CHHS Trojans readying for playoffs

Published 3:00 am Thursday, April 16, 2015

By Dan Smith

Rain has been the only thing to stop the momentum of the Charles Henderson High baseball team in the last week, but the Trojans are hoping for dry weather and a chance to host Beauregard in the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs this Friday in Troy.

CHHS was rained out against Brantley at home Tuesday night, and field conditions were too wet to play at Enterprise in a double-header this past Saturday.

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Carrying a 31-2 regular season record into the playoffs, CHHS also learned they have moved up to No. 20 in the nation in the latest MaxPreps High School Baseball poll, released Tuesday morning.

Head Coach Derek Irons is proud of the accomplishments of the regular season, but is training his young men to focus on the playoffs at hand.

“I’m so proud of the regular season that our guys put together,” said Coach Irons. “31-2 is a fantastic record, particularly considering the level of opponents we have played throughout the year. They’ve done a great job of improving every day and focusing on one day at a time. There have been some fantastic teams in the history of CHHS, but none have ever won 31 games in a regular season.

“I feel good about where we are as a team heading into the playoffs. Hopefully we will continue to improve each day this week and be ready to give our best effort on Friday. Beauregard has been a great program for many years now. We met them in the quarterfinals in 2010 and 2013, so we’re used to meeting them in the playoffs, just not this early. They played for the state title in 2012, so we know they are a proud program that has a very good team this year.”

The Trojans have found productivity at the plate from a number of young men in the batting order, led by Chase Smartt who leads the team in batting average at .537, runs scored with 47, hits with 51, doubles with 18, tied for the lead with home runs with five, stolen bases with 15, and has struck out only four times in 95 at-bats.

Many others have also been productive, as Nick Lewis is batting .438, Austin Ingram .418 with five home runs, DeAndre Pitts .409, Reilly Fox .394, Cole Wilson .373, Chase Hartley .357 and Hunter Reeves at .340 to round out the leading hitters.

“The difference between good and great in high school baseball is having guys step into new roles and perform at a high level,” said Irons. “Hunter Reeves and Bryson Gandy have stepped in as sophomores and been big contributors since opening day. DeAndre Pitts and Nick Lewis have both been great on the left side of the infield and at the plate. As a senior, Cole Wilson has stepped up on the mound and been fantastic for us all season.”

Ingram is 8-0 on the season as a starting pitcher for the Trojans with a 1.20 ERA, Hunter Reeves is 7-0, Cole Wilson is 6-1 and Chase Hartley is 5-1.

CHHS will host Beauregard Friday at Hogan’s Hole for a 4 p.m. double-header with a 1 p.m. game Saturday if necessary.