Bethel Park’s Chalus brothers relish final high school season together

Saturday, July 17, 2021 | 11:42 AM

The Chalus brothers can almost be considered mirror images.

Eric Chalus, 19, stands 6-foot-1, weighs 180 pounds and is a left-handed pitcher. John Chalus, 17, goes 6-foot, 180 pounds as a right-handed hitting catcher.

The two were instrumental in the Bethel Park baseball team’s thrilling PIAA championship run in 2021.

Eric Chalus, a senior and one of the WPIAL’s top hurlers, finished with an undefeated 11-0 record and 0.97 ERA in 72 innings, striking out 91 batters while walking only four. He also hit .386 with 23 RBIs and 18 runs scored.

John Chalus, a sophomore, was behind the plate for all 11 of his brother’s victories.

“I am sure it was very neat for the whole Chalus family that the brothers were the battery for the championship games,” Bethel Park coach Pat Zehnder said. “John was amazing behind the plate all year for us. Only a sophomore, he was one of the best catchers in the WPIAL at throwing out runners and blocking balls in the dirt.

“With the consistency from those two, it really takes pressure off the rest of the team and allows the other players to each focus on their individual roles.”

Next season will be the first time in recent memory the Chalus duo won’t be penciled into the same lineup. Older brother Eric will be at Kent State in the fall.

“The relationship my brother and I have is special,” Eric said. “We grew up together and played baseball on the same team our entire life. He caught me all the way back in the first year of kid pitch. No other family is blessed enough to have this kind of battery that benefits both of us.”

Along with providing a solid, dependable target behind the plate, John Chalus batted close to .300 for the Black Hawks.

“I did catch all of Eric’s games this season,” John said. “We have such a connection on the field because I have been catching him my whole life. I know what pitches he is most comfortable with and how he locates the ball. He also knows how I catch and he has trust throwing balls in the dirt because we have been doing this for years.

“I think it was really cool, especially in the championship game(s). Last year, I also caught most of his games in the summer and fall.”

Zehnder believes the Kent State baseball squad will be adding a well-rounded, talented athlete to its pitching staff next season.

“Eric has command over all three of his pitches,” Zehnder said, “and is able to throw them in any count, which goes a long way to keeping hitters off-balance. He also is able to work his fastball to both sides of the plate.

“His best pitch, in my opinion, is his curveball, but that is set up by his outstanding fastball command. He has a great mentality for a pitcher, and is able to bounce back from what few mistakes he does make.”

Both brothers were named to the Big 56 Conference all-section squad in Class 5A. Eric made the first team; John was an honorable mention selection.

But the postseason accolades for Eric Chalus, who handcuffed one of the state’s top offenses in this year’s PIAA championship game, did not end there.

He was named as one of the Trib HSSN Baseball All-Stars as a pitcher/center fielder, then landed Trib HSSN Player of the Year honors for Class 5A.

Zehnder also was selected as the Trib HSSN Baseball Coach of the Year in 5A. The energetic field boss guided the Black Hawks to a state title and WPIAL runner-up finish.

Bethel Park racked up 22-4 overall and 15-3 regular-season records, won seven of eight playoff games, logged a 10-game in-season winning streak, shut out 10 teams, and captured the Section 4-5A crown with a 10-0 mark.


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