Orange Lutheran's Zach Busalacchi hits a line drive during Wednesday's Trinity League game against Santa Margarita.

Orange Lutheran bats deliver crucial victory


Tristan Hanoian called it “a jump-ahead approach.”

That was a good approach Wednesday for Orange Lutheran. The Lancers took a nine-run lead early and went on to beat Santa Margarita, 12-8, in a Trinity League baseball game at Santa Margarita High.

Hanoian was 4 for 4 with four RBI. Josh Bissonette drove in three runs. Jake Hansen was 3 for 3, scored three runs and drove in one.

It was an important win for Orange Lutheran’s playoff candidacy. The Lancers are in second place in the Trinity, behind league-leading JSerra. Santa Margarita is in third place, tied with Mater Dei, at 5-6.

The top three finishers in the six-team Trinity League qualify for the CIF-Southern Section playoffs. There will be no at-large berths in Division 1, the division in which Trinity playoff teams will participate. Next week is the final week of the regular season.

It was a sloppy game. Santa Margarita made five errors. Orange Lutheran pitchers hit three batters and allowed two runs on balks.

“That says a lot about how big this game was,” Lutheran coach Eric Borba said. “Teenagers in pressure situations.”

Connor Hilburn drove in four runs for Santa Margarita, which is 15-11 overall. Andrew Mendonca drove in two runs for the Eagles.

Hanoian, a sophomore second baseman who bats lead-off, had a double and scored a run in the Lancers’ two-run first inning, had an RBI single in their three-run second inning, and a two-run single in their four-run third to help build a 9-0 lead.

Santa Margarita scored four runs in the bottom of the third on one hit – balks, hit batsmen and a wild pitch did the rest – to make it 9-4.

In the fourth, Lutheran scored one run on Hansen’s RBI single and another on Hanoian’s sacrifice fly.

That fourth inning was the highlight for Borba.

“We preach about answering back,” he said. “And that’s what we did today.”

The Lancers, 19-7 overall and ranked No. 5 in Orange County and No. 6 in Division 1, have won four league games in a row and averaged eight runs a game during the streak.

“We’ve been swinging it really well lately,” Hanoian said.

Borba hopes the pitching catches up.

“We definitely have to pitch better,” Borba said, “if we’re going to make a run in the playoffs.”

In the Crestview League:

El Modena 4, No. 9 El Dorado 0: Zachary McKay pitched a three-hitter for the host Vanguards (17-7, 6-3) as the Golden Hawks (17-8, 8-1) took their first league loss. Hawks pitcher Nick Sprengel struck out 10 and became the school’s career strikeouts leader.

In the Empire League:

Cypress 13, Kennedy 0: Dominic Fletcher and Anthony Marquez drove in three runs each for the league-leading Centurions (18-9, 6-1).

In the South Coast League:

Capistrano Valley 3, No. 3 Dana Hills 2: Jordan Bocko pitched a complete game for the host Cougars (11-15-1, 5-4) who moved into sole possession of third place, the league’s final playoff berth, and dropped the Dolphins (4-5 in league) to fourth in the five-team league.

No. 10 Tesoro 4, El Toro 2: Tyler King had two hits, scored twice and drove in a run for the visiting Titans (19-7, 6-5) who are in second place, one-half game behind Aliso Niguel.

In the Sunset League:

No. 2 Huntington Beach 10, No. 7 Fountain Valley 0: Landon Silver was 4 for 4 including two home runs and a double for the visiting Oilers (18-7, 10-1), who clinched a share of the league championship.

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