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
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
Tom Peifer ’95
The Red Land Little League team, Lewisberry, Pa.
AT H L E T I C F E AT U R E