Orange Lutheran wins, pushes Trinity race to the final game
ORANGE – The Trinity League has been tight all season. It’s only fitting that the battle for playoff spots would go down to the final day.
Third-ranked Orange Lutheran kept its playoff hopes alive with a 9-0 victory over No. 7 Santa Margarita in a Trinity League game at Hart Park on Tuesday night.
“Our backs were against the wall, and the way they responded today was unbelievable," Orange Lutheran coach Eric Borba said of his team's players. "One of the best games we’ve played all year.”
Orange Lutheran (19-8, 8-6), Santa Margarita (20-9, 8-6) and Mater Dei (15-12, 8-6) sit in a three-way tie for second place with only two guaranteed playoff spots open and one game left for each team.
Santa Margarita hosts Orange Lutheran on Thursday, and Mater Dei hosts St. John Bosco.
Orange Lutheran holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over Mater Dei, and Mater Dei holds the tiebreaker over Santa Margarita.
“That’s what the Trinity League is all about,” Borba said. “You want it coming down to the last week, and you’re playing for your lives.”
Starting pitcher Chris Burica kept the heart pumping for Orange Lutheran. He allowed no runs on four hits with five strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.
“Lights out,” Borba said of the left-handed Burica. “Every time he takes the mound he gives us a great chance to win. He’s the ultimate bulldog for us.”
Burica hasn’t allowed a run in his last three appearances, including his last two starts, and has a 0.66 ERA for the season.
The Lancers scratched out their first run of the game as Garrett Mitchell scored on a sacrifice fly in the third.
In the fourth, Nathan Flores scored on Aaron Kim's single, and Tristan Hanoian scored from first with a throwing error on Kim’s single. Kim scored on Mitchell's sacrifice fly to make it 4-0.
Mitchell finished 2 for 2 with two runs and an RBI.
Orange Lutheran added another run in the fifth inning and four in the sixth.