Keeping their historic playoff run going, the No. 3 ranked Trinity Classical Academy Knights traveled to Bloomington to take on Bloomington Christian in the CIF-Southern Section Division 7 playoffs on Tuesday and won 8-5.
Jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning and adding another run in the top of the third, the Knights (16-3) seemed as if they were going to run away with the game.
“We were up 5-0,” said Trinity head coach Mike Franchimone. “We scored on passed balls and being aggressive on the base paths and then we went on a drought.”
Finally getting on the board, Bloomington Christian (10-9) found their stride from the plate as they scored two runs in the fourth and added another run the next inning to close the Trinity lead to two runs, 5-3.
It wasn’t until the final inning of regulation that things got interesting again.
Striking out the first batter he faced, Trinity’s Judah Palmisano (who gave up two runs on seven hits and struck out eleven in the game), ran into some trouble as he allowed two runs to tie the game at 5-5. Franchimone had no choice but to sub out the pitcher.
“Judah was perfect. He just hung a slider and they got a couple of runs back by a mental error by an outfielder,” Franchimone said.
In to relief for Palmisano was Andrew Pfeiffer, who was able to get out of the seventh inning without allowing another run.
Heading into extra innings for the second consecutive game, the Knights knew what they had to do.
In the eighth inning, after senior Joey Andolino and freshman Luke Pfeiffer got on base, the man of the game in the first round of playoffs, Jake Backes, came through again and doubled to bring in the two runners, giving the Knights the 7-5 lead.
Before the top half of the inning was done, Backes crossed home plate giving the Knights an 8-5 lead.
In the bottom of the eighth, Andrew Pfeiffer looked like a man on a mission as he struck out the side to end the game and put the Knights through to the quarterfinals.
The Knights will take on Upland Christian Academy in the quarterfinals on Friday.
“Our boys are showing some tremendous heart to come back with three runs in the top of the eight. It just shows what we’re made of. When we need it, we get it. We don’t let the previous inning define us,” Franchimone said.