Walking off the mound, Trinity Classical Academy’s Luke Pfeiffer did a little shimmy, took a couple more steps and then saluted the crowd after the Knights completed the comeback, 5-2, win against Upland Christian at The Master’s University on Friday.
“No one really taught me that,” Luke said of the celebration. “I was just in the moment and I wanted to enjoy it so it was great.”
Going down 2-0 after Upland Christian’s Ethan Moore hit an RBI triple scoring two runs, things looked bleak for the Knights (17-3) in the CIF-Southern Section Division 7 quarterfinal game.
Staying positive, starting pitcher Andrew Pfeiffer, who recorded eight strikeouts, four walks and no earned runs, showed his maturation and poise by not letting those two early runs get the best of him.
“We just kept doing what we have been accustomed to doing this year: our jobs,” Andrew said. “Our defense played cleanly, I recovered on the mound, my stuff came back and we got hungrier and hungrier as the game went on.”
In the bottom of the sixth, still up 2-0, the Eagles (9-11-1) opted to switch pitchers as Hunter Cardin came on to relieve starting pitcher Curtis Kimbrough.
The Knights, licking their chops, saw their opportunity.
After a leadoff walk to Joey Andolino, Luke stepped to the plate and hit a single into right field that allowed Andolino to turn the corner at third and get the Knights on the board for the first time in the game.
Striking out the next batter, Carson Campuzano stepped into the batter’s box. Hitting a bomb into right field, Campuzano brought in Luke to tie the game at 2-2.
The scoring and action didn’t stop there.
After Aiden Martinelli was walked, Max Mitchell took a couple practice swings, pulled his pants up a little and hit a single, giving Campuzano a decision to make at third.
Steal home or stay put at third?
Steal home, of course.
“I haven’t been in a pickle in a while, but I just tried to draw a throw,” Campuzano said. “I knew I got caught and I thought the ball was going to get up the middle, but it didn’t and they ended up making a mistake and we capitalized on it.”
Sliding into home, Campuzano jumped up and chest bumped his fellow teammate in jubilation as he gave the Knights their first lead of the game, 3-2.
Not letting up, Judah Palmisano hit a single to the third baseman, who tried to get the runner out at second. The second baseman wasn’t able to corral the ball, allowing another Trinity player to cross the plate.
Capping the inning, with runners on second and third, Andrew connected with a ball for a single to score Max Mitchell from third base.
Heading into the final inning leading 5-2 with the last chance for the Eagles to tie or go ahead, Andrew went back out and got the batter to hit a grounder up the middle to get him out at first.
Switching brother for brother, Luke took over on the mound and Andrew slid over to shortstop. Throwing eight pitches (seven strikes and one ball), Luke was able to strike out the last two batters to complete the come-from-behind victory and seal the semifinal berth for the Knights.
Blazing their own path, the Knights move on to the Division 7 semifinals where they will take on de Toledo on Tuesday with the location TBA.