The 2018-19 school year may have come to a close, but the athletic accolades are still rolling in for the Lancers. Two of Orange Lutheran’s own were honored earlier this week at The Orange County Register 2019 OC Varsity Athlete & Coach of the Year Awards presented by Hoag Orthopedic Institute and held at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin.
With his sparkling 0.55 ERA, right-handed pitcher Max Rajcic was named the 2019 Orange County Baseball Pitcher of the Year. The rising senior finished the season with an 8-1 record, allowing only five runs in 63 innings.
“It’s an honor to be named Pitcher of the Year,” says Rajcic. “There are so many good pitchers in Orange County, it’s a good feeling…and representing OLu is special.”
One of the most dominant pitchers in both the state and the country, Rajcic’s fast ball clocks in at the low 90’s. He also contributed to the Lancer offense with his bat this season, logging 21 hits and 14 RBIs. OC Varsity writer Dan Albano presented the award to Rajcic and suggested he has the chance of being a top pick in the 2020 MLB Draft. But as Rajcic heads into his senior year at OLu, the UCLA commit would like to first take care of some unfinished business.
“One of my goals (for my senior year) is to win a CIF title,” says Rajcic. “It’s never been done (at Orange Lutheran in baseball). To bring a title to the school for the first time would be a phenomenal feeling.”
Having played for the Lancers since his freshman year, OLu baseball head coach Eric Borba credits Rajcic with being a large part of the program’s recent success.
“Every time Max takes the mound, we have an opportunity to win,” says Borba. “You can see that reflected in the stats he put up this year. We played one of the toughest schedules in the country, and he went out and put up zero after zero and gave us a chance to win every game. He’s a big reason we’ve had the success that we’ve had.”
Also honored at the awards ceremony was recent OLu graduate Ciara Briggs who was named the 2019 Orange County Softball Athlete of the Year. The “speedy centerfielder” led the Lancers with a .545 batting average, 19 extra base hits and 41 runs on their way to earning a share of the Trinity League title.
“I’m excited for Ciara,” says OLu head softball coach, Steve Miklos. “She’s a great kid and a great ball player. And she’s a great leader on our team. She’s a good role model for our younger players. Her work ethic is off the charts. She’s a very hard worker, and she’s really played a big role in our success. We’re definitely going to miss her. She’s definitely been an asset to our program.”
Also named the 2019 Trinity League MVP, the competitive Briggs will play softball for the LSU Tigers. Before she heads to Baton Rouge, Briggs will be playing in the 2019 Premier Girls Fastpitch (PGF) High School All-American Game on July 27th airing on ESPN. Briggs credits her four years at OLu for preparing her to take the next step in her journey.
“OLu has done so many things for me,” says Briggs. “It was the best high school I could have gone to. Being able to be a part of it and show everyone what OLu is about means a lot. I’m very honored to be in that position.
“Throughout the past four years, I’ve learned so many lessons,” continues Briggs. “Not just for the field, but also for life – trust, teamwork and helping one another – things I would not have been able to get anywhere else. I’m super excited for the new chapter in my life.”