Big hits send Starpoint into semis

Two big hits were enough to make up for one poor inning Friday night as Starpoint earned a trip into the Section VI Class A-2 semifinals.

Braden Zdojewski hit the Spartans' first over-the-fence grand slam in at least 15 years, per coach Tim Racey, and Adam Rankie delivered a two-out, game-winning double in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift third-seeded Starpoint to a 6-5 win over sixth-seeded West Seneca East in quarterfinal action in Pendleton.

Rankie and East's Camden Wypior were locked in a scoreless pitchers' duel until the bottom of the fifth, when the Spartans were able to get some action on the base paths.

Wypior, who Racey said is being recruited by a couple Division I programs, left one up to Zdrojewski, who drilled it over the fence to clear the bases and give Starpoint a commanding lead.

Rankie cruised through another inning before WSE got going in the seventh, totaling six hits and taking advantage of an error to plate five runs in the top of the seventh. Aaron Chase replaced Rankie with no outs in an attempt to limit the damage, but the Trojans still came out with a one-run lead.

Its season on the line, Starpoint loaded the bases again in the bottom of the seventh, and Jake Brooks walked to score Brad Shea and tie the game.

Chase allowed two aboard with one out in the top of the eighth but induced two pop-ups to get out of the inning. Rankie put the game away in the bottom of the inning, crushing a two-out pitch over the head of the centerfielder to score Josh Milleville from first.

Starpoint will travel to take on second-seeded Lake Shore at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the semifinals.