By Kevin Dahlgren
The Triton baseball team began their quest for a CIF Southern Section championship on May 17 against Mayfair High School. The Triton bats entered Friday’s game having been very quiet in recent weeks. The last time a San Clemente base runner safely scored was a 1-0 victory over Dana Hills High School on May 3. This problem seemed to be a thing of the past as the Triton offense exploded for seven runs to beat the Mayfair Monsoons 7-0.
The Tritons looked to senior pitcher Cody Maples to give them a chance of advancing to the second round. Maples entered the game with a 3-1 record and a sparkling 0.49 ERA on the season, allowing only three runs in 36 innings pitched. The senior hurler did not disappoint, throwing a complete game, three-hit shutout while striking out two batters.
San Clemente wasted no time awakening the bats from their slumber as they sent eight batters to the plate in the first inning. With no outs and a runner on second base senior catcher Shane Elias-Calles lined a fastball from Mayfair pitcher Kyle Carpenter into center field, scoring Dan Caresio from second base and giving the Tritons an early 1-0 lead. The Tritons would add another run in the inning on a two-out, bases loaded walk.
Maples’ efforts were not only felt on the mound, as he reached base three out of the four times he stepped up to the plate. The senior led off the bottom of the third inning with a line drive double to left-center field. Brock Eissman followed with an RBI double to the same left-center field gap, allowing Maples to score easily from second base. Eissman later scored on a sacrifice fly by first baseman Jake Thomas.
With a 4-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning Maples found himself in a rough spot. After a Mayfair runner reached base on a throwing error by third baseman Trevor Beard, Monsoon’s right fielder Michael Agramonte doubled to right field. With runners on second and third and one out, Maples did not back down from the challenge and struck out the next batter and ended the threat by inducing a ground ball out.
The Tritons bats were not finished yet.
Caresio led off the bottom of the sixth inning with an infield single and shortstop Kent Burkle followed with a walk. A passed ball allowed the runners to move up to second and third with no outs. Elias-Calles again sent a line drive deep into left center field scoring both runners. Elias-Calles was called out on a close play at the plate following a single by Maples. Jake Terkowski added an RBI single two batters later bringing the score to 7-0.
“I just wanted to be a aggressive and get ahead in the count early,” said Maples, “I knew I needed to be able to throw my curve ball for strikes.” The strategy worked as Maples needed only 76 pitches in his eighth complete game of the season.
The Tritons will look for another win on May 21 in the second round against South Hills. The game is scheduled to begin at 3:15 p.m. at Sisca Field on the campus of San Clemente High School.