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San Clemente wins battle for Loara title
ANAHEIM - It was CIF-SS Division 1 top-ranked Dana Hills of the South Coast League against Division 2 top-ranked San Clemente of the Sea View League.
It wasn’t a CIF championship game or a league championship game, but the Loara Tournament Final sure felt like it.
In a nail-biter, San Clemente edged out Dana Hills, 5-4, in nine innings.
In the bottom of the ninth, with one out and a San Clemente runner on third, Dana Hills coach Tom Faris decided to walk Connor Sealey and Lucas Herbert, loading the bases.
That brought to the plate Michigan commit, Will Tribucher, who told his teammates, “I’m winning this game right here,” according to Tritons coach David Gellatly.
Win it he did. The first pitch he saw he sent into right field, driving in the winning run.
“I was swinging at that pitch no matter what,” Tribucher said.
Dana Hills (8-1) was not without chances to win the game. The Dolphins loaded the bases in the sixth and seventh innings but could not produce a run.
“We didn’t get that clutch hit,” Faris said. “We had guys in scoring position a lot tonight and we didn’t get the hit we needed.”
While their rosters are filled with college-bound, ace pitchers, both teams sent out starters who were making their second varsity start.
For Dana Hills, it was sophomore Hans Crouse, who struck out six in five innings and showed great command of his curveball.
San Clemente (5-0) started junior Andre Pallante. He struck out eight in six innings, and at one point he put out 10 straight batters.
Dolphins shortstop Luke Williams, a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo commit, put his ability to steal bases on full display. He stole three in total.
“That Williams kid, he can flat out run,” Gellatly said. “He’s the best base runner around.”
But the game and the tournament belonged to Tribucher. He was voted MVP of the game and Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.
Merrick Crouse, a University of San Francisco commit and older brother of starting pitcher Hans, was named the Dana Hills MVP for the tournament.
San Clemente will face Pacifica (3-4) in a doubleheader at Blair Field on Monday.
Dana Hills will take on league opponent Tesoro (6-2) at home on Friday.
San Clemente and Dana Hills face off again April 22.