E.A. Sports Today

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Piedmont’s Pike takes Bulldogs’ popular post-season backflips to a new level

Piedmont’s Trevor Pike gets airborne on one of his backflips after another series win.

BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
1A: Lindsay Lane (28-6) vs. Bayshore Christian (27-5)
2A: G.W. Long (32-8) vs. Decatur Heritage (30-9)
3A: Piedmont (36-5) vs. Trinity Presbyterian (31-6)
4A: Mobile Christian (31-4) vs. Etowah (28-12)
5A: Holtville (34-5) vs. Russellville (33-12)
6A: Pelham (18-18-1) vs. Hartselle (36-4)
7A: Central-Phenix City (33-9) vs. Hewitt-Trussville (30-4-1)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

PIEDMONT – Matt Deerman doesn’t know the hows and whys of Trevor Pike doing back flips after Piedmont baseball games. He just watches the sophomore infielder motor past him after the post-game handshake line and, like everyone else in blue and gold, just stands back and enjoys the show.

If Pike is flipping, that means Piedmont is winning. The Bulldogs and their fans would like to see the show one more time as the team takes on Trinity Presbyterian in the Class 3A state championship series at Jacksonville State that starts Monday.

“I think everybody really enjoys watching it,” Pike said. “It gives them something else to watch after the game’s already finished. It’s just a fun thing to watch and do. It’s my contribution to the team after we’ve won.”

The backflips have become something of a post-season tradition at Piedmont. Ethan Swinford started doing them in 2019, the last time Deerman took the Bulldogs to the championship series. They didn’t play in 2020 because of the COVID shutdown, but the tradition resumed last year with Jakari Foster and Pike picked up the mantle this year at the urging of teammate Cassius Fairs.

“Cash, he’s always been like our hype man, and one day at practice he asked me if I could do a backflip,” Pike explained. “I showed him I could do one and he got all excited. It was one of his favorite things, and after that he decided you need to start doing that after games.

“Every game after that he’d come over to me and say do that back flip. He felt it was necessary for the game.”

It’s not as easy as it looks. Try going through a doubleheader sweep or finishing a dramatic Game 3 and then flipping.

Because it’s not just a one flip and done kind of thing. Pike adds to his routine every time the Bulldogs win a series, kind of like what the cheerleaders do with pushups after touchdowns. He only does them after the series is won, not after each win.

He started flipping when the Bulldogs clinched their area championship, so even though they’ve won four playoff series he did 10 after the Bulldogs rallied to beat Phil Campbell in the semifinals. If the Bulldogs get through Trinity on Tuesday, Pike will peak at 12 flips. 

“At the end I struggle to walk; it gets pretty heavy on you,” he said. “But there’s no way I could stop it at this point. I’ve just got to power through it and keep going.”

And it’s important to keep your wits about during the process. There are hazards all over the infield and there’s no telling where the flipping will carry him once he gets started.

“I watched it this week because they had that mound out there that was like three feet tall and as big at Mt. Everest, and I thought, Lord, he’s about to hit that thing and tear his ACL,” Deerman said. “He hit the bottom of it where the dirt was and without breaking stride he changed direction and started flipping towards shortstop. Shows you the kind of athlete he is. He didn’t even slow down.” 

Pike is more than an entertainer. When he’s standing upright, he’s been used as a courtesy and pinch runner. When he eventually does get to play, he’ll probably be a second baseman with the projected move of Mohon to short.

But that’s for next year. 

For now, Pike is happy with providing his special contribution. He might even pull Fairs into it if the Bulldogs win it all.

“I doubt he could do 12,” he said. “My plan is to do 11 and I’ll get him to do that last one.”

When he is standing upright, Trevor Pike gives Piedmont a smart and speedy courtesy/pinch runner.

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