Some of the best baseball in the Cleveland area is played in the Greater Cleveland Conference. This year is no exception as the eight teams involved will compete, starting on Saturday, to see who will be crowned conference champions.
The GCC was divided into two four team divisions, East and West, and seeding was done after Wednesdays conference games. Solon and Strongsville took the top seeds in each division, and many will point to an inevitable showdown between those teams come Saturday May 8th. While they are both considered favorites to get to the finals, both have dangerous games to get there.
Solon will open up with Elyria on April 30th, at noon at Solon Community Park. The Comets will come into the game with a 13-2 record, with both losses being by one run, including a near miss against the state’s top ranked team in Massillion Jackson. Senior Nate Altstadt may get the start on the hill for the Comets, and the Alabama recruit has not disappointed in his senior season. Will Meyer, John Alvarez, Johnny Mooney, and junior Mike Tsironis lead the Solon offense. The Pioneers of Elyria may rely on the arm of sophomore Jason Spring to slow down the very potent Comet bats. Assuming Solon can get by Elyria, it sets up a very interesting potential match-up in the semi-final round:
The Medina Bees and standout pitcher Spencer Aukerman
Aukerman and the Bees handed Solon its second loss of the season earlier this year 2-1. Aukerman was brilliant in silencing the Comet bats. If this game does happen, it will be Wednesday, May 5th, at Euclid High School. Medina will take a 14-7 record, including 7-3 in the GCC into their quarterfinal game against Shaker Heights.
Strongsville has become a perennial power in the Cleveland area over the last ten years, and this year they have put together another very good team. Playing a very difficult schedule, the Mustangs appear primed to make a big run not only in the GCC tournament, but in the state tournament as well. Ian Hennessey and Caleb Homan anchor the pitching staff, and the Mustangs have bats galore, led by leadoff hitter Sami Mehmed and Nick Ramicone. If they can cut down on errors, they can be very dangerous. The Mustangs open up with the host team Euclid Panthers April 30th at noon at Strongsville High School.
They would play the winner of the best game of the quarterfinals between Mentor and Brunswick. Mentor has maybe the best player in the conference in senior Matt Eisworth. Left handed pitcher Rob Mealey is headed to Buffalo next season, and at 6’6″, is an intimidating force on the hill. Brunswick features a balanced lineup, featuring Jake Hovanec. They will also throw the pitching tandem of left hander Jeremy Karthen, and right hander Josh Herron.
Semi-final games will be played on Wednesday May 4th at 4:30p.m. at Euclid High School on their two fields. The championship game will be Thursday May 5th, also at Euclid High School. Each team is guaranteed at least two games, as a 3rd, 5th, and 7th place game will also take place.
Will the anticipated match-up between Solon and Strongsville take place? We as fans can only hope it does. Solon defeated Strongsville 9-6 during the regular season in a game that the Mustangs darted out to a 5-0 lead after 3 innings, only to see the Comets come roaring back.
The GCC produces some really good baseball, be sure to check out the action this weekend and next week.