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Orange Lutheran softball stuns Villa Park in CIF Division 1 playoffs

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SANTA ANA — Orange Lutheran freshman Kai Minor saw the ball skip past third base and knew she could race home with the winning run.

So did Lancers softball coach Steve Miklos.

“(Her) speed is awesome,” he said. “She’s the real deal.”

Minor showed that again Tuesday and helped lead the Lancers to a breakthrough victory in the second round of the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs.

The center fielder tripled with one out in the bottom of the 10th inning and scored on an error on the play as Orange Lutheran stunned No. 2-seeded Villa Park 2-1 at Barry Turner Field.

Minor slapped the triple, her sixth of the season, over the head of the left fielder head and slid into third base to beat the relay throw and tag. As she popped to her feet, Minor saw the ball loose off third and raced home to score on a head-first slide before being mobbed by teammates.

“I had to go in head first,” Minor said. “That (type of play) has happened to me I don’t even know how many times. I was, ‘OK, I got this.’ “

And just like that, Orange Lutheran (21-8) beat the Spartans (24-5), ranked No. 1 in Orange County, to reach the quarterfinals Thursday against Gahr at Barry Turner Field.

The Lancers lost two extra-inning games to rival Mater Dei in the Trinity League and fell to Canyon in the finals of the Carew Classic but rallied from a 1-0 deficit against Arizona-bounce ace Sydney Somerndike.

Sophomore left-hander Brianne Weiss used her off-speed pitch among others to record 12 strikeouts and out-duel Somerndike (eight strikeouts). And Arkansas-bound Kiki Estrada led off the bottom of the ninth with a solo home run to tie the score 1-1.

“We wanted it more than they did,” said Weiss, who improved to 18-4. “We know what we’re capable of. It just takes that one person to stick their foot in the ground and really find something inside them that they’ve never found before.

“That’s what we did today.”

Estrada launched the first pitch she saw in the ninth over the tall fence in left center for her ninth home run. The senior credited a chat with Minor before the at-bat for giving her confidence against Somerndike (14-1).

“That positive, self-talk was the reason I was up there swinging first pitch,” said Estrada, who homered two innings after Tessa Jerue doubled off the fence in left center on a near, walk-off home run.

Villa Park took a 1-0 lead in the top of the ninth on a two-out RBI single by Jordyn Lawhon, the No. 9 batter who drove in Martina Gutierrez.

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