Prep Baseball Report

2024 OHSAA Tournament: Division II State Final - No. 11 West Branch vs No. 6 Badin

Bruce Hefflinger
Prep Baseball Ohio Senior Writer

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2024 OHSAA Tournament: Division II State Final - No. 11 West Branch vs No. 6 Badin

AKRON - Sometimes the ball bounces your way. That's the game of baseball. It happened on Sunday for West Branch and the Warriors took advantage to rally past Badin 3-2 for the Division II state championship.

"How abour our kids' resilency?," West Branch head coach Rick Mulinix said after his squad rallied for three runs in the top of the seventh. "It's something we talked about for a long time. This is our year. Their's is next year."

It was certainly the case.

Trailing 2-0 against a Badin team that had not allowed a run in the tournament, Charlie Biskup got things started for the 11th-ranked team in the state with a bad-hop single leading off the seventh. Jaxon Robb then walked and Gavin Bell moved both runners up with a sac bunt.

Up next came leadoff hitter Boston Mulinix, who committed a two-out error in the bottom of the sixth giving Badin a 2-0 lead. The West Branch junior beat out a slow roller to the right side of the infield to bring in the first run of the game for the Warriors. Aaron Tucker then tied the game with an RBI groundout with the Badin infield back and runners on second and third. A pitch later, Mulinix came home with the game winner on a passed ball.

"Errors are part of the game," the West Branch shortstop said. "I didn't want to put too much on me, I knew I was going to come up next inning."

His father and head coach was confident redemption would take place.

"I think he was pretty upset in the dugout," the West Branch coach related. "I told him you're going to come up with two guys on and have a chance to redeem yourself."

Scoring the winning run was special.

"Once I touched home plate I looked at the crowd and ... like, we did it," Mulinix said. "I knew they weren't going to score again. I have so much confidence in (Anthony) Perry that he would get it done."

The West Branch junior pitcher did just that, giving up a two-out double to Kade Bowling before a short fly out gave the Warriors their first state title in school history.

"Staying composed," Perry said of the key to getting outs against the sixth-ranked team in D-II. "That's a great Badin team, but we also have a good team. Errors happen, mistakes happen, but we have each other's backs. Throwing strikes was important. They're going to put the ball in play. I have so much trust in my defense."

Badin, which left nine on base, scored one run in the fourth on a Xander Arnold sac fly following a walk to Austin Buckle, a Jeremiah Carmella sac bunt and a balk. The Rams added the second run in the sixth without the courtesy of a hit

Speaking of hits, West Branch was hitless against Badin starting pitcher Beau Chaney until there was one out in the sixth. But the Warriors added two more in the seventh off relief pitcher Tyler Verdin. Mulinix, Beau Alazaus and Biskup had the three hits for West Branch.

Chase Luebbe hit a single and double for the Rams, which close out the year at 27-7.


PLAYER OF THE GAME: Perry went the distance for the win without striking out a batter. The junior, who had two hits in a 4-2 semifinal win over Indian Creek, walked five and hit a batter but surrendered just five hits against a Badin squad that had scored seven or more runs in a game 18 times this season.

D-II TOURNEY MVP: Beau Alazaus gets the nod after a five-hitter in the semifinals to get the Warriors to the title game. The senior also had a hit in both games, driving in the first West Branch run in the first inning of the semis with a triple.

TRUSTING THE D: On a number of occassions the West Branch defense came up big. With one out and the bases loaded in the second, a perfect double play grounder to Mulinix at short ended the inning. In the third, the Rams had a runner in scoring position with one out but failed to score. In the fifth, the bases were loaded once again with two outs only to see Badin fail to score.

WHAT’S NEXT?: As the West Branch coach said, next year could be Badin's year. The Rams started just one senior in the state finals and will without a doubt be one of the best teams in Ohio in 2025 regardless the division. ... Mulinix, Perry and Biskup are back for the Warriors along with right fielder Jeremiah Thomas giving head coach Rick Mulinix a nice starting point for 2025.


West Branch   000  000  3  -  3  3  1
Badin               000  101  0  -  2  5  0

Records: West Branch 27-6, Badin 27-7.

Winning Pitcher: Anthony Perry (7 innings, 2 runs, 5 hits, 0 strikeouts, 5 walk, 1 HBP).

Losing Pitcher: Tyler Verdin (1 inning, 3 runs, 2 hits, 0 strikeouts, 1 walk). Other: Beau Chaney (6 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 4 strikeouts, 4 walks, 2 HBP).

Leading Hitters: (West Branch) - Boston Mulinix single, run, RBI; Aaron Tucker RBI; Beau Alazaus single; Charlie Biskup single; Maddox Coleman rin; Jaxon Robb run. (Badin) - Chandler Taylor single; Chase Luebbe single, double; Kade Bowling double; Austin Buckle run; Jeremiah Carmella single; James Brink run.

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