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Peifer left the field as quietly as he had entered it and

soon after, he was back in South Williamsport, waiting

to manage his next game at the Little League World

Series. For a two-week period in late August, Peifer’s Red

Land Little League team from Lewisberry, Pa., was the

talk of the nation.

Although Peifer was never a star with the Warriors

while he was working toward his nursing degree, he was

someone that Frank Girardi, his coach, said he could

always use as an example for work ethic.

“He was an excellent kid,” Girardi said. “He was one

of those tough guys that played fullback and he did very

well for us.”

Peifer, meanwhile, credits Girardi with a lot of the

style that he tries to use as a coach.

“Even then, I thought I was lucky to be playing for

a hall of fame coach,” Peifer said. “I have great, great

memories of playing for him. We had fun at practice but

we also practiced hard. We wanted to please him as much

as anything. He certainly had a huge impact on the way

that I want to coach. A lot of the things I learned from

him, especially when I am coaching football, I like to

pass on.”

Clark, Peifer’s teammate for two years, was also quick

to praise him for his competitiveness. “Like most of the

guys that I played with, Tom was a really competitive guy

and a really good player during one of the high points in

the history of our football program.”

By the time that he had a chance to visit his old

stomping grounds, a generous three miles from Howard

J. Lamade Stadium, Red Land had already dispatched

their first two opponents by scoring 27 runs. His son,

Kaden, hit a home run in his first Little League World

Series at bat, and he caught nearly every pitch Red Land

threw during its five games at the tournament.

“That was the first time I had tears on the bench to see

him running around the bases,” Peiffer said of Kaden’s

opposite-field, two-strike homer. “It was a dream come

true for him and myself. To see all the hard work pay off

for him and all the boys like that was just great.”

The boys from Northeastern York County went on to

post a 3-0 win over Texas in the U.S. semifinal and again

dispatched Texas, 3-2, in the U.S. final with a walk-off hit

in front of a Little League World Series record 45,716 fans.

The next day, Red Land played for the Little League

World Championship, falling to Japan, 18-11, in front of

42,000 more fans. Even with the loss, the kids from the

little town of Lewisberry, population 362, had captured

America’s hearts and imaginations.

“I use the word surreal a lot when I talk about it,”

Peifer said. “I still haven’t watched the games on TV

because if I do, it will bring tears to my eyes. It was a

once-in-a-lifetime experience for the kids and coaches. It

was just incredible.”

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime

experience for the kids and

coaches.”

Tom Peifer ’95

The Red Land Little League team, Lewisberry, Pa.

35

www.lycoming.edu

AT H L E T I C F E AT U R E