Lubach Lights a Spark as Mustangs Enter Postseason

Published 07/21 2014 10:15PM

Updated 07/22 2014 11:19AM

(ST. JOSEPH) This MINK League North Division Champion Mustangs are a completely different crop from the last squad to turn the trick in 2012. 

That is save for one exception: Tanner Lubach, a catcher and anchor of the 2012 squad that returned to St. Joseph last week for a shot at another crown. He's already provided a boost in just five games with the team. 

"It's huge just because he's been there, he's done that. He was on the last championship team that we had," manager Matt Johnson said. "Tanner's a likable guy. He's been with the coaches, so we previewed all the guys and what they were going to get." 

The Nebraska senior has spent the last two summers playing baseball outside of St. Joseph, but always eyed a return.

"I guess I had St. Joe in the back of my mind the whole time and the experience that I had too," he said.

In his first game back last friday, Lubach delivered a walk-off hit to seal a win over Omaha. He's continued to be a boost for a team that sports a league-low .233 batting average. 

"They mobbed me at second base and I thought: 'I know none of your names, but you're still out here.' I thought it was pretty cool."

Having played for Johnson and alongside assistant coaches Kyle Jackson and Cody Cunningham, the coaches knew exactly what Lubach could do for the offense.

"One of the things that we've struggled with is having consistent at-bats," Cunningham said. "What he brings offensively and defensively is going to be a huge plus."

Fresh off a run to regionals with Nebraska, Lubach hopes he can use that and his experience of winning a MINK League title to help the Mustangs finish the chase. 

"Luckily, I have a little experience under my belt of being confident in those situations and treating them like any other day," he said. "It's going to be fun to see what we can do here down the stretch."

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