WCHS baseball goes the distance, has a home run season



Members of the Bulldogs jump in celebration after a well-earned 4-3 win over Urbana on May 4. This victory showed the Bulldogs can compete with formidable teams in Maryland and pushed them to 14-0

By Isaac Horn, Staff Writer

Who could’ve seen this run coming? Churchill Varsity Baseball has gone from unranked last season to number one in The Washington Post’s Baseball Top 10 high school baseball rankings in the DC Metro Area this season. Showcasing a 19-2 record overall and a 5-0 record in the Montgomery County 4A West region, the team has found new magic. 

The Bulldogs have shown they can outshine formidable Maryland teams such as Whitman and Urbana. They have won their second Maryland 4A West Regional Championship in a row with a resounding victory over Walter Johnson. Now, they have even higher aspirations during this breakout season. 

Many great and thrilling moments have occurred throughout the Bulldogs’ season, ranging from Chris Hacopian’s walk-off grand slam that secured a 12-11 win against Wheaton to Nathan Gumagay’s walk-off hit against Urbana in the bottom of the 7th inning to win 4-3. Featuring a mix of motivated juniors and seniors, the team has developed great chemistry.

“I think our team has been so successful this year for many reasons. The work we all put in this offseason to better ourselves has put us in this situation we are in right now,” junior outfielder Eric Chen said. “Also, the team chemistry we have and the ability for all of us to put all of our talents into one makes us almost unstoppable on all aspects of the game at some points.”

The athletic talent among the team has propelled them towards their impressive 19-2 record. The roster also features a number of seniors who have committed to college to play baseball, such as Matt Roche (The College of Wooster), Erik Rindner (University of Chicago), Cayman Hubbarth (Montgomery College), Jake Stern (Carleton College), and Nathan Gumagay (Macalester College).

“Aside from the great chemistry we have, everyone has contributed when it comes to hitting and fielding well,” junior second baseman Zane Gross said. “We have really upped our game as a team, and that comes from how we trust each other on the field.” 

When it comes to the coaching, head coach Pat Skellchock has been able to keep the team together throughout the season to create a winning culture. The players have received valuable guidance along the way, as Skellchock and the coaching staff are always looking for ways to improve his roster to get the best out of them.

“The coaching we have is great and very supportive. They know what they are doing and trust all of us. We can always go to them for anything we need,” Chen said.

“As a team, we are always motivated by our coaches to get better, and this has created a great culture that makes us unique,” Gross added.

The buzz and attention that the Bulldogs have been receiving for their play on the field may seem as if it can get to the heads of the players and coaches. However, a huge reason why the Bulldogs have been so successful is because they don’t let this happen, as they just focus on improving their game while ignoring the outside noise.

“The mentality we have definitely contributes to our success. We don’t care about the rankings, what others say or think about our team, we just play our game and focus on one game at a time,” Chen said. 

This school year, we have really seen a revitalized Churchill spirit that has allowed our teams across all different levels and sports to become more successful. This is especially apparent when watching the baseball team, as our passionate fans are always cheering them on at Churchill and even come out to away games to support them. 

“We always have great showings for home games, to the point where people have to stand along the left field line because all of the bleachers are filled. The fans have been very loyal to us and have always kept showing up for us. They have had an impact on us being able to overcome our opponents,” Chen said. 

This spring season for the Bulldogs has been full of exhilarating moments on the field, but off the field, the connections the players have made have strengthened the team’s performance.

“There have been so many great moments on the field. If I were to choose a favorite, I would say winning the Jack Langerman Cup was the best moment as a team. Off the field, the interactions together have really gotten us to call this team a family,” Gross said. 

“I honestly enjoy every moment. Winning, no matter how we win, has brought tons of excitement for all of us. The walk off home-runs or blowout games this season have all been amazing, but even the lows of our season have been great to learn from,” Chen said.