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Aurora -- Coach Tim Deering is thrilled with his Aurora High baseball team's 4-0 start, but he realizes the squad needs to continue to improve.
Coming into this season, pitching had been a key to the year. Thus far, the Greenmen hurlers have held their own.
On April 5, Aurora swept Louisville (0-4) in a doubleheader on the road, 5-2 and 9-4.
Before that, sophomore pitcher Adam Long flirted with throwing a no-hitter in a 7-2 non-league win over Lakewood St. Edward, and in the April 1 season opener, Aurora beat Massillon 9-2.
"We can only get better," said Deering. "We are really young."
A pair of sophomores are heading the pitching corps. Long went 6.2 innings against St. Ed. And A.J. Kimes has been faring well in relief and as a starter.
"We've had some nice pitching surprises," said Deering. "Long and Kimes are throwing well, and we have veterans like [seniors] Kirk Janoch and Luke Calcei."
The latter earned his first victory of the year against Louisville after four innings in relief of freshman Bubba Arslanian.
"We are not lighting it up yet with our bats, but we did move some runners along and got some walks," said Deering. The squad is batting .282 on the season. "I think we knew we may be behind a bit on offense without a lot of time outside."
Freshman Ben Stawicki had two hits, two runs batted in and a run scored. Senior Tom Branstein had a pair of singles and knocked in two runs.
KIMES GOT his first win in the first game. He went 5.0 innings, allowing one earned run, and was relived in the sixth by senior Griff Petersen. Junior Nick Ely had three hits and one RBI and junior Matt Carpenter had two singles, a run,and a stolen base.
Long was brilliant against St. Ed despite having a bit of control problems with six walks and two hit batters. The first hit he allowed was a two-run double in the seventh. He fanned six batters.
"Coming into the season, I think pitching was a question mark and we just need to be consistent," said Deering.
Junior second baseman Andy Weber racked up two RBI with two hits for Aurora. The fourth inning saw a five-run outburst by the Greenmen. Junior Josh Andexler got the final out.
Carpenter had two singles, two runs and an RBI, while junior Devin Bradley added two singles and a pair of RBI. Arslanian also scored a run.
AHS hammered Massillon starting pitcher Dakota Caldwell for 11 hits. Janoch was the winning pitcher with relief from Kimes.
A five-run explosion in the fifth inning lifted Aurora, as junior Carter Semancik had two RBI with two hits and two runs scored, plus Carpenter had two hits and one RBI.
Janoch allowed one earned run, four hits and three walks, while striking out two in six innings.
AHS is slated to host Wadsworth on April 11 and Solon in a doubleheader April 12, plus travel to Uniontown Lake on April 19 for a twinbill.
SOFTBALL OPENING LOSS
The Lady Greenmen lost the opener 9-2 at Nordonia. Sophomore pitcher Liz Kimson made her debut and showed promise by tossing a complete game five-hitter. But the locals were plagued by fielding miscues with five errors.
AHS was outhit 5-3, as Nordonia pitcher Hannah Stroe fanned 14.
Returning seniors for Aurora are shortstop Julie Zidones, first-base-outfielder Devan Ternai, catcher-third baseman Hannah Vitz, outfielder Abby Nicholas and second baseman-outfielder Sam Arslanian.
In upcoming action, Aurora is scheduled to visit Perry today (April 9) and travel to Uniontown Lake for an April 12 doubleheader.