XENIA — Now, you can call the Fredericktown Freddies Regional Champions.
Down 2-0, the Freddies sent nine batters to the plate in a five-run fourth inning, lifting them to a 6-4 victory over the Hamilton Badin Rams to win the OHSAA Division III Region 12 Championship Game at Athletes in Action Sports Complex in Xenia.
It was another come-from-behind win for the Freddies against a very strong opponent.
“We knew we had to continue to fight,” said Fredericktown coach Tom Craze. “Hamilton is a traditional powerhouse. For us to come in here and compete and play and be able to get the win — it’s a marquee win for our program.”
Freddies starting pitcher Justin Snyder allowed three hits and a pair of Badin runs to start the game, but settled down to throw strikes and give his team four solid innings.
“I was just trying to throw junk because (Badin) wasn’t very good at hitting off-speed stuff,” said Snyder. “I just tried to get ahead of the batters.”
The first few innings were frustrating for Fredericktown’s offense. Austin Hathaway and Mitch Sellers led off the bottom of the first with line drives to Badin shortstop Luke Wurzelbacher. Centerfielder Matt Smith ended the inning when he was cut down at third base attempting to stretch a double into a triple.
“That first inning did scare me,” said Freddies third baseman Brandon Moss. “Honestly, we have had first innings like that and we have bounced back.”
“I think what got us going was that our kids just settled down,” said Craze. “The team that settles down, relaxes, takes it’s time and is aggressive at the plate is going to be fine. Our kids settled down and got comfortable with things and we just went from there.”
After a few scatterred hits, it all came together in the fourth when the duo of Smith and Nash Cunningham lit the spark.
“In the fourth, I walked,” said Matt Smith. “Then, Nash got a nice shot and it just rolled from there. We got the momentum and we never really lost it.”
Snyder reached on a fielder’s choice at third. As Smith dove into third, the throw went wide. Smith dashed home with the Freddies’ first run and Cunningham wound up at third.
“We took advantage of that first pitcher,” said Snyder. “He wasn’t throwing very hard.”
Fredericktown first baseman Kaleb Phillips ripped a single to score Cunningham and send Snyder to third. With the game tied at 2, Badin pitcher Cameron Mohr uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Snyder to score the go ahead run for the Freddies. Designated hitter Andrew Hulse sent Phillips to third with a single. Phillips would score on an error and Hulse would steal home to give the Freddies a 5-2 lead.