Published 8:31 pm Thursday, August 14, 2014

Charles Henderson’s Chase Smartt has long wanted opportunity to play for his father

Hit a home run. Check.

Win a recreation league world series. Check

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Win a high school state title. Check.

Be named MVP of title series. Check.

Chase Smartt has done everything a baseball player his age aspires to Do…except one thing. Smartt has never played for his dad.

He will finally get that chance in 2016.

Smartt verbally committed to Troy last year, thinking his dad would be his assistant coach. But with Bobby Pierce’s announcement on Wednesday that 2015 will be his final season as the Troy skipper and the corresponding decision to hire Mark Smartt as the next head coach, Chase will finally be able to realize the dream he has had since first picking up a bat.

“I have always wanted to play for my dad,” Chase said. “He coached me a couple of times off and on in travel ball, but nothing full time. It will be a great experience.”

Chase has dominated high school baseball over the last two seasons. He has led Charles Henderson to a pair of state titles, picked up the 4A Hitter of the Year Award and was named to numerous All-State and All-Area teams.

But one thing was missing.

While Chase was busy tearing it up in high school, Mark was busy helping guide the Troy Trojans to a Sun Belt title in 2013.

Mark has been able to make a handful of games over the last few seasons, but not nearly as many as he would like.

As Chase and his teammates celebrated their second straight state title on the mound at Riverwalk Stadium last May, Mark stood in the third base coach’s box at Stanky Field in Mobile helping the Trojans down rival South Alabama.

“My dad hasn’t been able to watch me play a lot lately, but we both know why,” Chase said. “He comes whenever he can, and I go watch him whenever I can. We always talk to each other after games anyway.”

For now, Mark is nothing but “dad,” however Chase knows that will change once he trades in his orange and blue for cardinal and silver.

While he still concentrating on his high school days for now, Chase can’t help but smile when thinking about being in the same dugout as his Mark.

“He is my dad, and will always be my dad,” Chase said. “It’s just in a little while he will be my coach too. In the dugout he is coach, but once he comes home he is dad again. I am just excited to play for the greatest baseball coach I know of, my dad.”