Orange Lutheran softball players cheer for Taylor Whitney after she drove in a run against Santa Margarita during the championship game of the Saddleback Valley Tournament on Friday. Orange Lutheran won, 5-1.

Orange Lutheran pounces on chance to grab tourney title


MISSION VIEJO Every game has them, but there’s no way of knowing when one will materialize.

Orange Lutheran caught a major break in the fourth inning of its showdown with Santa Margarita on Friday night when what should have been a routine throw flew wide of the bag and carried Eagles freshman Isabella Fiorentino off the base.

The Lancers went onto score four runs with two outs in the inning, cashing in on a little luck to top their Trinity League rivals, 5-1, in the Saddleback Valley Tournament championship game at Alicia Park.

Fourth-ranked Orange Lutheran (8-1) won the tournament for the second consecutive year by outscoring its opponents, 39-1, over four games. Junior right-hander Maddy Dwyer was named the tournament’s most outstanding pitcher, while freshman center fielder Ciara Briggs was selected top offensive player.

“This tournament obviously has really great teams and the fact that we were able to win it two times just attests that we play as a team against everyone,” said Dwyer, who fanned six batters, scattered three hits and retired the Eagles in order in four of the game’s six innings.

“Santa Margarita always has some great talent, they’re always a contender in league, so I knew I had to bring my best stuff,” she added.

Lancers freshman second baseman Mya Rodriguez knocked in the game’s first run with an RBI single to left in the second inning.

Santa Margarita (7-4) tied things up in the top of the fourth when Devan Sperry drove in Miranda Johnson from second base, the lone Eagles base runner to reach scoring position in the game.

Dwyer led off the bottom half of the inning with a looping single to center, but Paige Vargas quickly retired the next batters.

With two down, Adrianna Millan hit a routine ground ball to short, but Sperry’s throw carried up the first base line, giving the Lancers runners on the corners. Taylor Whitney sliced an RBI single to shallow left field three pitches later, Mackenzie Boesel ripped a two-run single to center and Noelle Hee punched an RBI single to right.

“We’re playing really well as a team, and that was my biggest concern initially,” said Lancers coach Steve Miklos, whose team won the Brea Olinda-Yorba Linda Tournament earlier this month. “We have a lot of talent, it’s just how do we jell? The girls are bonding and encouraging one another. And different kids are stepping up and getting it done for us.

“They all know their roles, and good things are happening.”

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