Tahoe Student Athlete of the Month: Pfister helps lead South Tahoe to playoffs
Whittell’s Jarvis Humlick was the runner-up for the Tribune Student Athlete of the Month.
The South Tahoe baseball team was 3-6 and near the bottom of the 3A Northern League standings when the calendar turned to April.
Several feet of snow in March killed outside practice for the Vikings. As the weather cleared and the temperatures began to rise so did the Vikings.
The team won 11 of its last 15 regular season games which was keyed by strong defense, timely hitting and ace hurler Chris Pfister dominating on the mound.
Pfister won all four of his starts and also earned a save.
He got rolling against arch-rival Truckee in a game where he felt terrible. All he did was walk out to the mound for seven straight innings and shutout the Wolverines on three hits and no walks while striking out five.
He came back a few days later and gave up just one run in a victory over Lowry.
Four days later he was back on the mound in Truckee, nearly duplicating his effort. He again pitched a complete game and beat the Wolverines, this time 2-1.
He finished the month with maybe his strongest effort of the season. Pfister hurled all eight innings in a 1-0 victory over Fernley.
“Throughout the season I got progressively better,” Pfister said. “I was shutting down teams. I started off shaky, but we hit the Truckee series and that’s where things started getting better for me.”
Pfister continued his solid performance in the playoffs, although he suffered the loss in the first round. He bounced back the next day and tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings to earn his sixth victory of the season and help the Vikings reach the semifinals.
They lost that semifinal game 7-6 to Truckee. He pitched the last two innings and didn’t allow a run, making it three straight days of being on the mound and giving South Tahoe a chance to make a comeback.
Pfister went 6-2 overall and finished the season with a 3.53 earned run average and made the 3A All-Northern League second team. He also hit .309.
“We had an inkling he would be our No. 1 guy to start the season,” said Vikings head coach Starbuck Teevan. “We brought him up as a freshman because we knew he had the tools. He just needed to get bigger and stronger and learn how to pitch and not just throw. He did that over the course of four years. He was definitely our No. 1 guy at the end of the year.
“He (was) our bulldog on the mound, and he won some very important games for us down the stretch. We couldn’t have gone where we did without him. He was a very important part of the team. Hopefully he’s got bigger and better things ahead of him.”
Pfister was nominated for the Tribune’s April Student-Athlete of the Month award, but he fell just short.
He again was nominated for the award in May, the first time a student-athlete has been nominated in back-to-back months, and this time he won the honor.
“I feel it’s pretty cool to get some recognition for what I’ve done to get here,” Pfister said. “It’s a great feeling.”
Pfister was born in South Lake Tahoe and has played baseball since he was 4. He’s a “big gamer” and also loves basketball.
He will continue to play baseball throughout the summer on two travelling teams, both coached by Teevan.
In August, he’ll leave for a much warmer climate where baseball can be played year round. He’ll attend Butte Community College to further pursue his athletic career and education.
He was in South Tahoe’s sports medicine program for four years and plans to study kinesiology with that head start. He’ll live in Chico with his older brother.
“The opportunity has presented itself for him,” Teevan said. “He has the opportunity to play at the next level and it’s up to him to keep his grades up and keep his head in there. He’s going to a good, competitive program.”