There was no question that Badin High School’s baseball team got some help Saturday night in knocking off Butler County rival Fairfield.
The Rams kept pushing and put the ball in play when they needed to. And then they caught a break.
Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Badin erupted for six runs (five unearned) to pull off a 7-4 triumph under the lights at Alumni Field.
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“I liked the fact that our guys didn’t give in and kept coming. They believed that they were going to win that game one way or another,” Rams coach Brion Treadway said. “Our team’s playing like a team. They’ve got each other’s back, so with the calmness that our guys exude, I don’t really get worked up about it.”
Seth Klaiber, Cade Boxrucker and Sam Mathews combined on a five-hitter for Badin (13-4). Boxrucker, a sophomore, picked up the win with 2.1 innings of relief work.
The Rams ended a three-game losing streak in the series with Fairfield. The Indians ruled the previous three meetings by a combined 20-3 margin.
“This year, the seniors got energy in the dugout and just weren’t going to lose this game,” said Badin senior first baseman Devon Valentino, who had two hits and two RBIs. “We always expect to battle and never give up. That’s what we do.”
It was a gut-punch night for Fairfield (4-10), which was looking to gain some momentum in its quest to avoid its first losing season since 2013.
The Indians committed four errors and wasted some solid pitching from J.D. Scranton, who worked into the sixth inning.
“I love coaching this team,” Fairfield coach Tommy Begley said. “I love the dedication they have. I love the effort. They’ll run through a wall for us as coaches.
“But at some point we have to stop shooting ourselves in the foot or this is going to be what we remember about this season, that inning that spirals out of control. We have to learn to play more fundamentally sound to earn these victories instead of letting them slip away.”
Scranton gave up a leadoff single to Zac Wilson and a double to Tyler Hargrove in the bottom of the sixth before the Indians turned to Tyler Morgan on the mound.
Mitchell Ahr walked to load the bases, Sergio DeCello struck out, and Jared Berger drew a walk to bring in a run and tie the game at 2-2. Daunte DeCello then struck out, and Drew Holderbach followed with a grounder that was booted for a two-run error to make it 4-2. Another error and a two-run single by Valentino increased the margin to 7-2.
Boxrucker gave up singles to Trinidad Selvie and Aaron Newkirk to start the seventh. Mathews then came to the hill, and after a Badin error, he allowed an RBI single by Noah Bauman and a double-play grounder by Matt Roth that produced a run. Tyler Caudill ended the game with a ground out.
“We weren’t worried at all,” Valentino said. “I’m confident in my team and what we were doing. I couldn’t ask for a better team with these guys.”
Fairfield took a 2-0 lead in the third on a two-run double by Caudill off Klaiber. The Xavier University commit is recovering from a strained oblique and was on a pitch count … his mound time included 3.2 innings and 62 pitches.
“With Seth Klaiber on the mound, I anticipated being ahead. But they got a couple runs on the board, and our guys were not shell-shocked by that,” Treadway said. “Seth has progressed perfectly. He should have free rein in his next start.”
Wilson had two hits and Kaden Kimbrell added an RBI for the Rams. They are Division I this year for the first time, and another D-I win should help Badin in the voting at the April 29 tournament draw.
Rams vs. Indians II is a possibility in the postseason.
“You never know what could happen,” Begley said. “Brion may like the matchup.”
Asked if Fairfield would like another shot at Badin, the FHS coach added, “I don’t know if I want to call anybody out for the tournament. We just want sunshine and an opportunity to play.”
“Anything’s possible,” Treadway said. “All I know is that Fairfield’s a good team, a respected program, and it’s been a battle every time we’ve played.”
Begley believes his Indians can make an impact in the tournament.
“When you start combining a couple of our arms like J.D. Scranton and Shane Hatfield and Tyler Morgan and Ryan Barker and Cameron Tenhundfeld, we have a chance to be dangerous in that first/second round,” Begley said. “We’re hoping that things are going to come together.”
Both teams will return to action Monday. Fairfield will host Princeton, while Badin will meet visiting Carroll.
WP — Cade Boxrucker (3-0); LP — J.D. Scranton (1-2). Records: F 4-10, B 13-4