Baseball | Greenmen battle for extra-inning win over Nordonia

Steve Batko
Correspondent
Aurora senior pitcher Sean Fritinger throws from the mound.

Determination and grit are things that baseball coaches just can’t teach.

Aurora’s squad showed plenty of both in an extra-inning affair at Nordonia on Saturday.

However, it’s important to note that a near-missed opportunity is what made the most recent case of grit come to the forefront for the Greenmen.

Veteran coach Michael Brancazio doesn’t mind how it happened — just that it did happen.

Cruising along with a 7-1 lead over Nordonia in a cross-division Suburban League test, Aurora was ready to pen this one into the win column, but the Knights had other things in mind.

After all, it was the seventh inning. Nordonia exploded for six runs in the bottom half of the inning to force extra innings and to keep the game alive at 7-7.

Despite the miracle comeback by Nordonia, Aurora was opportunistic and prevailed 9-7 in eight innings over the Knights (3-4).

“Our team is just tough — they have showed a few times that they just don’t give up,” said Brancazio. “We showed a lot of grit to pull out this victory.”

Sophomore Ben Schecterman scored the eventual game-winner on a passed ball as junior Hunter Lane came into pitch and earned a big save for Aurora, which moved to 7-3 overall.

Junior hurler Colin Skolaris had a strong six-inning outing for the Greenmen and fanned seven batters.

Coming into the seventh frame, Brancazio elected to leave Skolaris in the game.

Aurora second baseman Kurtis Miller waits under a pop fly.

“With 80 pitches, I left Colin in the game and he had some command issues, walking the first two batters,” said Brancazio. “It’s a shame, he pitched his tail off and didn’t get the win. He has great stuff, but he just hasn’t got the wins.”

Freshman Nate Fletcher came into the game and also had some control issues and the inning blew up.

“Nate had trouble with his command and we gave up the lead, but I was really happy with how we responded and scored runs, and then Hunter [Lane] really did a nice job in the bullpen,” said Brancazio. “Our guys just battled.

“Colin [Skolaris] really had a nice week of preparation as he worked on his mechanics and his arm slot,” said Brancazio. “His preparation really showed in the game.”

Fletcher (2-1) got the win as Aurora was aided by a call reversal.

Schecterman is making a big impact at the plate and was used at first base after he has been used in both left field and in right field. Schecterman had two hits, including a huge bases-loaded double that netted three RBIs.

“Ben just keeps getting better and he’s got a great approach at the plate,” said Brancazio.

Schecterman is hitting .407. Senior Andrew Horvath added two hits, a double, and two RBIs while junior Chase Gerbrick collected a pair of hits, scored two runs and had two stolen bases.

Junior Kurtis Miller had two hits, an RBI, and one stolen base. Mikey Mylott had two hits and scored three runs. Mylott, a Bradley commit, had a home run and three RBIs to lead Aurora in 9-6 league loss at Revere (10-3 overall and 4-2 in the league) April 15.

Aurora is 3-2 in league action.

“I may be using Mylott more in the outfield and at third base as I do want to get him ready for Bradley,” said Brancazio. Mylott is hitting .444 with five home runs and 18 RBIs.

Senior Sean Fritinger added a double and two RBIs while junior Ryan Weber had two hits, two runs, and a steal. Greenmen junior Kepler Rhoden went 2-for-3 with one RBI in a home league contest against powerful Medina Highland (9-2, 4-0), which won 7-3.

Schecterman had a single and two RBIs.

On the year, Gerbrick is leading the team with a sizzling .484 average, runs scored with 17, and 12 stolen bases. Horvath has 11 RBIs and is 3-0 on the mound for Aurora while Weber has a team-high 16 hits.

Aurora continues to navigate through injuries as senior pitcher Jack Fecko is out for the season and senior Michael Carpenter may be a month away from returning to play.

Junior Tyler Fernandez (hamstring) has also been hampered as has Rhoden (elbow).

Aurora third baseman Kepler Rhoden jumps to field a ground ball.