JSerra baseball beats Orange Lutheran to get another shot at a CIF championship

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO – JSerra gets another chance to win a CIF baseball championship.

The Lions defeated Orange Lutheran 4-2 on Thursday at JSerra High to advance to the CIF Southern California Regional Division I championship game.

JSerra (29-7) will host Ayala (26-3) in the final Saturday at 4 p.m. This is the first season for the CIF regional playoffs.

JSerra defeated Ayala in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 semifinals last week. The Lions then lost to Harvard-Westlake 3-0 in the championship game.

JSerra beat Orange Lutheran (30-6) in two of the teams’ three Trinity League games in the regular season to win the league championship.

Several players contributed to JSerra’s win Thursday.

With Orange Lutheran leading 2-1, JSerra pinch-hitter Tommy Golbranson drove in the tying run with a single in the fifth inning. Pinch-hitter Brandon Chang followed with a single to send home the eventual winning run.

Gage Jump reached base on his four plate appearances and scored the tying run on Golbranson’s hit, and Cody Schrier had two hits and scored a run.

JSerra coach Brett Kay said he was happy the Lions will play again for a CIF title and was pleased with how the players approached Thursday’s fourth game against Orange Lutheran.

“I thought they played loose, they played relaxed,” Kay said. “There was no panic today. We were playing a really good ball club and the stakes were high.”

Schrier said it’s not the CIF championship the Lions would prefer.

“It’s not necessarily what we wanted,” Schrier said, “but if we ever have the chance to win anything we’re going to go after it.”

Kay was especially enthusiastic about how the fifth-inning pinch-hitters came through with run-scoring hits against Orange Lutheran’s outstanding junior right-handed pitcher Louis Rodriguez, who entered the game in the fifth inning with a 1.36 ERA.

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