BY CHRIS RAMBO
COLUMBIANA-The Columbiana Clippers got a strong performance from senior Kane Kyle and took advantage of some early fielding mistakes to roll past Southern Local, 8-1, Monday at Firestone Park.
Kyle, who evened his record at 1-1, allowed one unearned run while striking out nine and walking two over five efficient innings.
"Kane had very good control tonight, and was able to keep his pich count at the level we wanted." Columbiana coach Scott Knox said. "He was able to get ahead with his fastball early in the count, which allowed him to mix his pitches and keep their hitters off balance."
The Clipper offense supplied Kyle with all the runs he needed early in the game, scoring twice in each of the first two innings off of Southern starter Dylan Ketchum to take a 4-0 lead. Columbiana was aided by four Southern errors and also recieved RBI singles in both the first and second innings from Nathan Garofalo,
"Offensively we did a lot better job at getting quality at-bats tonight," Knox said. "We were able to look for pitches in certain zones and put good solid swings on the ball, forcing them to try and make plays in the field."
Jessie McClurg replaced Ketchum in the second and was able to slow the bleeding for the Indians until an RBI triple by Garofalo put the game out of reach in the sixth. Garofalo finished 3-for-4 with three RBI.
"We have eight freshman in the starting lineup, so nights like this are going to happen," Southern coach Jason Glover said. "After the first two innings we seemed to settle down in the field a little bit and did a nice job of hanging in there. Jessie (McClurg) did a good job at keeping us in the game."
However, the Southern offense could never get any footing against Kyle and reliever Austin Miner.
The Indians had a scoring chance in the first, but Eric Woodburn was thrown out at home plate. They threatened again in the second, but Jacob Davis was picked off of second base.
From there, Kyle would only gather steam. The right-hander finished his night by striking out the last five batters he faced.
"Our pitching has been there for us all season long, whoever has been on the mound for us." Knox said. "It was nice to back it up tonight with some strong approaches at the plate."
Columbiana improves to 3-3 overall and 3-2 in the Inter-Tri County League lower tier.
Southern falls to 0-8 and 0-4 in the ITCL lower tier. The two teams will face each other again today at Southern.
S-Dylan Ketchum, lp, (1IP, 5H, 0ER, 0BB, 0K), Jessie McClurg (5IP, 4H, 2ER, 0BB, 5K) and Eric Woodburn.
C-Kane Kyle, wp, (5IP, 3H, 0ER, 2BB, 9K), Austin Miner (2IP 0H, 0ER, 0BB, 2K) and Ticen Martin.