The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

Boys’ varsity baseball coach retires, leaving lasting legacy

Photo courtesy of Dawg Sports Instagram
The WCHS Athletic Department announced Skellchock’s departure in late October and thanked him for all he did to the program.

WCHS Baseball hit a home run when Pat Skellchock was appointed head coach, as he became a key piece of the flourishing program both on and off the field. WCHS and the baseball community will all be greatly affected by his recent decision to step down from the position, but he has certainly set the team up for success.

When Skellchock became head coach in 2018, the team was going through a rough patch and struggling to be a cohesive, successful program. Since 2019, however, the team has earned three division titles, two regional titles and a state semi-final appearance. Notably, he also sent 14 players onto the next step of their baseball career in college. Prior to his time at WCHS, Skellchock was the pitching coach for Montgomery College and later Walt Whitman High School.

“Coach Skellchock had a huge impact on our program from wins and losses to the improvement of the facilities,” WCHS Athletic Director Jesse Smith said. “Coach took the team from a below average team each year to one that was contending for state championships. Facility wise, Coach helped with changing the field to a Bermuda turf surface with irrigation, new batting cages and so much more.”

Coach Skellchock’s impact does not end once his players get off the field. Although statistics are a great measure of success, authentic relationships are the best way to understand who someone is as a person and coach. When WCHS junior Charlie Kustner was pulled up to varsity and had the opportunity to be a part of Skellchock’s final season, he joined more than just a sports team gunning for a championship.

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“Three words I would use to describe him are tough, fair and compassionate,” Kustner said. “Coach Pat had a very positive influence on Churchill baseball on and off the field. He turned our program around when he started and led us to some memorable seasons.”

Spring 2023 was Skellchock’s 20th season coaching in Montgomery County. Needless to say, he has dedicated countless hours to his players. Despite those hours having paid off on the field, the time commitment certainly affected Skellchock’s personal life. His decision to step down ultimately came from understanding the importance of his family and prioritizing time with his wife and daughters.

“I think that the majority of the team knew this was coming eventually, but maybe not as suddenly,” Kustner said. “When we found out, Pat told us at a meeting and it was an emotional moment for everyone present.”

Although transitions are always challenging, WCHS baseball is in good hands. The athletic department was quick to appoint Coach Brock Hunter as the successor for the job.

“Coach Hunter was our JV coach this past season and he was an easy choice for the varsity position,” Smith said. “Coach has a great experience as a coach and former player that brings a lot to the players in the program. Coach Hunter was also highly recommended from players and families for the position.”

Players admire Hunter’s coaching style as well as experience. Coach Hunter started as a pitching coach at Lake Braddock High School in 2018, and since then, the team has taken all five varsity teams to the state tournament. He also coaches travel teams outside of MCPS and other leagues in the area, making his passion for the game clearly evident.

“I personally played under [Coach Hunter] last year on JV before I was called up to varsity,” Kustner said. “I think [Coach Hunter]is a student of the game and will apply his knowledge and experience to this job. He told us at our meeting that he is “all in” with us and the program. That meant a lot to me and inspired some other players as well to match his effort.”

When questioned about the team’s goal for the 2024 season, Kustner didn’t hesitate with his response. Like every year, the team’s goal is to win a state championship for WCHS. The quick shift of leadership and strong support from WCHS players and families will hopefully help them reach this goal.

“Anytime you lose a coach like him it’s difficult and leaves a hole in the program,” Smith said. “But his time with us has set a standard of excellence that helps us set a standard for what our baseball program should be. I believe that it is a big loss for the program but the foundation he set will help the program continue to grow and flourish.”

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Lily Chadwick
Lily Chadwick, Photo Manager & Assistant Sports Editor
Lily Chadwick is a sophomore and the Photo Manager of the Observer. This is her second year taking journalism and she is looking forward to bettering her writing while also meeting new people. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, field hockey, going to the beach, and spending time with family & friends.

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