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Mater Dei baseball snaps losing streak by knocking off No. 1 Orange Lutheran

ORANGE >> After failing to secure a win in their first five Trinity League contests, the Mater Dei baseball team was long overdue for a victory.

The Monarchs leaned on two of their strongest arms in Kalani Santos and Jack Kirrer while also getting production at the top of the order to beat Orange Lutheran 3-1 in a Trinity League game Friday night at Hart Park.

Mater Dei (8-6, 1-5) snapped a five-game losing streak and also avoided the series sweep after dropping the first two games against the top-ranked Lancers (12-2, 7-2) by the scores of 3-1 on Tuesday and 3-2 on Wednesday.

Santos picked up the win by going 3 2/3 innings with three strikeouts while Kirrer finished the game by pitching 3 1/3 innings and getting a save.

“That’s a really good team over there,” Monarchs coach Richard Mercado said of Orange Lutheran, ranked No. 1 in the state by MaxPreps.com. “We knew we had our chance in game 1, game 2 we had a lead, we had them and we let it kind of slip through our fingers and this one, we knew we could do it, it was just about closing the door and Jack (Kirrer) came in and did a fantastic job.”

Orange Lutheran coach Eric Borba felt his team was outplayed by Mater Dei all week.

“We had two long balls on Tuesday that helped us win that game, then we got outplayed for six innings the other day (Wednesday) and we’re lucky to get a big hit late to win that game and then we got outplayed today.” Borba said. “Hats off to them, it’s the Trinity League and every one of these teams can play, it doesn’t matter what that record is.”

Ethan Hedges (2 for 3) had a two-RBI double in the opening frame after leadoff hitter Cade O’Hara swung on the first pitch for a base hit. On the next at-bat, Matt Hernandez’s sacrifice bunt went back to Brady Strohm, whose throw went over Gabe Miranda as the runners were able to advance to second and third base.

“It was huge,” Mercado said of Hedges’ hit. “Anytime you get a lead on a good team, that puts them a little more on the defensive side, I think.”

O’Hara (2 for 4) also had an RBI double in the fifth inning.

“We got off to the bad start tonight and then we couldn’t get the big hit,” Borba said. “There’s a lot of things that didn’t go our way tonight.”

Orange Lutheran put pressure on Santos in the second inning but he was able to work his way out of the bases-loaded jam. He struck out Richard Tejeda and got Derek Curiel to ground out.

Miranda’s two-out RBI double in the third brought in the Lancers’ only run of the night.

After Santos exited the game in the fourth inning with two outs and runners on first and second, Kirrer was able to get Orange Lutheran catcher Karson Bowen to fly out to right field, ending one of many scoring chances for the Lancers.

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