Thursday, March 6, 2014
Nearly three decades into coaching baseball on Crowfield Boulevard, Stratford’s John Chalus can’t remember a time the schedule has left this tiny a margin for error.
“I don’t remember it being this tough in the last 27 years,” he said. “There are no easy games. Every game becomes crucial in an effort to make it to the playoffs.
“With a couple of breaks, and some luck, we may be able to win some games.”
A year ago, the Knights were 9-9 overall and 3-5 in Region 7-AAAA and missed the postseason but they return a number of key players, including Clemson commit Jamison Mobbs and some of the other top players statistically.
The junior righthander (6-4, 180) committed to the Tigers in the fall. Last season he was 2-3 with a 3.71 earned-run average.
Sophomore shortstop J.D. Davis batted .333 with 14 RBIs and scored 11 runs last spring while senior centerfielder Taylor Morrison also had a .333 batting average, drove in 16 runs and stole five bases.
Junior infielder/pitcher Eddie Hiott batted .294 and had a 4-3 pitching record. He fashioned a 4.47 ERA and fanned 48 batters over 42-plus innings. Senior catcher Jordan Lacavera batted .283 last spring and second baseman Mikey White is another returning starter.
Other projected starters on the infield include sophomore Justin Walker at first base, junior third baseman Isaac Greer. Sophomores Michael Tarzwell and Tyler Knight are in the mix for playing time in the dirt, too. Morrison is set for center field while junior Ty’Reik Faulks is slated for left and Mobbs for right. Sophomore Andrew Preston is another outfielder.
In addition to Mobbs and Hiott, Walker, sophomore Austin Chesser, sophomore Jacob Morrison, sophomore Asher Smith, senior Conner Kern and freshman Ethan Struthers are the team’s hurlers.
“Leadership is a big key,” Chalus said. “With only a couple of seniors, some of the two- and three-year starting underclassmen will have to step up and become leaders. To get into the thick of the region title chase, we will have to limit the walks and errors. Pitchers will have to throw strikes and we must get base hits in key situations.”
“Each game a player will be called upon to ‘Knight Up,’ and make an extraordinary play.”
The Knights begin the regular season on March 10 at home against Beaufort before traveling to Summerville March 12 and hosting Woodland on March 14.