Lakota East coach Ray Hamilton talks with the home-plate umpire Saturday during the Thunderhawks’ 5-3, nine-inning loss to visiting Lakota West in Greater Miami Conference baseball action. RICK CASSANO/STAFF

Baseball draw: Lakota East taking No. 3 seed, strong arms into D-I postseason

HAMILTON — Ray Hamilton wasn’t all that concerned about his Lakota East High School baseball team’s seeding in Sunday’s Division I Cincinnati sectional draw.

The Thunderhawks were third behind No. 1 Mason and No. 2 Moeller in the coaches’ voting, but Hamilton has a solid feeling heading into the postseason.

Why? Because he’s got three front-line pitchers in Nate Haberthier, Grayson Hamilton and Andrew Bachman.

» STORY & PHOTO GALLERY: Mason leads GMC after West topples East in nine innings

“I don’t think anybody else has got three like we’ve got,” Ray Hamilton said. “I think Gray and Habs are both 1s, and Bachman has the stuff to be a 1. Having those three guys sitting there makes you feel pretty good about your chances.”

Hamilton’s Thunderhawks were 16-3 heading into the draw and collected 862 voting points. Mason had 895 and Moeller 877.

East will open at home against either No. 17 St. Xavier (8-11) or No. 30 Northwest (5-14) on May 16. The next-highest seed in the Thunderhawks’ Cincinnati 1 sectional is No. 9 Turpin (12-7).

No. 23 Fairfield (7-15) is also in that sectional and will travel to No. 12 Little Miami (15-5) on May 14.

“I think it’s a good draw. I’m not disappointed at all,” Hamilton said. “This time of the year, you’ve just got to play good baseball. It doesn’t really matter who you play.”

Badin took Cincinnati’s best Division I record (19-2) to the draw at Hamilton High School, and the Rams were seeded fourth.

It’s the second straight season in D-I for Badin thanks to the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s implementation of competitive balance.

In terms of actual enrollment, BHS is the smallest D-I baseball school in Ohio with 227 boys. The second-smallest school is Mentor Lake Catholic at 310.

“Honestly, this is my second go-round with this, so I didn’t really know what we were walking into,” Badin coach Brion Treadway said. “I wasn’t expecting anything. I knew what we got last year and this year we have a better record, so I assumed we’d be in a similar spot.”

Badin was seeded fifth last season and opened with a win over Harrison, then fell to St. X. The 2019 Rams are riding a 12-game winning streak heading into Monday night’s home game against Ross.

Badin's Kaden Kimbrell reacts after scoring a run May 1 during a 12-2 Greater Catholic League Coed Division baseball victory over visiting Fenwick at Alumni Field in Joyce Park. RICK CASSANO/STAFF

Treadway’s crew will begin Cincinnati 5 sectional play at home May 16 against either No. 19 Oak Hills (8-12) or No. 26 Sycamore (8-13). Badin was voted between first and sixth by every coach except Oak Hills’ Chuck Laumann, who voted the Rams 13th.

“Maybe he didn’t have a lot of respect for us,” Treadway said. “It’s whatever. It’s his opinion.

“I feel the same way I have every year, whether it’s Division I, Division II or Division III. It’s tournament baseball, and anything can happen. The big difference in Division I is that everybody’s pretty good. Our job is just to have our guys ready.”

No. 18 Hamilton (10-10) will host No. 20 Loveland (9-11) on May 14 in the bottom portion of Cincinnati 5, with the winner getting No. 8 La Salle (10-8).

HHS is on the rise at the right time. Big Blue have won five straight games.

“We’ve been playing pretty good baseball recently, so hopefully we’ll be able to keep that momentum this final week and then move into the tournament,” Hamilton coach Joe Lewis said.

“All things considered, we feel like we did the best we could in the draw with what was on the table. (Assistant coach) Danny Reid does a good job of guiding me in which way to go. He’s able to interpret that better than me.”

Loveland knocked Big Blue out of the tournament last year. Lewis said his team’s recent improvement has started with his pitchers throwing more strikes.

“That got us in a lot of trouble with base runners and so forth early in the year. Now we’re getting a little more consistency in throwing strikes to hitters,” Lewis said. “Our top four hitters (Jackson Lewis, Payton Pennington, Kurtis Reid, Alex Mills) have been pretty solid throughout the season, and we’re starting to get a little more from that point down.”

Big Blue will close the regular season against Badin on Saturday night at Alumni Field in Joyce Park. They could meet again in the district semifinals.

“We’ve never played them in the tournament, so it would be a nice twist,” Joe Lewis said. “It would be great if we could get that far.”

No. 14 Lakota West (10-9) and No. 27 Middletown (6-16) are in Cincinnati 4. West will be at home May 16 against either No. 24 Harrison (8-12) or No. 25 Princeton (10-13), while Middletown hosts No. 29 Western Brown (7-13) on May 14.

In Cincinnati 2, No. 11 Lebanon (12-7) will be at home against No. 21 Talawanda (10-11) on May 14. In Cincinnati 3, No. 22 Edgewood (10-10) hosts No. 28 Western Hills (11-4) on May 14.

Here are first-game matchups for the remaining schools in the Journal-News coverage area (all games start at 5 p.m.):

» Carlisle (12-8): Seeded fifth in the Division III Dayton 5 sectional. Hosts No. 19 Greeneview (7-14) on Wednesday, May 15

» Cincinnati Christian (14-3): Seeded first in the Division IV Cincinnati 1 sectional. Hosts No. 8 Felicity-Franklin (4-12) or No. 9 Hillcrest (4-9) on Wednesday, May 15

» Fenwick (9-11): Seeded 10th in the Division II Cincinnati 1 sectional. Visits No. 8 Goshen (13-9) on Tuesday, May 14

» Franklin (19-5): Seeded second in the Division II Dayton 1 sectional. Hosts No. 14 Dunbar (1-6) on Tuesday, May 14

» Madison (17-4): Seeded first in the Division III Dayton 4 sectional. Hosts No. 22 Stivers (4-6) on Wednesday, May 15

» Middletown Christian (4-10): Seeded 11th in the Division IV Dayton 2 sectional. Visits No. 7 Covington (5-13-1) on Monday, May 13

» Monroe (8-12): Seeded 11th in the Division II Cincinnati 1 sectional. Visits No. 6 New Richmond (12-6) on Tuesday, May 14

» New Miami (6-11): Seeded fifth in the Division IV Cincinnati 1 sectional. Hosts No. 6 Lockland (5-13) or No. 7 Gamble (6-5) on Wednesday, May 15

» Ross (15-2): Seeded second in the Division II Cincinnati 2 sectional. Hosts No. 16 Wilmington (3-12) or No. 17 Mount Healthy (2-14) on Thursday, May 16

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