Shore’s Miller continues torrid start to season
Zach Miller sprinted toward second base and a triple became imminent. A few steps later, Miller was face down in the dirt and Jersey Shore had some fresh joke material.
“They give me a hard time with everything I do,” Miller, Jersey Shore’s left fielder said. “Every mistake I make, it’s always something. They find whatever they can.”
That face-plant is all they have these days.
Miller continued his offensive rampage Wednesday at Logue Field, crushing a 400-foot home run, going 2 for 3 and driving in four runs while leading Jersey Shore to an impressive 10-1 win over Williamsport. Dylan Hamm and Travis Bradley combined on a four-hitter as the Bulldogs (9-1) recorded their second statement win in as many days after beating Hughesville, 13-0 Tuesday.
“This is probably the best I’ve been locked in and focused on hitting and fielding and all that stuff, “Miller said. “Confidence is so important in sports, especially in baseball. If you’re not confident hitting or anything you’re not going to go anywhere.”
Miller is bursting with confidence and is 5 for 6 the last two days with three home runs and eight RBIs. The left fielder delivered his seventh multi-hit performance yesterday and put Jersey Shore ahead to stay when he homered in his first at-bat, giving him three in his last four.
After working a full count, Miller slammed a mammoth home run over the batting cages beyond left field, more than 400 feet from home, to lead off the second inning. A strong three-sport athlete, Miller showcased his strength, turning on a high and inside curveball while putting Jersey Shore ahead to stay.
“Miller hit that one and I thought, ‘Where did it go?’ That was a bomb,” Jersey Shore coach Steve Waldman said. “He just knows what he’s looking for. He’s locked in.”
“That was a shot. That’s probably the furthest one I’ve seen hit here,” Williamsport coach Dave Howe said. “That was a Major League home run. He’s a good kid and a good player.”
Miller’s home run ignited the first of two four-run Jersey Shore innings that turned the game into a blowout. The next came in the fourth inning. Miller did not send this one out of the park but drilled a screaming line drive to the center field fence, for a three-run double that made it 7-1. Zach DePasqua followed with an RBI single, capping the two-out flurry.
Miller stumbled after landing on second base and hit the dirt a few steps after hitting his double. He stayed down on one knee after rolling his ankle but less than a minute later he was on his feet and scored easily when DePasqua hit his single to center field. It was a third straight blowout win as Jersey Shore continued steamrolling strong Lycoming County teams.
In the last week, the Bulldogs have outscored South Williamsport, Hughesville and Williamsport, 32-2.
“Coming in here we have all the confidence in our pitching staff and in our offense,” Miller said. “Everyone can hit throughout the lineup so we have a whole bunch of confidence going into any game we play right now.”
“They work hard at it,” Waldman said. “They get focused and it’s fun watching the team play like it does.”
Williamsport continued a roller coaster season. The Millionaires (5-4) are 5-2 on the road but have been outscored, 15-1 in two home games. They had won two straight and edged Altoona in nine innings Tuesday, but could not get away with the mistakes they did in that win.
The Millionaires worked around 13 walks to beat Altoona, 3-2, but five early walks helped fuel Jersey Shore, and the Bulldogs also jumped on pitchers who fell behind in the count. Compounding things, Williamsport went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position, scoring its only run in the third inning when Ian Dinsmore hit a sacrifice fly.
“We’re pitching behind all the time. It gets 2-0, 3-1 and then they have to throw the shot down the middle,” Howe said. “We’re getting guys on base and we’re not executing. We’re passive. It’s really frustrating.”
Hamm has frustrated hitters throughout the season and was outstanding again yesterday. The senior right-hander improved to 3-0, allowing just three hits in five innings while striking out three. Hamm has allowed just two runs and six hits in his last 12 innings while striking out 18.
Jersey Shore has given Hamm ample run support, hitting well throughout the lineup. Brody Smith went 3 for 3 with an RBI and reached base all four times yesterday while seven players combined for 10 hits. Colton Potter belted a two-run, two-out second-inning double to make it 4-0 and Jersey Shore scored seven two-out runs.
Smith singled in his last three at-bats and capped an two-run sixth inning with a RBI single that made it 10-1. Bronson Bass added two RBIs.
Williamsport’s Chazz Bittner went 2 for 2 with a double while Evan Steele hit a pinch-hit, sixth-inning double.
Jersey Shore040 402 0-10 10 1
Williamsport001 000 0-1 4 2
Dylan Hamm, Travis Bradley (6) and Christian Rishel. Noah Esposito, Ian Dinsmore (2), Eddie Banks (7) and Damone Buxton. W-Hamm, (3-0). L-Esposito, (0-1).
Top Jersey Shore hitters: Zach Miller 2-3, HR, 2B, 4 RBI, 3 R; Colton Potter 1-5, 2 RBI; Brody Smith 3-3, RBI, R. Top Williamsport hitters: Chaz Bittner 2-2, 2B; Evan Steele 1-1, 2B.
Records: Jersey Shore 9-1. Williamsport 5-4.