Offensive power lifts Fredonia to win

Fredonia (7-0, 13-0) used a solid offensive effort and strong relief pitching from sophomore Cam Voss to drop arch rival Dunkirk (3-5, 5-6), 11-4, in CCAA Division 1 baseball action on Tuesday, at Al Stuhlmiller Field.

Despite the win however, Fredonia coach Vince Gullo noted the subdued reaction his team had to what Gullo noted was a big win over their rivals.

“I just told them that we should be excited after we win a game, and not go, phew, ‘who’s next?'” Gullo said. “High school baseball is going to be over very soon and we have to enjoy this. This was a big win, but there wasn’t a lot of celebrating. I know they have goals they want to reach, and that’s okay, but we’ve got to enjoy the whole process.”

From the first pitch, things were not looking good for the home-standing Marauders, as centerfielder Ryan Ruiz was unable to haul in what seemed like a catchable ball off the bat of Nick Hart. Ruiz was unable to make the play and Hart ended up on second with a double.

A walk to Weston Ley put two runners, but Dunkirk starter Alex Crossan got Zach Buckley swinging and Voss looking. Crossan seemed to have gotten out of the inning by getting Jude Gardner to hit a grounder to shortstop Kevin Burns. But the senior short-hopped his throw to first baseman Alex Kubera, which went out of play, and allowed both Hart and Ley to score. Trent Thompson followed with an RBI single to score Gardner and give the Hillbillies a 3-0 lead.

“Obviously against Fredonia this year, you can’t give them five-outs in an inning,” Dunkirk head coach Frank Jagoda said. “You can’t take it away, but if you were to hypothetically take it away, we’re up 3-2 after three innings. And, with Alex Crossan throwing a pretty good game at that point.”

Ley, who started on the hill for Fredonia, helped his own cause in the second. With Nick Hart, who led off the inning with a single, at third, Ley launched a long two-run home run to left field to put Fredonia up, 5-0.

“He’ s just a force right now,” Gullo said. “Teams are going to start pitching around him shortly.”

Dunkirk’s Edwin Gomez started the third inning with a single and moved to third on a double off the bat of Ruiz. Burns followed with an infield single to score Gomez, before the Marauders loaded the bases after Ley hit Kubera. Ley got Nate Skubis to hit a check-swing grounder to first baseman Christian Saden, who promptly threw home for the force. Crossan struck out swinging, but Sam Pepe worked a bases-loaded walk to force home Burns while Nick Thompson stroked an RBI single to score Kubera and cut the Hillbillies’ lead to 5-3.

“I think we had real good at-bats (Tuesday) against Weston,” Jagoda said. “Even in the first inning, (Ryan) Ruiz hit a good, strong ball and (Alex) Kubera had a nice, hard hit ball. And we waited him out a little bit too.”

If not for a good play by Thompson at shortstop on a slow roller off the bat of Juliam Fred, Dunkirk would have scored at least one more run in the third, but the senior came through to get Ley out of the jam.

“That really shut the door,” Gullo said of Thompson’s play. “They had a couple runners on and he made it look easy. I don’t know too many shortstops that could have made that play.”

From the fourth inning on, the Hillbillies relied on Voss – their sophomore southpaw – and their bats to help them remain perfect on the season.

“Cam Voss shut us down and I (was) surprised, because for the last couple of days I was throwing breaking balls,” Jagoda said. “I thought we’d be prepared more. But it wasn’t the breaking ball per se. It was when he was throwing it. He had the ability, and courage enough to lead hitters off with it. He had the ability, and courage, to throw it with a 1-1 count, or a 2-1 count. And I think that kept us off balance.”

Voss allowed an unearned run on three hits while striking out four and walking three. Ley allowed three runs on six hits while striking out two and walking two.

“He’s very cool and calm,” Gullo said of Voss. “He was throwing strikes and we had a lead, so he was pitching to contact, which I like, and our defense stayed in the game.”

Fredonia added four runs on four hits in the fifth inning to rebuild its lead. Gardner highlighted the frame with a two-run double while Thompson (double) and Sebastian McAfee added RBI hits as well.

“Seb McAfee had a huge base hit coming off the bench,” Gullo noted, “And that’s what we need. I think through the line up, just about everybody got a hit. Nick (Hart) was hitting the ball well.”

Fredonia’s final two runs came in the sixth on an RBI singles by Buckley and Voss while Dunkirk’s added an unearned run in the bottom of the seventh.

Crossan suffered the loss, allowing nine runs (six earned) on seven hits while striking out five and walking three.

NOTES: Hart finished 2 for 3 with three runs scored and two stolen bases … Voss had a pair of singles and an RBI … Thompson finished 2 for 4 with a pair of RBIs … Ruiz, who relieved Crossan with one out in the top of the fifth, finished with two hits … Kevin Burns had a pair of singles for the Marauders, including an RBI. Dunkirk will host Southwestern today and Falconer on Friday while Fredonia hosts Southwestern on Friday.