East County Sports

Markle proving marvelous for Stars


Win streak hits 7; Crush suffer first defeat

By Nick Pellegrino
Special to East County Sports

SANTEE (6-15-2017) – A pair of newcomers to the San Diego Stars provided all of the offense needed to rally from a 3-0 deficit.
Eric De La Rosa drilled a game-tying, 2-run double in the 7th inning, then scored on a Hunter Markle basehit, as the Stars rallied to nip the previously unbeaten San Diego (Poway) Crush, 4-3, in Wednesday’s (June 15) Western Baseball Association contest at West Hills High.
De La Rosa, a member of this spring’s state championship ballclub for Grossmont College, was long on the Stars’ radar. However, Markle wasn’t on anybody’s WBA list of prospects; he just completed his junior season at El Capitan High, yet circumstances have allowed him to now, remarkably, start for the Stars summer collegiate club.
“Hunter is now a key member in our line-up,” said Stars owner/field manager Mickey Deutschman. It’s a wonder how he made it on the team.”
Despite persistent rumors to the contrary, new players are always earning berths on the Stars roster and becoming immediate starters, including De La Rosa and Merkel.
Markel’s path to the Stars is a touch different.
“Hunter asked if he could practice with the Stars to get ready for tryouts on team travel team coached by Dave (Palet, the sports-talk radio announcer and respected manager of the California Bears’ 18-and-under team),” said Mickey D. “Then we had our first game first and had a need, so we placed him on our roster. Then someone got hurt, and now he’s playing… and really contributing.”
Markel batted just .258 with the Vaqueros this spring. However, with the Stars, despite facing mostly superior, college-age pitching, the middle infielder is hitting at a .381 clip. De La Rosa is a half-step back at a brisk .375 pace while starting in center field.
Mickey D. recalled, “After he looked good at one of first practices, his father asked his son if he could play for our team rather than the Bears.”
According to the slipper, Markle replied, “But these are The Stars!”
Five batters into the Stars summer season, Markle’s world suffered a pole shift. Robby Nesovic, an East County product now at UC Santa Barbara, severely pulled his hamstring five batters into the first inning of the opener.
Since the complete Stars roster had yet to arrive in town, there was Markle on the bench, not quite believing he was reaching for his glove and taking the field.
Markle might have been nervous, but now serving as the No. 2 hitter in the order, he laced a liner to right-center field for a basehit in his first at-bat.
“We’ve had high school players on the team before,” added Mickey D. “Some of shown sparks of success while most are just over-matched. Hunter doesn’t seem to be bothered by anything right now.”
Trailing 3-0, De La Rosa scored an unearned run in the 6th. After reaching on an error to lead off, catcher Aaron Barkley, a West Hills alum, singled sharply to left-center to get on the scoreboard after the team stranded 11 runners over the first five innings.
An inning later, Joey Krug, Michael Byerline and Austin Seidel all walked. Two batters later, De La Rosa sliced to 2-run Double to right center field to tie it, but Seidel was thrown out in an attempt to take the lead.
No problem. Markel followed lined to t-center to score De La Rosa.
Meanwhile, Seidel pitched the final five innings to gain credit for the victory, becoming the first pitcher with two victories on the staff. Seidel has registered 20 strikeouts over 14 innings of work.
Next for the Stars are a pair of doubleheaders at home over the weekend. They host the San Diego (formerly North County) Waves on Saturday, then entertain (SCHEDULE CHANGE) the San Juan Capistrano Stars on Sunday (moved because the SJC field in unavailable). Both start at noon.
Interested? The Stars still have holes to fill as players get drafted or signed to minor league and independent ball contracts. Contact the coach, at: mickeyd@sandiegostars.org.

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