Badin earns 14th trip to the state baseball final four

Rams will play next Friday in Akron

MASON — The No. 7 Badin Rams cruised past the No. 20 Delaware Buckeye Valley Barons 11-1 on Friday thanks to dominant showings at the plate and on the mound.

The Rams claimed their second consecutive Division II regional championship and advanced to the state final four for the 14th time. They won it all in 1991 and 1995.

Badin will play Akron Archbishop Hoban or Tiffin Columbian at 4 p.m. June 10 at Canal Park in Akron.

Early struggles in the field for Badin gave Buckeye Valley a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, but once the Rams settled in, they didn’t look back. Badin scored its 11 runs over a four-inning stretch, an offensive clinic headlined by a two-run homer off the bat of left fielder Rodney Rachel.

“We haven’t really clicked like that this whole season, and it came when we were down one,” Rachel said. “We just clicked and kept rolling.”

Hitting displays like this one are nothing new for the Rams, coach Brion Treadway said.

“I get to see that every day (in batting practice),” Treadway said. “We knew the second time through things were going to be a little different. We didn’t panic. Our bats just came alive. Our guys can hit.”

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Rams starting pitcher Eric Rawlings had yet to give up an earned run when the mercy rule went into effect in the sixth inning. Rawlings’ poise after the Rams’ rocky start was impressive, Treadway said.

“That first inning was about as bad as it could start out for a team,” Treadway said. “I thought Eric handled that pressure extremely well. He’s been cool and calm all year.”

Set to make their second consecutive appearance in the state tournament, the Rams are beginning to build a culture of excellence on the diamond.

“It’s the most addicting feeling in the world, going up to the final four,” Treadway said. “Something I’ll never get tired of. It’s growing into an expectation in our program that kids want to put this uniform on and compete for a state title.”

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