Covering High School Sports in America
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Andrew Benintendi, Madeira

Andrew Benintendi, a senior center fielder from Madeira (Cincinnati, Ohio), 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."