Prep Baseball Report

Hilliard Ready For 'Something Different' At George Mason

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Ohio Senior Writer

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Hilliard Ready For ‘Something Different’ At George Mason

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Louden Hilliard RHP / OF / Milford, OH / 2024

MILFORD - Going to college eight hours from home has Louden Hilliard enthusiastic about the future.

“I’m looking forward to getting to experience something different away from home,” the Milford High School senior said about his days ahead at George Mason.

It was in the summer when coaches at the university in Fairfax County, Va., initially saw the 20th-rated senior right-handed pitcher in Ohio.

“I threw two solid innings in the middle of a game and I caught their eyes,” Hilliard reflected. “We started talking and after two or three weeks of communication they offered. I talked to (pitching) coach (Ryan) Ricci a lot and I talked to (head) coach (Shawn) Camp. I went on a visit in August and liked the campus.

“The pitching development was laid out with everything they do and it sparked my eyes. They have a family culture and they value that a lot in players. Coach Camp says guys have fun but know when to be serious.”

By the end of the visit Hilliard was committed to be a Patriot.

“Since I was 12-years-old I knew I wanted to play in college,” Hilliard related. “I think it was always realistic, but around 13 or 14 when our team got really good I knew I had the potential. Then last winter I made a lot of progress with my pitching. My velo got to 90-91 and a lot of schools reached out.”

VMI offered in the spring, East Tennessee State at the end of summer and there was also interest from Northern Kentucky, Butler and Charlotte. But George Mason is where the future lies for the 5-11 175-pounder.

“Coach Ricci really likes my mound presence and my confidence,” Hilliard noted. "Another thing he mentioned was my vertical approach angle, I have a low angle that gets a lot of swings and misses. I also have a really good slider.”

It was after 16U summer when Hilliard’s game went to a higher level.
“I took the whole fall off and played golf,” the 50th-ranked 2024 in Ohio explained. “In October I got back into it in the gym. I gained 20 pounds, I got a lot stronger and I made a mechanical change in my delivery. I improved in everything from there.”

There were numerous individuals which benefited the cause.

“I’ve worked with Greg Williams with Alpha Baseball since my freshman year and he’s put a lot of time into it, really helping me with recruiting and my development in general,” Hilliard pointed out. “My Flames coaches were also always trying to reach out to schools for me. They said good things to George Mason about me. My high school coach, Asif Shah, also helped me with my recruitment and talked to a lot of schools as well as talking to me about what I should do.

“My parents were also big, always very supportive of the whole process and taking me to campuses and putting out a lot of money for summer ball. They were my number one.”

Improved velocity also played a major part in a recruiting process that was ignited less than a year ago.

“The first school that reached out to me was VMI in January,” Hilliard related. “Then I hit the 90 mark and more schools reached out. A lot more rolled in in the spring and then more in the summer. I’ve always gone to PBR events and the one tournament at LakePoint was big. I hit 90 there and that got on my profile. That was huge. PBR also came to my high school games and threw out some tweets from those.”

It all led to a commitment for Hilliard, who just turned 18 on Sept. 6.

“It was really exciting,” Hilliard said about making his college decision to go to the Atlantic 10 university in Virginia. “I knew it was a big accomplishment and I got a lot of congratulations from friends and teachers and everyone that helped me along the way.”

Now Hilliard is ready for “something different” away from home.

“I can’t wait to travel and the competition of playing all those big schools,” Hilliard concluded. “Hopefully, I can make an impact. I’m looking forward to that.”

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