Two years of sitting in the stands was long enough for veteran baseball coach Jerry Stoots, who is coming out of retirement for a second time to be the head baseball coach at St. John’s Christian Academy next spring.
Stoots compiled 850 victories during a career that included stops at Stall High and Northwood Academy. He stepped down at Northwood after the 2013 season — his 11th at the school. Stoots led Stall to the Class AAA state title in 1985, and took Northwood to five consecutive state finals appearances.
“I missed being out there on the field and I still feel like I have something to offer,” said the 67-year old Stoots. “I have time to do it and I want to do it. I took two years off after I retired from Stall and got the itch to coach again at Northwood. I took two years off this time and I want to coach again.”
Stoots said at least three of his former assistant coaches from Northwood have agreed to join him at St. John’s Christian. The coach inherits a competitive program that won 19 games this past spring but did lose nine seniors.
“It’s been a solid program with good kids and hopefully we can take it to the next level over the next few years,” said Stoots. “We have some rebuilding to do and we are now working on some facility improvements, but we have great potential here. I’m excited about it. I don’t plan to just show up to coach the team. I have a lot of ideas that I think can make the program a lot better in the future.”
Fort Dorchester High School also will have a new baseball coach in 2016 as long-time coach Jack Radcliffe stepped down following the 2015 season. Radcliffe won more than 320 games at Fort Dorchester.
Sources indicate the top contenders for the position include current Stall head coach Ronnie Sayer, current Woodland head coach Keith Lowman and Fort Dorchester junior varsity coach Cory Deering.
Wando and Bishop England have been recognized as the top athletic programs in their respective classifications by the South Carolina Athletic Administrators Association.
The group annually presents the Director’s Cup to the top performing athletic program in each classification, using a point system for playoff success in the 22 sanctioned sports of the South Carolina High School League.
Wando is the 2014-15 Director’s Cup winner for class AAAA for the third time. Bishop England won the AA Director’s Cup for the 13th consecutive year.
Hilton Head won the class AAA Cup and Christ Church won the Class A Cup for the 11th time.
Academic Magnet finished third in the AA standings for the 2014-15 school year.
The Charleston RiverDogs will recognize the first-team members of The Post and Courier’s All-Lowcountry high school baseball and softball teams prior to their game against the Rome Braves at Riley Park on July 6.
The players will be honored on the field and the ceremony is scheduled to begin at 6:40 p.m.
In the All-Lowcountry high school golf team recently released, Fort Dorchester’s Ky Matsumoto should have been included on the first team. His brother, Koh, was an honorable mention selection on the All-Lowcountry soccer team.
Wando, the Class AAAA state baseball champion, has two more graduating seniors headed for college baseball in the fall. Pitcher Ethan Keane will play at USC Salkehatchie while infielder/outfielder Max Fries has signed with Brunswick Community College. The signings bring Wando’s total to nine in the 2015 class.