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JEFF GRITCHEN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Orange Lutheran's Nathan Flores bobbles a ball as he tries to catch it against Monte Vista during the second round of the National Classic tournament at El Dorado High on Tuesday. Monte Vista defeated Orange Lutheran, 3-1.

Orange Lutheran's win streak halted by Monte Vista

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Entering Tuesday’s quarterfinal game of the National Baseball Classic, Orange Lutheran was in the midst of an offensive slump. The Lancers had won six games in a row, yet averaged just three runs per game in their last three contests.

With winds swirling and storm clouds gathering above, Orange Lutheran’s hitting woes continued in a 3-1 loss to Monte Vista of Danville at El Dorado High.

Monte Vista starting pitcher David Rijeski threw all seven innings and allowed just two hits with four strikeouts.

“We just didn’t make adjustments,” Orange Lutheran coach Eric Borba said. “We never seemed to get our timing right, and hitting is all about timing. Whether it was him changing speeds or mixing locations, we just couldn’t find it today.”

Both of Orange Lutheran’s hits were infield singles, and the team was only able to get one runner past first base after the third inning.

The Lancers (10-3) scored their lone run in the top of the first inning. Garrett Mitchell walked and stole second to lead off the game. After advancing to third base on a wild pitch, Mitchell scored on a sacrifice fly by Zach Buscalacchi.

The Mustangs quickly answered with a run in the bottom of the first inning, and the score remained tied, 1-1, until the sixth. Lancers starting pitcher Chris Burica struggled with command at times but was able to pitch out of jams to keep the game tied.

“He had a great outing,” Borba said. “He really showed some heart today and really pitched his tail off. He looked like a guy that’s going to help us win some games in the Trinity League.”

After loading the bases with no outs in the sixth, Burica was replaced by Bobby Fulkerson. Fulkerson nearly escaped the jam after getting a fielder’s choice out at the plate and a strikeout, but a two-out single to right field scored two runs and proved to be the winning hit.

The Lancers play Xaverian of Brooklyn, N.Y., today at Esperanza High at 4 p.m.

“Our hitting is going to get in a groove when our guys are getting a lot of at-bats in a short period of time,” Borba said. “It allows us to flush this loss and go out and get the next one, because we’ve got a long way to go.”

In another National Classic game:

Cypress 3, Ayala of Chino Hills 1: Senior Garrett Brockel pitched a complete game and Ryan McCanless had a run-scoring double as the Centurions (7-7) became the only county team to reach the semifinals. Cypress plays IMG Academy of Bradenton, Fla., on Wednesday at 1 p.m. at El Dorado High.

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National Classic Scores and Schdule

Tuesday's scores
Cypress 3, Ayala 1
IMG Academy 15, Xaverian 1
Agoura 3, Santa Margarita 0
Monte Vista 3, Orange Lutheran 1

Championship bracket, semifinals
Wednesday's schedule
Cypress vs. IMG Academy, at El Dorado, 1 p.m.
Monte Vista vs. Agoura, at Cal State Fullerton, 7 p.m.


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