Fast Start Shows Promise for Aurora in 2014



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By Ethan Day

PBR Staff Writer

In his first season at the helm of the Aurora High School baseball program, Tim Deering led the Greenmen within one game of a state final appearance. Now, with a year of experience under his belt, the coach is anticipating a similar run in 2014. 

Although young, Aurora features a well-mixed group of accomplished veterans and skilled newcomers. The squad is composed of five seniors, nine juniors and four underclassmen, including two freshmen.

“We’re talented right now and I see us being talented for the foreseeable future,” Deering said.

The Greenmen will rely on the leadership of four returning starters to help guide them through the grind of the season.

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Junior second baseman Andrew Weber, a University of Virginia recruit, headlines the quartet. Senior center fielder Kirk Janoch, junior shortstop Matthew Carpenter (pictured right) and junior third baseman Nick Ely round out the bunch.

Coincidentally, the upperclassmen also comprise Aurora’s initial four hitters in the lineup.

“They’re our catalyst offensively,” Deering said. “They take care of us.”

Anchoring the rotation is the sophomore duo of Adam Long and A.J. Kimes. Both pitchers possess next-level talent and should start drawing some looks from scouts, according to Deering.

The team’s tight-knit chemistry propelled them through the state tournament a year ago and Deering expects that comradery to carry over into this season.

“While we were talented, we weren’t as talented as some of the teams we beat in the tournament,” he said. “The chemistry really clicked at the right time. Everybody was on the same page.”

After falling just shy of the Division I championship game, Deering decided to make some adjustments this off-season to help fine-tune the team’s philosophy.

“We just simplified our playbook,” he said. “We kind of took a lot of the stuff that we didn’t really use last year and made it easier for our kids to perfect the things that do matter.”

The modifications have proven successful in the early-going. Aurora is off to a blazing start − racking up a 4-0 record with victories against Massillon Washington, St. Edward and Louisville (doubleheader).

In that span, they’ve outscored their opponents 30-9.

Deering said undoubtedly, pitching and defense are the team’s strong suits. He called his squad’s infield defense, “one of the best in the state of Ohio.”

So far, those words are legitimized by the team’s numbers. If statistics are any indication of success, then Aurora appears to be poised for another stellar season.

The Aurora pitching staff has posted a superb 2.00 ERA and has held the opposition to a .106 batting average. On defense, the Greenmen have committed just four errors and boast a .967 fielding percentage.

But despite averaging more than seven runs per contest and hitting an impressive .282 on the young season, Deering feels the offense is not where it needs to be.

“Offensively, we’re struggling right now,” he said. “We have to get going with that. Obviously, we’re behind the pitching right now.”

Outside of league play in the Chagrin Valley Conference, Aurora faces a slew of high-quality non-conference opponents for the remainder of their schedule. Those match-ups include contests against Mentor, Massillon Jackson, a rematch with St. Edward, Mayfield and Canton South.

Although expectations may be high, Aurora isn’t looking too far ahead at the moment. Their top priority is winning a district title − for now.

“We’re just playing it one game at a time,” Deering said. “We take it one pitch at a time. We’re trying to break it down into its simplest form.”