Tanner Morris was a third team all-ACC selection for the Virginia baseball team this past spring.
UVa coach Brian O’Connor will be adding another talented shortstop to the program in the coming years after Luke Hanson verbally committed to join the program over the weekend.
“UVa was the right fit for me because first, it’s a great academic school,” said Hanson, who plays for Lafayette High School in Williamsburg. “It’s always been a dream of mine to play baseball at the University of Virginia and it’s close to home and my family and friends can come watch.”
The Williamsburg native just completed an outstanding freshman campaign for the Rams during their run to the VHSL Class 4 state championship.
Hanson batted .317 with 26 hits, including 14 extra-base hits, 24 RBI and 14 stolen bases as the Rams’ primary shortstop. Defensively, he registered a .964 fielding percentage and committed just two errors all season.
The freshman also was a key contributor on the hill. Hanson posted a 5-2 record with a 1.30 earned-run average as the team’s No. 3 starter. He allowed just 18 hits and struck out 42 batters in 37 2/3 innings of work.
“The experience I had this past season as a freshman was unbelievable,” Hanson said. “I pitched in five of our six playoff games at some point during the game and it taught me a lot about the game itself. It taught me how to win, even when you might be outmatched.”
Hanson is well-versed in the makeup of the Cavaliers program. He attended O’Connor’s baseball camp last winter and was impressed with what he saw.
“I fell in love with the program,” he said. “The coaching staff blew me away in how they presented their knowledge to me. Also, the facilities are amazing, along with their beautiful field.”
The Lafayette High School product was a rising star on the recruiting trail this summer. He said that he held offers from a couple other ACC schools. O’Connor and his staff extended an offer last month following the Rams’ state championship run and the decision was a no-brainer.
“All I can say is that I was stoked to have received an offer from UVa,” Hanson said.
Extended playing time as a freshman has helped Hanson raise his level of play. He pitched in five of the six playoff games for Lafayette and that exposure was crucial.
“My game has evolved into a ‘win no matter what it takes’ type of attitude,” Hanson said. “I hate losing and I’ve learned it takes a ton of heart to win big situations.”
Hanson has strong aspirations for his baseball career moving forward.
“Right now, from a projection side of things, I plan on just getting bigger and better every day and the rest should play out from there,” he said. “The plan is to work my tail off and start at shortstop my freshman year. If that doesn’t happen though, I will play anywhere they need me to. Contributing is something I’ve learned to do, no matter the circumstances.”
Even with three years of high school ball ahead of him, Hanson felt comfortable in his decision.
“It wasn’t necessarily important to commit so early, but I knew UVa was the school for me all along,” he said. “Saying that I will be a college athlete, I feel separates myself from others. It shows hard work and the time you’ve put into the game has all come together and rewarded you.”