Badin baseball blanks Wyoming to reach regional final

Badin's Ryan Kirkendall pitches during their 5-0 win over Wyoming Saturday, June 5, 2021 in Mason. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Badin's Ryan Kirkendall pitches during their 5-0 win over Wyoming Saturday, June 5, 2021 in Mason. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Ryan Kirkendall pitches complete-game shutout to lead Rams

Badin filled the extra time since winning a Division II district championship playing intra-squad with, so to speak, high stakes.

The winners earned steaks.

“I guess I’ll be eating a lot of hot dogs,” a rueful Ryan Kirkendall said.

He seemed more than willing to take the tradeoff after pitching the Rams past Wyoming during a 5-0 Badin win in Saturday’s regional semifinal at Mason.

The senior right-hander improved to 9-0 while putting together a complete-game, three-hitter with five strikeouts and walk. He also hit a batter.

“Ryan Kirkendall did a tremendous job,” Badin coach Brion Treadway said. “Our offense exploded for a couple of innings. We were disappointed that we didn’t add on.”

“He came after us,” Wyoming coach Matt Wantz said. “He had a game plan and he did a good job executing it. He did a good job with his game plan.”

Junior third baseman Cooper Fiehrer had two hits and drove in a run and Badin (26-5) cracked four extra-base hits among its seven while advancing to Sunday’s regional championship against the winner of the second game between Dayton Carroll and Marengo Highland. A Highland win would mean Sunday’s game is scheduled to be played at 11 a.m. A Carroll win pushes the first pitch to noon.

“Playing in June and representing Badin High School is a tremendous feeling,” Treadway said.

Wyoming and Badin went eight days between games since winning district championships on May 27. Saturday’s region semifinals were delayed two days by rain which left the field unplayable until Saturday.

“We were a little anxious,” Kirkendall said. “We were ready to get after it.”

Wyoming senior left-hander Brennan Pagan (6-1) allowed seven hits with four strikeouts and one walk. He also hit a batter.

Badin's Brady Imhoff hits a double during their 5-0 win over Wyoming Saturday, June 5, 2021 in Mason. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Badin's Brady Imhoff hits a double during their 5-0 win over Wyoming Saturday, June 5, 2021 in Mason. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

The Rams took a 3-0 lead in the second. Junior catcher James Nugent hit the first pitch up the right-center field gap for a triple and scored one out later on Fiehrer’s single to right. Pagan hit Kirkendall with a pitch and both runners scored on senior first baseman Luke McLaughlin’s two-out double to left-center field.

The Rams capitalized on two Wyoming errors to take a 5-0 lead in the third. Junior center fielder Lucas Moore led off with a double to center field, went to third when Pagan misplayed senior second baseman A.J. Enginger’s sacrifice bunt. Senior Ben Marischen ran for Moore and scored on Dennis’ throwing error as Enginger stole second. Enginger went to third on the error and scored on senior shortstop Sergio DeCello’s chopper to senior shortstop Aiden Dunehew.

“In a game like this, you can’t make little mistakes,” Wantz said. “That fell on us.”

Moore returned to center field for the fourth inning before leaving the game and the field in the fifth inning. He was seen walking to a car in the parking lot while the game still was in progress.

Wyoming senior catcher Elijah Dennis led off the second with a ringing double off the base of the left-center field wall, just to the center field side of the 360-foot marker, one of his two doubles. Dennis went to third on freshman third baseman Aiden Melvin’s sacrifice bunt, but he was stranded when junior designatedhitter Walter Stall popped out to senior second baseman Enginger in short right field and Kirkendall struck out junior first baseman Conor Madden. Kirkendall stalked off the mound yelling to himself after the strikeout.

“My psych teachers call it moxie,” Kirkendall said. “We’ll leave it at that.”

“Hats off to their pitcher,” Wantz said. “He did a great job not letting us get momentum.”