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WEST ANAHEIM LIONS BASEBALL TOURNAMENT : Loara Continues Turnaround Season With Title

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Don’t take it wrong, but Loara third baseman Ean Brown is going to beam about every victory this season. His satisfaction just bubbles over.

“Last year, teams would play us and we’d see that another-cake-walk look in their eyes,” Brown said. “It’s a whole different story now.”

A 180-degree-type of difference.

Loara, everybody’s patsy a year ago, has made it clear that those roll-over-and-play-dead days are over. The Saxons made that point clear Wednesday night with a 5-1 victory over Dana Hills in the West Anaheim Lions tournament final at Glover Stadium.

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The Saxons, who were 3-20 a year ago, have already tripled their victory total and done so impressively. First, they reached the semifinals of the Loara Tournament and now they have won the Anaheim Tournament.

On top of that, Loara (9-4) is off to a fast start in the Empire League race with a 2-1 record. Not bad for a team that was everybody’s favorite opponent in 1993.

“We knew we had everyone coming back, but they were coming off a negative experience,” Coach David Lappin said. “We needed to see if the kids could turn it into a positive thing.”

The Saxons got solid pitching and solid hitting--traits missing last season.

Art Ortiz, pitching his first game in more than a week, baffled and confused the Dolphins. He wasn’t overpowering, but he made few mistakes. One mistake was a 3-2 fastball that Seth Etherton hit well over the left-field fence.

Ortiz (1-0), the tournament MVP, gave up only three other hits, two of which were infield singles.

Brown, among others, supplied the offense, knocking in two runs with two hits. His infield single in the third put the Saxons ahead to stay, 2-1.

Chris Cramer and Mike Boomsma also had RBIs.

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“We don’t even talk about last season,” Brown said. “We have put it behind us.”

That was easier than putting away the Dolphins (6-6-1), who had tap danced through the tournament without much help from their two top pitchers, Etherton and Chris Toomey. They were being saved for key South Coast League games today and Friday.

Without their aces, the Dolphins relied on less experienced players on the mound. Senior third baseman Rick Currier was the pitcher for a day Wednesday, making his first appearance since he was a sophomore.

Currier wobbled at times, but kept the game close. He gave up three runs and five hits in 4 2/3 innings.

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In another tournament game:

Katella 6, La Habra 1--Jason Stockstill struck out six and allowed one earned run in seven innings to lead Katella.


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