Clips hand Beltempo 300th win

COLUMBIANA-In the position of high school coaching-with its high turnover rate-300 wins represents a significant milestone in a long journey.

Columbiana softball coach Jerry Beltempo notched his 300th victory Tuesday with a 13-3 five-inning win over Sebring at Firestone Park.

“You’re only as good as the players you coach,” Beltempo said. “I’ve been very fortunate over the years to coach a lot of talented players and work with some fantastic coaches.”

Beltempo began his coaching career in the spring of 1988 when he took the head softball position at Austintown Fitch. He coached the Falcons through 13 dominant seasons before stepping down in 2001. After 11 years away from softball, Beltempo is now in his second year as head coach at Columbiana.

“It’s nice to be able to share the milestone with this group of players,” Beltempo said. “I feel that we are improving every day and have a chance to be very good by the end of the year.”

On Tuesday, any potential drama surrounding the 300th win was put to rest early as the Clippers (6-1, 4-0 in the Inter-Tri County League lower tier) jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead after two innings.

Khylea Fullum had an RBI triple in the first, while Navi Kaur broke the game open with a two-run single in the second. Kauer went 4-for-4 with three RBIs.

“We came into the game with a lot of confidence, we were very motivated to go out there and win it for Jerry,” Kaur said. “I love how we got to share this moment with him. He really loves the game of softball and pushes us hard everyday to become the best players we can be.”

“They jumped right on us tonight,” Sebring coach Steve Smith said. “You can’t spot a team like that eight runs and expect to win most nights.”

The eight-run lead was more than enough for Columbiana pitcher Dakota DeAmicis whopitched 3 2/3 shutout innings with six strikeouts.

“I had great control tonight and hit all my spots,” DeAmicis said. “It was nice to be able to win this one for Jerry. We’ve had our good times and bad times but he’s been a great coach to play for these last couple of years.”

For Beltempo, the career victories he has accumulated are secondary to the memories he has made.

“I’ve had so many memories over the years its impossible to go through them all,” Beltempo said. “When you get into coaching you never envision sticking with it for 15 years much less winning 300 games. I’m very thankful for everything that has happened.”

Columbiana will host Brookfield on Thursday. Sebring drops to 3-4 (2-2) and will travel to McDondald on Thursday.