RAVENNA — Having lost its opener 9-5 Tuesday at Lake Catholic, Aurora baseball looked for an immediate bounce back when it traveled to Ravenna Wednesday.
With a team loaded with freshman and sophomores, Aurora coach Michael Brancazio said he knew there would be peaks and valleys this spring. Wednesday was an early peak for Aurora, while Ravenna coach Steve Hustack was forced back to the drawing board.
Aurora limited Ravenna to two hits, while taking advantage of nearly every scoring chance it had. The result was a 13-1 win in five innings for the Greenmen (1-1) as Ravenna stumbled in its season opener.
"I thought we played well," Brancazio said. "We’re asking a lot of kids to be in a tough situation. We’ve got a freshman at catcher and a freshman at second base. Our pitchers did a good job today."
"We can’t give good teams extra outs," Hutsack said. "We gave up five outs in an inning and Mike [Wunderle’s] pitch count balloons up to where it never should have been. You can’t win games like that."
Aurora was able to play error-free ball, but errors played a big role in Ravenna’s struggles.
In the top of the first, after Aurora’s Evan McVay drew a leadoff walk, a dropped ball on strike three for John Papesh turned into a throwing error, which allowed McVay to score and Papesh to wind up on third base. Papesh then scored on a single by Will Carpenter to make it 2-0.
Carpenter was the rock of Aurora’s offense, going for 4-of-4 with four singles and three RBIs.
It was a bit of feast or famine for Aurora freshman pitcher Colin Skolaris (1-0) in his first varsity start. Skolaris walked the bases loaded and then walked Ravenna first baseman Evan Miller in the bottom of the first inning to plate a run. However, Skolaris then struck out the next two batters to keep it at 2-1 after one inning.
"Bases loaded with one out … we’ve got to come away with more than one run there," Hustack said.
Skolaris gave up seven walks, but had five strikeouts and allowed no hits in three innings of work. Aurora reliever Justin Demassino pitched two scoreless innings, allowing two hits, with one walk and three strikeouts.
In the top of the second, an error and a walk were followed by an RBI single from Aurora second baseman Chase Gerbrick, a sacrifice fly from McVay and Carpenter’s second RBI single of the day to make it 5-1. In the third inning, Aurora designated hitter Nathan Ring singled, stole second and scored after two straight wild pitches to make it 6-1.
Wunderle gave up six runs (three earned) off four hits and two walks, but Ravenna’s real trouble happened in the fourth inning.
After a leadoff walk, Ravenna reliever Connor Lovejoy was greeted by four straight hits, including an RBI single, from McVay, an RBI double from Papesh and an RBI single from Carpenter.
Later in the inning, freshman catcher Andrew Horvath smacked a two-run double to left field before Gerbrick hit an RBI groundout and McVay hit his second RBI single of the inning.
The two teams won’t wait long to see each other again, as Aurora will host Ravenna Thursday at 4:30 p.m.
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, email@example.com or @MLeonard_RPC