EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) – The Columbiana Clippers kept their undefeated season alive with a resounding 11-5 victory over the East Liverpool Potters Friday afternoon in non-conference action.  The win improves the Clippers to a perfect 9-0 on the season, while the Potters drop to 4-4 on the year.

“This (the victory) is really important, especially with how the weather has been,” Clippers head coach Ryan Wolf remarked about building momentum.  “We played three games against some good competition and did very well.  Then we sat and only played one game in the whole week, and now we have played five straight games.  Our motto this year has been to win in May, win in May.  So these games are important to us, but for us to get to better and win in May is the important thing.”

After the Potters plated three runs in the bottom of the first inning to grab a 3-2 lead, the Clippers responded with a big six-run second inning to take a commanding 8-3 lead and all the momentum in the contest.  The Clippers took advantage of three walks and an error by the Potters along with a string of clutch two-out hits starting with an RBI single by Bayden Pipoly, an RBI double by Alex Eusebio, and a two-RBI triple by Devin Daugherty.

“That was huge for us,” Clippers senior Riley McElwain stated.  “That was the first deficit that we faced all year, so us showing some resolve to come back was huge for us.  To show that we can play through some adversity.”

“We have been playing in some tight games, but we have been playing with the lead,” Wolf added.  “But for it to go the other way and see our guys answer and just keep building on each other, I was really proud of them.”

The Potters would scratch out a run in the third inning to make it 8-4 when Jake Smith led off the frame with a double to center field and scored on a Mason Ludwig’s groundout.  But it was in the fourth inning that the Potters’ comeback took a crippling blow.

Following a lead-off single by Anderson Fitch and a free pass issued to Malachi Reed, the Potters had two on with no outs.  That’s when Nate Birch drilled a line drive to center field in which the Clippers Pipoly made a diving catch.  Fitch advanced to third, but he was ruled out at second for not tagging up.

“I read it really well off the bat and I just said to myself that I have to get this ball,” Pipoly said about the big catch.  “With runners in scoring position, we had to make a play there.”

The Clippers capitalized on the momentum from their defensive effort and scored three more runs in the top of the fifth to increase their advantage to 11-4.  The big blow in the frame came from a line-drive three-run homer by Zachary Pleaska over the left-center field fence.

“If we do some small stuff right, it’s not that big of an inning,” Potter’s head coach Brian May remarked.  “It did lead to the home run and that was a big turn of the events.”

The Potters would score their final run in the contest in the bottom of the fifth when Elijah Suznevich led off the inning with a single and eventually came around to score on a fielders choice with two outs in the frame.

Alex Eusebio would pick up the victory for the Clippers on the mound pitching four and two-thirds innings surrendering seven hits while walking three and striking out three.  Leading the Clippers in batting was Pleaska with the fifth-inning home run and three RBIs, Daugherty with a double and triple and 2 RBIs, and McElwain with two singles and two RBIs.

The Clippers began the scoring in the game in the top of the first following two consecutive walks and a one-out single to left by McElwain.  His single plated Pleska and Seth Spooner to stake the Clippers to an early 2-0 lead.

The Potters answered with three runs in the bottom of the first when Suznevich and Smith both walked followed by a two-RBI double by Devin Toothman to left-center field.  That hit knotted the game at 2-2.  But the Potters were not finished as Evan Tice would lace a double down the right-field line to drive Toothman home and give the Potters their only lead of the contest at 3-2.

For the Potters, the season so far has been filled with lopsided victories and devastating losses.  As a result, May is trying to get some consistency with his squad.

“I can’t make any excuses, we have to get better,” May said.  “Pitching has to get better, simple as that.”

Anderson Fitch would suffer the loss for the Potters after surrendering seven runs, but only three were earned.  He would issue five of the Potter’s ten free passes in the game.

“We are struggling with throwing strikes right now,” May admitted.  “It’s a big part of the game in high school baseball.  I stress that we need to make their bats beat us, don’t beat ourselves.”

At the plate, Toothman led the way with a single and double knocking in two runs, Smith and Tice each belted a double with Tice collecting 2 RBIs.