If further proof is needed that some of the best high school baseball in the country is played in the Trinity League, look no further than Cary, N.C.
Or ask the players from Clovis North in Fresno.
Or check with the head coach from Merritt Island in Florida.
That’s because the immense talent in the Trinity League has beamed itself nation-wide again this spring, issuing further credibility to the claim that the best high school baseball in the country is played at JSerra, Mater Dei, Servite, Santa Margarita, St. John Bosco and Hart Park in Orange, the home field for Orange Lutheran.
Orange Lutheran travelled to North Carolina at the end of March to participate in the 16-team National High School Invitational, which featured top programs from across the country, including four from Southern California.
The Lancers ran over Merritt Island in the opener, 7-3, and then took down Trinity Christian of Jacksonville, Fla., 5-1, in the quarterfinals of the single-elimination event. Orange Lutheran was one of three Southern California teams to advance to the semifinals, where the Lancers beat South Hills from West Covina, 5-3.
They ran into another Orange County team, Dana Hills, in the championship game and won, 3-2, becoming the third Trinity League team to win the event in its six-year history. Mater Dei won the tournament in its first two years in 2012 and 2013.
Speaking for Southern California as a whole, Orange Lutheran coach Eric Borba told Baseball America that the number of quality players and coaches in the region creates a deep pool of talented teams, which sets the bar high when it comes to competition, whether in league play or at the national level. Borba learned that when he left De La Salle in Northern California to take the job at Orange Lutheran 10 years ago.
“I had to become a student (at) finding different ways to be successful on the field, and I think our kids are just battle-tested so much more than where they are other places,” Borba said after winning the NHSI title. “You’ve got 50 schools in Southern California that could go back to the NHSI that could have a chance to win it.”
After their win in North Carolina, the Lancers moved to No. 1 in the nation in USA Today’s first regular-season Super 25 high school baseball rankings. Upon returning home, however, they were quickly reminded just how competitive the Trinity League is again this season.
Orange Lutheran was swept in three league games against St. John Bosco, dropping them into a tie for third place with JSerra after six games of 15 league games.
JSerra flexed its muscles in another tournament featuring top teams from different parts of the country. The Lions advanced to the championship game of the National Classic on April 13 before losing to Bishop Amat, 5-1, in the championship game at Cal State Fullerton.
The 16-team field included seven teams from Southern California, two each from Northern California, Nevada, Arizona and Florida and one from Utah.
JSerra also found itself running into local teams as it advanced through the winner’s bracket. After knocking off Clovis North in the first round, the Lions beat Cypress in the second round and Mission Viejo in the semifinals before taking on Bishop Amat.