Lincoln baseball team draws closer to playoff berth

By: Russ Edmondson The News Messenger
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Lincoln High’s varsity baseball team entered Wednesday’s game at Bear River in second place in the Pioneer Valley League. The Zebras (7-3 in the PVL) and the Bruins (6-3) are battling it out for the PVL’s No. 2 seed. El Dorado (10-1) has already clinched the No. 1 seed and Placer (5-4-1) is still in the hunt for one of the PVL’s three playoff spots. Each team will play 12 league games. The Zebras faced Bear River on Wednesday and will close the PVL season against visiting Placer at 4 p.m. Friday. Bear River’s final two games are both against Mesa Verde (2-6-1) while Placer also hosted El Dorado on Wednesday. The tie between Placer and Mesa Verde will be replayed if Placer is within a half game of a playoff spot at the end of the league season. “We feel very proud of these guys,” said Lincoln co-coach Rick Foster about how close his team is to clinching a playoff spot. “I don’t think there is a selfish kid on this team. They are playing as a unit. We had a team meeting a few weeks ago and we kind of laid things out. And the seniors have stepped up and are playing very well.” Lincoln beat up on Whitney (4-6) and Colfax (0-11) in league play last week. The Zebras (13-9 overall) beat visiting Colfax 13-2 on Friday as Austin Pleich threw a complete game (six innings, four strikeouts, seven hits, one walk). “Austin pitched well,” Foster said. “He kept the ball down and got a lot of groundballs . . . Our kids played strong. We made very little mistakes and everybody on the club contributed.” Ethan Liddle (2-for-3), Tim Ireland (1-1), Dusty Foster (2-5, double, four RBI), Elvis Sandoval (2-2, double, RBI, two steals), Sean Fox (2-3) and Leland Smith (2-4) led the Lincoln offense. Liddle is a freshman left fielder that was recently called up to the varsity. Two days earlier the Zebras beat Whitney 8-3. “It’s a huge rivalry,” Foster said. “It’s always nice to beat Whitney, especially when they are going to a different league now. Unless it’s non-league or in the playoffs, we will never see them again.” Marcus Maldonado threw a complete game (seven innings, 10 strikeouts, five hits, two walks) for Lincoln. Liddle (2-3), Foster (double, RBI), Sandoval (2-2, double) and Fox (2-3, double, RBI) led the Lincoln offense.