HAMILTON — The amount of new faces isn’t keeping Badin High School’s baseball team from aiming high again in 2019.
“We have everything in place to be as competitive as we’ve always been,” said Brion Treadway, who has a 140-72 record through his first seven seasons at the BHS helm. “We had 13 seniors last year, and that’s a huge turnover. Some guys dread turning over a roster, but I look at it as these kids have a great opportunity to set their own mark. It’s been fun to watch guys compete.”
The Rams were 22-7 and won their second straight Greater Catholic League Coed Central Division title last season, losing to St. Xavier in a second-round Division I postseason contest.
Badin is back in D-I this season thanks to competitive balance, and Treadway has been vocal in viewing that as ridiculous. But he isn’t planning to limit participation in his program to push the Rams back to D-II.
“I’m hopeful that changes are coming from an organizational standpoint with the (Ohio High School Athletic Association),” Treadway said. “I know there’s some things in the pipeline like unbalanced divisions. That’s what I’ve been told is expected to pass in the future.
“But for now, we are who we are. We’re Division I, so we’re going to give it everything we’ve got.”
Treadway likes Badin’s stable of arms on the mound, where there is plenty of experience. Junior Cade Boxrucker, who was 4-0 with a 1.62 earned run average last year and has committed to Campbell University, junior Spencer Giesting (2-2, 3.40) and senior Shawn Osborne (3-0, 1.09) are leading the way right now.
Senior Blake Smith is headed for Kent State, yet missed last season with a shoulder injury. Treadway said he’s currently throwing and might be able to pitch this spring, though that’s not for sure at this point.
The staff has five left-handed possibilities: Giesting, Smith and juniors David Anthony, Josh Hegemann and Anthony Treinen.
Treadway said senior Chase Hopewell has been a pleasant surprise this year (he’s committed to Findlay) and will be in the mound mix, along with sophomore Sergio DeCello, junior Preston Heintzman and senior Cade Henry.
“I think pitching’s going to keep us competitive,” Treadway said. “There’s been a lot of years in the past where we didn’t have the depth we have right now. I’m very comfortable with our pitching staff. We’ve just got to learn the speed of the game. That’s what we’re focusing on, details and speed of the game.”
The only two returning players with everyday experience in the lineup are DeCello and junior Kaden Kimbrell, who played third base and designated hitter/first base, respectively, last season.
DeCello is moving to shortstop, though the switch-hitter could also do some catching. Kimbell, who hit .296 with 24 RBIs in 2018, will DH and play some first and third base.
Treadway said Kimbrell, DeCello and junior first baseman Alex Barger have the most potent bats.
Sophomore A.J. Enginger has moved up from the freshman team and looks to be the second baseman.
“He’s your typical Badin baseball player,” Treadway said. “Tough. Hard-nosed. Knows the game. Very coachable.”
Hegemann will patrol center field, with Giesting expected to play right when he’s not pitching. Treadway said sophomore Ryan Kirkendall is a utility guy who should fit in somewhere — he’s focusing on third base and catcher.
A number of other Rams are competing for spots, including junior Dylan Ballauer (catcher, second base, third base) and senior Kevin Hock (catcher, outfield).
Seniors Luke Tabler, Matt Schneider and Ben Cogan are battling in the outfield, with Schneider returning from a knee injury that wiped out his junor campaign and Cogan also in the catching mix. Junior Joey Specht is competing as a second baseman.
“We’ve got really good team speed,” Treadway said. “Everybody moves pretty well, and the guys that don’t are pretty intelligent on the bases. We have maybe one guy I wouldn’t give the green light to.”
Badin opens the season Saturday at 2 p.m. against Lakewood St. Edward at Miami University.