Baseball

‘It’s a tough one to take’ — Badin falls to West Branch in final inning of state final

PHOTOS BY KYLE HENDRIX

AKRON — Badin High School baseball coach Brion Treadway took a deep breath and let it all out.

“How do you put into words that seventh inning? Terrible. That was not fun,” he 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.”

No. 12 West Branch scored three runs in the top of the seventh to come back and beat No. 6 Badin 3-2 in the Division II state final on Sunday at Akron’s Canal Park.

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

PHOTO BY KYLE HENDRIX

“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.”

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.

“The journey is really what all of us coaches do this for — to take a team from day one to try and make them better throughout the year,” Treadway said. “That’s what I call a journey until your last game. There’s only one way for the journey to end where you don’t feel like we feel right now. Unfortunately, I don’t know what that feels like as a coach. But the journey was incredible this year. We had a heck of a year. We have a lot to be proud of.”

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

Badin sophomore starter Beau Chaney powered his way through the sixth inning, only giving up a hit while getting himself out of a couple West Branch threats.

Chaney struck out four, walked two and hit two batters on 81 pitches before senior reliever Tyler Verdin stepped to the mound in the top of the seventh.

“It was amazing. I wanted to do this for our seniors,” Chaney said of the journey. “At the beginning of the season, we knew we were going to be good. We just really put the practice in. We put hours and hours into getting to this point.

“We were not as near as good as what we are now at day one. We grew as a team. We grew the brotherhood. We all love each other. We all pick each other up when we get down. It’s just amazing.”

PHOTO BY KYLE HENDRIX

Chase Luebbe went 2 for 4 at the plate for the Rams, who left nine runners on base.

Xander Arnold hit a sacrifice fly to score Austin Buckle to put Badin up 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth.

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.

Boston Mulinix singled to score 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 (27-6) its first state championship in school history.

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

Badin graduates seniors Austin Buckle, Tyler Verdin, Matty Helms and Ian Price.

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