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Aurora -- The Greenmen varsity baseball team was still alive in the postseason as of May 20 after beating Warren Howland 9-1 on May 19 in the Division I semifinals at Struthers.
Aurora (18-8) was to face Nordonia on May 20 at 6:30 p.m. at Cene Park for a berth in the regional tourney for the second straight year.
The Greenmen jumped on Howland (15-9) from the outset, tallying one run in the first inning and three in the second.
They added four in the fifth and one in the sixth.
The four runs in the fifth came on an RBI single by Jack Updyke, a two-run single by Ben Stawicki sand a sacrifice fly by Kirk Janoch.
Carter Semancik earned the win on the mound, upping his season mark to 3-0. He allowed five hits and one walk while striking out two in a complete game effort.
Nordonia took a 15-10 record into the finals after beating Austintown Fitch 6-4. The Knights used a big third inning, scoring three runs, to post the victory behind the pitching of Brandon Talion (4-1)
AHS advanced to the district semifinals with a 4-2 victory over Twinsburg on May 16.
A big inning by the Aurora offense made sure the Greenmen did not waste a brilliant pitching performance by sophomore A.J. Kimes, who tossed a 3-hitter.
Twinsburg was seeded third and ended at 9-11 overall under Don Jones.
"Obviously, Twinsburg has a strong program and we knew it would be tough," said Aurora head coach Tim Deering.
Freshman catcher Bubba Arslanian took care of offensive chores, with a key bases loaded, two-run single in the bottom of the fourth inning. With an 0-2 count, he laced a single to right-center, advanced on a passed ball and scored on an RBI single by freshman Stawicki.
"Arslanian did a great job and we're getting big hits from our young people," said the mentor.
The Tigers led 1-0 in the top half of the fourth, but it didn't last long as AHS plated four runs in the fourth frame to bust open a 1-0 deficit in a pitcherís duel.
A three-pitch hurler, Kimes continues to make incredible strides and is 5-1 on the season. He allowed only one earned run, a solo home run by Twinsburg's Dan McMullen.
"A.J. has gotten stronger as the season has progressed," said Deering. "He has a nice fastball, change-up, and curve."
Red-hot junior third baseman Nick Ely had a pair of singles in the win against Tiger starter Mitch Eglar, and also scored a run and had a stolen base.
"Nick remains hot and he's doing a good job protecting Andy Weber, and hitting the ball with line-drive swings," explained Deering. "I also think he plays the hot corner [third base] as good as anyone in Ohio."
Aurora, which has only three seniors on its roster, had nine hits and played errorless baseball.
In non-league action May 17, AHS lost 6-5 in eight innings at Eastlake North (16-10).
Weber, a Virginia recruit and junior second baseman, led Aurora in that game as Deering used a host of pitchers. Weber had a double and triple, two RBI and two runs scored.
A share of the Chagrin Valley Conference championship was still in play as of this writing.
Aurora is 6-3 in the CVC Chagrin Division and is scheduled to host Kenston (7-2) today (May 21). Chagrin Falls (7-3) also could tie for the title.