Columbiana entered the season with a goal to win in May. After faltering in the final month the last few seasons, a new plan was formulated this year to ensure the team was playing at its strongest as the weather warmed up. This plan helped put the Clippers in a position the school has never been in before, a chance to win a Division III district championship. Facing Columbiana in the finals was South Range, who was playing in their fourth straight championship game having won the state title in 2018 and finishing as a regional runner up last year. Behind experience and starting pitcher Billy Skripac, the Raiders were able to jump out to an early 3-0 lead to defeat the Clippers 7-2.
The Raiders showed their experience with the good start but the Clippers did not go down without a fight. Columbiana constantly put runners on base but missed the big two out hit to get the team back into the game. After a scoreless second, Columbiana got on the board in the third cutting the score to 3-1. Eddie Clancy got things started with a perfect bunt down the third base line for a single. After moving to second on a pickoff miscue by the Raiders, Clancy came home from second on an RBI line drive single by Bayden Pipoly. The Clippers would strand a runner on second base but showed that the Raiders were in for a fight for all seven innings.
Columbiana would get another run in the seventh. Clancy reached on a third strike wild pitch. He moved to second on another wild pitch and would go to third on a Pipoly groundout. Ian Less would bring him home with a ground out to second for the Clippers final run of the 2022 season.
Leading the way offensively for Columbiana was Zachary Pleska. Looking relaxed at the plate, Pleska had two singles to left and a double to right center. Pleska also got the nod on the mound taking the loss giving up four runs (three earned) in three innings of work while striking out four. Seth Spooner finished the final three innings giving three runs (two earned) and striking out four.
The game brings an end to the careers of eight seniors. After their sophomore season was cancelled due to covid, the senior group posted 37 wins in the final two years of their careers with a district runner up trophy to add to the trophy case. Seniors Riley McElwain (Cuyahoga Community College) and Zachary Pleska (Lycoming College) will continue their baseball careers at the next level. Seniors Trevor Dearing (YSU), Carson Dota (YSU), Eddie Clancy (Slippery Rock), Brady Kridler (Barber), and Ashton Kakavros (Electrician) all have great things ahead of them. Lastly, senior Matteo Mazzatto will head back to Italy with the memories and experiences that will last a lifetime.