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San Clemente's Kent Burckle attempts to lay down a bunt against Mayfair in the Tritons first-round playoff game on May 17. Photo by Kevin Dahlgren
San Clemente’s Kent Burckle attempts to lay down a bunt against Mayfair in the Tritons first-round playoff game on May 17. Photo by Kevin Dahlgren

By Steve Breazeale

After holding a three-run lead for most of their CIF-SS Division 2 second-round game against visiting South Hills on May 21, the San Clemente baseball team saw their lead slip in the sixth inning and ultimately disappear in the eighth, as South Hills pulled off a 4-3 come from behind victory.

After scoring two runs in the top of the sixth inning to tie things up 3-3, South Hills’ first baseman David Denson planted an opposite field solo home run over the left-field fence in the eighth inning for the go-ahead run that vaulted the Huskies into the quarterfinals.

The Tritons jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the second inning when senior first baseman Jake Terkoski ripped a line drive that pierced into the steady wind and got out of the stadium in a hurry for a solo home run.

The home team’s offense wasn’t finished there, as they tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the third. Senior center fielder Dan Caresio led the inning off with a double and was brought home by a Lucas Herbert RBI single. Senior right fielder Brock Eissman then hit a two-out RBI single through the left side of the infield that plated Herbert.

The Tritons would continue to get runners on base, but could not bring them in to score. The Huskies on the other hand, began chipping into the Tritons lead in the fifth inning, when right fielder Isaiah Gonzales hit a solo home run to bring the score to 3-1.

The top of the sixth inning proved to be disastrous for the Tritons, as South Hills’ leadoff man Niko Contreras reached on what was ultimately ruled a Tritons throwing error. For the second time in the game, the first-base umpire ruled that Terkoski pulled his foot off the bag, allowing Contreras to stay at first.

Contreras would advance to second and score on a two-out RBI double by South Hills’ Jonathan Ayala that tied the game.

“I didn’t think his foot was pulled,” San Clemente head coach Dave Gellatly said about Terkoski and the umpire’s ruling. “That definitely hurt us and it cost us in the long run… So it did change the game but the umpires make the calls and you have to go with the calls they make.”

The Tritons last solid scoring opportunity came in the bottom of the sixth, when they had the bases loaded but could not convert.

“We had our opportunities and simply there were a couple innings where we just didn’t execute and when you don’t execute against good teams like this, unfortunately it comes back to bite you and that’s what happened,” Gellatly said.

The Tritons paved their way to the second-round by defeating Mayfair 7-0 in the playoff opener.

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