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JSerra captures South title in Boras Classic
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO - JSerra coach Brett Kay had difficulty identifying a team MVP for the Boras Classic.
It was a good problem.
Many players contributed in many ways for the Lions all week during the Boras Classic. There was more of that Friday in JSerra’s 5-0 win over Mater Dei in the tournament’s south bracket final at JSerra High.
JSerra (13-1), ranked No. 1 in Orange County and No. 2 in California, will play St. Francis of Mountain View (12-4), the north bracket champion, in the Boras Classic championship game May 2 at Cal State Fullerton. With no CIF State championships for baseball, the Boras Classic’s 32-team dual north and south tournaments tries to be the next-best thing.
Jack Owen pitched a three-hitter Friday. The sophomore left-hander, who committed to Mississippi State, did not allow a walk and had seven strikeouts.
Eventually, Kay decided Owen was defensive player of the tournament and the Lions’ Chase Strumpf was offensive player of the tournament.
Strumpf hit a two-run home run in the first inning and singled and scored in the sixth.
Mater Dei (9-5) and JSerra play each other three times in Trinity League games next week – Monday and Friday at JSerra, and Wednesday at Mater Dei – the opening week of the league season.
JSerra won its four Boras games by a cumulative score of 24-1. Three Lions – Quentin Longrie, Owen and Collin Quinn -- pitched shutouts during the tournament. In that order, those are their starting pitchers for the three upcoming games with Mater Dei.
League games are more important, yes, but beating Mater Dei on Friday still was important for JSserra.
“It’s still a big game, the championship game of the Boras Classic,” said Strumpf, who committed to UCLA. “And it’s still Mater Dei.”
Strumpf’s home run drove in Royce Lewis, who led off the first inning with a triple, to give the Lions a 2-0 lead.
They scored two more in the third when USC commit Brady Shockey tripled to drive in Lewis, and Shockey later scored on a wild pitch to make it 4-0.
Strumpf scored the fifth run in the sixth inning when he singled, went to third base on an errant pickoff attempt and scored on Ryan Pena’s ground out.
Owen’s first pitch was a strike to 21 of the 25 batters he faced. His efficiency and that early lead were a tough combination.
“When we’re ahead like that, if I give up a run it’s OK,” Owen said. “We’re going to have a good guy ready in the bullpen and we never seem to be done scoring.”
JSerra made no errors and produced two standout plays: a difficult scoop by first baseman Davis Wendzel of a low throw for the final out of the fourth inning, and a high-flying, diving catch by right fielder Jake Pries for the final out in the sixth.
“Our defense has been unreal,” Owen said.
Now, in a way, the real season starts for JSerra next week. The Lions look ready for it.
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