Baseball – NJSIAA Sectional Final Preview: Ranney Goes for 1st Championship vs. Gloucester Catholic
South Jersey Non-Public B Championship
Friday, June 10, 2022
No. 2 Gloucester Catholic (21-9) at No. 1 Ranney (24-5), 3:30 p.m.
Gloucester Catholic at a Glance
Head Coach: Dennis Barth
Last Sectional Championship: 2019
Probable Starting Pitcher
Tanner Nolan, Jr., LHP (5-2, 2.68 ERA, 49.2 IP, 36 H, 18 BB, 80 K)
Notable Available Pitchers (With available number of pitches)
Joe Vaccarella, Fr., RHP (101)
Jack Sambogna, Jr., LHP (110)
Matt Yula, Sr., LHP (110)
Damon Suriani, Jr., C (.397, 8 2B, 4 3B, 1 HR, 5 R, 35 RBI)
Tyler Bunting, Jr., 1B (.296, 5 2B, 2 3B, 3 RBI, 10 R, 26 RBI)
Matt Leahy, Sr., 3B (.312, 6 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 27 R, 19 RBI, 10 SB)
R.J. Mustaro, Jr., OF (.378, 4 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 16 R, 13 RBI, 8 SB)
Joey Bogart, Sr., 2B (.393, 3 2B, 1 HR, 26 R, 15 RBI, 18 SB)
Jeremy Wolf, Sr., SS (.397, 4 2B, 2 3B, 19 R, 15 RBI, 7 SB)
Sal Serici, Jr., OF (.278, 5 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 27 R, 19 RBI, 14 SB)
Road to the Final
Quarterfinal: Rutgers commit Tanner Nolan allowed one unearned run and struck out 11 in 5 1/3 hitless innings as the Rams rolled to a 9-1 win over No. 7 Moorestown Friends. Sophomore Tate DeRias went 2-for-4 with a double and four RBI while UNC-Greensboro commit Jeremy Wolf went 1-for-3 with 2 RBI in the win.
Semifinal: DeRias worked five scoreless innings with five strikeouts and only three hits allowed to lead Gloucester Catholic over rival and No. 3 seed Bishop Eustace, 6-1. Wolf tripled and scored a run, R.J. Mustaro was 2-for-2 with an RBI, and Tyler Bunter and Joey Bogart each drove in a run to help push Gloucester Catholic over the top.
Ranney at a Glance
Head Coach: Pat Geroni
Last Sectional Championship: None
Probable Starting Pitcher
Nick Coniglio, Jr., RHP (5-0)
Notable Available Pitchers (With available number of Pitches)
A.J. Gracia, Jr., LHP (95)
Marcello Mastoianni, Jr., LHP (74)
Jack Renaud, So., RHP (110)
Diego Tavarez, Jr., RHP (110)
A.J. Gracia, Jr., CF (11 HR, 33 SB)
Charlie Chropuvka, Sr., RF (8 HR)
Brett Wehringer, Jr., SS
Jack Tallent, Jr., 2B
Glen Cantalupo, Jr., 1B
Diego Tavarez, Jr., 3B
Lou Spadafora, Jr., C
Ricky Nagy, Jr., LF
Road to the Final
Quarterfinal: Northeastern commit Nick Coniglio pitched a no-hitter on 64 pitches and the Panthers disposed of No. 8 Holy Cross Prep, 10-0, in five innings. Duke commit A.J. Gracia clobbered his 10th home run of the season and six of his teammates collected two hits apiece, with Delaware commit Charlie Chropuvka and Diego Tavarez each driving in two and Glen Cantalupo roping two doubles and picking up three RBI.
Semifinal: Gracia, Lou Spadafora and Chropuvka all homered during a 10-run first inning and the Panthers slugged their way past No. 5 seed and defending Non-Public B champion Holy Spirit. Gracia earned the win in relief, sending Ranney to its first ever sectional championship game.
A Closer Look
Ranney coach Pat Geroni said his team’s 9-8 loss to Gloucester Catholic in extra innings in last year’s section semifinal round is his toughest as a coach and that defeat has been fueling Ranney’s players for the last calendar year. Now, the Panthers get the Rams on their home field with all of their pitching ready to throw and the South Jersey Non-Public B championship on the line.
Ranney’s two lefty-swinging outfielders have carried the lineup all year long, with junior Duke commit A.J. Gracia at the top of the order and Delaware commit Charlie Chropuvka in the No. 3 spot. Gracia has clocked 11 home runs this season, including one in each of Ranney’s first two state-tournament wins, while Chropuvka has launched eight homers on the season for the Panthers.
Ranney’s 308 runs scored are the most in the Shore Conference and while playing overmatched teams in Class B Central division play certainly inflates those numbers, the Panthers have shown on numerous occasions that the lineup is legit. Ranney is averaging 6.8 runs per game in games outside its division and since losing to Jackson Memorial in the Shore Conference Tournament, the Panthers have scored 57 runs during a six-game winning streak.
Geroni made sure to keep all of his pitching available for Friday, with Coniglio coming off a no-hitter in the first round of the tournament, while Gracia and Marcello Mastroianni stayed under the magic number on Monday against Holy Spirit.
Gloucester Catholic will counter with its top gun on the mound, left-hander Tanner Nolan. The Rutgers-bound junior has four double-digit strikeout performances this season (vs. Clearview, Robbinsville, Timber Creek and Moorestown Friends), including 11 in each of his last two outings. He also struck out nine in five innings on April 21 against Toms River North, which was Gloucester Catholic’s only other game vs. a Shore Conference team this season.
The Rams have been a dominant program in Non-Public B during their time as a program, racking up a state record 20 group championships and 29 sectional championships. After coming up short last season against Holy Spirit in the sectional final, Gloucester Catholic is also out for redemption Friday.
Ranney’s players, however, need only look in the opposite dugout to see the jersey of the team that ended their 2021 season. With all but one starter due back next season, Friday is a chance for Ranney to start a huge run over the next 12 months and it is only fitting the Panthers will have to go through New Jersey’s most decorated program to reach its breakthrough.
Prediction: Ranney, 5-4