Gocio catches JMU


Jade McAboy

Ryan Gocio during the 4th inning, practicing with pitcher Blake Dickerson on Mar. 15, 2023.

Jade McAboy, Staff Writer

It is fairly uncommon for a sophomore in high school to commit to a college for baseball, with only 19% of players receiving an offer a year, according to Sportrecruit.com.

Sophomore Ryan Gocio, a varsity catcher, recently announced his commitment to further his baseball career at James Madison University, a D1 school that has won the NCAA tournament nine times. 

“Baseball [has] had a massive effect on me,” said Ryan. “Throughout my years of baseball, I’ve developed a lot of friendships and learned a lot of lessons along the way.” 

Ryan’s family is big on sports. They all played sports, including his grandfather who also played baseball, Ryan grew up watching all of them and decided he wanted to play too. 

“I think what got me noticed was my excitement and being an overall good teammate and just having fun,” said Ryan, who has played travel baseball for 12 consecutive years and is approaching his second year as a dolphin. 

Ocean Lakes baseball coach and gym teacher, Peter Zell, has helped further his skill set, as well as his travel baseball coaches and parents.

“When you’re 15, playing with 17 and 18-year-olds, it’s not always that easy for him to be able to do that, and to be comfortable doing that is a credit to him,” said Zell. 

The baseball team reached the regional semifinals last year with Ryan as part of their team.

His decision for JMU was his first choice. He looks forward to the “amazing” baseball program they have, as well as the education. 

“He is goal-oriented, hard-working and determined. He’s a great guy and really gets the team going when we need it,” said teammate sophomore Holden Robinson.

Baseball will have its first official scrimmage of the spring season on Feb. 24, 2023, at Hickory High School at 5 p.m. where Ryan will compete and showcase his skillset.