Dunkirk no-hits Silver Creek

Ahlstrom, Porpiglia combine for Marauders no-hitter against Black Knights in Div. 1 West victory, 5-0

OBSERVER Photo by Braden Carmen Dunkirk’s Peyton Ahlstrom delivers a pitch during Thursday’s CCAA West 1 high school baseball game against Silver Creek. Ahlstrom and Lucas Porpiglia combined to throw a no-hitter.

SILVER CREEK — It’s often said by coaches in all different sports that the victorious team picked up “a good team win.”

Thursday, the Dunkirk Marauders made that saying come to life in a baseball coach’s dream. Dunkirk’s Peyton Ahlstrom and Lucas Porpiglia combined to throw a no-hitter against CCAA Division 1 West foe, the Silver Creek Black Knights, at Silver Creek High School on Thursday evening.

“Peyton was outstanding today,” said Dunkirk head coach Frank Jagoda after Thursday’s game of Peyton Ahlstrom’s performance. “(Ahlstrom) got his pitch count up, but Luke (Porpiglia) came in and shut the door. It’s a good team effort.”

Dunkirk (4-1, 3-1) had not played in a week, after back-to-back league wins over Falconer and Chautauqua Lake sent the Marauders off to Spring Break on a high note. Thursday, Dunkirk found a way to make the warmest day in Chautauqua County this spring feel even better.

Both teams sent their ace pitchers to the mound to start the contest. Early on, that was evident on both sides. Silver Creek’s Spencer Harford struck out the first two batters of the game, before a single up the middle by Michael Norton and then a two-out bunt single down the first base line by Ahlstrom put two men on. Harford settled down to retire Porpiglia on a groundout to leave the runners on base. Dunkirk’s Ahlstrom followed up with a 1-2-3 first inning with a strikeout bookended with groundouts.

OBSERVER Photo by Braden Carmen Dunkirk’s Peyton Ahlstrom delivers a pitch during Thursday’s CCAA Division 1 West baseball game against the Silver Creek Black Knights in Silver Creek. Ahlstrom earned the win after pitching 5 2/3 innings in a combined no-hitter for the Dunkirk Marauders in a 5-0 victory.

In the second frame, the two pitchers traded scripts. Harford set down the Marauders in order, while Ahlstrom let a pair of runners reach base. Ahlstrom walked the leadoff batter then followed with a hit by pitch, but the Marauder junior starting pitcher struck out the next three batters to escape without any harm.

The top of the third inning started smoothly for Silver Creek (4-2, 3-2) as Harford retired the first two batters of the frame. But then with two outs, Jared Glowniak drilled a double to left field to put a runner in scoring position. Norton followed with a walk, then Silver Creek decided to intentionally walk Ahlstrom to face Porpiglia with the bases loaded. Harford still struggled to find the strike zone in the inning, eventually walking in the first run of the game. A passed ball led to another run for Dunkirk in the inning before Harford ended the frame. The Marauders led 2-0 after the top of the third inning, with both runs coming with two outs.

“Spencer (Harford) had a couple good innings early, but he seemed to be up in the zone most of the time,” said Silver Creek head coach Mike Jansich. “He wasn’t getting calls up in the zone, so got frustrated and tried to do too much. … He was trying to throw the ball too hard.”

Ahlstrom set the Black Knights down in order once again in the bottom of the third inning. The first and the last batters of the frame were retired via strikeout, while the second out of the frame was recorded after a screaming line drive knocked Ahlstrom’s glove off his hand. He picked the ball up to throw to first to retire the batter.

Dunkirk tacked on a pair of runs in the fourth inning to double its lead — just as it did the inning before, all with two outs. Tristan Skelly hit a line drive single to the outfield, then stole second base. Phil Messina walked, then went first to third on an RBI single off the bat of Glowniak. Messina came in to score on a passed ball for the fourth Dunkirk run.

OBSERVER Photo by Braden Carmen Dunkirk’s Lucas Porpiglia looks on from the infield awaiting a pitch during Thursday’s CCAA Division 1 West baseball game against the Silver Creek Black Knights in Silver Creek. Porpiglia came on in relief to record the final four outs of a combined no-hitter for the Dunkirk Marauders.

“Jared Glowniak really came through in the clutch for us,” said Jagoda, noting the pair of two-out hits Glowniak picked up in the middle innings. Glowniak finished 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

“(Harford) had not yet been tested this year,” said Janisch of his pitcher. “He was tested in this one. Dunkirk is a very good team. There is no doubt that they can play the game.”

Silver Creek got a runner to second base in the bottom of the fourth inning on a walk and a stolen base by Harford, but Ahlstrom struck out the final two batters of the inning to end the threat.

Once again, in the top of the fifth inning, the Marauders scored with two men out. Dunkirk freshman Bryson Travis drove in the fifth run of the game with an RBI single — his first varsity hit — to put the Marauders up 5-0. All five Dunkirk runs on Thursday came with two outs.

“We came up with some clutch hitting in the middle innings, with two outs. Our guys had a lot of clutch performances,” said Jagoda. “Scoring with two outs is the key to any success. It really breaks the other team’s hearts. I’m very proud of how we played.”

Through five innings, Ahlstrom had not allowed a hit, but his pitch count was nearing the top of the limit of 105 pitches. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Ahlstrom started the frame with his 10th strikeout of the game. The next batter hit a blooper into shallow center field, but Skelly — Dunkirk’s centerfielder — made a running catch to preserve the no-hitter. In that at-bat, however, Ahlstrom reached his pitch limit and was forced to leave the mound. Ahlstrom finished with 5 2/3 innings pitched, no runs or hits, three walks, one hit batter and 10 strikeouts.

“Peyton (Ahlstrom) got to 105, so he was done. It wasn’t up to me,” said Jagoda. “I’m sure if there wasn’t a pitch count, we would’ve kept him in the game and let him complete his no-hitter himself.”

In Ahlstrom’s place stepped Porpiglia, tasked with recording the final four outs of the game to earn the win for the Marauders. He was able to do just that. Porpiglia faced just five batters to record the final four outs, only allowing one walk among them.

In defeat, Harford gave up five runs over five innings, allowing eight hits and four walks, while recording nine strikeouts.

“It was a good league win, because you’re talking about a good quality pitcher we went at today (Harford),” said Jagoda. “We did a good job and put the ball in play. I’m very happy.”

The Marauders picked up their fourth win of the year and their third win in the division, but Thursday was more than just any other win. It was the unspeakable word throughout dugouts across America. It was a no-hitter.

Twitter: @bradencarmen