High School Baseball: Badin 2 wins away from state final four

Badin Coach Brion Treadway
Badin Coach Brion Treadway

When Badin High School baseball coach Brion Treadway says the offense is carrying the team right now, he doesn’t just mean hitting.

The Rams are doing that well, too, but the base running has perhaps been the most impressive aspect of the offense right now, as Badin (25-5) heads into the Division II regional semifinals 2 p.m. Thursday against Wyoming (18-7) at Mason.

Treadway challenged his team to break the program’s stolen base record this season, and the Rams made that look like an easy task. They smashed the old record of 120 stolen bases and sit at 207 now.

“Implementing the running game has been our biggest area of growth,” Treadway said. “We came in trying to be aggressive on the base paths, and I think collectively as a group the guys bought into what we’ve done.”

In the Greater Catholic League Co-Ed division, Chaminade Julienne was the next best on the base paths, collecting 135 stolen bases. Of course, it helps that Badin is getting guys on base with a league-leading .369 batting average, but the Rams also are moving guys into scoring position with their base-stealing to help hitters rack up 206 total RBIs.

Sophomore Lucas Moore has 49 of those stolen bases, and seniors A.J. Enginger (32) and Sergio DeChello (28) and junior Landyn Vidourek (30) are among the team leaders as well.

“We definitely have a lot of speed and we’re showing it on the base paths,” DeChello said. “It’s a strength we have and we’re doing it well. That’s a huge part of our offense. If pitchers are worried about us on the base paths, their attention is somewhere else and it makes them miss their spots a little and we capitalize on that.”

Badin has had good pitching to back up its offense through three tournament games so far, as the Rams have outscored opponents 37-3 while limiting each to one run. As they get deeper into the postseason, the pitching and defense will need to continue matching the offense.

Wyoming, the Cincinnati Hills League champion, is batting .300 as a team, and its pitching staff owns a 2.92 ERA with 144 strikeouts over 153.2 innings.

“Our offense has been carrying us, but our pitchers are throwing strikes, and our pitching and defense is giving us a chance to score runs and keep a lead,” Treadway said. “We’re going to score runs. We just have to be in the ball game for it to matter.”

Badin’s success to this point hasn’t been a surprise to Treadway, who has seen a steady flow of talent coming through the program over the years, but with just three players bringing varsity experience and none with innings on the mound, it wasn’t a given.

Several teams this year faced the same issues with a lack of varsity experience because of last season’s cancellation, but Treadway liked the way his players were approaching the offseason and practice and that has translated on the field.

“I knew the opportunity was there to have a successful season because the guys have not stopped working hard, they brought great energy,” Treadway said. “You couldn’t ask for anything more. As far as predicting success, it’s just a matter of staying together and appreciating the fact we are still out here able to keep playing the game.”

Seniors Ryan Kirkendall, Enginger and DeCello are the three who brought varsity experience and they have been the leaders since Day 1, according to Treadway.

The trio has individually stepped up – Kirkendall as a top pitcher, DeCello at shortstop, third base and catcher and Enginger at second base – but others have too. Among the other standouts are Moore, a Kentucky commit who has set program records for hits, stolen bases and runs scored in a season while playing solid defense in center field, as well as Vidourek, catcher Jimmy Nugent (Penn State), utility player Cooper Fiehrer and junior Brady Imhoff.

Senior Luke McLaughlin opened the season on the bench but has developed into a big contributor as well, and sophomore left fielder Rodney Rachel was off to a solid start before an injury sidelined him. Sophomore pitcher Nik Copenhaver struggled at first but has “figure out that he could compete under pressure,” according to Treadway.

Badin has been on a roll since a 4-3 start that included three straight losses. Treadway said those were good learning experiences early on, but a more recent extra-innings loss to rival Ross was the biggest teaching moment ahead of the postseason.

“Being a rivalry game, it had the feeling of a tournament loss, and it was a good thing to experience that feeling without our season being over,” Treadway said. “We played a tough schedule, and it’s good we’ve had to experience coming back against good teams. The biggest thing is our guys never feel they are out of a ball game and that’s huge.”

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