Baseball getting timely hitting and pitching

Steve Batko
Correspondent
Aurora’s Chase Gerbrick attempts to catch Kent Roosevelt’s Kristian Daetwyler stealing second base.

Finding ways to win coupled with a ton of contributions from different athletes has keyed the strong start by Aurora baseball this spring.

Coach Michael Brancazio is elated to see athletes able to step up and take on pitching roles and log innings while the Greenmen battle injuries and a hectic schedule.

In a season that requires clubs to have versatility and players who are willing to do whatever it takes — Aurora is passing with flying colors.

“We are finding ways to win and that’s a good attribute to have for a team,” said Brancazio. “You can’t coach or teach toughness and grit.”

Aurora is getting a host of players to step up and pitch this season — both as starters and out of the bullpen.

That pitching diversity along with some timely offense has helped the Greenmen to a 5-1 overall mark and a 2-0 record in the loaded Suburban League American Conference.

A seven-run uprising in the third inning lifted host Aurora over Chardon in a 12-9 non-league win Saturday.

In a big 9-8 league win over Tallmadge April 6, Mikey Mylott hit a 3-run homer as he now has four home runs, 15 RBIs and a .467 average in five games.

Junior pitcher Hunter Lane earned his first varsity win against Chardon as he threw in relief while Andrew Horvath (2-0) got the win in a three-inning relief stint against Kent, and had a good outing against Tallmadge.

“Those two guys did a great job in relief and we are getting a lot of kids to pitch well as we are still testing the waters with our pitching staff,” said Brancazio. 

“Losing Jack Fecko for the season is a gigantic loss for us, but we are getting a lot of kids stepping up and pitching well,” he added.

Brancazio pointed to seniors like Sean Fritinger and Horvath stepping up on the mound when he knew these players would be in the mix for some pitching time, but these players were needed in the field.

“In particular, Sean and Andrew have thrown exceptionally well and they are great examples of our kids commanding the strike zone, where freshman Nate Fletcher also did a great job in that regard, in a win against Parma Padua,” said Brancazio.

Junior Tyler Fernandez knocked in three runs with two hits in the win over Chardon while Fritinger added two hits, two runs, and two RBIs. Junior Anthony Dolata went 2-for-3 with one run and an RBI.

Aurora catcher Andrew Horvath at the plate.

Horvath added two RBIs against Kent while junior infielder Chase Gerbrick went 3-for-3 with two RBIs, a double, and two stolen bases against Padua.

On the year, Gerbrick is leading Aurora in average (.588), hits (10) and runs scored (11) from the leadoff spot. 

Fletcher earned his first varsity win and shutout with a stellar four-hitter in the 7-0 win over Padua (3-4) April 7.

Brancazio also praised senior hurler Mark Luke as he rebounded after a rough start against Tallmadge, which pushed across eight runs in the top of the second frame and Aurora came back to win.

“I have to give credit to Mark because he showed some guts after that eight-run inning and came right back, and tossed three scoreless innings,” he said.

Horvath got the win in relief and had three hits and an RBI against Tallmadge while Gerbrick had two hits, two runs, and two steals, plus senior Ben Duncan had two RBIs.

To start the week, Aurora won 12-0 at Padua as Fritinger and junior Ryan Weber combined for a one-hit shutout.

In fact, Aurora had the duo in place for a no-hitter and Brancazio did not even realize it.

It came down to two outs in the seventh inning when Padua’s Justin Barta broke up the no-no with a seeing-eye single up the middle.

“Sean pitched great and so did Ryan, but I did not even know we had a no-hitter at that point,” said Brancazio.

Fritinger got the win in five innings of no-hit work, striking out seven batters.

Besides striking out two batters in relief, Weber also had four RBIs and two hits, including a triple. Fritinger added three runs, two hits and one RBI.

Sophomore Ben Schechterman had a breakout game with three hits, three runs, plus one RBI, a double, and a triple. He is hitting .429 while Weber has nine hits and also has seven RBIs to equal Fernandez.

Aurora’s Kepler Rhoden gets a tap from the third-base coach.