Walsh Jesuit graduate Henry Kaczmar commits to play baseball at Ohio State University

Michael Beaven
Akron Beacon Journal

Henry Kaczmar is going to stay in Ohio to play college baseball.

Kaczmar, a 2022 Walsh Jesuit graduate, announced a change of plans and has committed to play baseball at Ohio State after originally committing to Michigan during his freshman year of high school.

Coaching changes within the baseball programs at Michigan, Ohio State and Clemson triggered Kacmar's decision.

Former Michigan coach Erik Bakich was named Clemson's coach on June 16, and on that same day Ohio State announced the hiring of coach Bill Mosiello to lead the Buckeyes program after he left TCU as its Associate Head Coach.

Kaczmar, a 5-foot-10 and 180-pound shortstop, de-committed from Michigan on Monday and committed to Ohio State on Wednesday.

Kaczmar said he "fell in love" with OSU following multiple conversations with Mosiello.

"I am a big believer in following people," Kaczmar said. "I like being led by people and learning from awesome people, whether that is in life or in baseball. Ever since I started interacting with coach Mosiello, I started to feel really comfortable around him. A lot of the stuff he said was similar to stuff that my dad would say, coaching-wise. Coach [Gregg] Wallis from Grand Canyon University is the new assistant coach at Ohio State, and he is the same way. They are both awesome people. They really have a drive to win mentality. They are really experienced and they are really eager to get out there and win."

Kaczmar earned Ohio High School Baseball Coaches Association All-Ohio honors in Division I as a senior, and joined junior catcher Mason Eckelman and junior pitcher Ryan Piech as WJ's tri-MVPs this spring on a 25-6 team that reached the Division I regional finals. Kaczmar batted .357 with 35 hits in 98 at bats, five home runs, three doubles, one triple, 29 RBIs, 29 runs and 13 stolen bases.

"I loved the Michigan coaches," Kaczmar said. "That was pretty much the main reason I was going to go there in the first place, but I have always been an Ohio State fan. Growing up, I was an Ohio State fan and this all kind of aligned perfectly. The coaches at Ohio State couldn't be better guys. ... I couldn't be more excited to be a Buckeye."

Kaczmar is a Bath resident who turned 19 on March 14. He compiled a 3.8 GPA at Walsh Jesuit and is considering majoring in kinesiology at Ohio State.

Kaczmar also earned first team All-Ohio honors in Division I as a junior when WJ (28-4) made a Division I state semifinal appearance after winning sectional, district and regional titles. He compiled a .568 batting average with 54 hits in 95 at bats, scored 46 runs, had 42 RBIs, stole nine bases and hit four home runs, two triples and a single-season school record 18 doubles.

His sophomore season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but he impressed as a freshman. He hit .376 (32 of 85), with one home run, three doubles, 20 runs, 19 RBIs and three stolen bases on a 26-4 WJ team that was a Division I regional runner-up.

Henry's father, former Walsh Jesuit baseball coach Chris Kaczmar, is excited to see his son play at OSU. 

"It has been quite a bit of upheaval in a very short period of time," Chris Kaczmar said. "To Henry's credit, he has probably been a little bit more level headed about it than even my wife [Beth] and I. When the Michigan coaches that he had established such a great four-year relationship with elected to pursue the Clemson opportunity, it just changed things quite a bit for him. He was so close with those guys, and all the credit in the world to their success, and this was an opportunity that they absolutely could not turn down.

"We harbor no resentment at all. In fact, we are very excited about their opportunity and they are some of the greatest people in the world. We wish them best.

"When the new staff got hired at Ohio State, it was extremely exciting that they were immediately interested in Henry. For the stars to have aligned the way they have in the past three weeks, we still to this moment can't believe how it has worked out. It has been a roller coaster, it has been thrilling, it has been exciting and I couldn't be happier to say, finally, that Henry is a Buckeye."

Chris Kaczmar, a 1988 Walsh Jesuit graduate, retired as WJ's baseball coach following the 2022 season after leading the Warriors for 26 years. He compiled a 612-123 record with four Division II state championships, two Division II state runner-up finishes, seven regional titles, 16 district crowns and 22 sectional championships.

"For three weeks, Michigan has not had a coach," Chris Kaczmar said. "There have been a bunch of rumors about people, but nothing has transpired. Michigan did promise Henry that they would honor his scholarship, but with the new staff at Ohio State and all the background that we did — we went down for a visit, we talked to a number of his Texas Christian players and the reviews so far have been absolutely outstanding about coach Mosiello and his staff. Henry couldn't be more excited. He is thrilled to be a Buckeye."

Chris Kaczmar added that Bakich did speak with Henry and was trying to figure out his roster at Clemson with returning players, players potentially getting drafted by a Major League team, incoming freshmen and transfers.

"With the distance and the waiting game that Henry would have had to play, the opportunity at Ohio State was a much better fit all around for him at this time," Chris Kaczmar said.

Michael Beaven can be reached at mbeaven@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow Beaven on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MBeavenABJ.