Prep Baseball Report

Belza Likes The 'Genuine' Feeling At Auburn

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Ohio Senior Writer

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Belza Likes The ‘Genuine’ Feeling At Auburn

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Taylor Belza C / 3B / Saint Ignatius, OH / 2025

GRAFTON - The recruiting process was more enjoyable the second time around for Taylor Belza.

“I didn’t know what to expect the first time,” related the top-rated 2025 catcher in the state. “Knowing I get to continue the game I’ve loved since I can remember made me enjoy the process even more this time.”

It made for a memorable summer for the junior at Saint Ignatius High School.

“The new rule helped me enjoy playing baseball and not worry about who was watching, while working the same amount as before,” Belza explained. “I wouldn’t trade this summer for the world. I had a great summer.”

It came on the heels of a decommitment to West Virginia prior to sophomore year of high school baseball.

“After going to the campus for family events, West Virginia was not the best fit, especially with my parents going into retirement,” Belza reasoned. “It was a difficult decision, but it was best to do it.”

It meant reopening his recruitment and with it an opportunity to play at the Future Games where the 132nd-ranked 2025 in the nation was a standout in drawing attention that resulted in a busy Aug. 1 when college coaches were permitted to reach out.

“Aug. 1 was exciting, I had around 35 calls,” Belza noted. “It was crazy taking call after call, but it was an awesome experience.”

From those schools, Belza quickly narrowed down his choices to the top three he was interested in: Auburn, Mississippi State and Notre Dame. Once a visit to Auburn was taken in September, the fourth-ranked junior in Ohio had found what he was looking for in a college.

“Auburn came to a game through Chris McRaney with 5-Star and watched me at a LakePoint PBR tournament and they liked what they saw,” Belza said. “They also saw me at the Future Games, coach (Butch) Thompson, coach (Karl) Nonemaker and coach (Gabe) Gross were there.”

A visit took place the first week of September, though Belza had been there previously.

“My dad and I went in July to walk around the campus when we were playing at a tournament in Alabama,” Belza noted.

The feeling after the second time there was enough to make a commitment.

“We got to know each other talking throughout August, and then on the visit I just connected,” Belza related. “It felt like a second home. The whole staff is very genuine. I don’t think there is a more genuine staff out there. It made my parents comfortable with choosing that school. Everything at Auburn is based on how I am as a person. I’m a big believer in God.”

The 13th-ranked 2025 catcher in the country made an impression on Auburn as well.

“They really like the way my bat can contribute to the lineup,” the 6-1 208-pound left-handed hitter said. “Vocally as a catcher, they like how I can benefit the pitcher on the mound. It was a great fit.”

The 17-year-old is confident about what he can provide the Auburn program.

“On the field I’ll bring a talented left-handed swing,” Belza explained. “Getting on base is something I can do. I’m also a supporter on the bench, helping the program strive to be its best. Off the field I’ll build a relationship with God and the blessings he’s brought upon me and I hope I can bring that to teammates. I’ll be a supportive teammate on the field and off.”

The chance to be part of the Southeast Conference is inspiring for Belza, to say the least.

“Playing in the SEC, I don’t think you can describe it until you play in it so I don’t think I have the right words,” Belza said. “Playing in the SEC is very special for me. Most of the towns don’t have professional teams so the communities really support college sports. To have that support is a great feeling.”

Speaking of feelings, the emotions of making a commitment to Auburn was as good as it gets.

“I knew how God works in crazy ways and to see where this takes me made me smile,” Belza related. “To be able to say War Eagles to (head) coach Thompson made me feel so good.”

Psychology will be the college major for Belza, a 3.1 student ready for what lies ahead at the university in eastern Alabama, 12 hours from home.

“I’m looking forward to being in warm weather, especially in the fall and when it’s semi-warm in the winter,” Belza concluded. “I’m excited to grow relationships with new guys and play baseball year ’round with my best friends that I haven’t even met yet.”

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