OC Lightning tops Great Oak to win Austin Gorrell Memorial Baseball Classic - Press Enterprise

OC Lightning tops Great Oak to win Austin Gorrell Memorial Baseball Classic – Press Enterprise

RIVERSIDE – It took three years before lightning struck twice at the Austin Gorrell Memorial Baseball Classic.

Led by Ben Reiland and Mikey Romero, OC defeated Lightning Great Oak 8-1 at California Baptist University Tuesday night to take the tournament title for the second time in a row since 2019.

OC Lightning, a contingent of players from all three levels of the Orange Lutheran Highs program, scored four races in the third round and three more in the fourth to pull away for the win.

“We teach our kids to play for something bigger than themselves, so the opportunity to play in the Austin Gorrell Classic is amazing,” said Orange Lutheran head coach Eric Borba. “Austin was once just like these players, and I think it’s a great lesson for these kids not to take this for granted.”

Reiland and Romero each had two hits and two RBIs, and Karson Bowen had three RBIs and scored twice for Lightning. Nolan Tillett struck in the third round to win, and Gabe Miranda doubled and hit the seventh round to finish.

UCLA commit Dylan Fien went 2 for 2 with a walk for Great Oak, who beat Norco 4-1 in the tournament opener on Saturday, November 20, and defeated Riverside King in the semifinals on Monday.

Wolfpack went 7-8 in the Southwestern League (12-13 overall) during the 2021 season and missed the playoffs.

“Getting this amount of baseball in 2-3 months before the season is a blessing,” said Fien. “It’s great to be able to play against a high level team like we did tonight (and) I do everything I can to help my teammates get to the higher level and play to the higher standard.”

The Orange Lutheran won 30 games during the spring, and was a semifinalist in both the CIF Southern Section Division 1 and CIF Southern California Division 1 postseason tournaments.

“(The Gorrell Classic) is a great chance to see where we are at the end of the fall, and really start bringing the team together for the spring season,” said Borba.

World Series champion and former UC Riverside player and head coach Troy Percival spoke to all of the players Tuesday night, and more than $ 25,000 in scholarships were awarded to eight student athletes at the event.

Launched in 2015 in honor of Riverside North High graduate Austin Gorrell, 38 teams participated in the tournament’s return after last year’s forced hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This has been a special week, and it’s a great way to go into Thanksgiving,” said Great Oak head coach Eric Morton. “Our boys would rather play baseball than have the whole week off, so we really enjoyed this experience.”

Norcos Jacob Kruswicki kept away from Kings Andrew Campbell to win the tournament’s home run derby, which was held on Friday the 19th. November at Ryan Bonaminio Park in Riverside.

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