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San Clemente baseball enjoying success fueled around having team chemistry 

Tritons are off to their best start since 2015

San Clemente outfielder Chase Brunson hits the ball during a high school baseball game against Woodbridge, Wednesday, April 5, 2023 during the Ryan Lemmon Invitational at the Great Park Stadium in Irvine, Calif. Brunson finished with two triples and San Clemente won 3-2. (Ryan Kuhn, SOCoPrepSports.com)

IRVINE — San Clemente’s baseball team might have found the missing ingredient for having its best season in eight years.

 It doesn’t come from a single player. 

Instead, Tritons coach Dave Gellatly said it comes from a collection of them. 

“Chemistry is everything,” Gellatly said. “You can have all the talent in the world but if you don’t have chemistry you are going to struggle.”

And that was on display this week at the Ryan Lemmon Invitational Tournament. 

Following a big loss to Gahr this past Saturday, the Tritons came back over three consecutive days to defeat Corner Canyon (Utah), Segerstrom and most recently Pacific Coast League leading Woodbridge on Wednesday afternoon. 

Their 12-4 record is the best start since the 2015 season

“These guys play for one another and they have all bought into what we have been teaching them,” Gellatly said. “There are no egos here.” 

San Clemente didn’t waste any time making a statement.

In fact it took just two pitches. 

Senior outfielder Chase Brunson laced the game’s first pitch for a triple in the right field gap.

Before he could even blink, Rhyn Chambers drove him in with a single up the middle. 

“That doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s nice to see,”  Gellatly said with a smile. “They are our two most productive players in the lineup so we want to get them as many at-bats as possible.”

The dynamic senior pair of Brunson and Chambers is just one example of the amount of success the Tritons have seen this season. 

They finished a combined 4-for-7 and drove in all three runs for a  3-2 win at the Great Park Stadium in Irvine. 

“It’s fun watching Chase because he hits everything so far,” Chambers said. “He’s so fast he gives anybody behind him a chance to drive him in.”

And he doesn’t need to lead off to be productive. 

After Woodbridge answered with two runs in the bottom of the first inning, catcher Cade Cerone singled to right field and two batters later Brunson crushed a triple almost identical to his first.

“I was just trying to battle with two strikes and shorten up a little bit,” said Brunson, who leads the team with a .442 batting average. “It was a hanging curve ball I just took the other way.”

Chambers’ second single was all that was needed to regain the lead. 

Woodbridge had multiple chances to steal the momentum but stranded a runner on third base during the third, fourth and fifth innings. The Warriors thought it tied the game in the fifth inning after Alex Serafin came home on a sacrifice fly but the umpire called him out saying he tagged up too early. 

All that was needed was for sophomore pitcher Mike Erapamer to close the door with three shut out innings of relief. 

“With these tournaments you don’t know what team is going to show up but sometimes they look like they are on Spring Break on the baseball field,” Gellatly said. “That wasn’t the case this time.”

San Clemente returns to Sea View League play when it hosts Aliso Niguel on Monday.

“There’s a lot of baseball left but we are going to enjoy it right now,” Gellatly said. 

Ryan was born and raised in Dana Point went to Dana Hills High School. He graduated from Sacramento State University with a BA in Journalism. Throughout his career as a sports journalist, he has covered high schools, colleges, and professional teams. After working for multiple newspapers in as many states, he came to the conclusion that what he really wanted was to make sure the high schools in his hometown area got the sports coverage they deserved. Follow him on Twitter @rskuhn

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