DENVER — It was approximately 1:45 p.m. when the Chatfield Chargers’ team bus pulls up to Coors Field for a 3 p.m. game with Horizon. The butterflies started to set in, but Jacob Falbo said that he and his teammates were ready.
“We were hungry for a win, and we got one,” Falbo said after Chatfield sent 11 batters to the plate in a six-run first inning of a 12-2 defeat of the Horizon Hawks on March 21.
If the Chargers were suffering any anxiety from playing in the home of the Colorado Rockies, they didn’t show it. Chatfield’s first four batters reached base and later scored, and the Chargers collected seven of their 18 hits in the first inning. For the game, Sean O’Dell, Kyle Winkler and Mason Brown finished with three hits apiece.
Just the opportunity to play in a Major League ballpark — something the Rockies offer annually to Denver-area schools — is special in itself, first-year Chatfield head coach Brandon Stone said.
“We told our players, ‘This is a special thing. There’s a lot of schools in the state Colorado that don’t get to do this,’ ” Stone said.
It’s the same across the country: Few schools get to play in a Major League stadium, much less make the most of the opportunity. Chatfield certainly made the most of its chance. It led 6-0 before Horizon scored and 8-2 before scoring four runs to put the game away.
The six-run first inning certainly calmed any nerves that starting pitcher Nick Chamberlain may have had. The Chatfield pitcher scattered five hits over five innings and, with the help of four relievers, held Horizon (2-4) to just a run in the second and fourth innings.
“It helped a lot,” Chamberlain said. “It’s always good to have a six-run lead to take the pressure off. It helped me a lot.”
Falbo, who had two hits, nearly homered in the fourth inning. His shot to right field plunked off the outfield wall, mere feet from scraping over. The 370-foot drive drove in Chamberlain for the Chargers’ seventh run.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I guess, to say you hit a home run at Coors Field. I just kind of put my head down and started running. I wasn’t really watching the ball,” Falbo said. “I heard everyone go ‘ooohhhh,’ so I knew it wasn’t out.”
Another couple of feet, though, and it would’ve been.
Winkler drove in five runs for Chatfield. Chamberlain and Jake Carstensen had two hits each.
Contact Michael Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.