By Josh Vitale, SunCoast Sports
PORT CHARLOTTE — Matt Ranson has always wanted to get out of Florida.
It’s not because he doesn’t like the Sunshine State; it’s just that he wants to experience more of the country. He was born in Massachusetts, but has lived here since he was 3 years old. He wanted to see what living elsewhere might have to offer.
On Tuesday, the Port Charlotte High School baseball player put that in writing, signing a national letter of intent to pitch for Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, N.C.
“It’s always been my dream, since I was a little kid, to get to the next level,” said Ranson, who was a pitcher for the Pirates. “Now that I’ve signed, I just know it’s official. It’s a weight off my shoulders.”
Most of the interest Ranson received from colleges came from local Florida schools until the Bears gave him a call. One of the coaches at the Division II school — which competes in the South Atlantic Conference — had seen film of pitching, and they wanted him to come up to the campus for a visit.
He threw a bullpen for them, toured the campus — it’s small, just the way he liked — and felt immediately comfortable with the coaching staff.
“It felt like home,” Ranson said. “I’m just excited.”