Orange Lutheran (24-4), awarded the No. 1 seed for the Southern Section Division 1 baseball playoffs Monday, had some terrific teams in recent years but failed to come home a champion.
“There’s so many things that can happen in the playoffs,” coach Eric Borba said.
The difference this season, though, could be the Lancers’ strength with two consistent pitchers in Oliver Santos (7-0, 0.98) and Louis Rodriguez (8-0, 0.72) as well as closer Evan Miranda (six saves). This could be Orange Lutheran’s best offensive group going into a postseason, led by major league prospect Mikey Romero, a shortstop who has 11 hits in his last 12 at-bats. Third baseman Casey Borba, the coach’s son, is hitting .346.
The challenge, as always, is winning four consecutive games in a playoff division where there are no bad pitchers and no bad teams.
“There’s so many good teams and good coaches in the Southern Section,” Eric Borba said.
The top four seeds in Division 1 were awarded to Orange County teams. San Juan Capistrano JSerra is No. 2, Cypress No. 3 and Huntington Beach No. 4. Orange Lutheran drew a first-round bye on Friday and will play the winner of La Verne Damien-La Verne Bonita on May 10.
Orange Lutheran has been the best team in the regular season but also needs to win four consecutive games, something it couldn’t do at the Boras Classic and National High School Invitational in North Carolina.
JSerra has the antidote for Orange Lutheran in pitcher JJ Hollis, who owns two wins over the Lancers.
Among the hot teams going into the playoffs is Santa Ana Foothill, which won the Boras Classic consolation title and swept Villa Park last week to win the Crestview League championship.
Divisions 1, 3, 5 and 7 playoffs have first-round games Friday. Divisions 2, 4 and 6 play Thursday.
Here’s the link to complete pairings.