AURORA -- You just knew that Aurora's baseball program would not take too many seasons to win a Suburban League championship.
Aurora clinched the outright title in the American Conference of the Suburban League with an 8-1 win May 3 at Tallmadge, which pushed the tea's record to 10-2 in the conference and 14-3 overall. Tallmadge ended 8-4.
"We played well as a team after not playing well the day before [when AHS lost to Tallmadge 7-3]. We did everything to beat a quality team, explained head coach Michael Brancazio.
"Our defense was tremendous in the second game and our pitching was good."
Junior righthander Zach Elsawy (2-1, 1.15 ERA) tossed 6 innings to get the win. The lone run he allowed was Sam Seeker's home run. "Zach threw very well and his pitches have so much movement," Brancazio noted. He is getting stronger and is gaining arm strength.
Senior Jon Blue scored 4 runs with a double and 2 hits, while junior Evan Fromwiller had a double, 2 RBI and scored once. Bubba Arslanian added one RBI, a hit and a run, while Drew McVay had one RBI.
Joe Capretta scored a run. as did freshman Will Carpenter. Chase Coady tossed a scoreless seventh inning.
Senior Ben Stawicki had 11 putouts and 12 total chances in the win, plus he added an assist. Aurora had only one error. "In fewer than 10 games at first base, Ben has done a great job for us and we knew he would with Tallmadge having seven lefties," said the coach.
LOSS TO TALLMADGE
One day earlier last week, Tallmadge took advantage of four Greenmen errors to score a 7-3 win.
Aurora opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning, as centerfielder Jonathan Blue singled and Jacob Blue walked. After a wild pitch, Jonathan Blue scored on a fielder's choice off the bat of catcher Bubba Arslanian.
After that, however, Aurora had a hard time dealing with Tallmadge starting pitcher Zach Boyd (3-2). Boyd pitched a complete game, giving up three runs on five hits.
Tallmadge tied the game in the top of the third inning as leftfielder Sam Seeker doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Phil Glasser.
In the fourth inning, Tallmadge took advantage of Aurora's miscues. A walk by Seth Gergely, a single by Boyd and a throwing error allowed Gergely to score, followed by an RBI double by centerfielder Jared Burick.
That spelled the end for Aurora starter Jaret Rose (3-1), who lasted just 3 innings, allowing 4 earned runs on 4 hits. Burick was thrown out in a rundown, but a walk an a two-base error allowed two more runs to score.
Catcher Rich Eyre then put down a squeeze bunt to score second baseman Jake Rensel. Eyre was then safe on a throwing error, but Sam Seeker was thrown out at the plate, leaving the score at 6-1.
An RBI single by Aurora second baseman Drew McVay cut it to 6-2 after four innings, and Tallmadge got the run back thanks to Sam Seeker's first varsity home run, as he smacked a solo shot over the rightfield fence in the top of the sixth.
Aurora came back with one run in the bottom of the sixth, as a leadoff double by Arslanian was followed by an RBI single by third baseman Brent Henderson.
However, Boyd put the Greenmen down in order in the seventh inning to clinch the win.
After a first-round bye, second-seeded Aurora is scheduled to host a sectional final game May 12 at 4:30 p.m. against either Shaker Heights or John Hay (10th seed). "One game at a time, and we're ready to go," said Brancazio.
"We'll sit back and look at the matchups, but we have as many as four choices to start [on the mound] in the postseason," said Brancazio. "We have numerous options for starters and for relief."
Among them are Elsawy, Coady, Michael Sapp, J.T. Rose, Trevor Mitch and Dominic Tyburski.