‘Just an incredible feeling’: Badin rolls in semifinals, one win away from state title

Rams blank Padua Franciscan 5-0

AKRON — Badin’s dominant run through the postseason continued Friday in the Division II state semifinals.

Caleb Driessen struck out six in a three-hit shutout, Jay Carmella went 3 for 4 with three RBIs and the No. 6 Rams used a four-run fifth inning to beat the Parma Padua Franciscan Bruins 5-0 at Akron’s Canal Park.

“I thought our guys did their job,” Badin coach Brion Treadway said. “They were putting quality at-bats together. I think a lot of those were two strike hits, and guys just kept good composure and kept a good plan, just delivered. Just an incredible feeling.”

Badin (27-6) shut out its sixth straight tournament opponent and has outscored them 55-0.

“That’s who we are,” Treadway said. “The guys compete on the mound. The challenge that they have is owning their time on the mound — whether that’s one inning or all seven.”

Driessen (7-1) owned all seven Friday.

The sophomore right-hander took a one-hitter into the seventh inning before Padua made its biggest threat.

“We talked about getting back to (their home field) Alumni (Field). That’s always been our quote for the year,” Driessen said. “I feel like we’ve done that up until now, and we’re going to continue to do that.”

Carmella had an RBI single in the fourth and a two-RBI single in the fifth to boost the Rams offensively. Austin Vangen added a double, and Chandler Taylor, Cade Cummins and Cooper Anzelone had singles.

“Coaches have preached that we’re good enough. We’ve been good enough the whole year,” Carmella said. “We shouldn’t try to change anything now. So, that’s just what we’re emphasizing now — just staying true to our approach that we’ve been doing all season.”

Kade Bowling had a sacrifice fly that scored Cooper Ollis in the fifth, while Chase Luebbe added an RBI single the same inning.

“We play a competitive schedule. We’ve been in a lot of tight ballgames this year,” Treadway said. “We’ve played against the best of the best, and we’ve held our own. I think that confidence carries over in moments like this where the pressure wants to mount. But we don’t let it mount. They deny the pressure to allow them to perform at their best.”

The Rams are seeking their third state championship in program history. Badin won the state title in 1991 and 1996.

This is Badin’s third trip to the state tournament in the past four seasons and 15th appearance in school history.

On Sunday at 10 a.m., the Rams will face No. 12 Beloit West Branch (26-6), which beat Wintersville Indian Creek 4-2 in Friday’s other semifinal.

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