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Padua falls to Badin 5-0; West Branch and Twinsburg each punch tickets to the State Championship Game

AKRON, Ohio—In every game of high school sports, there are two stories to tell; the heartbreaking losses and the fantastic victories that will forever be embedded in school history.

Badin Rams shutout the Padua Bruins 5-0

Today's OHSAA baseball State semi-finals started with the Badin Rams making it to the state championship for the first time since 2016. Sophomore pitcher Caleb Driessen led the way for them throwing a complete game shutout. Driessen had six strikeouts and only allowed three hits and one walk as his team's fantastic defense backed him up.

"Everything was working. My defense was making great plays all day, and this is one of the best defensive performances we've ever had," Driessen said post-game. "Our bats were going, everything was working on the mound mostly, and the energy from the dugout, that is such an underrated thing, when you hear those guys saying your name, getting hype for you like that kinda gets you going as a pitcher. Like you stand on that mound and are like, alright, let's get after it."

Badin's defense and pitching have been impressive this postseason. The Rams have allowed zero runs so far and hope to continue that streak into the state championship against West Branch on Sunday at 10:00 am.

The Rams offense also showed out as they scored five runs on eight hits. Jeremiah Carmella led the way with three hits and three RBIs for Badin in the huge victory. The Rams took advantage of Padua pitcher Nathan Krayzel once he began to struggle. Krayzel ended the game with three strikeouts and three walks and allowed all five runs in 4.2 innings.

West Branch advances to the DII State Championship win a 4-2 win over Indian Creek

The next matchup of the day was a battle between two teams that made their first appearance in the State semifinals. West Branch and Indian Creek had never made it this far in the postseason.

West Branch took an early 1-0 lead in the first on a Beau Alazaus RBI triple. It stayed 1-0 until the bottom of the third when Indian Creek scored on a Sylus Hyde RBI single with another run scoring on the throw as they took a 2-1 lead. Both teams kept holding each other off until the top of the sixth when the Warriors Anthony Perry hit an RBI double and Charlie Biskup followed it up with an RBI single giving West Branch the lead at 3-2.

Charlie Biskup drives in a run in the 6th inning for West Branch

They picked up an insurance run in the seventh on an RBI single from Aaron Tucker. The Warriors pair of runs in the sixth would be the turning point that would help them secure the 4-2 win.

"We had a great practice. The kids were not happy just to get to the final four, so their level of focus during the week was top-notch, and I hope tomorrow will be the best practice of the year," Coach Mulinix said.

At the helm of the defense was pitcher Beau Alazaus. Alazaus played a solid game, striking out four batters and allowing only five hits through seven innings. He also played a considerable part at the plate today after starting the game with a line drive down the right-field line for an RBI triple.

"Yeah, I got a fastball and was able to drive it the other way, so it was exciting getting the goosebumps out of the way," Alazaus said. "I didn't think I had my best stuff today, so my defense rallied, and I really relied on them today to help me out, so I can't thank those guys enough."

Perry paced the Warriors offense going 2/3 with an RBI with Alazaus and Charlie Biskup each driving in a run.

Alazaus and West Branch will look to win their first state championship in school history on Sunday when they go up against the Badin Rams at 10:00 am at Canal Park.

Twinsburg takes down Olentangy Berlin 4-1 to advance in D1

The final game of the day was the never-ending feel-good story. The Twinsburg Tigers have defied the definition of adversity. Many of the Tigers have played with each other since the Little Leagues and have been through a lot, including the loss of their beloved head coach, Jeff Luca, in a tragic car accident in December.

The team has dedicated this year to Coach Luca, and many were seen before the game on Friday wearing shirts with Luca's name on the back. Not only did the team wear these shirts, but so did the community. The city of Twinsburg weren't the only ones at the game supporting the Tigers. Towns from all around NEO came to support the Tigers.

"Coach Luca, who suddenly passed away in December, we kinda have dedicated this season to him, and the boys really bought into that, and you know he was a huge part of their lives not just for Twinsburg high school baseball but also travel baseball he coached a lot of these guys growing up and worked with them in camps so you know to be able to show off the way we have this year for him is the story to tell," Coach Lipinski said. "Always energy; how can you not have it when our community brings it like they did? It had to be 1,500 strong out there cheering for us, so they just got us amped up and going."

The loss of Coach Luca affected the team and the community. The city of Twinsburg was left in shock and has since then rallied behind this special team as they continue to surprise everyone. Last year, the Tigers won only one game in the Suburban league, and this year, they won all but one game. The Tigers faced a strong Olentangy Berlin team in their first state semi-final appearance since 2006.

Twinsburg started the game strong, taking an early 1-0 lead at the bottom of the second. Freshman Kyler Hoon singled to left field scoring Jason Cox.

Kyler Hoon with the 1st inning RBI single for Twinsburg

"I knew we were going to see good arms on the mound today. They were very good; I just trusted in myself and all the reps I've had. I took some deep breaths when I went to the box and executed and trusted my hands and hit line drives," Hoon said post-game.

The Tigers and the Bears went back and forth, holding each other off until the sixth inning. Ohio State commit Ascher Dent hit a huge RBI single for Olentangy Berlin to tie the game at 1-1.

The RBI by Dent was just one of four hits Twinsburg pitcher Josh Stalnaker allowed all night. Stalnaker pitched a fantastic game, striking out seven through seven innings and only allowing one run.

The Tigers bats backed him up after Stalnaker took the mound to defend the field. Twinsburg loaded the bases and took advantage of it, scoring three runs on a bases loaded walk, a Kyler Hoon RBI single and Jaden Dye sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth that would give them the 4-1 lead. The momentum of that inning was enough to propel them to their first state championship appearance in school history with a 4-1 victory.

Jaden Dye drives in the Tigers 4th run with a sacrifice fly in the 6th

Hoon led the way with a pair of hits and RBI's with Stalnaker and Bobby Lemieux each collecting a pair of hits.

Twinsburg will try to make the ending you almost only see in movies come true on Sunday. They will look to honor Coach Luca on the biggest stage when they take on Mason in the state championship game at 1 p.m at Canal Park.


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