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The National High School Invitational has been a home away from home for Orange County high school baseball teams. For the sixth time in seven years, a team from the OC has won the NHSI as Orange Lutheran (Orange, Calif.)
repeated as champs with a 9-3 win Saturday over host Green Hope (Cary, N.C.)
The Lancers, who defeated Dana Hills in last year's championship game, join Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
, San Clemente and Huntington Beach as past champions. Mater Dei won back-to-back title in 2012 and 2013, while San Clemente won in 2015 and Huntington Beach won in 2016.
"What a great day. What a great week. It has been a fun ride," Orange Lutheran Head Coach Eric Borba told Team USA Baseball. "First off, hats off to Green Hope. They had an amazing week and put up a heck of a fight. We knew it wasn't going to be easy. I'll tell you what, those guys play the game the right way."
Green Hope, meanwhile, became the first host team to advance to the championship game. The MaxPreps Cup Fall Sports champions defeated John Curtis Christian (River Ridge, La.)
1-0 in the semifinals after topping Walton (Marietta, Ga.)
7-1 in the first round and Mountain Ridge (Glendale, Ariz.)
8-3 in the second round.
The Lancers broke a scoreless tie with a five-run fourth inning. Cole Winn
, a transfer from Colorado known more for his pitching broke the game open with an RBI double. Evan Adolphus
, Carl Lawson
and Caleb Ricketts
all singled in the inning to build the lead. Adolphus and Winn both finished with three RBIs in the game with Adolphus going 3-for-4 and Winn going 2-for-3 at the plate. Lonnie Morris
went four innings and got the win. He gave up three runs on six hits and had two strikeouts. Jonny Guzman
finished the final three frames and gave up no runs on one hit with two strikeouts.
Orange Lutheran opened the tournament with a 9-0 win over Florence (Ala.)
and followed with a 2-1 win over George Jenkins (Lakeland, Fla.)
in the second round and a 3-2 win over Calvary Christian Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
in the semifinals. Chad Born
doubled in the seventh inning against Calvary Christian Academy and scored on a Zachary Lew
base hit for the winning run.
Calvary Christian Academy and George Jenkins both finished 3-1 in the tournament. George Jenkins bounced
Chicago Mt. Carmel (Chicago)
2-1 in its opener before losing to the Lancers in the second round. George Jenkins then edged O'Connor (Phoenix)
4-3 in consolation play and topped Santiago (Corona, Calif.)
5-0 in its final game.
Calvary Christian Academy, a tournament favorite coming into the event, defeated Hattiesburg (Miss.)
4-1 in its opener and beat O'Connor 8-2 in the second round. After losing to Orange Lutheran, Calvary Christian beat John Curtis Christian 3-0 in the third-place game.American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.)
, another pre-tournament favorite, finished 2-2 with losses to John Curtis Christian and Mountain Ridge. The Patriots opened the tournament with a 1-0 win over Santiago, but then fell to John Curtis Christian 2-1 in the second round. The Patriots lost for a second time to Mountain Ridge 3-2 before salvaging the final day with a 4-3 win over O'Connor.
The tournament was particularly tough on two-time champion Mater Dei. The Monarchs went 0-4 with losses to O'Connor (4-0), Hattiesburg (7-6), Trinity Prep (7-5) and Florence (9-5).
Chicago Mt. Carmel produced the first no-hitter in tournament history with a 6-0 win over Trinity Prep (Winter Park, Fla.). Luke Pappas
went all seven innings and struck out seven with one walk and one hit batsman. The Caravan finished 2-2 in the tournament the opening loss to George Jenkins, a 16-0 win over Florence, and 8-4 loss to Santiago and the no-hitter.