June 25, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: Orange Coast League wins opening game of Ryan Lemmon Showcase

Members of the Orange Coast League team before Friday’s Ryan Lemmon Showcase. (Photos: Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone).

Orange Coast League pushed across three runs in the third inning and held on to defeat the Orange League 3-2 in the first game of the Ryan Lemmon Senior Showcase Friday night at Ryan Lemmon Stadium.

It was the first of five baseball games featuring high school seniors from Orange County Leagues. The event continues through Sunday.

The Orange Coast League took the lead in the bottom of the third inning, Waylan Pipia (Calvary Chapel) was hit by a pitch, Sebastian Gomez-Torres (Saddleback) doubled and Victor De La Cruz (Santa Ana) drove in two runs with a single. Casey Jones (Calvary Chapel) then drilled an RBI triple to make it 3-1.

To see the slide show, click on the first photo:

Although leading 3-2, the Orange Coast League got to bat again in the bottom of the seventh and De La Cruz had a triple before being stranded there when the game ended.

“It’s special, last game of the season, it feels good,” said De La Cruz, who hopes to play baseball at Santa Ana College next season. “We (Santa Ana High School) did pretty good, we had a good coaching staff and a good run in the playoffs.”

The Orange League rallied in the top of the seventh Anthony Brown (Savanna) walked and eventually came around to score on a wild pitch to trim the lead to 3-2. Brandon Flores (Century) and Eddy Casas (Savanna) singled, but Orange Coast League pitcher Jacob Flores (Calvary Chapel) was able to work out of trouble and preserve the win.

Aiden Gardner (Western) had two hits for the Orange League and scored his team’s first run in the second inning when he doubled and came home on an error.

Orange Coast League pitchers also included Charlie Gianulias (St. Margaret’s), Miles Moyer (Estancia) and Jaime Garcia (Saddleback). The Orange League used Anthony Perez (Anaheim), Brown (Savanna), Matthew Gomez (Savanna) and Emiliano Esparza (Century).

The game included Estancia’s Riley Witte, Moyer, Cole Lefebvre, John Uchytil, Andrew Coyotzi and Andrew Mits, who were part of a memorable run during their careers, including the CIF Division 6 title in 2022. They wound up with a 75-17 overall record, according to Estancia Coach Nate Goellrich.

“Winning is secondary, the key thing is just getting our seniors together one last time, especially for us at Estancia this group were all part of the championship team as sophomores so it was just kind of a cool, relaxing environment for us to go out and coach them one more time,” Goellrich said.

“The winning is just a bonus so you feel better when you walk out the door. They’ve accomplished a lot and change the vibe and expectations of our program and I can’t think them enough for that and hopefully we can continue it next year.”

Goellrich said the experience of having other players on team was enjoyable.

“It’s nice that I’m on their side, obviously we scout each other a lot, it’s cool to get to know them from a different standpoint, you’re in the dugout talking to each other and all the guys get along great, so that’s a cool thing to see. It’s a great environment overal,” he said.

Players from both teams exchanged handshakes and posed for pictures after the game. The event was presented by Guy Lemmon, founder of the Ryan Lemmon Foundation and Dick Owens, tournament director.


—Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com