt Masi. Since he was four years old, the game has been a key component of his life.
Brandywine's starting centerfielder, Masi played high school baseball at nearby Cardinal O'Hara High School. He always hoped to continue his playing career into college. But during his junior year at O'Hara, the future was unclear.
Halfway through the season, Masi injured his shoulder. It was an injury significant enough to require surgery. He would be sidelined for the rest of his junior season after undergoing labrum surgery, a procedure that would keep him away from the game he loved for an extended period.
"I was out three-fourths of my junior year and into my senior year," said Masi. "I wasn't able to go to any college showcases or anything like that so I ended up going to York College of Pennsylvania."
After a year at York, Masi decided he wanted to be a little bit closer to home. That is when he enrolled at Penn State Brandywine, a place he felt he already knew.
"I knew it was closer to my house," said Masi. "It's only a 10- or 15-minute drive and that year, there were a lot of guys that I knew that were playing baseball on the team."
Masi quickly established himself at Brandywine, playing in 35 games as sophomore, while batting .269, with three home runs and 24 RBI. One year later, Masi saw his batting average jumped to .305 as he claimed United States College Athletic Association (USCAA) All-American honorable mention distinction.
But the centerfielder saved his best season for last. During his senior campaign, Masi hit .376, while posting 30 RBI and nine home runs, which set a Brandywine single-season record and tied for the Penn State University Athletic Conference lead.
Masi was named PSUAC Player of the Year, and became Brandywine baseball's fourth two-time all-American, bringing home USCAA first team honors.
However, the recognition did not stop there.
"Coach Gallo let me know at the end of the year that he was going to set up a pro day for me," said Masi. "It was going to be at Archbishop Carroll High School, where Cabrini [University] plays."
In attendance: a scout from one of Major League Baseball's most prominent organizations.
"The [Los Angeles] Dodgers were there," said Masi. "Overall it was just an awesome experience being able to play in front of an MLB scout."
The Dodgers put Masi through a series of drills, including exercises such as the 60-yard dash, snagging fly balls in the outfield, and batting practice, all a part of a day that Masi will not soon forget.
"I was nervous initially, but then I realized that no matter what happens, it's baseball at the end of the day," said Masi. "Not everybody gets an opportunity like that, and like I said, I've been playing since I was four years old, so I told myself whatever happens, happens."
While Masi certainly made the most of his chance to workout for a professional scout, he admits that there was time where he thought this dream might have been out of reach.
"Since I was younger, that was always the end goal obviously, like any kid, to play at that level," said Masi. "But honestly, especially after I got injured, I never thought I was going to be able to have an opportunity like that. But luckily I was able to come back stronger and I was very fortunate for it."
Moving forward Masi is still unsure of his path. With an opportunity to graduate this fall but a year of eligibility remaining for 2019, he knows he needs to make a decision that is best suited for his life after college.
"It really depends on the money situation and coming back to pay for that extra year," says Masi. "I would love to come back and play another year of baseball because it's what I love to do. It's just going to depend on what I need to do that is going to be the best for my future no matter what."
Regardless of what decision Masi makes, one thing is clear: with or without baseball, the future looks bright.