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O.C. softball coach of the year: Orange Lutheran's Steve Miklos
ORANGE – It was 14 months ago that Steve Miklos, his wife, Janet, and their two young grandchildren made their way from the jungle gym at Peralta Canyon Park to the adjacent softball fields. The annual Michelle Carew Classic had just kicked off.
With Orange Lutheran skipping the tournament last April because of a religious holiday, Miklos’ team was forced to watch the other teams in the premier local tournament.
The Lancers suited up a good squad in 2015. They won 25 games and finished second in the Trinity League.
But even last spring, the veteran coach knew something special was brewing in 2016.
“Next year,” he nodded. “Next year we should be able to do some things.”
That prognostication was spot on.
The Lancers won a school-record 30 games this season, finished first in three major tournaments, reeled off a perfect 8-0 mark in Trinity League and finished the year as the CIF-SS Division 1 runner-up.
Given all of those achievements and his leadership during the season, Miklos has been selected by the Register as the Orange County softball coach of the year.
“We had a great season,” said the skipper, in his 19th year. “To get to the (championship) game is a big deal. It’s quite an accomplishment. Naturally the girls are unhappy about (losing) it, but they’ll get over it. At some point in time, I told them, they’ll be happy they made it to that game because it is exciting.
“The result wasn’t what we wanted, but to win, you got to play well, and you got to get some luck. (Mater Dei) played better than we did and we didn’t get any luck.”
As it played out, facing their league rival for the fourth time this season was not ideal for the Lancers.
But prior to running into the Monarchs in the final, the Lancers had been the most unstoppable team in the county, maybe even the state.
Orange Lutheran reeled off a school-record 18 straight wins from the start of April to the end of May. The Lancers topped Mission Viejo and Huntington Beach en route to winning the Carew Classic, which subsequently catapulted them to the top of the state and national rankings.
After posting only the second perfect mark in Trinity League history, Orange Lutheran rolled to its first appearance in the Division 1 final, knocking out a loaded Los Alamitos team on the road in the semifinals.
“For the younger girls, it was a great experience,” Miklos added. “We got close and I think that’ll motivate them to want to get back. We’ve got some business to finish next year.”
A prediction doesn’t seem quite necessary this time around.
Everyone already understands that Orange Lutheran will be back in the thick of it next season.
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