Panthers on the prowl

The Dunkirk Marauders’ (4-5, 7-7) pitching staff struggled out of the gates in a 15-6 defeat at the hands of the Gowanda Panthers (4-5, 8-5) Monday in CCAA Division 1 high school baseball action.

Sam Pepe started on the hill for the Marauders and struggled with a 2-0 lead to work with in the second inning. A Josh Mitchell two-run home run boosted the Panthers to a 3-2 lead.

“Mitchell’s home run lit a spark for us,” Gowanda coach Tim Smith said.

Even though Dunkirk tied the game in the bottom of the inning, Pepe recorded just one out in the third before he was pulled after he walked four, struck out four and allowed three hits.

Alex Crossan completed the inning, but failed to record an out in the fourth after he walked three, hit one batter with a pitch and struck out another in two-thirds of an inning.

“We out-hit them, but we didn’t out-pitch them,” Dunkirk coach Frank Jagoda said. “Our first two pitchers didn’t throw too many strikes and Gowanda had very timely hitting with the bases loaded while guys got on with walks and hit batters. I thought we held their top of the order in check – their first four hitters had one hit – but the 5-6-7-8 hitters had 10 hits so we couldn’t get their bottom portion out.”

Dunkirk loaded the bases with one out in the second inning before Gowanda turned a 6-4-3 double play to end the second.

“If they didn’t turn that double play, it would have been one run and we would have still been alive,” Jagoda said. “Our kids thought the game was over after three innings and we totally lost our intensity from the third inning on.”

Gowanda responded with a seven-run fourth inning which featured a Cole Dailey two-run double in the fourth inning off Dunkirk hurler Tyreek Ruiz.

On the opposite side, Walker Cygan held off the Dunkirk bats and earned the win after a six and two-third-inning afternoon in which he walked four, struck out four and hit one with a pitch.

“Once Cygan settled in, he pitched a nice game,” Smith said.

Ruiz struck out four, walked one, hit one with a pitch and allowed seven hits before Juliam Fred replaced him in the seventh.

“I thought Ruiz did an outstanding job coming in relief as an eighth-grader,” Jagoda said. “Sometimes you wonder if you want to make that decision earlier in the game … he did a great job.”

Gowanda had an impressive eighth-grader as well. Matt Kruszka led the Panthers with four hits and a double.

“Matt Kruszka had a huge game,” Smith said. “Once we got going, we played a much better game than we did Friday.”

Dailey added a double in the seventh to support the Gowanda offense.

Alex Kubera and Nate Skubis knocked doubles while Fred and Edwin Gomez tallied triples in a losing effort for the Marauders.

Dunkirk returns to action today at Allegany-Limestone.

Fredonia 8,?Falconer 2

FALCONER – The Fredonia Hillbillies (9-0, 15-0) used a four-run fifth inning and a productive day at the plate by Zach Buckley to push past the Falconer Golden Falcons (3-8), 8-2, Monday in CCAA Division 1 high school baseball action.

Fredonia leapt to an advantage early after a Nick Hart single and a Trent Thompson sacrifice put two men on base against Falconer starter Jacob Youngberg in the top of the first. Buckley cleared the bases with a two-run single and gave the Hillbillies a 2-0 advantage.

The Hillbillies added two more in the top of the third as Cody Smith reached on a one-out triple and Hart was hit by a pitch. Buckley reached base again on errors that scored both Smith and Hart.

However, the game was put out of reach in the fifth inning as Cam Voss began the frame with a walk and Matt Sheridan followed with a single. Chris Saden then cleared the bases with a two-run triple.

“(His) triple was just an absolute blast,” Fredonia coach Vince Gullo said. “It kind of broke the game open.”

After Smith walked, Hart tallied Saden on a groundout. Weston Ley doubled and Buckley scored Smith on an RBI single.

Saden and Buckley led the Hillbillies with two hits while Buckley added three RBI.

Voss earned the win on the mound after a six-inning outing in which he allowed three hits and struck out four.

“Cam did just enough as a pitcher to keep Falconer off-balance,” Gullo said. “He walked a few too many. Falconer never quit.”

Youngberg earned the loss for Falconer after a four-inning outing. Zack Mata had two hits in defeat for the Golden Falcons.

Fredonia will look for win No. 16 against Gowanda on Wednesday.

“Gowanda’s always a big game,” Gullo said. “I’m sure it will turn into a very competitive one.”