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Angels Kristofak overcame the unthinkable to be in the majors!

My college roommate shared a story with me awhile back about Zac Kristofak, a high school teammate of his son. I remember at the time thinking, “Wow, how do you overcome something as traumatic as this?” Well, Zac put aside the pain and sadness from his high school career and recently enjoyed his first experience pitching for the Angels last Sunday!


Zac’s line was 2 innings pitched, two unearned runs allowed, three hits, two KO’s and two walks in an 11-5 loss to the Twins.

Zac’s Story


Three days before Christmas in Atlanta in 2012, Zac came home from HS baseball practice to a large showing of police around his home. After his mom dropped him off for practice, his dad, John Kristofak, murdered his ex-wife, Donna. Zac’s older brother, Harrison, found her in their garage. She died later at the hospital.


A five day manhunt ensued, and John was arrested in a Motel 6 in Union City, Georgia.


Zac’s dad was sentenced to life in prison, but the two brothers were sentenced to a lifetime of missed mom-time.


Sam Blum’s article on The Athletic was superb. Great job, Sam!


Zac on his future

“I’ll get to write my own story,” Kristofak said this summer, sitting on a restaurant patio overlooking his apartment complex in Alabama. “I think that what I want to do, more than anything in life, is rewrite the Kristofak name.”’ (This was all in the Blum article.)


Zac’s College Career

BATON ROUGE, LA – MARCH 17: Georgia Bulldogs pitcher Zac Kristofak (12) throws a pitch during a baseball game between the Georgia Bulldogs and LSU Tigers on March 17, 2017 at Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by John Korduner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

After high school, Kristofak was drafted by his hometown Atlanta Braves. But the allure of playing for the University of Georgia topped the 2016 MLB draft. His freshman year at UGA he appeared in 26 games with three starts. Zac’s total of 44.2 innings included 23 relief stints. Final stat line? 3-1, two saves, 5.24 ERA with 38 K’s and 19 walks.


Zac’s sophomore year was a successful one as UGA reached the NCAA Athens Regional Final game, one away from the College World Series.


Kristofak’s team-leading 31 appearances were all in relief. He dropped a 4-2 record, with four saves, and a 3.83 ERA. Zac struck out 58 batters and gave 22 walks all while holding opponents to a .238 batting average.


Junior year started with great enthusiasm for Zac and his Bulldog teammates. They grabbed a #4 seed for the NCAA College World Series only to see their year end again in the Athens Regional Final game.


Zac’s numbers (5-0, six saves (2-0, five saves in SEC play), 63 KO’s, only 15 walks in 47.1 combined innings) caught the eye of the LA Angels. They drafted him in the 14th round in the 2019 MLB draft.


Hello, Halos!

He spent four and a half years in the minors before his first call up last weekend. Sadly the club designated him for assignment just a few days ago.

Here’s hoping this 26 year old man finds a LONG future in MLB. To overcome this in your life is a tribute to his mom and brother’s support and the families who took this young man under their wings during various times in his life. Would have been amazing for him to be on the 40 man roster and in an Angel’s uniform for Mother’s Day.


If he clears waivers he can be reassigned to the AAA Angel’s club in Salt Lake City. If he is claimed off waivers, he lands on another club’s 40 man roster. 


Best of luck, Zac. Cleveland fans love great stories even when they are from their opponents. Except stories about AJ Pierzynski. We still hate him!

Going to the games this weekend? Here are the matchups, assuming the rain doesn’t ruin the first weekend in May!


Friday: 7:10 PM start

Soriano (0-4, 4.76 ERA) vs Bibee (2-0, 3.45 ERA)

Saturday: 6:10 PM start

Detmers (3-2, 3.12 ERA) vs Lively (0-1, 2.30 ERA)

Sunday: 1:40 PM start

Canning (1-3, 7.45 ERA) vs Carrasco (1-2, 6.59 ERA)

I am a math teacher in SW Ohio. Born and raised in NE Ohio, I am married with four sons who keep the flame burning for all things Cleveland. I cover soccer, betting, football and anything that focuses on the human side of sports.

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