Eight area baseball teams won a district title to advance to a regional semifinal today.
Here is a look at each area team:
Woodridge and Poland Seminary will meet in Division II at 5 p.m. at Hudson. Woodridge enters following victories over St. Vincent-St. Mary and Tallmadge in the Akron district at Canal Park.
Senior Kevin Kelleher leads the Bulldogs (27-3) with a .446 batting average and 21 RBI, and is 5-1 pitching with a 1.53 ERA.
Senior Justin Whitely is hitting .430 with 37 runs scored.
Woodridge’s other hitters over .300 are: senior Tom Morehouse (.341, 28 RBI), sophomore Alex Shaheen (.333), junior Tom Finegan (.329, 20 RBI), freshman Preston Clark (.320, 19 RBI, 21 stolen bases) and junior Michael Walter (.315, 20 RBI).
Senior Anthony Yacobucci and juniors Christian Owens and Andrew Syx also start and have come through in the clutch this year.
“No. 1, we had a lot of returning lettermen back from last season,” Woodridge coach Dennis Dever said. “These guys really bought into the program and it has trickled down to the younger guys. These kids work very hard as a team.”
Junior Mike Seminatore (7-0, 2.66 ERA), sophomore Jackson Taylor (4-0, 1.97 ERA), Finegan (4-1, 3.39 ERA) and Walter (1-0, 1.17 ERA) are also reliable pitchers.
Hudson vs. Aurora
Hudson (25-4) will play Aurora (20-8) in Division I at 5 p.m. at Thurman Munson Memorial Stadium in Canton.
Seniors Kevin Zullo and Nanak Saran are co-ace pitchers with a combined 12-1 record for Hudson, which beat No. 1 ranked Walsh Jesuit 8-3 last week in a district final.
Sophomore Ian Swan, junior Jacob McKenzie and senior Jared Hoffman are also effective pitchers who coach Buddy Dice can put on the mound.
The Explorers’ lineup has seven seniors: Zullo, Saran, Hoffman, Braden Wright, Dan Joseph, Joey Cahill and Sam Evans along with juniors Dean Miller and Jake Stuursma.
Aurora is looking to return to the state tournament after being a semifinalist a year ago.
Senior Kirk Janoch and juniors Nick Ely, Matt Carpenter and Andy Weber each started on last year’s Greenmen team. Ely is hitting .372 with 20 RBI and 18 runs, and Weber is hitting .337 with 20 RBI and 24 runs.
“We are young,” Aurora coach Tim Deering said. “I am starting a sophomore [A.J. Kimes who is 5-1 with a 1.19 ERA] on the bump and my No. 2 [Adam Long] is a sophomore. This group has faced some adversity this year. We started off 4-0 and then we went 5-7 over our next 12. We had to go through some learning times and we had to coach them up. There is a lot of talent here, talent that will continue to improve.”
Seniors Griff Peterson and Jack Updyke also start along with freshmen Ben Stawicki and Alan Arslanian and junior Carter Semancik. Semancik and senior Luke Calcei also pitch.
“We are trying to raise this program into one of the elite programs in Northeast Ohio,” Deering said. “By doing that you have to play the best programs. We played the other three teams in our regional, Hudson, Jackson and Mentor. We also played [Lakewood] St. Edward and scrimmaged North Royalton, and they are in the other regional bracket.
“With Hudson and coach Dice, you have one of the best programs in the state and we are trying to use that model to be successful.”
Aurora defeated Hudson, Mentor and St. Edward and lost to Jackson.
Jackson and Mentor are set for a 2 p.m. first pitch in Division I in Canton.
Jackson is led by coach Bill Gamble and boasts several talented seniors, including AJ Kloehn, Tim Turner, Sam Williams, Kyle Mottice and Jake Miller. Mottice and Miller are both batting over .400. Turner and sophomore Sam Miller are both 6-0 pitching.
North Royalton enters its Division I game at 5 p.m. against St. Edward at Cuyahoga Community College following district wins over Strongsville and Cleveland St. Ignatius.
Frank Frate is 7-0 pitching. Garrett Strom, Tyler Pencak and Bryan Bielak are three hitters to watch for coach Brad Klingbeil.
Canton South and Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin will meet at 2 p.m. in Division II in Hudson. South beat Alliance for the third year in a row in a district final in Canton. The Wildcats are led by coach Trent McIlvain, and feature Kendall Fowler, Damon Wade, Conner Thomson, Mike Montgomery, Jake Newell, Preston May and D.J. Wilson.
Orrville will face Independence in Division III at 5 p.m. at Massillon after defeating Canton Central Catholic last week to win its third district title in a row at Creston.
Red Riders coach Scott Marshall relies on seven seniors — Stuart Schley, Chandler Smith, Kyle Ritchie, Wes Stauffer, Layne Scheufler, JT Perez and Chad Harrison — for guidance and production. Austin Domer and Zach Ramsdell are impact freshmen.
St. Thomas Aquinas
Aquinas and Berlin Center Western Reserve are slated for a 4 p.m. start in Division IV at the Lorain Pipe Yard. Joe Bishop is the Knights’ coach and Anthony Moeglin, Frank DiMarzio, Evan Vernier, Sam Pusateri and Jeff Burchett are players to watch.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or email@example.com. Read the high school blog at www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/abj.sports.