MUHLENBURG — Defending state champion Red Land used an exceptionally well-pitched game by Kaden Peifer and several timely hits to roll over Archbishop Wood 5-0 in a PIAA quarterfinal game at Muhlenberg High School Thursday afternoon.
The win moves the Patriots into the semifinals against Manheim Central at a time and site to be determined.
Peifer just had a feeling it was going to be a good day, but had no clue he threw a no-hitter until Cole Wagner told him after the game.
“I woke up this morning and just had a good feeling about the game, not knowing what but just a good feeling we would have a good game,” Peifer said. ”We hit the ball and fielded the ball well. It was a good team win.”
“After the last game against Northern, we told him we needed a bit better focus out of him,” Patriots coach Nate Ebbert said. “He just delivered a dominant performance. Couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
Red Land (24-4) got a good start as Benny Montgomery walked to lead off the inning and stole second. Ethan Phillips ripped a double to the fence in left-center and Phillips scored as Brady Ebbert doubled to the gap in right-center field.
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The Patriots added to their lead in the third as Phillips looped a ball behind short that fell. He moved up on a passed ball and scored as Kaden Peifer doubled to left. Courtesy runner Cam Walter scored on a double play ball for the 4-0 advantage.
“I was just seeing the ball well today,” Phillips said. “They told me I would see a first pitch fastball, but he started me off speed. I knew I would see a fastball after Benny stole second and I was ready for it. We just played well as a team today.”
The Vikings (19-5) hit some balls hard, but could only manage two walks against Peifer and the righty picked up 10 strike outs. The hardest was a line drive right at Phillips at third base. Ebbert made a nice stop on a hard-hit grounder at second for an out.
Peifer retired the first 10 batters and allowed a walk to Aiden Myers in the fourth. He then retired eight more before walking Myers again on a very close pitch. He struck out opposing starter Michael Trommer before getting two fly balls to Benny Montgomery for the final two outs.
He was in control all game and only had three ball counts to four batters.
Ebbert and Phillips each had two hits. Montgomery was on base three times and Cole Wagner had a double in the sixth to score another run.