When Arbor View’s Austin Pfeifer stepped to the plate with the bases loaded in the fifth inning, it was almost a foregone conclusion that the senior was going to make Faith Lutheran pay.
After all, there’s hardly been a hotter hitter this month than Pfeifer, and he came through again Tuesday.
Pfeifer went 3-for-4 with a double and a fifth-inning grand slam to lead the Aggies to an 11-5 home baseball win over the Crusaders.
“Pfeifer is just amazing,” Arbor View coach Gary White said. “He’s pitching; this was his seventh home run. He’s hitting well over .400. He’s just doing an amazing job. He’s really grown up this year, and he’s got a great future ahead of him.”
Pfeifer, who has signed with UNLV, drove in five runs for the third consecutive game, and he has homered in five straight games. Since the start of the month, he’s 14-for-20 with six homers and 21 RBIs. He was hitting .298 at the start of the month but has raised his average to .406.
“I just changed my approach, tried to go to the middle of the field,” Pfeifer said. “And if I get any inside pitches, turn on them.”
He did that in the fifth inning, driving a 3-and-1 fastball over the left-field fence for a grand slam that extended the Arbor View lead to 11-4. He also had an RBI single in the fourth and a double in the third.
Reliever Ethan Anderson came on in the fourth with Faith Lutheran (11-10, 3-8) leading 4-3. He allowed one run in four innings to pick up the win. Three of the six hits he allowed were in the seventh after the outcome was all but decided.
“He’s been doing that all year for us,” White said. “Anderson came in and did a great job. He threw strikes, and we made the plays.”
The Aggies (13-9-1, 6-5 Northwest League) have won five consecutive Northwest games after a 1-5 start and have the league’s fourth and final playoff spot.
“Opening up with Centennial and Palo Verde put us in a bad situation, going 1-5,” White said. “Right now I tell the team, ‘Every game is a playoff game, and you have to look at it as a playoff game. We can’t afford to make mistakes.’
“We’re coming around. We want to obviously play our best baseball at the end of the season, and right now we’re doing that, so we’ve just got to keep it going.”