Baseball: Greenmen have a busy week scheduled

Steve Batko

Just hearing the pop of the catcher’s mitt in live play was a moment to relish for the Aurora baseball team.

Like most area clubs in the early season, Aurora is finding out just what they have after a missing season in 2020.

Competing in the season and home opener would be challenging enough, but the Greenmen had a host of key performers out for various reasons.

“It was game one and with a slew of injuries and absences, there are things to build on for next week,” said Greenmen coach Michael Brancazio, after the opening 12-6 non-league loss to Mayfield March 30.

Early on this spring, it will be a work in progress and Brancazio showed no signs of panicking.

“Give credit where credit is due — Mayfield beat us and we have some things to fix; however, there’s some things we can build on as we have six games in six days next week,” said Brancazio.

“Opening day and throughout the first few weeks, we want to test the waters on what we can and can’t do before we enter the stretch run of the season and playoffs begin,” he added.

Several standouts did not compete for Aurora.

“Injury wise, Michael Mylott should return on Monday from a leg injury,” said Brancazio. “However, Michael Carpenter will most likely be out six to eight weeks due to a knee injury.

"Kepler Rhoden and Tyler Fernandez will get the reps at third base during Michael’s absence.”

Carpenter is a veteran standout who has committed to play at Washington and Lee University (Va.). Brancazio will sorely miss his leadership as well as his talent on the baseball diamond.

A senior transfer from Western Reserve Academy, Mylott will add to the offense and is a Bradley University commit.

Rhoden and Fernandez are a pair of promising juniors. In fact, Rhoden had a career high three walks in the opener as Aurora worked its way for 10 free passes.

Fernandez had one hit, knocked in a pair runs and scored once.

“Hitting wise, I liked how we got on base even with the amount of stranded runners,” said Brancazio. “We scored six runs with our hitters 3-through-7 in the lineup going 2-for-20 throughout the game. I don’t foresee that happening too often with our lineup.”

Junior Ryan Weber had two hits, including a double, scored two runs and stole a base.

Senior Sean Fritinger had a pair of hits and an RBI. Senior right-hander Mark Luke had a rough start, but showed signs as did the Aurora pitcher who threw in relief against the solid hitting Wildcats (2-0).

“Pitching command was a huge issue as we can’t have eight walks,” said Brancazio. “Of those nine free passes, seven of them scored.

“I thought Mark settled in after the first inning and freshmen Nate Fletcher did a terrific job for the last couple innings,” he added. “[Senior pitcher] Colin Skolaris has my complete faith and trust; even with a poor outing, his stuff is just too good and I believe he’ll get his command and arm slot back on track.”

A busy slate will get the Greenmen plenty of work.

“Our depth will be tested next week, especially with pitching,” said Brancazio. “We have to command the zone and defensively make the everyday play every day.”

Aurora played at Parma Padua on Monday and played host to Tallmadge in the Suburban League American Division on Tuesday. The Greenmen play host to Padua Wednesday before a league game at Kent Roosevelt Thursday and home games against Olmsted Falls Friday and Chardon on Saturday. All games start at 4:30 p.m. except for the clash against Chardon which has a noon first pitch.