Season Preview: Orange Lutheran Lancers

Ryan Ozella
California Area Scout

With the 2019 high school baseball season just around the corner in California, we have begun rolling out team previews from around the state.

In this edition, we will take a closer look at the Orange Lutheran Lancers. The Lancers are a deep roster with eleven college commits and play one of the toughest schedules in the nation. They're currently the #1 team in the California Power 25 and could be one of the best teams in the Nation. 

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Team: Orange Lutheran

Nickname: Lancers

Section: CIF-SS Division 1

League: Trinity League

Head Coach/Years at school: Eric Borba (11 Years)

Team Twitter Handle: @olubaseball

2018 Overall Record: 25-8

2018 Postseason Finish: Semi-Finals loss to Capistrano Vally

Number of Returning Starters: 10

Number of Returning Pitchers: 6

Top Returning Players:

‘19 OF Jasiah Dixon, ‘19 OF Caden Connor, ‘19 RHP Jonathon Guzman, ‘19 RHP/INF Evan Adolphus, ‘20 OF Chad Born, ‘20 INF/RHP Elijah Buries, ‘20 RHP/INF Max Rajcic, ‘20 INF Tank Espalin, ‘20 C Brandon Heidal, ‘20 RHP Christian Rodriguez

Other Players to Watch:

‘21 INF Justin Decriscio, ‘22 C/RHP Karson Bowen

College Commitments:

‘19 OF/C Carl Lawson - Cal Poly Pomona, ‘19 OF Jasiah Dixon - USC, ‘19 OF/1B Garrett Frechette - SDSU, ‘19 RHP Jonathon Guzman - SDSU, ‘19 C/OF Jared Thomas - Miami, ‘19 RHP/INF Evan Adolphus - Cal State Fullerton, ‘19 LHP Jimmy Urban - Cal Baptist, ‘19 RHP Josiah Castillo - Pepperdine, ‘20 RHP/INF Max Rajcic - UCLA, ‘20 OF Chad Born - Miami, ‘20 INF Tank Espalin - USC

2019 Outlook:

2018 was another fantastic season for the Orange Lutheran Lancers seeing them go 25-8, win the National High School Invitational and the always difficult Trinity League before making a semi-finals run through the CIF Southern Section Division playoffs. Don’t forget they also had RHP Cole Winn drafted in the 1st round of the MLB Draft. That’s a lot for Head Coach Eric Borba and for the Orange Lutheran community to be proud of and hang their hat on.

Expectations for 2019 are as high as they can be as the Lancers follow up 2018 carrying a roster that includes eleven college commitments while holding the #1 spot in the PBR Preseason Power 25. The Lancers will be challenged in every part of the season playing one of the toughest high school schedules in the nation. Their preseason schedule includes an opening doubleheader against Power 25 #3 Huntington Beach followed by games against South Lake, one of the best teams in Texas, Power 25 # 8 Valley Christian and Power 25 #11 Cypress. And all of that is before playing some of the best teams in the country at the National High School Invitational, The Boras Classic, and three games a week in the deep Trinity League. Talk about a gauntlet schedule.

The Lancers are going to be tested and have the depth and high-level talent to compete against anybody in the state or country. It starts with a core group of returners leading an offense that will be deep and give opposing pitchers nightmares. ‘19 OF Jasiah Dixon, a USC Commit, swings a big bat from the right side and shows huge outfield skills including a strong arm. ‘19 OF Caden Connor is a lefty who makes hard contact and shows above-average speed in the field. ‘20 OF Chad Born, a Miami Commit, is another bat that can spray the ball all around the field and shows a big arm from the OF with projectable shape in the body. ‘20 INF/RHP Max Rajcic, a UCLA Commit, is one of the highest ranked players in the 2020 class with big two-way potential showing a big bat with plus range for SS and the ability to be dominating on the mound with a FB up to 94 and strong feel for two above-average offspeed pitches. ‘19 INF/RHP Evan Adolphus is another two-way threat with big raw power and the ability to get innings on the mound. ‘20 INF/RHP Elijah Buries can play all over the field showing barrel to ball skills and project more power as he matures. ‘19 OF/C Carl Lawson, a Cal-Poly Pomona commit, has positional versatility with tools to play in the outfield or behind the plate and brings a gap-to-gap styled bat. ‘20 INF Tank Espalin, a USC Commit, shows a big arm in the infield with the feet to stick in the middle of the diamond and the strength in the bat to drive balls deep into gaps. ‘19 OF/1B Garrett Frechette, an SDSU commit, is another big bopper in the middle of the order and has continued to impress scouts.

Pitching will be another strength for the Lancers in 2019 with plenty of arms to get through three games in a week. ‘19 RHP Jonathon Guzman, an SDSU commit, works with three pitches including a FB that's 84-87 with an above average change, and a curve that flashes tight spin. ‘20 Christian Rodriguez is a huge frame and one of the highest ranked pitchers in the 2020 class. He works with a FB that is firm and up to 93 MPH, a tight Curve and a plus Changeup. ‘19 LHP Jimmy Urban, a Cal Baptist commit, is an extra large frame that shows good downward plane in the zone with a FB that has been up to 84 with a big sweeping slider, feel for a downer curveball and the ability to throw all pitches for strikes. ‘19 RHP Josiah Castillo, a Pepperdine commit, has a clean arm and solid build with a FB up to 87 and a curveball that has tilt. Add in Rajcic and that’s as deep a group of pitchers any team in California is going to have.

Plain and simple this is a LOADED roster and as we mentioned, Orange Lutheran is going to be challenged. With a big target on their back, the Lancers will embrace being hunted each and every game as they go out and compete against the best there is California and the Nation. They’re ready to prove how good they are and make another run to a CIF-SS Division 1 championship.


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