High School Baseball: Badin embracing great expectations

Badin High School players swarm the field after defeating Highland in a Division II regional baseball final at Mason June 6, 2021. Badin won 12-3. Contributed photo by E.L. Hubbard

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Badin High School players swarm the field after defeating Highland in a Division II regional baseball final at Mason June 6, 2021. Badin won 12-3. Contributed photo by E.L. Hubbard

Rams are top-ranked team in Division II preseason state coaches poll

Badin’s baseball reputation is established well enough around the state that Rams coach Brion Treadway doesn’t consider being ranked No. 1 in a preseason poll to be a significant burden.

“We wouldn’t view that as any kind of an extra target on our back,” Treadway said on Thursday, two days before Badin’s scheduled season opener against Greater Catholic League Co-Ed Division rival Alter at the Rams’ Alumni Field. “Most teams that we play know that we’ve had a successful program and are a good team.”

Badin burnished that reputation last season, finishing 27-6 overall, winning the league championship and reaching the Division II state semifinals. That performance helped lead to the Rams being ranked No. 1 in the Ohio High School Baseball Coaches Association Division II preseason poll.

Treadway hasn’t seen evidence that getting that close to a championship before falling short last season is on the minds of this season’s Rams.

“I think everybody has moved on from last year,” he said. “They’re embracing the opportunity to make their mark in the program. Last season was great. The guys on that team who graduated were phenomenal in raising the bar for these guys.”

“These guys” include junior center fielder Lucas Moore, senior third baseman Cooper Fiehrer and junior pitcher Nik Copenhaver. Moore finished fourth in the league with a .458 batting average while scoring 48 runs and driving in 21. Fiehrer was second in the league with 32 runs batted in, while Copenhaver piled up 70 strikeouts, second in the league.

Based on pre-season workouts, Treadway anticipates contributions from senior Eric Rawlings and junior Caleb Chorley.

“Rawlings has been a great surprise,” Treadway said. “He had a successful football season. He’s really grown up and matured a lot. He’s been able to handle pressure in situations where, maybe a year ago, he would’ve shied away from. He’s a right-handed pitcher for us. He’s looked really sharp on the mound. We see him as having a huge role.

“Chorley is a first baseman-third baseman who’s been on fire since we got going. He’s really locked in. He’s super locked in. He’s motivated.”

Chorley’s development could help solve what Treadway sees as potential position-player depth problems, especially with first baseman-designated hitter Kyle Stevenson still hampered by a knee injury he suffered during football season.

“We have some talented kids at the (junior varsity) and freshman level we could look at if injuries become an issue,” Treadway said. “Our pitching is pretty deep.”

The Rams were as ready as they could be for the season.

“We’re really happy with the energy and the effort the guys have brought every day,” Treadway said. “We think we’re right where we need to be. We’ll figure it out when we get another opponent across from us. They’ve done everything we’ve asked of them at this point.”

Area teams, players to watch

Hamilton: The Big Blue finished 18-9 overall and 11-7 in the Greater Miami Conference, good for a tie for fourth place. Curtus Moak drove in 27 runs as a junior.

Lakota East: Led by pitchers Jake Villareal and Evan Whiteaker, the Thunderhawks were 16-10 overall and 11-7 in the GMC. Villareal was 5-1 with a 3.56 earned-run average as a junior. Whiteaker piled up 78 strikeouts with a 2.02 ERA.

Talawanda: The Brave finished second in the Southwest Ohio Conference with an 11-4 record and went 17-9 overall behind Parker Geshan, who was fifth in the SWOC with a .452 batting average as a junior, and pitcher Brennan Bell-Bucher, whose 31 strikeouts ranked fifth in the conference.

Ross: Catcher Brayden Fraasman returns for the Rams after hitting .493 and leading the SWOC with 30 RBIs last season. Ross finished 14-13 overall and 9-6 in the conference, tying Edgewood for third.

Cincinnati Christian: One freshman, T.J. Selvie, finished second in the Miami Valley Conference with a .549 batting average. Another, Timmy Nagel, finished third at .526. The Cougars finished 16-9 overall and 5-3 in the MVC Scarlet Division.

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