Sophomore starter throws a complete game to down the No. 1 Spartans
By David Yarger
Going into the 2017 baseball season, questions were raised about how Lewiston-Porter would perform. The team is young, with 11 out of 16 players underclassmen.
On Monday, Lew-Port showed it belongs with Western New York's best. The No. 5 Lancers upset the No. 1 seed Starpoint Spartans, 3-2, in front of a large crowd at Starpoint High School.
Coach Mark Waple handed the ball to sophomore Ian Evans, and Evans came through for the Lancers.
"I was looking forward to getting the ball tonight," Evans said. "I felt pretty confident going into the game with our solid defense behind me."
The first two innings for Evans didn't start phenomenally, but he was able to get out of it giving up only one run.
In the first, Starpoint got its first run after leadoff man Sam Wagner struck out, but got on first due to a dropped third strike. Two more passed balls later, Wagner was in to score and gave the Spartans a 1-0 lead.
Evans worked out of a jam in the second inning by inducing an infield popout with men on first and second.
Offensively, in the third inning the Lancers bats woke up. Cooper Krawczyk led off with a single, and Dawson Bailey followed with a single of his own, putting men on first and second. After a passed ball, Krawczyk and Bailey both moved up 90 feet.
After a groundout and a walk, the bases were loaded for Matt Carden. Carden, known to be the RBI man for the Lancers, came through with a sacrifice fly to tie the game up at 1.
Then, with runners on first and third, Shane Kowalski stole second. As the throw went to the second basemen, Bailey jetted from third base to home plate. He slid and was ruled safe, converting on the steal of home and giving Lew-Port a 2-1 lead.
Evans cruised through the third and fourth innings, but Starpoint was able to tie it at 2 in the fifth.
With two outs, the Spartans' Aaron Chase sent a deep drive to right field that scored Kyle Harrington from second. Chase was ruled out at third base trying to stretch a double into a triple. Nevertheless, his hit tied the game.
For a second, the game looked like it had the possibility of going into extra innings. The Lancers made sure that wouldn't be the case.
In the top of the seventh inning, Nate Waterstram led off the inning with a triple to the wall in right-center field. One batter later, Drew James drove Waterstram in with a single through the left side, giving the Lancers the lead for good, 3-2.
Evans came back out for the bottom of the seventh and sailed smoothly through the inning, getting a fly ball to catcher Dom Fazzolari to end the game - and the Spartans' season.
Evans, who finished with five strikeouts, said he was excited about the win.
"As of late, the team has made things happen in clutch situations," he said. "We have been playing really well as a team, and everyone has been contributing. It felt great to get the win, especially against the No. 1-seed Starpoint, who only had two losses all season."
For the Lancers, the bottom three of the order went a combined 3-8 with two runs scored and an RBI.
Evans said his team has to look forward to Wednesday, when they will play in the Section VI Class A-2 title vs. Olean. The Lancers title game vs. Olean will be played at 5 p.m. at Niagara Falls High School.
For the Spartans, Adam Rankie was the tough-luck losing pitcher, as he threw six quality innings, striking out four Lancers.
Other local games:
Class AA Quarterfinals
- Niagara Falls 1, Williamsville North 6
- Lancaster 6, Niagara-Wheatfield 0
- Kenmore West 8, Orchard Park 1
Class A-1 Semifinals
- Williamsville South 5, Grand Island 0