SOLON — During the first month of the season, everything seemed to go right for the Aurora softball team.
And then the Lady Greenmen hit a bump in the road.
Sadly for the Aurora players, they never really got back on track the rest of the way.
The second-seeded Lady Greenmen’s season came to a heartbreaking end after losing to third-seeded Nordonia 7-4 in a Solon Division I district semifinal game.
The contest took place Wednesday at Roxbury Elementary School in Solon.
With the loss, Aurora, which lost four out of its last seven games, finished 12-8. The Lady Knights improved to 13-9 and reached the Solon district title game for the fourth time in the last five years.
Nordonia earned a date with top-seeded Canfield in the Solon district final, which is scheduled for Thursday at 4:30 p.m. The Lady Cardinals rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Austintown-Fitch 3-2.
"I knew this team had potential," Lady Knights head coach Kelsey Shirey said. "I was pleased with our defense. We have a tendency to fall apart offensively and defensively.
"They (the Lady Greemen) got runners on base, but our defense made the plays."
As for Aurora, it struggled right from the beginning.
Lady Greenmen senior left-hander Kelci Fleming, the team’s ace, had difficulty finding the strike zone and the Aurora defense committed an alarming five errors that led to four unearned runs.
"We didn’t play a good game," Aurora first-year head coach Sam Petrash said. "I think the leadoff batter reached base the first three innings and we gave them outs. That’s a bad recipe."
Fleming walked the leadoff batter in the first two innings and allowed a leadoff single in the third. All three of those runs came around to score.
The Lady Greenmen had two runners thrown out at the plate on back-to-back plays in the fifth.
The latter play ended the inning, thanks to a heads-up play by Hannah Ours. The senior catcher tagged out an Aurora runner after she missed touching the plate. Nordonia led 6-3 at the time.
"We talk about finishing the play," Shirey said. "There was no call and she finished it. I was very proud of Hannah."
The Lady Greenmen also had a runner forced out at second base on a ball hit to the outfield in the seventh.
As a result of the Lady Knights’ stellar defense, senior right-hander Rachel Cornett picked up the win in the circle. She scattered eight hits in seven innings and made her best pitches when she appeared to be in the most trouble.
"Rachel hit her spots well," Shirey said. "Rachel and Hannah have been working together for four years. Hannah knows what Rachel wants to throw."
Freshman third baseman Hallie Majoros led Nordonia’s offense with three hits and two RBIs and junior right fielder Jordyn Dean had two hits, an RBI and a run scored. The Lady Knights scored two runs apiece in the third and fourth innings, respectively, to take a 6-2 lead.
"Jordyn has had a heck of a postseason," Shirey said. "Hallie is finally seeing the ball well. We were losing sight of our mechanics. Now we know where our hips and hands are supposed to be. We kept things simple."
Fleming (7-6) walked four batters in four innings before being replaced by sophomore right-hander Rachael Dudziak, who finished the game.
Junior third baseman Julia Mazanec had three hits, including a double, an RBI and a run scored and sophomore Aleese Angelo had a pair of two-out, run-scoring singles in the first two innings for Aurora.
Fleming and senior classmates Hailey Bodine (second baseman) and Tayler Cassidy (shortstop) concluded their careers for the Lady Greenmen, who shared the Suburban League American Conference title with Tallmadge and Highland.
"We accomplished our goals," Petrash said. "The girls had some postseason goals and that was to get as far as they could. We just didn’t play well at the end of the season.
"One of the reasons why I decided to do this was for them. I know these girls. I wanted it for them."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, email@example.com or @FrankAceto_RPC.