So far in the 2012 season, Jared Mahaffey has had only one concern on game day. And that concern is being ready to play in the field.
In Thursday's contest against Shikellamy, Mahaffey added another dynamic to his pregame preparation after being informed he would not be hit for against the Braves.
All Mahaffey did on his first at-bat was rip a double down the right field line, setting in motion Williamsport's first scoring inning en route to a 7-0 win over Shikellamy at Logue field.
"Anything I could hit in the zone I was going to swing at," Mahaffey said. "I didn't really think about it too much and found the one to hit."
The one he found to his liking was the second offering of his at-bat after Shikellamy's pitcher missed high with fastball to start. Mahaffey quickly got on the 1-0 pitch, sending it down the line and into the visitor's bullpen.
"I really just wanted to get my first hit out of the way," Mahaffey said. "That way I can cruise the rest of the season. It was nice to get that one out of the way."
"He gets his shot when it's ready and I'm extremely happy with him today," Williamsport coach Dave Cipriani said. "He's very patience and he does what he has to do. He's also a really good outfielder."
Mahaffey, who caught a long fly ball in first inning, advanced to third during Sisto Campana's at-bat when a wild pitch gave him an opening. Campana reached a few pitches later when he was hit by a slow, looping curve ball. Williamsport (7-0) then scored its first run when Jeremy Rall batted in Mahaffey with a sacrifice fly.
Sadiq Burkholder and Sam VerDerlinde capped the scoring in the third with two consecutive singles to put the Millionaires up, 3-0.
"We were hitting the ball, and hitting it hard, but they started to drop in the third," Cipriani said.
Although the 3-0 lead was ultimately enough, the Millionaires continued to press, scoring at least a run in each of the next three innings.
Joe Cassidy opened the fourth with a single and was quickly scored by Campana, who singled into centerfield. The ball was mishandled by the center fielder, giving Austin Robinson, who entered as a pinch-runner for Cassidy, enough time to score.
After tossing seven innings in Tuesday's 7-6 win over State College, Ryan Hostrander gave Williamsport two more runs in the fifth with a double. Sam Bubb, who finished going 3 for 4 with an RBI, and Burkholder opened the frame with back-to-back singles. Both players then scored on Hostrander's double. Bubb also drove in Williamsport's final run with a single in the sixth.
Jett Bartholomew got the go ahead on the mound for the Millionaires, striking out three and scattering an equal number of hits over five innings. Aaron Weber releaved Bartholomew in the sixth and Robinson entered in the seventh to hold the Braves scoreless, and secure the win.
"For some reason he can't throw his first inning in the bullpen, he has to be out there (in game action)," Cipriani said. "The guys stay behind him and that means we are going to stick with him."
The defense was outstanding for Williamsport, which received putouts from every position on the field, including the team's first double play of the season in the seventh.
"It was the first one we turned all year and it definitely made a difference for us at the end of the game," Burkholder said. "I'm very impressed with out defense. No matter how far we come we always rely on our defense. It helps our bats come alive."
"It was a good defensive game for us and we needed it," Cipriani said. "We always knew our best defense was ahead of us."
Shikellamy 000 000 0-0 5 3
Williamsport 003 121 X-7 11 2
Ryan Kenney, Logan Hall (6) and Colby Lahr. Jett Bartholomew, Aaron Weber (6), Austin Robinson (7) and Joe Cassidy. WP-Bartholomew. LP-Kenney.
Top Shikellamy hitters: Nick Dunn 2-4, 2B. Top Williamsport hitters: Sisto Campana 1-1, run, SB; Sam Bubb 3-4, 2B, run, RBI; Sadiq Burkholder 2-4, 2 runs, RBI; Jared Mahaffey 1-2, 2B, run.
Records: Williamsport 7-0 (3-0), Shikellamy 4-5.
Next: Williamsport at Punxsutawney, Saturday, noon.