Copenhaver pitches Badin past Taylor in D-II baseball regional semifinal

Rams will seek its 14th state berth on Friday

MASON — The Badin Rams blanked the Cleves Taylor Yellowjackets 6-0 on Thursday in a Division II regional semifinal behind a dominant pitching performance from Nik Copenhaver.

Copenhaver went the distance, throwing seven innings of shutout baseball and giving up only four hits along the way. Staying focused even after a rocky start was key to finishing off the game strong, Copenhaver said.

“I was feeling pretty good,” Copenhaver said. “Just trying to go in there with that bully mentality and shut everyone down.”

Badin (25-6) will play Delaware Buckeye Valley or Eaton in the regional final at 5 p.m. Friday at Mason. The winner advances to a state semifinal, which will be played at 4 p.m. June 10 at Canal Park in Akron. Badin, which won state championships in 1991 and 1996, seeks its 14th state appearance and second in a row.

Head coach Brion Treadway had nothing but praise to offer for his pitcher’s performance in a high-pressure environment.

“He doesn’t let anything rattle him,” Treadway said. “He’s in his zone, and nobody gets in his zone. He feels like he’s made for this kind of stage. I thought he was tremendous today on the mound.”

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The Rams defense held strong, making key plays in the field throughout the game to keep Taylor off the scoreboard. The play of his teammates in the field was key to maintaining the shutout, Copenhaver said.

“They’ve always got my back back there,” he said. “They play their game while I play mine on the mound.”

The game stayed scoreless through four innings, but the bats came alive for Badin in the top of the fifth. The Rams tallied six hits in the frame, scoring all six of their runs in one barrage. Treadway praised his team for staying locked in until the floodgates opened.

“I thought we put pressure on them every inning,” Treadway said. “I felt like it was just a matter of time until we broke through. Nik did a tremendous job of putting up zeroes and waiting on our offense to score. It was a great day.”

Schedule change: The Division I regional semifinals at the Midland Baseball Complex in Batavia were postponed from Thursday to Friday because of rain. Fairfield will play Moeller at 2 p.m. Friday. Mason will play Lebanon at 5 p.m.

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