A walkoff celebration on one side, silent dejection on the other. And the color of pain was green.
Badin High School’s baseball team fell short of the Division III state championship Thursday at Huntington Park, suffering a 3-2 loss to Bloom-Carroll in a semifinal delayed more than four hours by rain.
Blake Smith’s two-out RBI single in the bottom of the seventh was the difference, scoring Mitch Lambert from second base and ending the Rams’ season at 24-9.
“We’re obviously disappointed. We expected and wanted to win state,” said Badin senior pitcher Michael Davis, who allowed four hits and struck out six in 6 2/3 innings. “But our team came together this year. I think we did awesome. Everybody stepped up. We battled in every single game.”
Two walks, a fielder’s choice and a strikeout put runners on first and second with two outs in the seventh. Rams coach Brion Treadway then brought T.J. Nichting to the mound to face Smith, the Bulldogs’ No. 2 hitter. Smith fouled off the first pitch, then smacked a single to left field.
Left fielder Corey Reimer threw toward the plate, the ball was cut off by third baseman Reid Maus, and Lambert was barely safe ahead of Maus’ throw to catcher Noah Henson.
“I kind of left that one over the plate,” Nichting said. “I had him 0-1 and probably should’ve went a little bit out or a little bit in. He was just focused and looking for that fastball, and he jumped on it.”
Smith, a senior second baseman, said it was “an indescribable feeling.”
“I was excited … a little bit of everything with the way the game went,” Smith continued. “I knew that the pitcher they were bringing in was solid and threw hard. I was just hoping to get my pitch and drive it.”
Alex Holderbach’s single plated Henson (who doubled) to give Badin a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, and that advantage held until freshman Seth Paszke’s two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the sixth pushed Bloom-Carroll (26-6) ahead.
The Rams rallied to tie in the seventh. Nick Browning doubled and scored on a one-out fielder’s choice by Nichting. He slapped a grounder to Smith, and Browning beat his throw to the plate.
“Expectations are high at Badin, and we get tough kids from tough, hard-working families that get it done,” Treadway said. “I love these kids. That’s why losing like this is so hard, because you’ve got to say goodbye.”
Corey Stanley and Jake Newton combined on an eight-hitter for the Bulldogs. Newton blew the save in the seventh, then got the win.