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Foster sophomore left-hander Chase Batten is 4-0 this season with a 0.29 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 31 innings pitched.
RICHMOND—In his 30 years in baseball, Foster pitching coach Kevin Tinnin said he’s never seen an athlete with such “control of the moment” as Falcons sophomore left-hander Chase Batten.
Batten has had a remarkable start to this season. In five appearances, going 4-0 with a no-decision, the 6-foot, 160-pounder has a 0.29 ERA with 48 strikeouts in 31 innings pitched. He’s allowed three runs (two unearned) and 11 hits against 121 batters faced.
Batten has retired the leadoff batter in 24 of those 31 frames.
“My coaches are getting me through a lot,” Batten said after pitching Foster to a 14-3 run-rule win over Terry in a District 24-5A game Tuesday. “Coach Tinnin is getting me through a lot. My teammates help me strive. I feel like I’m just doing my job. I know I’ve got to stay focused and keep going.”
Even Batten’s worst days are better than some pitchers’ best. He didn’t have everything going against the Rangers, but still allowed only one earned run while striking out 12 and walking two in five innings.
“It’s the confidence,” Foster coach Mick Tosch said. “He doesn’t get rattled. It never seems like the moment is too big for him, and that’s impressive from a sophomore. He’s throwing a lot of strikes. That’s the big thing.”
.@fosterfalconbb sophomore lefty @BattenChase has 10 strikeouts through four innings. #txhsbasepic.twitter.com/CnQ2vzbLAB — Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II)
Batten relies on his curveball. It’s his money pitch. He also has a fastball that consistently hovers around 84-85 miles per hour and tops off at 88.
Tinnin taught him a two-seam fastball during the offseason. Batten has worked it into his repertoire and is loving it.
One more weapon to what is quickly becoming a loaded arsenal.
“Be short, be quick. Try to get ahead in the count early,” Batten said of his approach. “Keep throwing strikes and keep getting ahead of batters early. If I can keep those things going, everything will work out.”
Last season, Tinnin, who called pitches as coach of the Falcons’ freshman team, was taken aback with how well Batten executed pitches that were called and the way he controlled the pace of the game.
Tinnin encouraged Tosch to move Batten up to the varsity right before the playoffs. In Game 1 of the area round against Barbers Hill, with only three varsity appearances under his belt, Batten started and pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing two earned runs while striking out four and walking three.
Tinnin said Batten reminds him of former 11-year Major Leaguer James Loney, an elite pitching and position prospect out of Fort Bend Elkins whom Tinnin faced while playing for Fort Bend Bush.
“Being involved with the game for 30 years, you know when you see something special,” Tinnin said. “He has (NCAA) D1 written all over him.”
.@fosterfalconbb sophomore lefty @BattenChase (3-0, 0.00 ERA) mows them down with ease in the second. He\u2019s struck out five and allowed no hits with no walks so far. #txhsbasepic.twitter.com/DXEZqDRkKW — Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II)
Foster is 11-7 overall, 5-1 in district play. The Falcons are aiming for a second straight district championship with a young roster.
But there is plenty of talent. Senior shortstop Sam Hardcastle, senior third baseman Lee Kubosh, junior catcher Hayden Holchak, and junior second baseman Coleman Biggs are capable of getting hot with the bat at any time. Aside from Batten, junior right-hander Jackson Low, junior right-hander Cooper Schwank, and junior left-hander Aaron Dase round out a formidable rotation.
“We’re playing well,” Tosch said. “We finally started hitting the ball the last couple of games, putting a lot better at-bats together. I like what we’ve got so far.”