HEATH, Ohio (WCMH) — Big swings at the plate can lead to big moments in the state baseball tournament. But for the Heath Bulldogs, it’s how they swing the ball around the base paths that’s going to lead them to a state title. It all starts with a buddy system. 

“Find a buddy with a glove,” said Heath coach Tom Warren.  

“Find a buddy with a glove,” echoed third baseman Jacob Bunn. “As long as you throw the ball across the plate, we’ll make a play.” 

It’s all about conviction, chemistry and confidence for Heath. That’s where the powers lies with this Bulldogs baseball team.

“We’ve only hit one home run as a team this year. We’re not a power team,” Warren said while his players worked on bunts. “Early in the season we struggled getting big hits when we needed them and I kept telling the guys ‘It’s gonna come. It’s gonna come,’ and they believed in that.” 

After only winning eight games in 2021 and 10 games in 2022, Heath is two wins away from its first state championship since 2007.

“We were just tired of losing,” first baseman Cooper Bradley said. “You know like our shirts say, ‘All Or Nothing.’ We wanted it all. We had the guys to do it. It was just a matter of us coming together and putting it all together.” 

The impressive run is coming from virtually the same lineup as last year after only losing one player to graduation.

“Two years ago, if you would have told me I would have been in this position, I would have said you’re crazy,” Bradley said with a smile. “I wouldn’t want to go out any other way . . . Baseball is important in Heath. If you look at our outfield fence under the scoreboard, we have a long standing tradition here. It means a lot this community.” 

Heath will face Harrison Central on Friday in the OHSAA Division-III state semifinals. The game starts at 1:00 pm at Canal Park in Akron.