Hillmen score some runs — but not enough

Errors doom Placer in 8-4 loss to McClatchy
By: Matthew Kimel, Journal sports editor
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The Hillmen didn’t get a win, but they finally broke through on the scoreboard.

Placer’s Logan Markstein struck out seven batters in five innings of work and had a two-RBI double in his Hillmen’s 8-4 loss to visiting McClatchy at James Field Friday night.

Placer (0-2), coming off a 10-0 loss to Rio Linda, scored its first runs of the season in the bottom of third when Markstein drove in Todd Valliere and Austin LeBleu.

Isaac Brahce was 2 for 4 on the evening for the Hillmen, who managed just one hit in their season opener.

“Hits are contagious,” coach John Hilton said. “You get a couple of hits here and there and you’ll be amazed what other people can do. I saw a lot more confidence with our team.

“… We’re very happy with the improvement of our swinging of the bat and our offense tonight.”

Placer added two more runs in the sixth when Troy Taylor laid down a bunt that was followed by an errant McClatchy throw to first base, allowing Markstein and LeBleu to score from first and second, respectively.

Tyler Gums and Casey Yunk also had hits for Placer, which was once again doomed defensively by errors.

The Hillmen tallied five errors on Friday, one game after committing four.

“We’re putting ourselves in tough situations,” Hilton said. “… The key is you got to be able to catch a baseball. We’re still learning how to play catch. I know it sounds simple, but we’ll keep working on it and it’s going to come.”

Errors put the Hillmen in a hole in the first inning, as McClatchy (1-1) was able to score three runs — all unearned — in the opening frame. All five runs McClatchy scored against Markstein were unearned.

Placer, which has played only two games this season since opening day on Feb. 22, has four ballgames next week.

“Hopefully the weather will be nice all week long,” Hilton said. “We’ll get a chance to use a lot of people next week. We’re going to use everyone with these four games and hopefully it will get us ready for league.”

On Tuesday, the Hillmen head to River City (3:30 p.m. start) and then travel to Casa Roble Wednesday (3:30 p.m.). Placer then hosts Christian Brothers Friday (3:30 p.m.) and Golden Sierra Saturday (6 p.m.).

The latter game figures to be an interesting one for Hilton, who is also the high school football coach at Golden Sierra.

Reach Matthew Kimel at Follow him on Twitter@matthewkimel