The Ranney School varsity baseball team opened its season on Monday, April 19 and honored a beloved member of the Ranney Operations Team as the newly renovated field was dedicated in his memory before the game. Thanks to the generous philanthropic support of Ranney School parents Gary and Joanne Chropuvka of Red Bank, NJ (Charles ‘22, Curtis ‘25, and Holden ‘29), the baseball field will be known as Richard G. Leister Field.
"We love contributing to the momentum and growth of the Ranney School baseball program. Ranney student athletes have always been offered stellar academics and now the baseball facilities can meet the same high standard,” said Mr. and Mrs. Chropuvka. “Coach Pat Geroni has done a fantastic job growing this program and shows these athletes that significant lessons are not just for the classroom, but can also be taught on the field. Baseball holds a special place in our hearts just as Richie Leister does for our entire community. He was the face of Ranney and we could not think of a better way to celebrate him than by seeing his name memorialized at the field where he constantly cheered on the students.”
In addition to Ranney families, faculty, and staff, the event was attended by Richard Leister’s wife Patricia, their sons Conor and Kieran as well as members of the extended family. Conor Leister threw the first pitch to outfielder Charlie Chropuvka. “The dedication ceremony on Monday was a beautiful, fitting tribute to my father. My mother, brothers, and I are touched by the gesture, one by which I'm certain he himself would be profoundly humbled. The baseball team's huge victory made it all the more enjoyable, and we look forward to the day that Richard G. Leister Field is home to the Class B Central champions. On behalf of my family, I'd like to sincerely thank everyone at the Ranney School that played a part in making it a truly special day that we will always remember and cherish, especially the Chropuvka family and my father's beloved coworkers in Operations. Go Panthers!"
The project included extensive renovations to the field and outdoor batting cages, as well as the addition of a new scoreboard and live streaming through PlaySight Interactive, the leading global sports video technology platform. PlaySight’s technology will provide high quality live streaming for families and fans across the country. All home games will be live streamed and also available on demand through the Playsight website and app, which provides an opportunity for student-athletes to be watched by family, as well as to showcase their talents to college baseball coaches across the country.
“Athletics are an integral part of a Ranney education providing myriad opportunities for our students to build resilience, character, and teamwork skills,” said Head of School Dr. John Griffith. “We are incredibly grateful to the Chropuvkas for their support of our baseball program and for choosing to honor the memory of our friend and colleague Rich Leister in naming the field.”
The improvements were also made possible by the generous support of Ranney parents Andres and Tayler Gracia (AJ ‘23), Philip and Celia Celler (Steven ‘22, Joseph ‘24, and Richard ‘25), and Bill and Ellen Presutti (William ‘21 and Alexandra ‘24), as well as other donors to the Ranney Fund.
The Ranney Panthers went on to defeat Brick Memorial, 14-8.