Celebrating his 18th birthday, senior Riley McElwain led the way in shutting out the Springfield Tigers in 6.2 innings of work as the Clippers (20-7) prevailed 2-0 to move on to its first district championship game since 2011.
McElwain struck out nine and allowed four hits to pick up his fourth win of the year. McElwain also held the Springfield run game at bay, picking off three runners at first. Seth Spooner came into the game with two runners on and two outs in the top of the seventh, and was able to strike out the Tiger hitter looking to end the game and earn his fourth save of the year.
The Tigers and Clippers played three and a half scoreless frames before Zachary Pleska broke the tie with a deep shot over the right field fence to give Columbiana the 1-0 lead. That score stayed true until the sixth inning when the Clippers added a big insurance run. Alex Eusebio was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Trevor Dearing would pinch run for Eusebio and move to second on a ground out by Pleska. Following a Clipper strikeout, Brady Kridler flared a ball to left that brought Dearing home giving Columbiana the 2-0 lead.
Up next for the Clippers will be South Range in the district championship game. The game is scheduled for a 5 PM start at Wilder Field in Niles.