Pitchers’ Duel In Dunkirk

Marauders Score Lone Run In Sixth To Edge Frewsburg, 1-0

Frewsburg’s Reid Bjork delivers to the plate in a non-league game at Dunkirk. Photo by Ron Szot

DUNKIRK — Close games have been a nasty thorn in the side of the Dunkirk Marauders baseball team all season long because they haven’t been able close them out with victories.

Monday afternoon yielded more of the same — however, this time around, Dunkirk flipped the script.

The Marauders defeated the Frewsburg Bears, 1-0, in a non-leaguer at Al Stuhlmiller Field after Jared Glowniak bounced a ball up the middle just off the tip of Frewsburg’s second baseman Jack Yost’s glove to score Koty Leeper and produce the winning run in the bottom of the sixth.

“Fortunately, we were able to get Jared in a good spot to drive that run in,” said Dunkirk head coach Frank Jagoda.

Dunkirk (5-13, 3-9) struggled to string hits together all game long until second baseman Lucas Porpiglia launched a two-out double to left field in the bottom of the sixth. Leeper relived Porpiglia as a pinch runner, advanced to third on a passed ball, then dashed home on the Glowniak single.

Usually it’s hard to win baseball games if you can’t string timely hits together, unless you get an outstanding pitching performance to keep your team in the game. Peyton Ahlstrom delivered that outstanding pitching performance by throwing a four-hit shutout. Ahlstrom stuck out six batters and only allowed two walks, but was quick to throw credit where credit was due.

“My defense played a great game today,” said Ahlstrom. “There’s a lot of good players out on that field.”

Frewsburg was tough on Ahlstrom early, getting a runner in scoring position in the first after a double by Bears first baseman Aaron Hair. Then Peyton Ahlstrom’s brother, Alex, made a nice play on a ground ball to cut down Hair trying to advance to third to end the threat.

The Bears put more pressure on Peyton Ahlstrom in the third inning, after three singles loaded the bases with one out. He then induced an infield fly and a groundout to get out of the jam. After that third inning, Ahlstrom didn’t allow a hit the rest of the game.

“Early in the game I actually didn’t feel that good,” the Dunkirk pitcher said. “Later in the game I feel like I picked up the view a little better and I got my curveball working.”

Dunkirk made its own noise in the bottom of the third, as leadoff hitter Ennuel Barreto got on base from an error and moved to third on a single by Philip Messina. Messina got to second, giving the Marauders two runners in scoring position with just one out for the Ahlstrom brothers. But Peyton struck out and Alex grounded out to second base to end the threat.

Dunkirk’s catcher Philip Messina collected two hits, as did Porpiglia, who finished with a double and the game-winning single.

From there, Ahlstrom threw three perfect innings to end the game.

“Peyton was very sharp. He threw an absolute gem,” said Jagoda. “He hadn’t been pitching out of the wind-up all season, but today he did and I thought it made a difference.”

Frewsburg (11-5) got a solid pitching performance from starting pitcher Reid Bjork as the Marauders couldn’t solve him for four shutout innings while he struck out five batters. It was when Frewsburg reliever Tim Wright came in that the Marauders were able to strike in the sixth.

“We’ve played a lot of close ball games recently and this one was no different, but it feels great to win,” said Jagoda.

This win came fresh off the Marauders’ trip to Cooperstown where they visited the Baseball Hall of Fame and got to play a game against Gowanda, which they dropped, 4-1. The experience, however, was something Jagoda thought the kids would never forget.

“Some of these kids may go 10 more times and some of them may never go again,” he said. “It was fun to be around.”

Peyton Ahlstrom added, “That trip was amazing. Just to be there with the team and walk around the Hall of Fame was a lot of fun.”

The Marauders know it feels good to win, and they’ll look to repeat that feeling Wednesday as they host the Brocton Bulldogs at 4:30 p.m.