ANAHEIM >> The Orange Lutheran softball team used a combination of small ball, long ball and pitching to defeat Norco, 6-3, in a semifinal of the Michelle Carew Classic on Saturday morning at Peralta Park.
The victory set up an all-Orange County final between the Lancers (15-6) and Canyon, which defeated St. Francis of Mountain View, 3-2, in the other semifinal Saturday.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Peralta Park.
OLu (15-6) defeats Norco 6-3 to advance to the Carew Classic Finals. Brianne Weiss with her 12th win and 10 ks. Kai Minor 3-4. Kiki Estrada 2-2 with a 2B and HR and 3 RBI. Tessa Jerue with an RBI double. Mak Motis 2-3. @OLu_Athletics @ocvarsityguy @latsondheimer pic.twitter.com/Caxh8ASPFr
— OLu Softball (@OLuSoftball) April 2, 2022
“This is a good win for us,” Orange Lutheran coach Steve Miklos said. “We’re just playing well.”
Orange Lutheran, the designated road team, played small ball to pick up two runs in the first inning.
Freshman outfielder Kai Minor, who has been a catalyst for the Lancers throughout the tournament, led off the game with a single.
No. 2 hitter Kiki Estrada, who has been supplying the power for the Lancers, doubled, putting runners on second and third.
Minor and Estrada scored on back-to-back ground outs by Tessa Jerue and Emi Todoroki.
Minor went 3 for 4 with two runs scored and is 6 for 7 with four runs scored over the past two games.
Norco (10-4) tied the score in the bottom of the first with a two-run home run from Mya Perez.
Estrada then hit a two-run home run in the third to give the Lancers a 4-2 lead.
The senior first baseman went 2 for 2 with a home run, a double, two walks, three RBIs and three runs scored.
“It was great to help my team out that way,” Estrada said. “It’s a relief to know that when Kai gets on, it’s just my job to just move her over and with the speed she has, knowing she is going to find a way to score.”
The Lancers were leading 5-3 with one out in the fifth when Estrada was walked intentionally and replaced with pinch runner Zara Mineo-Schrank.
After Mineo-Schrank took second on a passed ball, Jerue made Norco pay for the intentional walk by hitting a run-scoring double that gave the Lancers a three-run cushion.
The three-run lead was more than enough for sophomore pitcher Brianne Weiss, who kept the Cougars off the board for the final three innings.
In the fourth, the Cougars scored a run and had runners on first and third with no outs, but Weiss struck out the next two hitters and retired the third out on a foul out.
“It feels great,” Weiss said. “It was so nice knowing my team had my back, especially my hitters. It feels so relieving for a pitcher knowing that your team scores for you, and its nice knowing you’ve got a great defense behind you, too.”
In the other semifinal:
Canyon 3, Saint Francis of Mountain View 2: Skye Limardo hit a three-run home run in the third to give the Comanches (17-3) a come-from-behind victory over the Lancers.
Canyon pitcher Kylee Magee had 14 strikeouts in the six-inning victory.
Final #MichelleCarewClassic Canyon pulls off the upset with 3-2 victory over @sfhsathletics behind 14k by ASU-bound Kylee Magee in 6inn timed out game @CalHiSports @ExtraInningSB @ocvarsity pic.twitter.com/QjNSvbPE7t
— Harold Abend (@HaroldAbend) April 2, 2022