ALL-AREA TEAM: CHHS Trojan Chase Smartt named Player of the Year

Published 3:00 am Saturday, June 6, 2015

CHHS catcher Chase Smartt and future Troy University Trojan was named Player of the Year for The Messenger's All-Area Team.  MESSENGER PHOTO/DAN SMITH

CHHS catcher Chase Smartt and future Troy University Trojan was named Player of the Year for The Messenger’s All-Area Team.

When a team finishes a regular season with a 31-2 record, there is going to be many players who have breakout seasons. In the case of Charles Henderson, there was one player who stood out above the rest.

Senior catcher Chase Smartt finished his stellar career with the Trojans with a resume stronger than most. In a five-year varsity career with the Trojans, Smartt racked up back-to-back AHSAA State Championships in 2013 and 2014. This season Smartt was mentioned on the 2015 Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American Southeast-All Region second team list.

“His career, and the impact that he has had on this program, is one of the greatest if not the greatest in the history of our school. He had an impact on every game,” Charles Henderson head coach Derek Irons said. He is everything you could ask for in a player and a leader.”

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The 2015 numbers were astronomically high for the Trojan senior; he finished the 2015 campaign batting .523, racking up 58 hits in 111 at bats. Smartt also hit for power in 2015, belting seven home runs and driving in 50 runs.

On-base percentage in large part is an unheralded stat in baseball. In the case of Smartt however, his on-base percentage of .626 really tells a story.

“It’s incredible, because every one we played knew who he was,” coach Irons said. “People were being really careful; he was being pitched around quite a bit. For him to put up the numbers that he did tells you that when teams did make mistakes, he made them pay. He rarely missed a good pitch to hit.”

Smartt walked a total of 26 times in 2015 setting up the table for the guys behind them. Smartt scored a total of 54 runs.

“People have chosen to pitch around him, and they have paid for it,” Irons said. There was a lot of people on base in front of him to drive in, and there was really good hitters behind him giving him protection as well.”

Smartt not only made an impact on the field offensively, but his defense played a big roll for the Trojans all year as well. Smartt had the ability to lead a defense behind the plate. Smartt played a pivotal role in slowing down an opposing team’s running game, as well as having the ability to run the pitching staff.

“He gave our pitchers so much confidence. He had the ability of working them through different situations.” Coach Irons said. “For me as a coach, most of the time he knew exactly what I wanted. It even got to the point this year, that I got input from him. It was almost like having a coach on the field just because of his baseball knowledge, and he had a really good understanding of what I wanted to accomplish.”

Last November Smartt made a life long dream come true. Smartt signed a scholarship to stay home and play college baseball under his father at Troy University.

Mark Smartt took over as head coach earlier this month after legendary Troy head coach Bobby Pierce retired.

Chase will have to make a decision this summer however, as many publications have Smartt possibly being chosen in this months Major League Baseball Draft. Whatever Smartt decides to do in the end, he has the skill and the talent to play baseball at any level.

He has an extremely bright future,” coach Irons said. “He gets to live out a dream next year and play for his dad at Troy. I think there is professional baseball in his future, whether that’s this year or in a few years. As much as I hate that he is not going to be in our program anymore, I am real excited about watching him develop over the next few years at the collegiate level, and the professional level.”

Derek Irons wins Coach of the Year award

For the second consecutive year coach Irons has one the All-Area Coach of the Year award. Coach Irons led his team into the state Playoffs in 2015 with a regular season record of 31-2 record.

“I feel like every coach of the year is really an acknowledgement for a team of the year award,” Irons said. “It is really something given to a coach on behalf of the team. I am very proud to receive the award, because of what it says about our team”

Coach Irons led his team to an undefeated record against teams in Class 6 and 7A this season.

In the last few years coach Irons has build up a program at Charles Henderson that is now known statewide due to their achievements.

“I am so proud of the level these guys reached this year. They were able to continue the tradition that started at Charles Henderson many years ago,” Irons said. “They put their stamp on it.”

At the end of the 2015 season Charles Henderson was Nationally Ranked in four different polls.