LAKEWOOD — You would be hard pressed to find a better pitching matchup from what was featured April 30 at Lakewood High School.
The Major League Baseball scouts were out in force with their radar guns to get a first-hand look at Chatfield’s Christian Foutch (University of Arkansas) and Lakewood’s Jackson Beattie (U.S. Naval Academy).
“I was super excited,” Beattie said of squaring off against Foutch. “I was just working on hitting my spots and working the corners. I felt like a did a good job of that today. It was a good battle. Not the result we wanted, but it was a good game.”
Chatfield clawed out a 5-2 victory to claim its fourth straight Class 5A Jeffco League victory and stay atop of the conference standings. The Chargers (8-9-1, 4-1 in 5A Jeffco and rival Dakota Ridge (9-8, 4-1) are deadlocked in the race for the league title with three conference games left.
“That is what is so crazy. You look at our record and we still aren’t over .500,” Chatfield coach Brett Pieratt said. “We feel good where we are at in league and it’s in our own hands.”
Lakewood (11-7, 2-3) has now lost three straight league games after getting out to a 2-0 start. The Tigers did take a 1-0 lead on Chatfield to break a scoreless tie through three innings.
Sophomore Julian Duran started off the bottom of the fourth inning getting hit on the foot by Foutch to earn first base the hard way. Junior Eze Rojas followed up with Lakewood’s first hit. Beattie grounded into a double-play, but Duran was able to score all the way from second base on the play to put the Tigers up 1-0.
However, Chatfield quickly responded to take the lead in the top of the fifth inning. Junior Parker Murrow ripped a 2-out, 2-strike, 2-run single to score Sawyer Amato and Tanner Terlap, giving Chatfield a 2-1 lead.
“I had a long at-bat my previous at-bat. I had seen all of his (Beattie’s) pitches,” Murrow said of the go-ahead 2-run single. “He had beat me a few times with an inside fastball and I figured he might go back to that.”
It was the third straight bat that Murrow had come to the plate with runners in scoring position.
“Parker with two strikes is so clutch and also with two outs,” Pieratt said. “For him to put the ball into play there and score a couple of runs made a big difference for us.”
Foutch worked around a walk in the bottom of the sixth inning. He was able to pickoff Duran trying to steal third base to end the inning.
Chatfield’s offense took advantage of Beattie coming off the mound to start the seventh inning. Junior Tobey Scoles took the hill for the Tigers in the seventh as Beattie moved over the first base.
The Chargers scored three runs off a field error, hit by pitch and intentional walk to Murrow. Sophomore Brady Snow drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to make the score 3-1. Junior Maddox Hodges delivered the big hit with a 2-run single to left field with two outs to extend the lead to 5-1.
With the insurance runs to work with Foutch took the hill in the bottom of the seventh inning.
“He (Foutch) didn’t have to talk us into it,” Pieratt said with a smile about Foutch taking the mound in the seventh inning. “He was coming out to pitch the seventh no matter what.”
Beattie and senior Diego Villarreal touched up Foutch for back-to-back doubles to start the bottom of the seventh inning, but the hard-throwing righty racked up his sixth and seventh strikeouts of the game.
“It was weird because I wasn’t getting as many Ks as I usually get,” Foutch said. “But my pitch-count was low and that’s the first time I’ve thrown a complete-game (7 innings) in high school. I would trade less strikeouts for more innings any day.”
Looked like Foutch might strikeout the side to end the game, but Villarreal was thrown out to third base after he had thoughts of heading toward home on a wild pitch that Hodges smothered at the plate.
“It was fun. I knew it was going to be a low scoring game for sure,” said Foutch, who gave up just three hits. “Today I knew we were going to have to earn everything.”
Beattie took the loss despite his brilliant six innings. The future midshipman gave up two runs on seven hits while striking out eight.
“Their pitcher (Beattie) was great all day,” Pieratt said. “We were able to get some runs in the seventh that made us feel a little bit better. It was a great pitching duel.”
Chatfield is at Valor on Tuesday before hosting Pomona (Thursday) and Dakota Ridge (Saturday). The Chargers can claim the league title if they win all three games.
“We started out rough, but we’ve really caught on fire,” Foutch said of Chatfield’s 4-game league winning streak heading into the final week of conference play.
Foutch will likely get the start against rival Dakota Ridge where it could be a winner-take-all situation with the conference title on the line next Saturday afternoon.
Lakewood finishes off conference play against Arvada West, Dakota Ridge and Ralston Valley next week. The strong non-league record should get the Tigers’ into the 32-team regional playoffs and Lakewood will be a tough out with Beattie leading the way.
Beattie showed no nerves with a half-dozen radar guns pointing back at home Saturday with the pro scouts looking at him and Foutch. It is clear the path Beattie will take after he graduates from Lakewood this spring.
“I’m going to the Navel Academy no matter what,” Beattie said. “That’s my dream. I want to serve my country and be part of something that is bigger than myself.”
Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.