By Jenelyn Russo
Photo Credit: Robert Zaleski
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Christian Ciuffetelli's love for baseball was born out of being surrounded by the game. With brothers who also played, Ciuffetelli was either at their games, watching baseball on television or outside playing catch.
"It's just something I grew to love," says Ciuffetelli. "It's become my passion, and I wouldn't want to do or play anything else."
The dominant right-handed pitcher and recent graduate of Servite High School knows each time he steps on the mound is an opportunity to dictate the pace and play of the game. And having the chance to do so alongside teammates who are also friends adds to the privilege of being able to play the sport.
"Just the team atmosphere as well, having my best friends as my teammates...that's one of the most amazing things I could ask for," says the 18-year old. "It's just a beautiful game. I have a lot of fun playing it."
Ciuffetelli finished his time as a Friar with a strong senior season, pitching to a 7-3 overall record across 58 innings pitched with a .724 ERA and 60 strikeouts. His Trinity League numbers from this season are even more impressive with a 4-1 record over 31.2 innings pitched, a .663 ERA and 33 strikeouts. Additionally, Ciuffetelli threw a no-hitter last month against Mater Dei, striking out 11 while leading the Friars to a 6-0 victory.
"Christian is one of the best pitchers in all of Southern California," says Servite head baseball coach, Shawn Gilbert. "He has great command of his fastball, but what sets him apart is not just his pitchability but his competitive nature. He is one of the best competitors I have ever been around in amateur baseball. That is what makes him special."
Ciuffetelli is committed to the University of Oregon, where he will play baseball for the Ducks. While he's excited about the next chapter in his career, the Irvine resident is grateful for the impact his time as a Friar has made on his life.
"Servite in general is an amazing school," says Ciuffetelli. "I could not be happier with the choice my parents and I made with going there. It honestly has prepared me in life more than I could even imagine. I wouldn't [have wanted] to play for any other school."
Developing a strong work ethic and learning how to overcome failure are just a few of the life lessons that Ciuffetelli has taken from the game, as modeled for him by both his parents and Servite varsity pitching coach, Duane Page. Regardless of how far baseball takes him, Ciuffetelli's faith plays a large role each time he pitches.
"That's been a big part of my high school career, finding my faith and strengthening it and bringing it out on the baseball field," says Ciuffetelli. "That's the most important thing—knowing how blessed we are."