As a member of the visiting team, a starting pitcher is always grateful to head out to the mound with a lead.
It was just an extra jolt of energy for Cameron Mahaffy when he led off the game with a stand-up triple on the first pitch of the game.
The Sailors put up three runs in the top of the first, and the sound of aluminum connecting with a baseball rung throughout the Orange Coast College diamond the rest of the afternoon.
Junior catcher Clay Liolios had three hits and four runs batted in to lead the Sailors to a 12-3 win over rival Corona del Mar on Wednesday in a Wave League game.
“I would say they were all missing up today, which was to our advantage because we worked [on] that all week,” Liolios said. “We had the scouting report. We knew that they were going to miss up sometimes. We wanted to come prepared for that. The wind was blowing out, so a lot of the fly balls turned into doubles.
“We just talked in the dugout. Cam started us off with a triple, and as soon as we saw that, we just came out on his energy and just executed, followed his example.”
Newport Harbor (8-4, 1-1 in league) pounded out 17 hits in the contest, producing three-run innings in the first and the second. The Sailors scored five more runs in the fourth inning, and they eventually extended their lead to 12-0 in the fifth.
“We were stoked,” Mahaffy said. “We like to put the pressure on right away, and that’s where we got the job done today.
“We just didn’t stop. We just kept every inning pounding it and pounding it until we got them out of the game.”
Following Mahaffy’s lead-off triple, shortstop John Olmstead sent a double down the left-field line. With the wind blowing out, Braham Duncan tripled into the right-center field gap, giving the Sailors three extra-base hits in their first three batters.
Kelly Austin lined a double the opposite way to right field to score a run in the Sailors’ big fourth inning. Mac Briggs came up next, bringing in two more runs with a single to right field.
Mahaffy and Olmstead also had three hits. Jack Bibb, Duncan and Briggs had two hits apiece.
Sailors coach Evan Chalmers said that his offense exploded after dropping the league opener 7-4 to Laguna Beach last Friday.
“I kind of feel like it’s a ticking time bomb,” Chalmers said of his offense. “When it goes off, it’s scary. We were very, very focused.
“You’ve got to focus, but today we played with passion. That means a lot in any ballgame. We like to play against our crosstown rival, but we hope that we can bring that kind of passion to any game.”
In addition to his success at the plate, Mahaffy improved to 4-0 on the mound this year. He threw five innings, allowing three runs and striking out seven.
CdM (8-4-1, 0-2) ended the shutout in the fifth inning. Nicholas Rottler’s double scored Kieran Sidebotham, and Reece Berger followed with a triple. Berger came home on an RBI groundout by Matt DeCrona.
“We’re in a bad spot right now,” Sea Kings coach Kevin McCaffrey said. “The good thing is you get to see what the kids are made of. Can they bounce back?”
While the Sea Kings had little to celebrate against their rival, the ceremonial first pitch was a different story. Former CdM baseball coach John Emme threw out the first pitch and executed it perfectly.
“It was neat,” McCaffrey said. “Everything that he has done for this program and done for me personally, you want to do right by people who really help the program. He bleeds CdM baseball.”