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Mahoney completes second year with Booyah

By Rich Palzewic
Sports Editor

ASHWAUBENON – Jack Mahoney, a 2017 Appleton West High School graduate, recently completed his second season with the Green Bay Booyah.

The Booyah, members of the Northwoods League who play their games at Capital Credit Union Park in Ashwaubenon, finished 18-28 and qualified for the postseason for the first time since the 2015 season, but a 9-4 loss to Fond du Lac Aug. 21 ended their season.

Mahoney, a 6-foot-8, 235-pound left-handed pitcher, lived at home in Appleton during the season.

“It was nice living at home, but it wasn’t quite the true Northwoods League experience,” said Mahoney, who attends the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “Guys came from California and down south and lived with a host family for the summer. I got to sleep in my own bed, see my parents every day and hang out with my high school friends. The only negative was the 30-minute drive to Green Bay most days.”

About half the time during the season, Mahoney said he drove back and forth to Capital Credit Union Park twice in one day.

“We’d have early work before a 6:35 p.m. game and then team batting practice,” he said. “That would get done after 2:00, so I’d either drive back to Appleton and come back later or hang out in Green Bay with some teammates during the buffer time.”

Due to COVID-19, some of the pitchers, including Mahoney, didn’t travel with the team every day, especially to out-of-town games.

“To help with the spread of COVID, the players who weren’t going to play during a specific game didn’t travel with the team,” said Mahoney. “For example, if I pitched on a Monday in Green Bay and the team headed out of town for a two-game series after, I didn’t travel because I knew I wouldn’t pitch in those games. It limited the number of players on the bus.”

Mahoney said the team took precautions during the season, but it was still normal baseball.

“It was difficult to restrain yourself with your teammates,” he said. “Even being aware of how close you were in the dugout. Lots of the bullpen pitchers stayed in their area as long as they could before they pitched – we separated the two groups instead of being jam-packed in the dugout. It was worth it to play baseball. Everybody got their temperature checked before each game, too.”

Mahoney, who also played basketball at West all four years, said he improved drastically since high school.

“At West, I was throwing around 80 mph my senior year,” he said. “Now I can pop the mitt about 90-92 during the first few innings. When you dedicate your life to a sport and that’s all you’re doing, you improve lots and get results. My coaches at Milwaukee have also helped in the process. I grew three inches every year in high school and never learned how to use my body as a pitcher. When I got to college, I gained 20 pounds of muscle during my first year from lifting weights.”

Mahoney pitched the first and only no-hitter in Booyah history last season, something he said he’ll never forget.

“It was a special moment,” he said. “I threw a five-inning no-hitter once in Little League, but the one with the Booyah obviously surpassed that. It was nerve-wracking. The game wasn’t very close, but the pressure of the moment made it difficult. You have to calm yourself down and throw strikes.”

Mahoney said the goal is to get a crack at a Major League Baseball roster, but COVID-19 has changed everything for the time being.

“I was sad the draft was cut down 90 percent this year from 40 rounds to 5,” he said. “My goal is to become a professional baseball player.”

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