The curtains came down on the John Chalus era on Crowfield Boulevard.
Chalus coached his last game for the Stratford Knights baseball team on Friday. They went out a winner, 11-9, over county and region rival Cane Bay.
Chalus will now step into an administrative role at SHS, serving as athletics director and assistant principal.
“I have been very fortunate to coach baseball at Stratford,” said Chalus, whose team finished 9-13 this spring and missed the playoffs. “The strong support of the administration, coaches and parents have made us successful. Their trust and faith in us molding the young men at the school is second to none. Without them, we are just another baseball team. I couldn’t have done it without my family, including my parents. They were a tremendous support group when I started to second guess some decisions.”
Stratford won 463 games and one state title under Chalus, going back 23 seasons.
Eleven Stratford products were drafted in the Chalus era, led by current major leaguers Justin Smoak (Mariners) and Matt Wieters (Orioles).
“This field has seen a lot of games,” Chalus said. “It’s come a long way, from having no grass, no dugouts, just fences and stuff. I’ve been very fortunate.”
Chalus said the school hasn’t started interviews to find his successor. It’s likely the coach will already have ties to the program, like a current assistant or a former Stratford player.
“I’m going to miss it but I will be around,” Chalus said.
All but three graduating seniors can return next spring so whoever the coach is will inherit an experienced squad, including three Division I commitments.
Junior pitcher/OF Jamison Mobbs is a Clemson commitment, junior P/IF Eddie Hiott is a CSU commitment and sophomore shortstop J.D. Davis is committed to the Citadel.
Two starters are among the group moving on, catcher Jordan Lacavera and outfielder Taylor Morrison.
Lacavera batted .292 with nine RBIs, while Morrison hit .246 with 10 RBIs. Connor Kern was also senior.
Junior outfielder Ty’reik Faulks was the top hitter, batting 304. Junior IF/C Isaac Greer batted .281, followed by Mobbs (.270), sophomore Asher Smith (.239) and Hiott (.235).
On the mound, neither Hiott (2-5) or Mobbs (1-5) had outstanding records but the two region starters logged solid innings.
Hiott fanned 38 batters in 45 innings en route to a 1.87 earned-run average, while Mobbs struck out 50 batters in 41 innings on his way to a 3.93 ERA.
Walker was the third pitcher, finishing 2-3 with a 6.78 ERA over 32 innings. Smith was 3-0 with a 3.76 ERA over nine–plus innings.