Battle-tested Rams set to face upstart Eagles

They are familiar opponents with vastly different histories.

Badin High School’s baseball team has qualified for regional play 14 times in the last 24 seasons and will face Greater Catholic League Coed rival Chaminade Julienne in a Division III regional semifinal Thursday at Athletes in Action in Xenia.

CJ? This is the Eagles’ first regional berth since 1986.

The Rams (18-12) have also beaten CJ (14-10) twice this season, 10-0 and 4-2. But third-year Badin coach Brion Treadway is expecting anything but an easy stroll into the regional final.

“I don’t really care about what a team did in the regular season,” Treadway said. “At this point in the year, people can kind of smell the finish line. They’re four wins away from the ultimate goal, so they’ve got to be feeling pretty good about themselves.”

The Eagles have found their way this month. They’ve won seven of their last eight games. They have yet to allow a run in the postseason, outscoring Stivers, Waynesville and Madeira 24-0.

“We were kind of an afterthought against Waynesville,” fifth-year CJ coach Mike Barhorst said. “I don’t think anyone gave us a chance to beat them, and we beat their big lefty. I don’t think anybody expected us to beat Madeira, and we run-ruled them. Our kids are feeling like they can play with anybody right now.

“I thought at the beginning of the year that we had the makings of a really good team. Things have just taken off since we got in the tournament. Our pitching and defense have been outstanding, and our timely hitting has been a lot better than it was during the season.”

The Eagles only have two .300 hitters in their starting lineup, junior second baseman Matt Richard (.340) and sophomore third baseman Stephen Hoendorf (.338).

Barhorst said his starting pitcher Thursday will be one of three senior right-handers: Kyle Shoup (3-2, 1.82 ERA), Chandler Spees (3-1, 1.40) or Alex Livingston (2-2, 3.39).

Treadway will counter with senior right-hander Cameron Mohr (5-1, 2.33). Junior second baseman Alex Holderbach leads the GCLC in hitting (.500) and RBIs (39).

“This year’s team has come together at the right time,” Treadway said. “Our nemesis all year has been free passes and timely errors, and we’ve made some changes later in the season that hopefully cleaned things up defensively.

“I’ve been telling the guys all year long if they own their time on the mound and own their time in the box and make routine plays, we can play for a long time. That’s a very good recipe for success in high school baseball.”

Anna and Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy will meet in Thursday’s second regional semifinal at 5 p.m. The regional final is slated for Friday at 5 p.m. in Xenia.

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