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IRVINE – The San Clemente baseball team wasn’t its sharpest on Tuesday morning, April 4, at the Great Park, but when the Tritons needed their breakthrough, they found their extra edge.
Trailing 3-0, San Clemente pounced on Segerstrom’s relief pitcher with two runs in the sixth and a two-run, go-ahead single by senior Hayden Dill in the seventh that sent the Tritons over the Jaguars, 5-3, for back-to-back wins at the Ryan Lemmon Tournament.
“We came out today, and unfortunately that’s the thing with Spring Break, it’s game three. I think we came out a little flat,” San Clemente coach Dave Gellatly said. “Guys were kind of not together in the dugout. They were focused on themselves and not the team. Late in the game, they realized that they need to do something quick, or we were going to lose to a team I believe we should beat. They came together at the right time and stole a win.”
After being vexed with just two hits off the starter for Segerstrom (2-11-2) through five innings, the San Clemente (11-4) comeback began in the sixth inning, as Jake Wood led off with a single immediately followed by a double by Joey Bookataub. Carson Nicholson brought the pair in with a triple to cut the deficit to one.
San Clemente kept up its pressure in the seventh with a leadoff double from Rhyn Chambers and a bunt-for-single by Mike Erspamer. Wood loaded the bases on a walk, and Dill sent Chambers and Erspamer home for the lead on a single. Wood eventually stole home for the Tritons’ fifth run, as the Jaguars’ infield got tied up on a steal attempt by Dill.
Bookataub, the Tritons’ senior starting pitcher, battled through five innings on the mound for San Clemente with three runs allowed – just one earned – on five hits with four strikeouts and a walk. Riley Smith picked up the win with an electric sixth inning in relief, and Dill closed out the save in the seventh.
“Joey’s been great,” Gellatly said of his starting pitcher. “He hasn’t thrown much this year, just simply because he’s our third baseman, but when we come back and play three games a week in league, I think he’s earned a spot as one of the three guys starting in league.”
After San Clemente finishes the Ryan Lemmon Tournament on Wednesday, April 5, against a team to be determined and plays another tournament game on Saturday, April 8, to close out Spring Break, the Tritons return to the Sea View League for a rainstorm-condensed schedule.
San Clemente, 2-1 in league play, plays three games against Aliso Niguel next week with home games on Monday, April 10, and Thursday, April 13.