During a season in which it lost almost twice as many games as it won, the Freehold Township baseball team finished off the year feeling good about returning its Penn State-bound ace in 2017 as well another breakout All-Shore player on the infield.

After Wednesday night, now the Patriots have two returning standouts who will play college baseball for the Nittany Lions.

Class of 2018 third baseman Ryan Ford made a non-binding verbal commitment to Penn State Wednesday, joining Patriots teammate and right-handed pitcher Ralph Gambino - a senior-to-be in 2017 - as Penn State recruits at Freehold Township.

During his sophomore season and first campaign as a varsity player, Ford performed as one of the top players in the Shore Conference who helped lead Freehold Township at the plate, in the field and on the mound. He batted .412 with three doubles, a triple and three home runs while driving in 22. He also sported an even .500 on-base percentage and a slugging percentage of .618. His average, on-base, slugging and RBI totals were all in the top 20 among Shore Conference players.

On the mound, Ford pitched to a 2.45 ERA and a 2-1 record over 31 2/3 innings with 27 strikeouts and eight walks. He was a 2016 Coaches' Class A North All-Division selection as a sophomore and a Shore Sports Network Third-Team All-Shore Utility Player as well.

Gambino committed to Penn State this past January and went 3-4 with a 2.78 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 45 1/3 innings. Senior-to-be and right-handed pitcher Mike Pirrotta is also a Patriots Division I commit, giving his verbal commitment to Wagner College this past fall.