Baseball

FEATURE FOCUS: ‘Beau Chaney did an unbelievable job’ in Badin’s heartbreaking state final loss

Photo by Kyle hendrix

AKRON — Beau Chaney delivered a pitching performance that put the Badin High School baseball team in a good position on Sunday.

The sophomore right-hander didn’t waver during the most important start of his young prep career — the Division II state final against Beloit West Branch at Akron’s Canal Park.

In the third inning of a scoreless game, he escaped a bases-loaded jam that evolved from hitting two batters and walking one.

Yet, Chaney stayed locked in — and he stuck it out.

“My arm popped last week, and I hadn’t really thrown since then,” Chaney said. “Today, I came out, just threw and gave it everything I had. I pushed through. I wanted to win.”

You could tell he wanted to.

Chaney didn’t allow a hit through five innings, and West Branch’s only baserunners up until the sixth were from the pair of hit batters and two walks.

“Beau Chaney did an unbelievable job,” Badin coach Brion Treadway said. “He didn’t throw a whole lot this week. He was struggling with some things, and we felt like he did his job.”

The Rams’ offense did enough of its job, too. Xander Arnold hit a sacrifice fly that scored Austin Buckle to put Badin up 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth.

Then Cooper Ollis reached first on a fielding error at shortstop, which brought home James Brink to give the Rams a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth.

Chaney, sitting at 81 pitches on the day, exits and senior reliever Tyler Verdin enters to close it out.

“He got us to that point,” Treadway said, “and we wanted to turn the ball over to Tyler. We were ready to go to Tyler in the fourth if we needed to, and Beau just kept coming.”

That’s when West Branch started coming around.

Charlie Biskup hit a grounder that took an obscure hop past Badin second baseman Austin Buckle to begin the top of the seventh, and Verdin walked Jaxon Robb to put runners at first and second. Boston Mulinix singled to score pinch runner Maddox Coleman to give West Branch its first run.

Aaron Tucker grounded out to second, scoring Jaxon Robb. Then Mulinix crossed the plate on a Verdin wild pitch to hand West Branch its first state championship in school history.

“How do you put into words that seventh inning? Terrible. That was not fun,” Treadway said before taking a long pause. “That was a great high school baseball game. But at the end of the day, what got us here was making the routine plays and throwing strikes, and we didn’t do that in the last inning.”

Chase Luebbe flied out to left, and Cooper Anzalone flied out to center Badin’s first two batters in the bottom of the seventh.

Kade Bowling smashed a double to right field to boost a depleted Badin dugout, but Buckle’s foul-out to first base ended the Rams’ season in heartbreaking fashion.

“It’s a tough one to take,” Treadway said. “That’s a great team. (West Branch) battled their butts off the entire game, and they finished, and we did not.”

Badin sophomore Beau Chaney | KYLE HENDRIX/PHOTO

IN THE KNOW

The Rams (27-7), who finished sixth in the final state poll, shut out six straight tournament opponents to reach their first state final since 2016. Badin outscored its postseason opponents 57-0 up until the final inning of Sunday’s state final.

It was Badin’s third trip to the state tournament in the past four seasons. The Rams were seeking their third state championship in program history. Badin won the state title in 1991 and 1996.

This season marks the 15th time the Rams made it to the state tournament, which is the fourth-most appearances in state history.

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“I just said, ‘Look, I’m feeling the same right now. There’s nothing I’m really going to say that you’re ever going to remember. But you are going to remember this feeling,’” Treadway said after meeting with his team.

“The quest never ends for Badin baseball. Our goals will still be the same next year. The quest remains the same every year. But the journey was fun.”

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