Badin, ranked third in the final Division II statewide coaches’ poll, will take an eight-game winning streak into a state semifinal game against 15th-ranked Carroll Bloom-Carroll (27-5), which is scheduled for Thursday at 4 p.m. at Akron’s Canal Park. The state championship game is scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m.
The Badin High School baseball team is Division II regional champions after defeating Highland 12-3 at Mason June 6, 2021. Contributed photo by E.L. Hubbard
Credit: E.L. Hubbard
Credit: E.L. Hubbard
Sophomore right-hander Copenhaver (4-1) allowed five of Highland’s six hits and two of the Fighting Scots’ three runs in 3 1/3 innings before senior right-hander Luke McLaughlin finished with 3 2/3 innings of one-hit, one-run relief.
“I thought Copenhaver did a tremendous job for being a sophomore pitching in the game that could get us to the state championship, and it’s nice to be able to bring a guy like McLaughlin, who can throw three pitches for strikes,” Badin coach Brion Treadway said.
Badin’s first three batters reached base as the Rams took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Moore singled to lead off the game and stole second before senior second baseman A.J. Enginger was hit by a pitch. The Rams loaded the bases on an error of DeCello’s grounder, and Moore scored when Vidourek drew a one-out bases-loaded walk. Enginger scored on junior third baseman Cooper Fiehrer’s fielder’s-choice grounder, and Brady Imhoff made it 3-0 with a chopper halfway up the third base line.
Highland’s first two batters reached base in the bottom of the first, but Copenhaver bounced back to retire the next three Fighting Scots, punctuating his inning-ending strikeout of Zach Pinkerton with a kick of his right leg and emotional yell.
The Rams tacked on two runs in the second with a two-out rally that DeCello started with a hustling double to right field. Junior catcher James Nugent walked and Vidourek lined a first-pitch, RBI single to center. Vidourek went to second on the throw home and scored on shortstop Rider Minnick’s error of Fiehrer’s grounder.
Fiehrer went to second on the throw home, but the inning ended when Kirkendall was called out for interference while standing in the batter’s box during Fiehrer’s stolen base attempt. Treadway strode in from the third base coach’s box to argued the call, but it stood.
Highland took advantage of a reversed call to score a run in the third. Cooper Merchling was apparently hit by a pitch and went to first, only to be called back to the plate. He delivered on the second chance with a run-scoring double to left field, where Vidourek was left shaken up after trying for a diving catch. He later left the game.
The Rams broke it open with a three-run third, capped by DeCello’s two-run home run to right-center field. He pumped his right arm while seeing the ball clear the fence near the 360-foot marker as he rounded first base.
“I didn’t think it was going out,” DeCello said of his second homer of the season. “I didn’t think it was high enough.”
“I was proud of the way we kept adding on,” Treadway said minutes after Moore grabbed a routine fly ball for the final out, triggering a dog pile in the infield. “We knew we had to. (Highland) had only lost two games. They don’t get down being down.”