Orange Lutheran, just a week away from playing its first game in the super tough Trinity League, sent a message Friday night that it has the baseball skills and talent to be a title contender after coming away with a 12-3 victory over previously unbeaten La Puente Bishop Amat in the championship game of the Lerner bracket of the Newport Elks tournament.
Lutheran (5-0) didn't beat any ordinary team. Bishop Amat (4-1), ranked No. 4 by The Times, had knocked off No. 5 Mission Viejo Capistrano Valley, No. 7 Santa Ana Mater Dei and No. 8 Palm Desert in the opening two weeks of the season.
No. 6 Lutheran took advantage of surprisingly inconsistent Bishop Amat pitching. It started in the first inning when two walks set the stage for a run-scoring single by sophomore Andre Real. Then came a three-run third inning that featured a run-scoring single by Chase Harrison. The lead expanded to 7-1 in the fourth after a run-scoring single by sophomore Cody Nulph and a two-run single by Dillon Bryant.
Meanwhile, USC-bound left-hander Bobby Wheatley (2-0) of Lutheran limited Bishop Amat to two hits in five innings. He struck out three and walked four.