LOUISVILLE - It turned out to be one of those Colorado spring days, the nasty-weather kind in which even the most ardent baseball players question why there would be a game, and Josh Chamberlain knew it.
The senior at Legacy, on a cold, dark and wet Saturday morning, said he got up, stretched, took batting practice at the Lightning site, then set his sights on handling Monarch. And he did so in convincing fashion by going the distance, striking out 10 Coyotes and leading a 4-2 victory in the Class 5A Front Range League.
"It was definitely cold this morning and I'm glad the sun came out," Chamberlain said on what turned out to be a pleasant day and after running his personal record to 5-1. He lifted the Lighting to an 11-4 overall mark and 6-2 in league, just a game off the Front Range pace. "I felt I was in control with all three pitches."
He was. Chamberlain, who will play at Augustana, Ill., fanned the first four Coyotes he faced and six of the first eight. He deftly mixed his fastball, curveball and changeup to keep Monarch (4-9, 1-5) hitters guessing and they frequently guessed wrong ... or took called strikes. Chamberlain used lots of off-speed offerings, particularly early in the count, to never seriously be challenged.
Pitching backward, as in using off-speed to set up his fastball, worked.
"He did an outstanding job for us and has been our horse all year," Legacy coach Ty Giordano said. "He did a real nice job of going backwards. When he throws all three pitches for strikes, he's tough."
Chamberlain, who walked two and allowed just five hits, also retired the final eight Coyotes in order. He was touched for single runs in the third inning (an RBI double by Tyler Seabaum) and fifth (RBI single by Landon Sibley), but avoided any further damage, notably in the fourth when Legacy turned a 6-4-3 double play after a leadoff single.
At the plate, Legacy grabbed the lead on a double by Colby Deaville and two-run home run by D.J. Daugherty. They got two more an inning later as Monarch starter Mitch Trenka labored through a single by Jake Coogan, two hit batters and a bases-loaded walk to Ty McAninch.
Monarch had no answers, mostly at the plate.
"The story of our season right there all year," coach Scott Weiss said. "We're offensively challenged and not putting the ball in play."
Another week in the difficult Front Range awaits the Lightning, who will be at Fort Collins on Tuesday, have a bye on Thursday, then be at co-league leader Broomfield on Saturday, one that promises to be accompanied by feeling.
"I feel good about it," Chamberlain said. "We're 11-4 right now and have a good shot to continue this roll."
Giordano said he wasn't thrilled with a lot of his players' approaches at the plate, but also remains confident and agrees that "it's a very interesting league."
Legacy 4, Monarch 2
Legacy002 200 0 — 4 5 0
Monarch001 010 0 — 2 5 2
Legacy hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — O'Connor cf 4-01-0, Jo. Coogan lf 1-1-0-0, Deaville ss 3-1-1-0, McAninch dh 3-0-0-1, Daugherty 2b 4-1-2-2, Smith rf 4-0-1-0, Overboe 1b 4-0-0-0, Ja. Coogan c 2-0-1-0, Sehr cr 0-1-0-0, Keinhofer 3b 2-0-0-0, Chamberlain p 0-0-0-0. Totals 27-4-5-3. 2B —Deaville. HR —Daugherty. SB —O'Connor.
Moanrch hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Sibley c 2-0-1-1, Seabaum 3b 3-0-1-1, Trenka p-cf 3-0-0-0, Cole 1b 3-0-1-0, Flynn lf 3-0-0-0, Martin dh 2-0-0-0, Coatney ss 3-0-0-0, Hartojo 2b 3-1-1-0, Crouch rf 3-1-1-0, Schmanski cf 0-0-0-0, Hoban p 0-0-0-0. Totals 25-2-5-2.
Legacy pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Chamberlain 7-5-2-1-2-10.
Monarch pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Trenka 4-5-4-3-3-2, Hoban 3-0-0-0-1-4.