Monday, September 26, 2022


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  • Von Dohren Wins Freedom 76
  • Catania's Return Lifts Panthers to Victory
  • Tribe Battles Methacton to a Tie
  • Tribe Splits Cross-Country Meet with Upper Merion
  • Jade Traynor Leads Indians to Victory
  • Tribe Golfers Defeat Pottsgrove
  • Tribe Tennis Sweeps Pottsgrove
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Sports Article
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Duka, Blazers Fall Short of ACBL Title
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Malachi Duka pitched the final inning of the Quakertown Blazers 2022 season. He said it wasn't his finest outing.

            Though he allowed four base runners, the team's lack of offense played a more significant role in its 4-1 season ending loss to the Bergen Metros on Wednesday, Aug. 3. "We couldn't string any hits together," said Duka, a Green Lane resident. "It was one of those days."

            The Blazers, who relied on a potent offense to carry them to the final game of the ACBL's Wolff Division playoffs at Overpeck Park in northern New Jersey, managed just four hits.

            Duka, a 2021 graduate of Upper Perkiomen High School, described it as a disappointing ending to an otherwise impressive season for the Blazers, who posted their second-best regular season record in franchise history.

            Sean Szestowicki, Owen Petrich, Tommy Faggioni and Dominic Proietto each finished with one hit for the team, which managed just seven base runners and posted multiple runners in only two innings.

            Petrich drove in Quakertown's only run in the sixth inning on an RBI single. However, the Blazers allowed the initial three runs.

            Jonathan Santiago's two-run homer in the top of the fourth inning off Boyertown graduate Cole Hertzler staked the Metros to a 2-0 lead. They added another run in the top of the sixth on a grounder off reliever David Linsalata.

            In the ninth inning, Duka struggled with his control. He issued three walks, including one with the bases loaded, and surrendered a hit. He also struck out the side.

            One night earlier, the rising sophomore at Lebanon Valley College hit 91 mph consistently during his inning on the mound. Duka described it as the hardest he has ever thrown.

            In 10 games this summer, he registered a 1-0 record with a 5.53 earned run average. In 12 1/3 innings, Duka had 21 strikeouts but issued 17 walks.

            The hard-throwing right-hander called the ACBL hitters the most challenging he has ever faced. Duka said he would welcome the opportunity to pitch for the team next year.  "As long as I throw strikes, I think I'm very capable of competing against those guys," he said.

            Pitching for the Blazers, Duka continued to develop a breaking ball -- which he described as a top secondary pitch – and a slider that is "coming along." He continues to work on a changeup that features arm side run and drop.

            Duka will rely on experience as he returns for his second season with the Dutchmen. He hopes to compete for a spot in their starting rotation next spring, even though the coaching staff views him as a long reliever. Last season, he tossed 17 innings in relief, registering 27 strikeouts.  "I'm happy to pitch however I am needed," Duka said.

            Hertzler, who will be a sophomore at Liberty University, qualified for the ACBL All-Star Game as a successful two-way player. At the plate, he hit .272 with five home runs. On the mound, he registered 24 strikeouts in 17 innings.






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