Baseball

FEATURE FOCUS: Carmella’s bat boosts Badin into Division II state final

PHOTO BY KYLE HENDRIX/THE REPORT

AKRON — Jay Carmella picked the right time to make a bounce back.

The Badin High School sophomore simply hasn’t been himself at the plate the last couple of weeks.

“To see him deliver and come through like that, it’s just incredible,” Rams coach Brion Treadway said of the designated hitter.

Carmella went 3 for 4 with three RBIs to help lead the No. 6 Rams past the Parma Padua Franciscan Bruins 5-0 in a Division II state semifinal on Friday at Akron’s Canal Park.

“I felt pretty good. I felt pretty confident my first at-bat,” said Carmella, who is hitting .326 on the season but was 1 for 9 in the previous four tournament games. “I was a little nervous. Big venue. I relaxed in there pretty good.

“There were a couple times I had to step out and take a deep breath and try not to let the moment get too big.”

Carmella took the moment and ran with it against Padua on Friday.

Carmella singled in Cade Cummins to put Badin on the board in the fourth inning and then added a two-RBI single that scored Chase Luebbe and James Brink in the fifth.

“It’s definitely a confidence builder right here,” Carmella said. “… There was a little dry spell in between the regular season and the playoffs. I feel like this is a big energy boost and a big confidence boost. I’m ready to go on Sunday.”

The Rams (27-6) will face No. 12 Beloit West Branch (26-6) — which beat Wintersville Indian Lake 4-2 in the other Division II state semifinal — for the state title Sunday in Akron. 

“It’s an indescribable feeling,” Carmella said. “The word going around is that we’re having a down year. We kind of took that personal. This feels pretty good right now.”

This is Badin’s third trip to the state tournament in the past four seasons and 15th appearance in school history.

The Rams are seeking their third state championship in program history. Badin won the state title in 1991 and 1996.

The Rams, winners of eight in a row and 11 of 12, have shut out their sixth straight tournament opponent and outscored them 55-0.

PLAYMAKERS

Badin second baseman Austin Buckle continued his stellar defensive efforts Friday. The senior made a couple on-the-run putouts to first.

Sophomore Cooper Anzalone stepped in for junior catcher Kyle Anderson, who went down with a left-hand injury in the bottom of the third. Anzalone threw out the first Padua baserunner that tried to steal on him. Anderson did not return to the game.

QUOTABLE

“Nothing’s like it,” Badin sophomore pitcher Caleb Driessen said of playing for a state championship. “There’s no summer ball tournament or anything that can really compare to this. Some people will say that summer ball is better than high school and that high school is a preseason. Especially getting to this moment, I don’t think anybody on this team has thunk it.

“Everybody’s been all in,” Driessen added. “The last time we won was in 1996, so we’ve got to bring one back to Alumni (Field).”

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