TALLMADGE — So far this spring, the fortunes of the Tallmadge and Aurora baseball teams have been about as constant as Northeast Ohio’s weather in April.
Although this was not totally unexpected, given that both teams replaced large numbers of starters this spring, both teams hope to find their top form as the second half of the season begins
On Tuesday at Dave Young Field, Aurora’s young team showed it might be rounding into form with a 4-0 win over Tallmadge.
It was the first loss in the Suburban League American Conference for the Blue Devils (7-3, 4-1).
The star of the game was Aurora sophomore pitcher Jack Fecko. The quick-working left-hander gave up only one hit in a complete-game effort. He struck out four and walked five.
“We’re still young,” Aurora coach Michael Brancazio said. “Those type of starts, you can really build on.”
With the majority of Tallmadge’s lineup batting left-handed, Brancazio thought Fecko had a chance to be successful.
“Whatever the lineup is, I just want to throw my pitches,” Fecko said. “The fastball was working today. I’ve always trusted my defense.”
Aurora (8-5, 4-3) had just one error in the game but Tallmadge had several mistakes. Tallmadge coach Kenny Linn said he couldn’t expect his team to waltz through the American Conference.
“That’s a good team and this is a conference game,” Linn said. “We beat them two weeks ago and I’m sure they wanted to get us back. We made our share of loud outs today. They made all the plays when they needed it.
“The bottom line is, if you can’t score, you’re not going to win.”
Tallmadge starting pitcher Todd Bangston (3-1) suffered his first loss of the season. Like Fecko, he pitched a complete game, allowing four runs (two earned) on seven hits with three strikeouts, a walk and a hit batter.
“He threw well enough to get the win,” Linn said. “We just didn’t give him any support at all.”
Aurora struck first in the top of the second inning after catcher Colin McNamara reached base on an error and right fielder John Papesh was hit by a pitch. Designated hitter Mike Carpenter hit an RBI single and second baseman Chase Gerbrick smacked an RBI double to make it 2-0.
Aurora loaded the bases with no outs in the third, thanks to a single by center fielder Cooper Bizjak, an infield single by shortstop Will Carpenter and a walk to McNamara.
However, Bangston nearly got out of it. He struck out Carter Gerbrick and got Papesh to ground to second base. Papesh was able to beat the relay throw to avoid a double play and allow Bizjak to score and make it 3-0.
Tallmadge’s best chance to score came in the bottom of the third. After Devin Norton drew a lead-off walk and designated hitter Joe Elli struck out, third baseman Luke Thomas smashed a double to left to put runners on second and third.
But Tallmadge catcher Ritchie Eyre was robbed of an RBI single on a great grab by Evan McVay. Tallmadge center fielder Sam Seeker then flew out to deep left to end the threat.
Aurora added its fourth run in the top of the fifth when Mike Carpenter hit his second RBI single of the game to score pinch runner Kyle Obly.