COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WKBN) – The Columbiana softball team has been on a tear in 2023.

Pitcher Mackenzi Gamble made some history this past week. She has been lights out, not allowing a baserunner in 57 straight plate appearances which spanned four games in 19 innings of work.

“There were a lot of emotions going through me,” said Gamble, a junior. “The main one was the excitement, the happiness.”

“When you have a pitcher that is averaging over two strikeouts per inning and your defense only has to make seven outs a game or so, it’s a good weapon to have,” said head Coach Daryl Kurtz.

Good might be an understatement. Gamble is 9-1 this season and has allowed just 27 hits in over 55 innings of work with 113 strikeouts.

“She really brings it, man,” says Kurtz. “She can really spin it. She is probably throwing in the 60s and she has all the pitches. Her changeup was really working well against United.”

“Kenzie is an amazing pitcher and that is outstanding,” said sophomore Caitlynn Pleska says. “You can definitely tell when she is dialed in, she just mows them all down.”

It hasn’t just been Gamble for the Clippers. Sophomore Caitlynn Pleska is a home run shy of the Clippers single-season record and is helping lead an offense that is scoring over 11 runs per game.

At 15-2, Columbiana claimed the EOAC outright title on Wednesday, but after early-round tournament exits, the Clips are looking for more than just regular-season success.

“Last two years we have not had success in the playoffs,” Kurtz said. “We lost our first-round games. So I think we are hungry for the playoffs.”

“We have been preparing all season, we really, really want this,” Gamble said.

“It put a fire in all of our hearts,” Pleska said. “It gives us that extra need to want to go farther. So, it is a great motivation.”