By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
Today’s Aurora softball championship was built yesterday.
Well, actually, a lot of yesterdays.
“The commitment we gave to each other started approximately 10 years ago,” said head coach Sam Petrash, whose roster features 10 players that began playing together that long ago.
Those player commitments also featured family commitments.
“This has been a community effort for a long time and our successes are reflective of their efforts,” Petrash said.
Those efforts led the Greenmen to the 2023 Suburban League American Division championship, a feat that the program secured with a resounding 18-5 victory over Medina Highland on May 9.
The title is Aurora softball’s ninth overall, including banners raised in 1994, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2018, 2021, 2022 and now 2023 with a 22-3 overall record and 13-1 in league play.
“At the beginning of every season, we talk about how we can leave a little bit of us behind at Aurora High School and one way to do that is to hang a number up on the banner,” Petrash said. “It is a reminder of all of the good times we had and that each player left a positive impression on the school.”
That list of players is long this season.
While Aurora’s McKennah Metzger typically leaves a profound impact on games, including two home runs and eight RBI, along with being the winning pitcher in the title-clinching win over the Hornets, she is never alone in leading Aurora.
The Greenmen roster has no weaknesses.
“Chemistry is our strength. Period,” Petrash said. “Everything fills in around that. Yes, these are excellent softball players, but they know how to play together as a team. They know how to cheer each other’s success.”
Maggie McVicker (Otterbein) is the team’s lone senior on an underclassmen-led team, including juniors Metzger and Madeline Dalessandro, sophomores Sophie Retton, Sophie Schechterman, Rayna Unverferth, Julia Miller, Avery Qualters, Sophie Petrash and freshmen Lailah Bohanan and Abby Dalessandro.
All play their part in wins and all have put together notable statistical outputs, but it is Metzger that sets one of the strongest tones with her play.
“The best word to describe McKennah is determined,” Petrash said. “Not just in softball, but in anything she commits to. She is a phenomenal student, she cares about her teammates and wants them to succeed. Those qualities spill onto the field and allow her to complete at a high level. Then it becomes contagious for the rest of our players. We all see her numbers and they are staggering, but her ability to elevate her teammates adds to how special she is.”
Aurora’s league title will be remembered and celebrated, but the Greenmen are working hard to not have it be the program’s only feat this season.
In the midst of a 13-game win streak, the Greenmen defeated Youngstown Ursuline 4-0 on Tuesday to advance to the Division II district-championship game on Thursday vs. Marlington at Jefferson.
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