Ripken makes it official with South Carolina

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Casas, O'Neill and Ilanio sign baseball letters of intent at Gilman


Ryan Ripken signed a letter of intent to play college baseball at the University of South Carolina on Monday, joining three Gilman teammates in a signing ceremony at the school's Roland Park campus.  Gilman baseball coach Larry Sheets said that he was proud of all four student athletes.

"It's a great day for Gilman baseball. We have four outstanding players going to D-1 schools. They put forth great effort in the classroom and on the baseball field," said the former Baltimore Orioles star, who guided the Greyhounds to the MIAA A conference championship his first year at the helm in 2010.

Ripken, pitcher Brandon Casas (University of Maryland), shortstop Tom O'Neill (Yale), and pitcher Seve llanio (Delaware) were all a big part of that championship season, when the Greyhounds dethroned a Calvert Hall team that was pursuing an unprecedented sixth straight conference championship.

Ripken is the son of Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr.

Ryan's mom Kelly spoke to VSN on behalf of the Ripken family at the ceremony. Cal, who serves as an assistant baseball coach at Gilman, was in Japan on business.

"The process was a long one. I really felt that Ryan, Cal and I looked long and hard. USC came out in the running.  Ryan just loved the school. The program down there is exceptional."  Kelly also said that Cal did his due diligence, grilling the USC coaches.

"He (Cal) feels like Ryan will get the opportunity to get to the next developmental level and get a good education at the same time."

Ryan said that he is happy with his decision.

"South Carolina came on late.  They contacted me late in the spring, and saw me play in Jupiter, Florida. They liked the way I played."

Ryan said that it was a family decision. "We thought that was the best fit for me."

On choosing between baseball and basketball, Ryan said that he loves the glove.  "It was difficult to chose one sport over the other, but all of the coaches said that I would have to give up one sport over the other."

Ryan said he will miss Gilman. "Gilman has been part of my life since I was six years old. Gilman will always be a part of me."

Casas also said his choice was a long process. Casas was considering Virginia Tech, Richmond and Air Force. The 6-foot-6 righty was 8-0 for Sheets in 2009.  "Maryland showed consistent effort and I really like their program. It's a great fit for me."

Casas will join MIAA stars Matt Bosse (Calvert Hall), AJ Lardo (Loyola), and KJ Hockaday (John Carroll) at Maryland.

O'Neill said the process started in his sophomore year. 'I went to their camp, and they came and saw me play in Georgia.  I love the school, the coaching staff, and the players."

Seve IlanioIlanio, who came close to throwing a no-hitter for the Greyhounds as a freshman said that he was considering a couple of schools.

"I'm looking forward to being a Blue Hen. I love the school. They have a great program."

Sheets will rely on all four seniors this spring.  "Seve has worked really, really hard, and he has turned his game around.  Brandon has a great upside.  He's throwing 90 miles an hour, and he will get bigger and stronger."

Sheets said that O'Neill has been clutch for the Hounds since he took over.  "When you put together the academics of Yale, and playing D-I baseball, it's a terrific accomplishment.

"And Ryan will have a terrific opportunity. He's going to do a terrific job there. "He's got a lot of ability, and he'll need it at USC."

Click on the Video Gallery link above to see interviews from the ceremony.

Last Updated (Tuesday, 15 November 2011 07:32)



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