FALCONER - Dunkirk basball (2-1, 3-3) could not hang on to their 7-6 seventh inning lead against host Falconer (2-2, 4-2) on Thursday, but were able to claim a 10-7 CCAA?West 1 victory in the eighth, thanks to a pair of bases-loaded walks to give coach Frank Jagoda career win number 299.
After Marauders relief pitcher Randy Cooper forced in a run by walking Gib Stuart to tie the game at 7-7 in the bottom of the seventh, Dunkirk had two runners round home on forced runs in the extra frame while Tyreek Ruiz hammered home the final run with an RBI single.
Despite giving up the game-tying run in the penultimate inning, Cooper responded with confidence when he had another chance in the eighth and tossed a pair of strikeouts to end the night.
Photo by Jay Young
Dunkirk’s Juju Fred rips an RBI single in the top of the sixth inning during Thursday’s CCAA?West I high school baseball game.
"We really played hard, you know Tyreek spotted them three runs in the first and we just battled back, and we made plays, made plays when we needed to and had some gritty at bats, and that's the way we play, we play a gritty game of ball," said Jagoda.
Ruiz had a strong night on the mound for the Marauders after giving up three runs in the third. The freshman ended the night with two strikeouts, two walks, and eight hits given up as he pitched his way through five innings.
"Tyreek is a freshman, our first pitcher, but his pitch count was high, I didn't want to burn him. He had already thrown a couple times this week, a couple of innings. But I was very pleased," said Jagoda.
Ruiz was also very strong at the plate, going 3-4 with an RBI.
Jake Youngberg made his mark on the mound for Falconer through 3 1/3 innings with two strikeouts, two walks, and two hits given up while the Golden Falcons went deep into their bullpen later in the game.
Taking over for Youngberg was Gib Stuart who fanned five in two innings of work, while Kyle Peterson and Mitch Carter filled in the rest of the way on the hill.
The Golden Falcons offense was hot from the start on Thursday as they banged home three runs on Ruiz in their first at bat.
After a lead-off single by Youngberg and a pair of stolen bases aided by an error, Peterson struck an RBI double, and Mike Wilcox an RBI single to give Falconer a 2-0 lead. Wilcox was then able to add another run before the end of the inning by tagging up on a fly ball and beating the throw to home for a 3-0 lead.
Dunkirk wasted no time in responding in the following inning as Zach Crandall struck a ground ball single and then Sam Pepe fired an RBI double for their first run of the day.
It was a two-RBI double in the fourth by Troy Smith-Petrella that evened the tilt at 3-3 before Dunkirk was able to really extend their lead in the fifth.
Ruiz's single, a walk and another single by Smith-Petrella loaded the bases for the Marauders before Nick Thompson was hit at the plate to force in a run.
After going up 4-3, it was JuJu Fred who struck a hard-hit two-RBI single for another pair of runs before Anthony Genco forced in another run with a walk.
The bases-loaded walks were a bad omen for the Golden Falcons, who would go on to lose the game after forcing runs past home plate in the extra inning.
"Yeah, we knew today coming in that we were going to have to piece a bunch of pitchers to do the whole game, and I thought our guys threw decent, and their guys threw a real nice game as well, so yeah it was just back-and-forth," said Chris Schrader of Falconer.
"You know for us to tie it up there in the seventh, I thought that was pretty good. We had a chance to take the lead and win but (Dunkirk) played some good defense, they made some good plays and it went to the extra (inning), and they were better than us today," he went on to say.
The play that helped the Golden Falcons extend the game to an extra inning was a two-RBI triple that was crushed by Stewart in the bottom of the sixth, which was followed by an RBI single from Peterson to make it 7-6 in favor of Dunkirk.
Youngberg ended the day with three hits for Falconer and Stuart was 2-for-4 at the plate.