PLACENTIA — The Edison High baseball team turned to an unlikely source for a pinch-hit single Thursday afternoon, in the third-place game of the Diamond Sports National Classic.
Junior pitcher Henry Owens came in to bat, only after some instructing from senior third baseman Kyle Jones on a proper stance.
"Bat like Adam Dunn," Jones told him, and Owens proved up to it in the seventh inning when he slapped a clean single to center.
Unfortunately, that was one of the few offensive highlights for the Chargers as Orange Lutheran romped, 12-1, at El Dorado High.
Edison, which suffered a tough 2-1 loss to El Dorado in the tournament semifinals the previous night, appeared flat all game against the Lancers. The 11-run margin made it the Chargers’ worst loss of the season.
"We threw some pitchers today who hadn’t had a chance to pitch much all year," Edison Coach Steve Lambright said. "That’s what tournaments are for; you want to give them an opportunity. But, you know, we only scored one run. They could have pitched their butts off and we still wouldn’t have done it. I’m just disappointed in our effort. It’s not a situation where it’s about the results, it’s about our approach to the game. Our approach to the game wasn’t very good today."
Orange Lutheran (11-3) is ranked No. 3 in the CIF Southern Section Division I poll, and the Lancers came out swinging. After a scoreless first, they got two runs in the second, two more in the third and a five-spot in the fourth. The big blow was a first-pitch grand-slam to right-center, by sophomore Andre Real.
The Lancers scored one in the fifth and two more in the sixth on another home run, this one by senior Zach Verlaan.
"It’s almost like we can’t seem to get the consistency; it’s all up here," Lambright said, pointing to his head. "It’s all mental. How bad do they want it? I think at times they show up and they can beat anyone in high school baseball, and then we can become very average. The thing I keep telling them is that they’re going to get everyone’s ‘A’ game. You are a team that finished in the CIF finals last year, and the program is obviously well-known in the area. [Opponents] want to beat you, and our guys haven’t responded to that challenge on a consistent basis. That’s what I’m disappointed in."
Edison senior pitcher Brad Schultz, making his first start of the season, lasted into the fourth. He was relieved by senior Markus Trujillo and juniors Roland Blackiston and Jon Torres.
The Chargers (9-6) left five runners on in the first two innings and were shut out until the seventh. After Owens’ single, a double to right by junior Eric Snyder scored pinch-runner Sean Whiteman.
Snyder, who was two for two with a pair of walks Thursday, went seven for 14 in the tournament.
A.J. Libuano also doubled for Edison, which also received singles from Brandon Adams, Jimmy Madden and Cody Schkeekluth.
Orange Lutheran starter Art Vidrio went four shutout innings to pick up the win.
Edison plays at Los Alamitos next Wednesday. Lambright said the Chargers are trying to win back-to-back Sunset League titles for the first time in the program’s history.
"It’s gut-check time," Lambright said. "We’ll see how they respond in the next five weeks."