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Esperanza Wins Lions Tourney 2018


Esperanza’s turnaround continues with Lions tournament championship - Article written by Steve Fryer - OC Register


ANAHEIM – It’s too soon to state that Esperanza baseball has returned to elite status.


Certainly, though, the Aztecs are a great deal better than they were last season.


Esperanza won the Anaheim Lions Tournament championship game Wednesday with a 7-3 win over Tustin. It is the first Anaheim Lions Tournament championship for Esperanza.

The Aztecs are 11-2. Last year, they finished 7-21.

Mike Curran retired as Esperanza’s coach after the 2016 season, his 37th season as Aztecs coach. Curran led Esperanza to 13 league championships and seven CIF-Southern Section championship games, with three CIF-SS championship-game wins. Esperanza was a fixture in the Orange County top 10.

Another coaching change after the ’17 season brought in Esperanza alumnus Kyle Muhlsteff, class of 2005, who played for Curran. Muhlsteff not only got his baseball education from Curran but also from a pair of top community college coaches, John Altobelli at Orange Coast and Scott Pickler at Cypress, and played independent-league baseball on a Maui team managed by former MLB star (and Santa Ana Valley alum) Garry Templeton, who managed in the Angels’ minor leagues.

Muhlsteff’s coaching staff includes pitching coach John Verhoeven. Verhoeven, who played four years of Major League Baseball including a couple of seasons with the Angels, and many seasons in the Angels’ minor-league system, was the head coach at Biola University for many years. Capistrano Valley veteran coach Bob Zamora said he has had many Capo pitchers who drove many miles north to get pitching instruction from Verhoeven.

Muhlsteff’s first job was to work on the team’s confidence.

“We had to build up their belief again,” said Muhlsteff, in his first season coaching high school baseball. “And the players had to learn to trust the coaching staff.”

Much of that belief and trust came in the Aztecs’ third game of this season. They trailed Trabuco Hills 3-0 going into the bottom of the seventh inning. Esperanza scored four runs for a walk-off 4-3 win.

Esperanza senior third baseman Jason Fox, the tournament MVP who homered and drove in three runs Wednesday, said the Aztecs have an improved attitude this season.

“Our team is a lot more cohesive,” Fox said. “We’re having a lot of fun this year and having a lot of success.”

Esperanza outscored the opposition 44-7 in its five Lions tournament games. Among the wins was a 7-0 victory over Capistrano Valley, which is No. 5 in the Register’s Orange County top 25.

Tustin went 4-1 in the tournament. The Tillers are 9-6. They totaled nine hits in Wednesday’s game, including two hits apiece by Jakob Reed and Matthew Olivares.

The Tillers took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on an RBI single by Reed that drove in Brian Nguyen.

Esperanza scored three times to take a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the second.

Tony Accordino, batting .412 going into the game, led off the inning with a line drive that skipped to the deepest part of the park – right-center field, near the “396” marker that is 40 feet from that deepest spot – for a standup triple. Accordino scored on Noguchi’s sacrifice fly to center. Fox, with CJ Larsen on second base, launched a home run to center field for the 3-1 lead.

Tustin tied it 3-3 in the fourth inning. Reed led off the inning with a single, advanced to second base on Christopher Lopez’ sacrifice bunt and, one out later, scored on Reese Marcosa’s bloop single to left field. Michael Toledo singled to move Marcosa to second base. Matthew Olivares followed with a bloop single that landed near where Marcosa’s bloop single landed to drive in Marcosa for the third run.

The Aztecs tallied three runs in the bottom of the fourth to create a 6-3 lead. Fox’s sharp single through the shortstop-third base hole drove in Noguchi for the first run, Davis Hildebrandt singled to send home Fox, and Wade Meckler’s bad-hop single knocked in Kyle Kirk, who had singled, for the third run.

Larsen’s second hit of the game drove in Noghuchi for the Aztecs’ seventh and final run in the fifth inning.



Wednesday March 28th Results

Results from Wednesday March 28th games.


Alhambra 8 Kennedy, LP 2
Aliso Niguel 6 Great Oak 5
Arlington 5 Brea 1
Camarillo 7 Torrance 1
Canyon Springs 6 Alta Loma 0
Capo Valley 15 Katella 4
Chaparral 5 Los Osos 5
Chino Hills 4 Murrieta Valley 0
Damonte Ranch 21 Newberg, OR 9
El Rancho 16 Viewpoint 0
Esperanza 7 Tustin 3
Galena 5 Sonora 4
Grandview, CO 10 Downers Grove South 6
Herriman, UT 15 Springfield, OR 1
Horizon Christian 10 Magnolia 4
Indio 2 La Habra 1
Kennedy, GH 3 Santa Monica 0
La Canada 8 Regis Jesuit 7
LA Marshall 1 West HS, Torrance 0
La Serna 3 Fullerton 0
McQueen, NV 11 Santiam Christian, OR 7
Mission Viejo 9 Windward 1
Orange 6 Whittier Christian 5
Palm Desert 4 Santa Barbara 0
Palos Verdes 8 Narbonne 1
Peninsula 7 Venice 1
Reed, NV. 10 Century, OR 2
Reno, NV 3 Layton, UT 2
Riverside Poly 15 Montclair 3
Santa Fe 4 Junction City, OR 2
Savanna 16 Oxford Academy 0
Sunny Hills 10 Capital Christian 4
Tesoro 12 Canyon, Ana 12
Thousand Oaks 13 Granada Hills Charter 0
Valencia, Pla 8 San Clemente 5
Villa Park 6 Loyola 5
Western 4 Bell Gardens 3
Whittier 2 Buena Park 1
Yorba Linda 8 Saddleback VCHS 3
Yucaipa 4 Shadow Hills 3

Tuesday March 27th Scores

Results from games played on Tuesday March 27th.


Aliso Niguel 6 Chino Hills 1
Alta Loma 10 La Habra 7
Anaheim  8 Newberg, OR 0
Anaheim  15 Horizon Christian 4
Brea 2 Alhambra 1
Camarillo 11 Galena, NV. 5
Capo Valley Christian 11 Santiam Christian 5
Chaparral 6 Riverside Poly 2
Esperanza 7 Capo Valley 0
Granada Hills Charter 11 Galena, NV. 8
Grandview 15 Buena Park 1
Great Oak 4 Damonte Ranch 1
Horizon Christian 4 Western 3
Kennedy, GH 2 LB Wilson 1
Kennedy, LP 4 Downers Grove South 3
La Canada 3 Century, OR 2
Layton, UT 10 Magnolia 0
Los Osos 9 Murrieta Valley 4
Loyola 4 Thousand Oaks 1
McQueen, NV 20 Springfield, OR 3
Mission Viejo 13 McQueen, NV 2
Montclair 5 Canyon Springs 3
Orange 7 Capital Christian 5
Oxford Academy 6 Sunny Hills 2
Palm Desert 11 Damonte Ranch 0
Palos Verdes 8 Venice 2
Peninsula 17 LA Marshall 5
Reed, NV. 3 Katella 0
Reno 9 La Serna 1
Saddleback VCHS 15 Junction City, OR 4
San Clemente 12 Canyon, Anaheim 11
Santa Fe 12 Hillcrest 4
Santa Monica 3 Nabonne 1
Savanna 13 Viewpoint 11
Shadow Hills 2 Arlington 0
Sonora 4 Rocky Mountain 1
Tesoro 6 Regis Jesuit, CO 5
ThunderRidge 16 Columbia, ID 2
Torrance 4 El Rancho 3
Tustin 8 Lincoln, OR 1
Valencia, Pla 19 Herriman, UT 9
Villa Park 4 Santa Barbara 0
West HS 5 Windward 3
Whittier  10 Fullerton 8
Yucaipa 6 Indio 3