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Orillian to make his next pitch for a pro career in Tampa Bay

Patrick Fogarty graduate Mason Robertson grew up playing minor ball in Orillia and is one step closer to his MLB dreams after landing a U.S. scholarship

Like many local kids, Mason Robertson’s love for the game of baseball began as a child playing in the Orillia Legion Minor Baseball program.

However, unlike most local kids, he has turned his passion into a career and his success on the mound at every level earned him an invitation to a Major League Baseball (MLB) Spring Training camp.

The Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School graduate played with the Orillia Royals until he was 13.

“I started playing third base and catching even though I was a lefty. I was young enough where it didn’t really matter,” Robertson recalls of his early days on local diamonds.

But once he took to the mound, he quickly evolved into an overpowering pitcher and moved his game to Barrie so he could play AAA against higher-calibre players.

“Once I went to Barrie it got a lot more competitive and I started working out through the winter ... that’s when I realized it was becoming a lot more serious,” Robertson explained.

As Robertson grew and matured and learned the position, he dominated. So he decided to try his luck with the Toronto Mets of the Canadian Premier Baseball League (CPBL).

He later moved to the Ontario Blue Jays of the same league and revelled in an opportunity to play under high level coaching, practise in first-class training facilities and pitch in front of college scouts.

And he's done that. He has pitched in front of Division I National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) scouts from Florida, Texas, California and all over the map during the many showcases and tournaments he has pitched at over the years.

No moment has proven to be too big for the calm demeanor of Robertson.

“I’m probably more nervous before the game than when I’m actually there on the mound. I just lock into a zone and worry about winning,” Robertson said.

Even when the cards are stacked against him, Robertson takes a deep breath, slows down the moment, and finds a way to excel.

Overcoming is something he’s learned to do from birth. Robertson was born with three middle fingers on his right hand, a rare genetic disorder called Ectrodactyly.

“I can do everything anyone else can do, even if I have to find another way to do it,” Robertson said.

Initially, when Robertson first started playing baseball, he would have his glove balanced on his right hand, and would quickly switch it onto his left hand after throwing the ball. After reaching out to Wilson Sporting Goods, Robertson now wears a custom-designed glove that gets made just for him and shipped to him.

Robertson’s coaches and teammates have no problem seeing past his disorder. In fract most have never noticed. What stands out about the 19-year-old is his  6’4 225-pound frame and his ability to gas a 90-mile-per-hour fastball by batters in a blink of an eye.

Coming into his MLB draft year, Robertson had 16 different offers on the table from post-secondary schools from all over North America. He was also invited to join the Milwaukee Brewers during Spring Training in Arizona this past February, before MLB halted operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the flattering offers, the work isn’t finished for Robertson who knows his goals are now within his grasp.

“I need to keep getting stronger and over time the bigger and stronger I get the harder I can throw,” the determined Robertson said.

“If I practise enough, I’ll have a chance to get to the Majors.”

Last month, Robertson accepted an offer to play for the Hillsborough Community College Hawks in Tampa Bay on a full scholarship.

The Hawks play in a Division I National Junior College Athletics Association, which isn’t quite the same level as Division I in the NCAA.

“I had Division I NCAA offers, but this school gives me a pretty good chance at being drafted and it was the best opportunity for me,” Robertson explained.

Being offered a full scholarship and living in Tampa Bay, where his grandparents reside, were the key selling points for the exceptional Orillia athlete.

Robertson is currently preparing for the next time he takes the mound once COVID-19 is in the rearview mirror. He is looking forward to taking another step closer to his ultimate dream of playing in the MLB.


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Tyler Evans

About the Author: Tyler Evans

Tyler Evans got his start in the news business when he was just 15-years-old and now serves as a video producer and reporter with OrilliaMatters
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