OCHS Teams of the 90's
Ben Charles top Raider baseball player of the 90s!
By TOM WILLIAMS
Gazette Staff Writer
Ocean City High School baseball in the 1990s was strongest in the
middle and struggled a bit at the beginning and end.
Craig Mensinger, who coached the team throughout the decade, had his
three best seasons in succession. The Raiders were 15-7 in both 1994
and 1995 and finished 12-9 in 1996. There were also two .500 seasons,
in 1993 and 1999.
OC twice went two games deep into the NJSIAA Group 3 tournament before
losing. In 1995, the Raiders beat Delsea in the opening round before
losing to Brick Memorial, 8-0, in the South Jersey semifinal. In 1999,
OC defeated Brick Memorial in the first round before getting dumped,
9-0, by Toms River South in the second round. Those two wins were
the first in the NJSIAA tournament since Bud Rinck's 1983 team won twice
before losing to Absegami in the South Jersey semi-finals.
Though the 1990s did not bring a championship to the Raiders, the
program did develop a number of quality players. Leading that list is
Ben Charles, our Ocean City High School Baseball Player of the 1990s.
Charles played most of three seasons, hitting .302 and driving home 55
runs with 58 hits. "He was the best clutch hitter I've seen," said
Mensinger, who has coached more OCHS baseball games than any other
coach. "Ben had the whole package. He played short when we needed him
and he did a job for us on the mound." In fact, Charles was 2-1 with a 2.26
earned run average as a junior and 5-3 with a 1.49 ERA as a senior.
The choice between Charles, who makes the all-decade team as a left
fielder, and his fellow outfielders was close. Center fielder Jason
Tarves hit .328 with 28 extra bases hits, including eight home runs.
And Sam Picketts, the right fielder, hit .375 with 23 extra base hits.
Picketts was All-South Jersey as a junior.
The outfield on the all-decade team would obviously be its strength.
All three played in the Carpenter Cup all star tournament at Veteran's
Stadium. But there were quality players elsewhere in the lineup.
All the pitchers were All-CAL selections. Steve Adams had a 12-10
career record and a 2.21 ERA with 140 strikeouts in 155 innings. Trevor
Fusaro was 9-2 with a 1.41 ERA and 85 strikeouts in 89.2 innings. Dan
Lanchoney finished 7-7 with a 2.02 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 104.1
innings. And Bill Lawton, who pitched professionally in New York over
the summer, was 11-6 with a 2.18 ERA and 123 strikeouts in 106 innings.
The infield is anchored by a solid double play combination up the
middle. Second baseman Brian Geary hit .373 with 72 hits, the most by
any player during the decade. He also stole 43 bases in 45 attempts. At
short is Chris Bauer, a .380 hitter who might have put together even
better numbers if he had been able to play as a senior. Bauer, who went
to St. Joseph's University, dropped a class without realizing it would
not give him enough credits in that semester to be eligible by NJSIAA
At the corners are first baseman Mike Tolson, who hit .333 over a
two-year period, and third baseman Ryan Reich, who hit .368 the last
two years and should be an early candidate for the first all-decade
team of the next century is he posts the same numbers this spring in
his senior year.
The catcher is Zach Dukich, a solid hitter who was superb behind the
plate. Matt Chila, a senior this year, is a catcher but gets the nod as
designated hitter. Chila hit .465 with four home runs.
"This is a really good team," said Mensinger. "It has hitting, speed
and leadership. I really wish I'd have had them all at the same time.
That would have been something."
OCHS Baseball in the 90s
1990....6-14......Craig Mensinger....Dan Lanchoney .301
1991....4-13......Craig Mensinger....Chris Bauer .333
1992....3-14......Craig Mensinger....Chris Bauer .410
1993....10-10.....Craig Mensinger....Jared Bauer .313
1994....15-7......Craig Mensinger....Jason Tarves .321
1995....15-7......Craig Mensinger....Jason Tarves .439
1996....12-9......Craig Mensinger....Brian Geary .388
1997....7-11......Craig Mensinger....Sam Picketts .429
1998....7-13......Craig Mensinger....Rob Warren .354
1999....11-11.....Craig Mensinger....Matt Chila .457
The All-90s Raider Baseball Team