Orange Lutheran softball dazzles in season-opening victory against Roosevelt

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CHINO HILLS  — Orange Lutheran didn’t hold back Thursday night against the opposition, or the outfield fence, when it finally got the chance to open its season at the SoCal’s Best Softball Showcase.

The Lancers produced a highlight reel-worthy effort in center field, belted three home runs and followed ace Brianne Weiss to a 9-1 victory against Roosevelt on Big League Dreams’ Crosley Field.

“We were so eager (to play) because of the rain delaying all of our games,” said Weiss, who fired a two-hitter with 12 strikeouts. “We just wanted to play because we’ve been practicing for so long.”

Weiss, a Notre Dame signee and reigning Orange County pitcher of the year, was sharp in the mercy-rule shortened game that ended with Orange Lutheran (1-0) batting with no outs in the bottom of the sixth inning.

The senior retired the first nine batters she faced, including eight on strikeouts.

👀Master change from @BrianneWeiss06

— Dan Albano (@ocvarsityguy) February 23, 2024

The Lancers’ defense supported Weiss with a slick double-play in the fourth. In the fifth, Orange Lutheran center fielder Kai Minor delivered the best effort of the game, leaping over the mesh fencing to grab a towering drive by Breanna Aguilar. The Oklahoma-committed junior held onto the ball as she knocked over the fence but the umpire ruled the drive a home run.

“(The umpire) said (home run) because (Minor) landed on the other side of the fence,” said Lancers coach Steve Miklos, who protested to both umpires about the play. “It was a great effort by (Minor) and Bri pitched really well.”

“Oh my God, it was incredible,” Weiss said of Minor’s effort. “Honestly, Kai is so good. I love that about her. She gives her all on the field.”

Roosevelt coach Katrina Pinkowski praised Minor’s effort but believed the correct call was made.

“Her feet were off the ground and she was over (the fence),” the coach said. “It (stinks) for (Minor) but it was a good catch.”

Orange Lutheran’s offense was powered by home runs by sophomore catcher Cate Medvitz, senior designated player Zara Mineo-Schrank and sophomore shortstop Madelyn Armendariz. Mineo-Schrank and Armendariz smashed back-to-back solo home runs in the third to open a 6-0 lead.

Third baseman Carlyn Snyder belted a long double for the Lancers that almost cleared the fence in the second. She scored one batter later on Medvitz’s first varsity home run.

Miklos projects that his team, slotted fourth in the Orange County preseason rankings, will rely on its speed. But on Thursday, the Lancers flexed their muscles on the field modeled after the former home of the Cincinnati Reds.

“Everyone came out to play today,” Medvitz said of the power display. “I had high expectations of this team since our practices but seeing it on the field first hand was amazing.”

Mineo-Schrank, who also plays catcher, went 2 for 3 with two RBIs.

Roosevelt (4-2), champion of the Upland tournament earlier this month, didn’t pitch either of its top two pitchers due to injuries, Pinkowski said.

Orange Lutheran’s pitching depth with by challenged Friday with a doubleheader against Los Altos and Murrieta Mesa. Two pitchers behind Weiss in the rotation are dealing with injuries, Miklos said.

In other showcase results, JSerra beat Great Oak 14-3 after losing to Norco 5-3.

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