Majka Hits Milestone In T’Birds’ Win

Chautauqua Lake’s Kyler Majka delivers to the plate during Monday’s Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division 1 West baseball game at Dunkirk.

Photo by Ron Szot

DUNKIRK — The Chautauqua Lake Thunderbirds got off to a quick start and that was all that was needed with Kyler Majka on the mound. Majka recorded his 100th strikeout of the season, leading Chautauqua Lake to a 7-2 victory over the Dunkirk Marauders on Dunkirk’s senior night.

In the first inning, Majka started the rally with a single for the Thunderbirds before he stepped foot on the mound. Cody Triana and Nate Engdahl both followed with singles. Later in the inning after the three consecutive singles, Brendon Rowe came through with a two-run single.

“Coach (Bryan) Bongiovanni had the entire team ready to play and they came here and hit the ball well early to put up three runs,” said Dunkirk coach Frank Jagoda. “We were facing a pitcher that gives up less than two runs a game so we faced an uphill challenge from the start. They have progressed as the season has gone on as their mindset has not changed. However, it is our fifth game in five days, so it was tough to get back out here after playing with all the emotion this weekend.”

Chautauqua Lake (3-9, 5-11) added three more runs in the fourth inning. Zach Fischer started off with a double to right field. After Majka was intentionally walked and Triana reached on a fielder’s choice, Engdahl recorded an RBI with a free pass. Luke Waters followed with a two run single, but Dunkirk got out of the threat as it threw out the runner trying to get to third.

Dunkirk(7-7, 10-8) recorded its first run in the bottom half of the inning. After Jared Glowniak walked, Michael Norton singled him over to third. Later in the inning with the bases loaded, Lucas Porpiglia hit the ball to second base, allowing the run to score on the play.

“Dunkirk is a young team, but they don’t play like it,” Bongiovanni said. “(Nick) Zatorski played well and (Phil) Messina did well hitting and behind the plate. They have several other young players contributing and they always take quality at-bats.”

Over the next three innings, Chautauqua Lake was able to get baserunners on, but Dunkirk was able to end the threat while only giving up one run. The Thunderbirds left two on in the fifth inning, along with three in the sixth. Chautauqua Lake had the bases loaded in the seventh, but the runner at third was picked off.

“We still need to clean up some things as we left 14 runners on base and made some mistakes on routine balls,” Bongiovanni added. “We are playing aggressively and playing our best baseball at the right time. Despite these mistakes, I am proud of how far we have come and where we are headed.”

The Marauders were able to use that momentum and manufacture a rally in their last at bat. After Ennuel Barretto blasted a double, Majka reached his maximum pitch count. Later in the inning, Nick Marsowicz and Messina reached base from miscues by the third baseman. However, Zach Martin came through with the save as he forced a popup to second base to secure the victory.

“This was a nice win for our program against a quality opponent,” Bongiovanni stated. “This was Dunkirk’s fifth game in a row so they were a bit worn, but to our credit, we took advantage of that”

Majka pitched another dominant game, giving up two runs, three hits and two walks in 6.1 innings of work. He also added eight strikeouts. Majka finished the season with an ERA less than two and 103 strikeouts.

“Kyler threw the ball very well,” Bongiovanni said. “His ability to get ahead of batters and keep them guessing is impressive. He got his 100th strikeout of the season today which is quite a milestone.”

Tristan Skelly, Alex Ahlstrom and Zatorski shared the pitching duties for the Marauders.

Fischer and Brendan Rowe both had a multiple-hit game for the Thunderbirds, while Fischer had the lone extra base hit with a double. Rowe, Majka, and Engdahl all reached base four times, with one hit and multiple walks.

Barretto was the lone Marauder with an extra base hit with a double.

Jared Glowniak, Lucas Porpiglia, Tristan Skelly, Nick Hernandez and Koty Leeper were all recognized for the Marauders, playing their last game in Dunkirk.