DENVER | The Eaglecrest baseball team got the thrill of playing at Coors Field, but had to face a pitcher who looked like he could legitimately pitch there in the future.
The Raptors ran into a buzzsaw in Evergreen ace left-hander Brock Burke, a University of Oregon signee who performed every bit like a big league prospect in the Cougars’ 4-0 victory on the Colorado Rockies’ home field.
Burke struck out the side in five of the seven innings and finished with 19 strikeouts, yielding only a single to Eaglecrest No. 9 hitter Peter Anderson in the bottom of the sixth inning and allowing just two runners to get as far as second base. The Cougars improved to 14-2 overall, while coach Tory Humphrey’s Raptors fell to 9-8 overall.
“He’s a pro prospect, that’s for sure,” Humphrey said of Burke, who he’s watched pitch five times. “This kid is legit. You can tell when your hitters are taking pitches that are low and come up. That ball was moving.”
The Raptors had a promising start in the bottom of the first inning when junior Jake Lorenzini and senior Ryan Harbin worked back-to-back walks, but Burke — who was clocked at 88 mph in the early innings and mixed in an effective curveball — struck out the next three hitters to turn Eaglecrest away.
The next 12 Raptors went down — including 10 straight strikeouts between the second and fifth innings — before Anderson, a left-handed hitter, reached out and poked a clean single to left field to break up the no-hitter to open the sixth inning.
Eaglecrest’s own lefty starter, senior Jaden Fouse, also pitched well and carried a shutout of his own into the fifth inning. Josh Bellatti beat out an infield single to open the inning, stole second and third and came home on a two-out infield single by No. 8 hitter Jake Englehart.
Fouse allowed just the single run in five innings of work with seven strikeouts, while senior right-handers Alex Acord and sophomore Jaret Olson tossed the final two innings.
“It felt great; I love the mound out here,” Fouse said. “Yeah I feel like I throw harder off that mound. I felt like I got ahead a lot, I just didn’t execute like I should have.”
The Cougars tacked on three unearned runs in the top of the seventh inning, which included a pair of throwing errors that allowed Alec Moens to score and put Eli Ausman on second base. Bellatti followed with a ringing triple to deep center field and came home on Burke’s low sinking liner that Ben McKenny couldn’t come up with in left field.
Eaglecrest’s only other runner to reach second base was sophomore Brandon Hernandez in the sixth inning. Hernandez grounded back to Burke, who threw to Bellatti at second base to force Anderson, but an errant throw to first allowed Hernandez to reach and advance to second where he was stranded when Burke whiffed Brandon Handler.
“He knew how to handle the hitters, he had a good deuce (curveball) and he threw hard,” Fouse said of watching and facing Burke. “He did a good job hiding the ball. He’s probably the best pitcher we’ve faced so far.”
The Raptors dropped their second straight following a four-game winning streak and have two crucial Centennial League games coming up at the end of the week. They play host to Smoky Hill at 4:15 p.m. Thursday and visit Cherry Creek at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Notes: The game was rescheduled on three different occasions due to weather. …Eaglecrest’s run into outstanding pitching in each of the past two seasons in games at Coors Field. Last season, the Raptors were blanked for six innings by Brighton’s Rodney Morales before scoring twice in the bottom of the seventh for a 2-1 walk-off win. Handler delivered the game-winning single off the bench.
Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. Facebook: Aurora Prep Sentinel
EVERGREEN 4, EAGLECREST 0
Score by innings (r-h-e):
Evergreen 000 100 3 — 4 8 1
Eaglecrest 000 000 0 — 0 1 2
Dan Gibbons cf 4-0-0-0, Alec Moens 2b 3-1-0-0, Eli Ausman rf 3-1-1-0, Ben Dlin ph 1-0-0-0, Josh Bellatti ss 4-2-2-1, Brock Burke p 4-0-1-1, Dane Kapande cr 0-0-0-0, Ryan Hays lf 4-0-1-0, Beau Priegnitz 1b 3-0-1-0, Jake Englehart 3b 3-0-2-1, Dylan Schmoker 3-0-0-0, Liam Daly cr 0-0-0-0. Totals 32-4-8-2. Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so): Brock Burke (W, 7-1-0-0-2-19).
Jake Lorenzini 2b 2-0-0-0, Ryan Harbin dh 1-0-0-0, Brandon Hernandez c 1-0-0-0, Brandon Handler lf 3-0-0-0, Ben McKenny lf 0-0-0-0, Jaden Fouse p 2-0-0-0, Spencer Hammond rf 1-0-0-0, Alejandro Torres 1b 3-0-0-0, Tyler Gallegos 3b 1-0-0-0, Brian Perales 3b 2-0-0-0, Zach Fouse 3b 0-0-0-0, Alex Acord c-p 2-0-0-0, Jaret Olson p 1-0-0-0, Mark Fields II ss 2-0-0-0, Peter Anderson cf 2-0-1-0. Totals 23-0-1-0. Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so): Jaden Fouse (L, 5-6-1-1-1-7), Alex Acord (1 1/3-3-3-0-0-2), Jaret Olson (2/3-0-0-0-0-0).
3B — Evergreen: Josh Bellatti.