John McCrane '17: Armed for success
John McCrane ’17 knows the many sacrifices that his mom Melissa has made to send him to Holy Ghost Prep. And he’s also aware of the thousands of miles she piled up on the family’s Nissan Maxima odometer to watch him play Firebird hoops and baseball or to get him out to the All-Star Baseball Academy in Warminster to hone his skills.
The sacrifices have all paid off as McCrane, a hard-throwing righthander, has elected to play college baseball close to home at University of Sciences, choosing the Devils over Ursinus College and Catholic University.
“She means everything to me,” says McCrane. “It was a stretch and a struggle for her to send me here, and I’m excited that she’ll be able to continue to watch me play in college.”
Blessed with a four-seam and two-seam fastball that have been clocked in the mid-to-high 80s as well as a changeup and curveball, McCrane was 2-1 with a 2.66 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 23-2/3 innings last year. When he isn’t on the mound, McCrane will play shortstop, third base or centerfield (wherever his powerful right arm is needed) and will shoulder a significant leadership role for the Holy Ghost Prep baseball team this spring.
“John is a very coachable young man, a team player and a great competitor,” says Holy Ghost manager Vince Rossomando. “He always wants the ball in big moments and is willing to help other guys on the team whenever possible.”
McCrane believes that his experience of being an on-the-court leader for the HGP hoops team this winter will serve him well on the baseball diamond this spring.
“This year, I stepped into a much bigger leadership role in basketball, so I’ll be able to translate that into baseball as a more vocal leader this year with Nolan (Jones) gone,” says McCrane.
Holy Ghost Prep basketball coach Tony Chapman knows firsthand about McCrane’s leadership skills. A pass-first point guard, McCrane never shied away from a tough defensive assignment and always made the players around him better on the court in his two years of starting for Chapman’s varsity basketball team.
“He went into the year as one of a group of seniors from whom I was looking for leadership. And John seemed to emerge as the leader of the team,” says Chapman. “His work ethic and drive for personal success and, even more so, team success is extremely impressive. The University of the Sciences is a getting a wonderful young man first, an outstanding athlete, and an individual who makes the people around him better people.”
University of the Sciences baseball coach Kevin Woodbridge has told McCrane that the velocity on his fastball should consistently rise into the high-80s and low-90s once he spends time in a college weight room and his frame fills out.
Rossomando also believes that McCrane’s best pitching days are ahead of him.
“We’ve always felt that John has such a high ceiling because he is a big kid who is still growing and he understands how to pitch,” says Rossomando. “It would not surprise me if he is consistently throwing in the upper 80s once he gets to the University of Sciences and even harder as he gets older.
“One thing he needs to work on, and already has, is his mound presence. He wants to win every pitch and is such a competitor that he can be too hard on himself at times. The more he relaxes out there (on the mound), the sky is the limit for him.”
McCrane should be armed for success after his playing days are over. He will enroll in the College of the Sciences’ renowned pharmacy program, a seven-year doctorate program that has an impeccable track record for placing its graduates.
“You’re almost guaranteed a job as a pharmacist once you graduate,” says McCrane. “So I’ll go there, work hard and good things will happen, I’m sure.”