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Maclay makes history for Eagles

Former Husky smashes 3 home runs in loss

Sentinel file photo
Mifflin County graduate and Juniata College first baseman Isaac Maclay set an Eagles record, hitting three home runs in a single game, on Saturday, against Susquehanna.

SUSQUEHANNA — Mifflin County alumnus and current Juniata College first baseman Isaac Maclay rewrote a piece of the Eagles’ record book on Saturday as the senior launched three homers in Juniata’s 15-5 loss to Susquehanna University.

Maclay is the first player to homer three times in a single game for the Eagles and did so in a seven-inning contest. He also drove in four of the Eagles’ five runs in the game. The last player to hit two home runs for the Eagles did so on April 5, 2008.

“There wasn’t anything really unique about today, but my coach had talked to me this week about just trusting myself and letting my hands flow freely, so that’s what I had in mind every time I went up to bat,” Maclay said. “I also felt pretty locked in and was seeing the ball really well.”

Maclay’s first home run with one out in the top of the first gave the Eagles a 1-0 lead heading into the bottom of the inning. Maclay added his second long ball to leadoff the third to cut into the Riverhawks lead, making it 4-2.

“I was pretty excited when I hit the second home run because that made it a two-run game, and I also knew I had at least one more at-bat in the game,” Maclay said. “It’s always more exciting when you have a big hit in a close game.”

Despite the Eagles falling into a huge hole by the time Maclay’s spot in the lineup came around again, Maclay stepped into the batter’s box with nothing to lose. The senior was just looking to hit the ball hard somewhere and ended up making school history, adding his name amongst others to homer three times in a single game, a rare feat in college and professional baseball.

“When I came to the plate before my third home run, we were already down pretty big in the game, so my main focus was just to hit the ball hard to try and get some momentum for the team heading into Game 2 of the day,” Maclay said. “When I hit it, I wasn’t sure if it was going out or not, but when I saw it go over the fence, I realized I just did something that I probably won’t ever do again, so I just tried to enjoy that moment.”

Maclay enjoyed sharing the experience with his teammates, as his bullpen heckled the Susquehanna outfielders as he stepped to the plate.

“My teammates were pumped up for me,” Maclay said. “Some guys in our bullpen told me they were messing with Susquehanna’s outfielders telling them to back up, which is cool to know that my teammates are talking me up.”

The experience was especially unique for Maclay, who had never homered twice in a single game, yet alone three times.

“I’ve never had a two-homer game before, but I have hit two home runs in a day before during a doubleheader in Florida last year,” Maclay said. “That was pretty cool too, because it helped me get on a hot streak during last year’s spring break trip.”

Maclay had been putting together what was looking like an extremely productive season as a junior before COVID-19 ended the season early. Maclay hit .343 with five homers and 16 RBIs in 10 games before the year was cut short.

He has picked up where he left off from his junior season as the first baseman is currently hitting .450 with four home runs, a double and seven RBIs in just six games. The Eagles currently sit at 2-4 early in the season.

“I definitely think things from last year have carried over to this year,” Maclay said. “The main thing that has helped me is that I am trusting my hands to do the work and not overthinking when I’m in the box. I also have the mindset that the only thing that matters in the next pitch, and that I need to forget everything that has happened before because I can’t change what has happened in the past.”

Among Maclay’s goals for the 2021 season are continuing his hot streak and finding a way to be productive in the top half of the Eagles’ lineup. Maclay and the Eagles are hoping to make a run at a title in the Landmark Conference Championships come May.

“My individual goals were to just help the team in any way I could and to help create a winning culture at Juniata, while trying to carry over my hot streak from last year,” Maclay said. “Our team goals are to have a winning record and make a run in the Landmark Conference Championships in May. I definitely appreciate things more this year after the season was taken away last year. I am grateful for every day we get to practice and play, especially since this is my last year at Juniata.”

The only downside for Maclay on Saturday was that his family was unable to celebrate the moment with him.

“Although I understand that we are not allowed to have fans at our games because of COVID restrictions, I wish my family could have been there to share in the moment, especially my brother, because without them I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do what I did (Saturday),” Maclay said.

“I also want to give a shout-out to Coach Christopher, who is in his first year at Juniata, because he has helped me tremendously in the past few months and I think that he will turn around the baseball program at Juniata in the next few years,” he added.

Notes: Former Husky Evan Mock drove in the fifth run in Game 1 on Saturday. Mock scored twice in Game 2 for the Eagles. Another former Husky, Drew Westover, got the start in Game 2 for Juniata College. He gave up two hits and three walks and added two strikeouts in the no decision.

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