Jagoda passes Stuhlmiller | News, Sports, Jobs

Dunkirk Marauders head coach Frank Jagoda is covered in Silly String after winning his 361st career game with an 18-0 victory over Falconer on Friday at Al Stuhlmiller Field. Photo of PJ by Scott Kindberg

The initial post-match celebration after Association Athlétique Chautauqua-Cattraugus de Dunkirk’s Division 1 win over Falconer on Friday afternoon was muted.

Make it very discreet.

But after Frank Jagoda received congratulatory hugs and handshakes on the indoor grass, his players – suddenly becoming more than a little exuberant – pulled out cans of Party Streamer Spray and covered their trainer in multicolored ropes .

Jagoda was so covered in pink, lime green, and dusty blue, in fact, that it was impossible to see the brown Marauders helmet resting on his head or his grin from ear to ear.

Somewhere, the late Al Stuhlmiller was smiling too.

As teammate Adam Boardman (16) looks on, Falconer right fielder Karsen DePasquale pulls off an outstanding catch during Friday’s CCAA Division 1 baseball game against Dunkirk at Al Stuhlmiller Field. Photo of PJ by Scott Kindberg

Because not only did Dunkirk shut out the Golden Falcons 18-0 in 4 1/2 innings on the field that bears their name, but their former star player from over 40 years ago – Jagoda – also beat Chautauqua Sports Hall-of-Famer’s career scores points.

The record books now read: Jagoda 361, Stuhlmiller 360.

“He’s definitely a legend, he’s the man” said Jagoda of Stuhlmiller, who coached from 1955 to 1983. “It’s Dunkirk baseball. I just followed suit and did my best to make him proud of me. I received a few messages from the Stuhlmiller family, which really encouraged me. … I just know he would be very proud of me, and they repeated that. I appreciate what they did and they supported me.

For the record, the Marauders beat in three of four innings last night, capped by a seven-run fourth, to take the win and even their division record at 1-1. Falconer fell to 0-3.

Tyler Karin led the way for Dunkirk (two hits, three RBI, three runs scored); winning pitcher Jack Lanski (two RBI doubles and two runs scored); and Nick Zatorski (two hits, two RBIs and three runs scored).

But, in reality, the game on a chilly evening in late April was really about Jagoda, who is in his 28th year of training at his alma mater with no signs of slowing down.

“When I was in eighth grade, Bill Walters took me under his wing and put me through the jayvee program, and then (Stuhlmiller) just taught you discipline, dedication to sport, and gut strength. He could get the best out of any player and I always appreciated that from him.

“He was a tough-nosed guy, but he wanted to do well and he always wanted to win. He gave me that desire constantly in my life.

In addition to the current squad, family members, former players, former teammates and former Fredonia baseball coach and friend Vinny Gullo were on hand to honor the 1979 Dunkirk graduate. And once that Jagoda was finally able to remove the Party Streamer Spray from his head and face, he received a congratulatory plaque from assistant Eric Gloss to honor the new record and a brown T-shirt that read: “Marauder Baseball, Most Earning Coach.”

“I don’t want to say that I predetermined these victories, but I have baseballs (in the dugout)”, Jagoda told the rally. “One has a 3 on it, one has a 6 on it and one has a 1 on it. If you’ve played for Dunkirk baseball or you’ve played for me, I’d appreciate it if you came by to say hello, give me a handshake, sign a bullet and put the year you graduated in it.”

It seemed appropriate.

After all, it was a North County signature moment, for sure.

NOTES: Falconer finished with one hit, a double in the first inning by Jackson Roth. The Golden Falcons, in fact, had runners at second and third with one out in that frame, but couldn’t score. After that, it was all Dunkirk.

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