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Michael Curialle Lifts JSerra To Boras Classic Title

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(Photo by Alyson Boyer Rode)

SANTA ANA, Calif.Michael Curialle has the unenviable task of replacing Royce Lewis as the starting shortstop at JSerra (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) High.

Curialle probably won’t go No. 1 overall in the draft like his predecessor. What he is doing is carrying the Lions in a way that would make his forebear proud.

Curialle hit the tiebreaking solo home run in the sixth inning to lift JSerra to a 2-1 victory over La Mirada on Friday night in the championship game of the Boras Classic.

Curialle, a junior committed to UCLA, banged a hanging two-strike curveball over the left-field fence at Mater Dei High School to give the Lions their first lead of the night, and turned the tide in what had been a tense, tight contest.

“I knew I wasn’t going down without swinging hard,” Curialle said. “I just connected on that one and hit it out.”

The game-winning blast capped a stellar week for Curialle. He also hit a decisive, sixth-inning home run in JSerra’s tournament opener and made numerous highlight-reel defensive plays, particularly with his arm, throughout the event.

He batted .400 with two home runs, three RBIs and two walks, and was named Boras Classic Offensive MVP.

“He’s a calm, cool collected kid that’s finding his way,” JSerra coach Brett Kay said. “He’s kind of found his niche here. It was hard. He came in here last year as a sophomore and we had Royce Lewis so he played third base and we knew how dynamic he was at short, but obviously he wasn’t going to supplant (Lewis). We knew the talent he was. He’s got the drive to be really good and he wants to be great.”

Playing next to Lewis for a year was instructive for Curialle. He’s known for some time he was JSerra’s shortstop-in-waiting, and was able prepare himself to be in the right, low-pressure mindset to succeed as Lewis’ replacement.

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“There’s not really any pressure,” Curialle said. “I just play my game as hard as I can and good things happen.”

Increasingly, that’s resulting in big game performances that boost both Curialle’s stock and his team as a whole.

“He played big in this tournament,” Kay said. “Good players make great plays, and he made great plays this whole tournament. He was just outstanding.”

JSerra junior righthander Andrew Miller limited La Mirada to one hit—a second inning single—in a complete-game effort and was named Boras Classic Defensive MVP. Senior outfielder Christian Rodrigues laid down a game-tying suicide squeeze in the fourth inning.

It wrapped up the second time in four years the Lions won the southern bracket of the Boras Classic. JSerra will face northern bracket winner Bellarmine Prep (San Jose, Calif.) for the Boras Classic state championship on May 5 at Santa Clara University.

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