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Placer’s Markstein gets the win on the mound

Hillmen beat Center 5-2 in PVL opener
By: Trevor Horn / Special to the Journal
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ANTELOPE – If a short term memory is needed to succeed in baseball, then Chip Mitchell is right on track.

The junior center fielder for Placer High avenged a sixth inning fielding error by making a great play in the seventh to help seal a 5-2 victory over Center in the Pioneer Valley League opener on the road Wednesday afternoon.

Placer head coach John Hilton might also want to get his players to utilize their sunglasses.

On a warm and very bright afternoon at Center High, the left and center fielders battled the sun with two errors that led to two unearned runs. But solid hitting and base running and a terrific outing by sophomore starting pitcher Logan Markstein helped shut down the Cougars (2-3, 0-1).

“They battled really hard and those are errors you just kind of go ‘Eh.’ We are not really worried with that,” Hilton said.

And with the tying run in the on-deck circle in the bottom of the seventh with no outs, Mitchell might have made the play of the game for Placer (3-5, 1-0) when he caught a fly ball in center and threw out Alejandro Nevarez at first for a double play.

“That’s a great play by my center fielder,” Markstein said. “I have great faith in him all the way.”

Added Mitchell on the play: “It felt great. I was feeling like crap after that first error.”

Mitchell also had a single and an RBI on a sacrifice fly at the plate for Placer.

Markstein went 5 1/3 innings while giving up just two hits, no earned runs and striking out three batters.

“Logan, he’s just a gutsy kid. He is just a flat out tough kid. He is your classic baseball player,” Hilton said. “I know he wanted to continue pitching, but his pitch count was getting up. He looked like he was getting a little bit tired, but I know if we kept him in there he would have kept pitching.”

Markstein also helped out his own cause with an infield single in the fifth inning that drove in Troy Taylor that put Placer up 4-2.

Tyler Gums relieved Markstein in the sixth inning on the mound and recorded the save. Gums also had an RBI double in the second inning to give Placer a 2-1 lead.

Austin LeBleu led Placer with two hits and had a RBI single up the middle in third inning.

The Hillmen play at home Friday against Colfax. Game time is set for 7 p.m. and Markstein is hopeful the first win sets off a trend for Placer in PVL action.

“(The win) was great,” he said. “We are getting better and as league goes on we are going to try and win league and go farther and farther as the season goes on.”

Follow Trevor Horn on Twitter @trevhorn.