Baseball | Aurora is No. 8 seed for upcoming Division I tournament
Getting healthy and with pitching starting to get into form, Aurora baseball is on a roll and that momentum will hopefully spill into the postseason.
With a 6-3 mark, Aurora is still mathematically alive in the Suburban League American Conference and looks to use a five-game win streak to gel as the regular season winds down.
Aurora, 12-4 overall, received its sectional draw as the coaching staff and the club’s senior class gathered for the Zoom call Sunday and had lunch as the Greenmen elected to compete at the Euclid portion of the East Division I super district, which included 35 teams.
The Greenmen earned the eighth seed and will play May 20 at 5 p.m. against the first-round winner of Lyndhurst Brush (25th seed at 9-10 overall) and 26th-seeded Nordonia (5-12). Those clubs meet May 18 at 5 p.m.
“We were pleased and it was our choice for Euclid,” said veteran head coach Michael Brancazio. “There were a lot of moving parts with this.”
Euclid, Hudson and Canton were the three championship sites in the East portion of the northeast region in Division I.
“The seniors and the coaching staff met together, and our staff thinks the world of this team, and we wanted to do this together with the seniors,” said Brancazio. “It’s been a unique season we just wanted to do something different.”
There are plenty of quality programs in all three brackets.
The top seeds included Mayfield (17-2), followed by Walsh Jesuit (15-2), North Canton Hoover (15-4), Kenston (15-5), Austintown Fitch (14-4), Massillon (13-3), Mentor (12-7), Aurora, Dover (14-4), Eastlake North (13-6), Massillon Jackson (11-7), and Hudson (11-7).
Senior hurler Mark Luke tossed a gem for Aurora in a recent 10-3 league win at Barberton.
A 6-foot-4, 205-pound right-hander, Luke fired a two-hit, six-inning shutout win to collect his first victory of the spring. He struck out 10 batters in a 93-pitch outing.
The Magics scored their three runs off the bullpen as Brancazio is attempting to get his pitching corps aligned for sectional action despite all of the rain and cancellations.
“Like Colin Skolaris, Mark has put together a good three-to-four week stretch of pitching and we will need that to carry us through to the postseason,” said Brancazio.
Brancazio pointed to the synergy between Luke and senior catcher Andrew Horvath, who is headed to play at the University of Akron.
“Mark was pounding the zone and had strong command, relying on his familiarity with Andrew,” said Brancazio. “Mark had great location and command on the lower, inner part of the strike zone with his fastball and his off-speed stuff was strong.”
Aurora’s offense continues to roll as they had 13 hits.
Senior Mikey Mylott, a Bradley University recruit, went 2-for-4 with five RBIs and a double. He now has 28 RBIs.
“Mikey is human — I mean he is not a machine, and he is too good of a hitter not to get on track,” said Brancazio of a brief hitting lull by Mylott. “He is one of the best in northeast Ohio.”
Red-hot sophomore Ben Schecterman went 3-for-3 at the plate with one RBI and is hitting .435.
Junior Ryan Weber, who leads the club in hits (28) and runs scored (22) while batting .431, went 3-for-4 against the Magics with two runs and a double.
Horvath, who is hitting .433, collected a pair of hits, two runs, one RBI, and had a double.
Aurora is also getting healthy as infielders Michael Carpenter and Chase Gerbrick hope to return to action soon.
Brancazio also is wanting to keep red-hot junior Anthony Dolata in the lineup as he has filled in at shortstop and second base while hitting .476.
Senior Sean Fritinger has played a key role hitting .404 while also helping the pitching staff.
Recently, junior Kepler Rhoden was asked to play first base after playing third base and doing some catching this spring.
“Everybody continues to do what we ask of them and that’s what makes this group so special,” said Brancazio, who also leans on the leadership of seniors Ben Duncan and Jack Fecko.