Madeira (Cincinnati, Ohio)Andrew Benintendi, a senior center fielder from
, entered his final prep baseball campaign with an eye on the Ohio state record for career hits.
On Saturday, however, he scored three times during a 16-1 rout of St. Bernard (Cincinnati, Ohio) to set a state record with 174 career runs. The previous record of 172 was set by Doug Paullin of Jeromesville Hillsdale from 2007-2010.
Benintendi told MaxPreps, "It came as a surprise and I'm pretty happy about it. You can't do it all by yourself. There have been a lot of good players hitting behind me. Before this year I had an idea how many hits I would need. I think I'm 10 hits away from tying it."
The career record for hits is 200 by Dan Ruff of Lancaster Fairfield Union from 1984-87.
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound left-handed hitter is an ideal leadoff man who runs 60 yards in a swift 6.5 seconds and fires bullets from the outfield. He has never batted below .500 during his four-year career and was talented enough as a rising junior to start for the powerful Midland Connie Mack World Series champions.
Benintendi says proudly, "Every year since I was a freshman, my batting average has gone up. It's come pretty easy for me, but it's something I really work at a lot."
Madeira coach Jack Kuzniczci gives his star a lot of leeway.
He noted, "I let him steal on his own. He always has the green light. He's made my job a lot easier. I've been a head coach for 23 years and he's the best player I've had. A lot of pro scouts have been out to watch him."
The University of Arkansas signee wants a pro career, but he stresses, "It all depends on the right situation coming up. It's going to take a lot for me to skip college."