Baseball - 2019 Preview: Class B Centrall
published on March 31, 2019Full Article
Head Coach: Pat Geroni, first season (eighth overall)
2018 Record: 11-13 (7-7, fifth in Class B Central)
Returners: Ethan Gavin (Sr., RHP/INF), Jacob Field (Sr., LHP/1B), Ben Kraushaar (Sr., RHP/3B), Cole Redman (Sr., C/1B/3B), Ryan Batista (Sr., C/1B), Charlie Chropuvka (So., CF/1B/LHP), Deven Bhatnagar (So., INF/OF), Ryan Kraushaar (So., LHP/1B/OF)
Key Losses: Kiran Shah (OF/RHP)
Key Newcomers: Fabio Tessiore (Sr., OF/RHP), Nathan Aquino (Jr., 1B), Tommy Jensen (Jr., RHP/1B), Gianni Feng (So., OF/1B), Brett Wehringer (Fr., INF/OF/RHP), Lou Spadafora (Fr., OF/3B/RHP)
Since joining the Shore Conference in 2013, Ranney has had six head coaches in seven seasons. Heading into season seven as part of the Shore, the Panthers welcome in coach No. 6 and he is one with a track record of success. Pat Geroni spent the previous seven seasons as the skipper at Monroe and led the Group IV Falcons to a 104-62 record during that span, including a trip to the Central Group IV championship game in 2014, which they lost to eventual Group IV champion Jackson Memorial. Geroni hopes to help quickly move Ranney up the Class B Central standings and with most of its team back from a year ago, some more young talent entering the program and the division seemingly ripe for the taking, it may not take long for the newest Panthers coach to leave his mark.
Offensively, Ranney brings back plenty of production from a team that came up just short of a .500 season overall and made it to .500 within the division. Seniors Jacob Field, Ben Kraushaar, Cole Redman, Ethan Gavin and Ryan Batista have all had individual success at the varsity level and that senior core got a jolt from a freshman trio that burst onto the varsity scene. Center fielder Charles Chropuvka led the trio by posting the fourth-best OPS (1.253) in the division and doing so in his first season of high school baseball. Deven Bhatnagar and Ryan Kraushaar also made an impact as freshmen, which will be the same goal for incoming rookies Brett Wehringer and Lou Spadafora – both of whom look to play right away.
Gavin leads a pitching staff that will have to improve for Ranney to make a serious play for the division title but with an extra year of experience and a coach in place who has experience leading a high-level public-school program, there is reason to think Ranney is on the fast track in B Central. How high the Panthers climb is probably a long way from being settled but at least for the moment, another season close to .500 with some improvements in the run-prevention department would be a significant step in Geroni’s first season.