LAKEWOOD — Coming out of the bullpen for high-tension situations last spring, Boulder junior pitcher Dorsey Chatham looked at ease as the team's opening day starter on Tuesday afternoon.
And yet late-inning drama, there he was again.
Chatham paired his sparkling five-inning debut with a go-ahead knock in the fifth, helping Boulder role past Fruita Monument 3-2 in its home-away-from-home opener at Keli McGregor Field at All-Star Park.
The junior wasn't credited with the winning hit — but it counted all the same — as he ripped a grounder that took an odd bounce off the second baseman's glove to give the Panthers a 2-1 lead. Instead it was scored an error.
"It hit glove, so it was an error, but I got a pretty good piece of that one," he said.
With Julian Zamora into the game in the sixth, the Wildcats pulled within 3-2 on a sharply-hit grounder at Chatham at third. Noah Ghiselli then closed the game, stranding two runners in the seventh.
"I have really high hopes for this team," Chatham said. "We don't have a lot of varsity experience, but I think we could definitely make a run this year. We have good talent."
Chatham allowed one hit and one run over five frames, striking out six and walking none. The junior moved into the No. 1 starting spot after the Panthers graduated their top three inning-getters from last spring.
"I think he threw really well, a lot of strikes and good defense behind him," Boulder coach Jack Taylor said. "That's a pretty good line for a day."
Luke Pemberton added two hits and had two of the team's six stolen bases. Teddy Schoenfeld had an RBI, swiped a bag and scored a run.
All in all, it wasn't a bad start for the Panthers (1-0) — who had to travel more than 30 miles to play for their noon opener in Lakewood. Their home venue, Scott Carpenter Park, is currently undergoing construction.
"They're putting in new irrigation in right field, they're knocking the building down that's behind it and moving the kiddy pool to the other side," Taylor said. "So, we're hoping if weather will allow it, we'll play back there when we come back in April."
The Panthers scored the game's first run on Schoenfeld's RBI single in the third inning.
Pemberton singled, swiped second, then scored on Schoenfeld's hit to left field. Boulder couldn't add to its lead later in the inning despite having the bases loaded with one out.
The Wildcats (2-2) then tied the game a frame later as Keenan Garcia led off with a triple to the right-field gap and scored on a pitch that reached the backstop.
Chatham, though, kept Fruita Monument off-balance otherwise in an efficient performance that included a six-pitch fifth. With his exit from the bump, the Panthers made good on the base paths and on the Wildcats' errors to score two in the fifth.
"I felt really good actually," Chatham said. "I've been doing an offseason program and really worked on pitching, so I was ready to be our No. 1 starter.
"It just felt good."
Brent W. New: email@example.com and @brentwnew
Boulder 3, Fruita Monument 2
At Keli McGregor All-Star Park
Fruita Monument 000 101 0 — 2 3 3
Boulder 001 020 x — 3 6 2
W — Dorsey Chatham. L — Marcus Lee.
Fruita hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Hawkins 4-0-0-0, Garcia 3-1-2-0, McDaniel 3-0-0-1, M. Lee 2-0-0-0, A. Lee 1-0-0-0, D. Weaver 3-0-0-0, Vidmar 3-0-1-0, Crone 2-0-0-0, Dalpiaz 2-0-0-0, J. Weaver 1-0-0-0, Buniger 1-0-0-0, Bramlage 0-1-0-0, Bradshaw 0-0-0-0. Totals 25-2-3-1. 3B —Garcia.
Boulder hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Pemberton 4-1-2-0, Schoenfeld 3-1-1-1, Suchor 2-0-0-0, Chatham 2-0-0-0, Bach 3-0-0-0, Wyatt 3-0-0-0, Blankenship 2-0-1-0, Ghiselli 2-0-0-0, Zamora 0-0-0-0, Bajza 1-0-0-0, Sapper 3-0-2-0, Woolwine 0-0-0-0, Pyle 0-1-0-0. Totals 25-3-6-1. SB —Pemberton 2, Sapper, Wyatt, Pyle, Schoenfeld.
Fruita pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — M. Lee 4.1-5-3-1-3-4, Crone 1.2-1-0-0-0-2. Totals 6-6-3-1-3-6.
Boulder pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Chatham 5-1-1-1-0-6, Zamora 1-1-1-0-0-0, Ghiselli 1-1-0-0-1-1. Totals 7-3-2-1-1-7.