10 Jason Ronai
Jason Ronai enters his fifth season on the Navy baseball coaching staff, working with the hitters and catchers, as well as being in charge of Navy Baseball Camps.
Last season, the Midshipmen enjoyed a strong offensive season with the help of Ronai, as they set school records in hits (615), doubles (105), home runs (38), RBIs (320) and total bases (884). Navy finished the year with a .304 batting average and a .436 slugging percentage - the 11th-highest and eighth-highest marks in school history, respectively. Navy also legged out 25 triples to rank 10th nationally in that category and ninth in triples per game (0.43).
Hitters Michael Speciale and Thomas Hamilton also benefitted from Ronai's tutelage, as both were named to the ABCA/Rawlings All-Northeast Region Team. Speciale was also the first Navy position player in program history selected to the 2009 Brooks Wallace Award Watch List, which is given to the top collegiate baseball player in the nation.
Ronai's efforts also showed up with the work of catchers, as sophomore Steven Soares and freshman Jeff Bland threw out 32 percent of all base stealers and committed just two errors in 450 chances, good for a .996 fielding percentage.
In 2007, Ronai helped the offense hit at a .283 clip over the final-38 games of the year, including a .287 mark during Patriot League action. Two Navy hitters, Thomas Hamilton and Michael Garcia, each hit over .400 during league play to top all Patriot League hitters.
Behind the plate, Navy catchers Steven Soares and Joshua Martinez combined to gun down 26.9 percent of all base stealers and picked off three runners. Also, the Midshipmen duo allowed only four passed balls in 457.0 innings of work.
During the 2007 MLB First-Year Player Draft, former Navy catcher Jonathan Johnston '06 was selected in the 43rd round by the Oakland Athletics organization. Johnston was the first position player drafted by a professional franchise in program history.
Under Ronai's guidance in 2006, Navy posted a .293 batting average, a 46-point improvement over the previous year's mark. The increase ranks as the fourth-best in school history and fifth-highest among all Division I schools last season. As a result, the Midshipmen set a school record with 525 hits and averaged 5.67 runs per game, compared to their 3.74 runs per game average in 2005.
Navy's catchers also benefited from his tutelage last season, as Navy allowed only six passed balls in 446.0 innings of work, threw out 21 base stealers and picked off five runners.
A Springfield, Ohio, native, Ronai was a four-year starter at UNC-Asheville. Ronai, who earned four letters, was named the team MVP his junior season and captained the squad during his senior campaign. He graduated from UNC-Asheville in 2001, ranking second all-time in total hits and stolen bases. Prior to coming to UNC-Asheville, Ronai played one season of college basketball at Saint Peter's College in Jersey City, N.J.
Ronai played one season of independent professional baseball (2002) for the Alexandria Aces of the Central League.
During that time, he began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Indiana State (2001-02). His duties included working with hitters, outfielders and improving their baserunning.
Ronai moved on and spent a year as the Director of Onfield Sessions for the recruiting service "Baseball Factory" in 2003. He was promoted to Director of The Exclusive Program in 2004, where he helped guide high school players through the recruiting process.
Ronai, who received his Bachelor's of Science in psychology, later went on to earn his master's degree in sports leadership from VCU.
Ronai and his wife, the former Krista Kares, reside in Annapolis.