High school baseball is about talent, coaching and chemistry.
The James Island Trojans score well in all three categories.
The Trojans have talent, even though they have only three seniors on the roster. But those seniors deliver leadership on and off the field that provides inspiration for some impressive juniors and sophomores.
Then there's coach Tom Hatley, who has led the Trojans to two state championships and more than 400 victories in a career that has spanned more than two decades.
Chemistry is also a key to the Trojans' success so far this season with a 14-3 record heading into Thursday's Hanahan Invitational Tournament semifinal against Florida entry Belen Jesuit.
"The players have a bond that is hard to find," said Hatley, who last month became only the 13th coach in state history to reach 400 career victories. "The kids, every one of them, love to play baseball. They love the game of baseball."
The three seniors are Matt Porter, Joe Boudolf and Trey Walters.
"They lead the team on and off the field," Hatley said. "They go out and give it their all, whether it's in practice or a game, and you can't ask for anything more than that."
Porter is one of the top four hitters on the team. He checks in at No. 2 with a .413 average, with five doubles and a pair of homers. Junior John Fissell leads the team with a .419 average, while classmates Bo Patterson and Joey Wilson are Nos. 3 and 4 with averages of .358 and .345, respectively.
Patterson is also a skilled football player and was one of the top junior wide receivers in the Lowcountry last fall. Patterson and sophomore athlete Justin Bolus are the two best athletes in the school. Bolus was a starter on the Trojans' football and basketball teams and is a key backup on Hatley's squad.
Pitching is plentiful, too, with this year's staff returning intact in 2011.
Junior Austin Weekley is 5-1 with a 1.46 ERA, while sophomore Josh Escoffier is 4-0 with an ERA of 0.47 after an impressive 5-1 win over Bishop England in the HIT. Escoffier pitched a three- hitter against Bishop England. He allowed a run in the first inning and then pitched six scoreless innings. He struck out six and walked two.
Classmates Ryan Stone and Carson Porcher have pitched well, too. Stone, who also plays catcher, has had some big hits this spring. He had a two-run double against Bishop England.
"The sophomores are a good nucleus for the future," Hatley said. "But they're a pretty good nucleus right now."