Fighting back from two deficits, Trinity Classical Academy baseball battled it out against Valley Christian Academy of Santa Maria at The Master’s University in a thrilling eight-inning 6-5 walk-off win on Friday.
The Division 7 postseason win It was the first baseball playoff victory in the school’s history.
“Character. Character,” said Trinity head coach Mike Franchimone. “I told them in adversity, character is what comes out.”
Falling behind 1-0 in the first inning, the Knights tied it up in the fourth inning after Carson Campuzano knocked a ball into the outfield, bringing in a run. The Lions answered by rattling off three more runs in the fifth and the Knights found themselves down 4-1.
That’s when Trinity (15-3) decided to turn things up a notch.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Jake Backes hit an RBI single in the fifth inning as the Knights started to show some grit.
Scoring another three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, Tristen Rodriguez hit a single to the third base gap to bring in a run.
After Andrew Pfeiffer popped up in the next at-bat, Joey Andolino stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and hit a single, scoring two more runs to put the Knights ahead for the first time in the game, 5-4.
“In the midst of adversity we showed character and trust in each other and we came back. It was insane,” said Pfeiffer. “To see teammates having each others’ back, keeping their heads up the entire time and never giving up, it was huge.”
Scoring the game-tying run in the top of the seventh, the Lions (6-7) sent the game into extra innings.
With the first two batters reaching safely, things did not look good for Pfeiffer and the Knights’ playoff aspirations. Pfeiffer managed to strikeout the next batter and thanks to some quick thinking and even better defense, the next two batters grounded out to get the Knights out of the inning.
With two outs and runners on first and second, Backes stepped to the plate. He hit a single into the third base gap that allowed Rodriguez to round third and set up a play at the plate.
“I knew that Jake was the right man for the right time. It was meant to be. There’s nobody in that situation than Jake,” Pfeiffer said.
With the throw home going wide left, Rodriguez crossed home plate emphatically, giving the Knights their first playoff win in the program’s history with the 6-5 win.
“That felt unreal when I hit that last ball. I cannot take all the credit for winning the game,” Backes said.
Andrew Pfeiffer pitched a complete game giving up two earned runs on eight hits while striking out six.
Moving onto the next round, the Knights will face off against Bloomington Christian at Bloomington Christian on Tuesday.