An ‘amazing’ addiction: Senior baseball pitcher talks lifting, fitness

Senior pitcher Mason Collins has an average of 8.88 strikeouts per inning, up from a 7.05 average last season. Collins has played in nine games this season. Photo courtesy of Larry Newman

About 20 miles from Oracle Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, senior business administration major and right-handed pitcher Mason Collins and his father used to practice pitching in front of their house. They would play long toss before moving on to snagging grounders and catching fly balls and one-hoppers.

“My dad started teaching me when I was five … From that point on, I loved it and it became an integral part of my life,” Collins said.

Most of Collins’ time growing up in Mill Valley, California, was devoted to sports, family and music. When he wasn’t throwing with his father, or lining up house items to drum to the beat of The Beatles song on TV, Collins said he found a way to always be active. He played basketball as a shooting and point guard at Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, California. After his sophomore year, focused his attention to the baseball field, where he was one of the Red-Tailed Hawks’ pitchers.

“I was our No. 1 pitcher, but when I wasn’t pitching, I played third base but short stop as well,” Collins said. “I hit second or third in our lineup.”

After high school athletics, during which he received All-League baseball awards his junior and senior year, Mason tried out for the Chapman baseball team.

So far in his career, Collins has pitched an average of 41.4 innings per season, with an average of 33.25 strikeouts and an average of 7.05 strikeouts every nine innings. Collins never allows the lows of games to bring down his attitude, he said.

“I feel great up on the mound. I love starting and getting into a rhythm as I go deeper into the game,” Collins said. “It’s an awesome feeling to develop that rhythm and to have the confidence and support of your team.”
But an aspect of Collins’ life no one tends to hear about is his passion for fitness and baseball-specific workouts.

“I do a lot of mobility and movement work that preps my body to be in any position that I put it in, injury-free. Everything has a purpose and is backed by science,” Collins said. “I love the moves that are super weird and very hard.”

Collins also helps train his teammates, like fellow senior pitcher and business administrations major, Tyler Peck. Peck said fitness drives the competition between him and Collins.

“We both want to get that extra rep or move quicker through agility drills. It translates onto the field too,” Peck said. “I strike out 10 in the first game and Mason will do everything he can to strike out 11 in the next game.”

Collins is working toward graduating in May 2019 and getting his masters in business administration at Chapman the following school year. His interests vary, but he said he will always have a passion for fitness. It’s like satisfying a craving for him.

“It’s one addiction that people support; it’s an amazing one to have,” Collins said. “I’m very grateful for the opportunity (fitness) has given me to make it a huge part of my life.”