Coach Rob Vaughn checked his phone following Maryland baseball's season-opening series against Tennessee last month and saw a video from Mason Mazzuca.
The 6-year-old congratulated Vaughn and the Terps on the series victory, wished them luck for the season and said he missed them. The video was one of many things the first-time coach won't forget about Mason.
Mason died Friday from acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and Maryland completed its weekend series against Bryant with him in mind. Before Friday's contest, there was a moment of silence, and in the sixth inning Saturday, Mason's favorite song, "Uptown Funk" by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, played at Bob "Turtle" Smith Stadium.
"It's not like we're playing for ourselves — we're playing for each other and Mason," left-hander Tyler Blohm said. "We'll continue to play for him for the rest of the year and hopefully do well in his legacy."
In October, Mason signed with the Terps through Team IMPACT, an organization that matches children facing serious or chronic illnesses with college programs. The Olney native fielded balls, took batting practice and hung out with the team for the day while wearing a Maryland jersey.
It was the only time Mason came to the field, but he left a lasting impression, and Blohm said the squad kept in touch through FaceTime.
"When I thought I was having a tough day on the mound, you know, it's crazy to think about his life," said Blohm, who surrendered four runs in six innings Saturday. "He was having a super tough time, and he's coming out here with a smile and stuff. It really puts it into perspective."
Second baseman Nick Dunn said Mason is a reason the Terps are motivated to play every day. Blohm said he'll especially miss Mason's smile.
Vaughn considers his team to be a character and leadership development program. He expects his players to worry about more than wins and losses.
Mason also left impressions on former Maryland men's basketball players Jake Layman and Melo Trimble, and the men's lacrosse and softball teams held moments of silence prior to their Saturday games.
After Maryland's 12-6 win over the Bulldogs on Saturday, Vaughn pulled back his sleeve to display a blue bracelet with "#MasonStrong" written on it. Mason's mother, Keli, had brought enough wristbands for the team when Mason signed. Vaughn wears it on the field, and he said many of his players have them in their lockers.
When Vaughn spoke to Mason's mother following his team's 7-3 loss to Bryant on Friday, she didn't want to hear his condolences. Instead, she wanted Vaughn and his team to celebrate his life.
Maryland's bats picked up after its one-hit performance in the series opener to capture a series victory, and the Terps will keep playing in Mason's honor against Delaware on Tuesday.
"The amount of joy that he had, the amount of just love he had for Maryland athletics was pretty cool," Vaughn said. "I have several videos from him that I'll never lose. … He's free now and he's celebrating right now, that's for dang sure."