AURORA — In the 1939 motion picture Gone With the Wind, a shaken but determined Scarlett O’Hara tried to gather herself after seeing her lover leave her for good.
The ever unflappable Scarlett, played by the late Vivien Leigh, ends the movie by confidently saying to herself, “Tomorrow is another day.”
Perhaps the Aurora softball team had those words of wisdom in mind after a brutal defeat Tuesday.
If so, they Lady Greenmen may want to keep that famous last line handy for the rest of the season.
That’s because they have “another day” to spend in the dugout.
Host Aurora, the second seed, bounced back from a lopsided loss 24 hours earlier with a commanding 13-3 victory over seventh-seeded Twinsburg in a Solon Division I sectional title contest Thursday. The game was called after five innings due to the 10-run mercy rule.
With the win, the Lady Greenmen (12-6) earned a date with third-seeded Nordonia a district title game. That showdown is scheduled for next Wednesday at Roxbury Elementary School in Solon. First pitch is set for 5:30 p.m. The Lady Knights advanced with a 12-4 victory over Boardman.
Twenty-four hours before they dismantled the Tigers, the Aurora players did some soul searching after a humbling defeat to a conference rival.
The Lady Greenmen were pounded to Tallmadge 10-0 on its home field. As a result of the loss, Aurora had to share the Suburban League American Conference championship with the Lady Blue Devils and Highland.
The postseason, on the other hand, is a much different story. There are no ties and very little margin for error.
It was imperative for the Lady Greenmen to regain their sense of urgency since the next loss ends the season.
While it didn’t have the cherry on top that first-year Aurora head coach Sam Petrash would have liked, Thursday’s win was a good start.
“We had to let it go,” he said. “It happens. You go on to play the next one.”
The Lady Greenmen exorcised most of their demons from the previous day’s setback with six runs in the first.
Aurora sent 11 batters to the plate to make quick work of junior right-hander Hana Hayes, who lasted just one inning. The Lady Greenmen didn’t stop hitting and took advantage of the Lady Tigers’ shaky defense to score three runs in the second, one in the third and three more in the fifth.
“Our defense has been our Achilles heels all year,” Twinsburg head coach Chris Shaffer said. “Our pitchers throw strikes, but they’re not overpowering. They put the ball in play, so we rely on our defense.”
Twinsburg committed five errors that extended innings and allowed the Aurora hitters to get comfortable at the plate.
All nine batters in the starting lineup reached base for the Lady Greenmen, who finished with 12 hits.
Senior shortstop Tayler Cassidy had two hits, including a two-run homer to left-center field in the first inning, two RBIs and two runs scored and junior center fielder Rebecca Crawford, the team’s leadoff hitter, had three hits, including a solo home run to left, three runs scored and two RBIs for Aurora.
Sophomore catcher Aleese Angelo ended the game with a two-run double in the bottom of the fifth.
As as result of this powerful offense, senior left-hander Kelci Fleming got the win in the pitcher’s circle to improve to 7-4.
Fleming didn’t have her best stuff as she walked three batters, hit another and gave up a three-run blast to dead center by senior third baseman Alexis Lopez, her fifth of the spring, in the top of the fifth.
“Kelci wasn’t spinning it well at all, but she kept battling,” Petrash said.
The Lady Tigers (4-14) finished with just three hits. Shaffer said goodbye to seven seniors, including Lopez, starters McKenna Backo (catcher), Marissa Thirion (second baseman), Sarah Thompson, Emily Adams, Jessica Katrine and Ashley Voytek.
“They are my first class and they are awesome girls,” Shaffer said. “They got beat up, but they kept fighting to the end. It was a tough year with weather being an issue.”
Throughout the season, the Lady Greenmen have brought an enthusiasm very few teams can match.
The players have enjoyed each other’s company and their lively chants throughout the games have been a constant throughout the spring.
Petrash loves his players’ attitudes. However, he doesn’t want them to lose sight of the task at hand.
Again, keeping your guard up and avoiding distractions are a must during postseason play.
“We want the girls to be loose, but we don’t want them to lose focus,” Petrash said. “I had to pull them back a little in the fourth inning and they responded.”
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.