AFFTON • The Lutheran South and MICDS baseball teams shared the ABC League championship a year ago. Now, thanks to John Auble and Gus Reinitz, the Lancers won’t have to share it with anyone this year.
Auble allowed one run on five hits in a complete-game effort and Reinitz came through with a pinch-hit two-run double to give Lutheran South a 2-1 victory over visiting MICDS on Thursday for the Lancers’ sixth straight win.
"This year, our league I believe is one of the toughest in the state," said South coach Steve Pfund, who turned 50 on Thursday. "Everybody is competitive day in and day out and you can’t take nothing for granted. It was a great ball game today."
The No. 7 team in the Post-Dispatch small-schools rankings, Lutheran South (18-7 overall, 9-1 in league play) got another strong performance from Auble, a senior righthander who is now 13-2 with a 1.16 ERA over 961/3 innings the past two seasons.
"We are really picking it up here and trying to pick it up as we go into districts," he said. "Obviously, we want to play good baseball and that’s what we’ve been doing the past week or two, and it feels so good to come down to that last win and get that W."
Auble struck out six and walked one batter. His only mistake was a high fastball that Gary Russo hammered over the left field fence for a solo home run in the fifth inning to give MICDS a 1-0 lead.
"He’s pretty good," MICDS coach Pete Jans said. "He’s got a real good sense of how to pitch and he’s got good stuff to make it happen. He goes in with a game plan. … He’s tough. He keeps the ball down. He uses his infielders. He works quick, has a good move."
MICDS (13-6, 7-3), ranked sixth among area small schools, got a strong start from southpaw Ross Widham. He allowed three hits in four scoreless innings before being taken out before the fifth inning to save him for districts next week.
Lutheran South broke through in the fifth against reliever Adam Putnam.
With two outs and runners on second and third — after Geoff Gerling walked and Ben Eckrich singled — Pfund called on Reinitz to pinch-hit.
The junior outfielder, who entered the game hitting .173 (nine hits in 52 at-bats) with a team-high two home runs, drove a 2-0 pitch to deep center field for a double and a 2-1 Lancers lead.
"It’s real exciting," Reinitz said. "I don’t know how to explain it. It’s wonderful. I love getting that opportunity, and then making the most of it is great."