AJ Gracia struck out nine and Ranney scored nine runs over the final two innings Wednesday en route to a 10-1 win over Immaculata in the non-public State B Final at Veterans Park in Hamilton.
The title is the first in program history for Ranney (26-5), No. 15 in NJ.com’s Top 20. The Panthers closed out their season in style, winning their last eight straight games and 11 of their last 12.
Follow below for a look at the MVP, the stars of the game, and his key moment.
AJ Gracia, Ranney, Jr., P/OF: Duke’s commitment was sensational on the hill, striking out nine and scattering three hits in 5 2/3 innings before reaching the pitch limit. He belted a majestic solo home run to right field to open the game and went 1 for 2 with three walks, three runs scored and two RBIs.
Jack Tallent, Ranney, So., 2B: The youngster went 2 for 4 with two runs scored and two RBIs. His RBI single in the sixth led to Gracia with what turned out to be the winning run, while adding an RBI single as part of a six-run seventh.
Brett Wehringer, Ranney, So., SS: The shortstop went 2 for 5 with two runs scored and an RBI. He scored in the singles and scored in the sixth, while adding an RBI single and scoring again as part of the Panthers outburst in the seventh inning.
Josh Thompson, Immaculata, So., P: The young right-hander launched well until he ran into trouble in the decisive sixth round. He also had one of three hits for the Spartans and scored their only run in the second inning on a passed fly.
While Jack Tallent’s single RBI drove the winning run in sixth, AJ Gracia’s bombshell opened the contest was massive. After a foul ball was mishandled, the Duke committed a throw into the trees beyond the fence into right field. It was one of those home runs without a doubt. The explosion gave him 11 on the season. He finished with two RBIs, giving him 41 on the year.
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Kevin Minnick covers South Jersey baseball. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @kminnicksports