Class B power Chaska adds former Gopher to pitching rotation

Posted on June 10, 2014 by CJ Siewert

Story by Eric Kraushar, Chaska Herald

Austin Lubinsky faced one of the toughest decisions of his life — sign professionally or come back for his senior year at the University of Minnesota, hoping the following year he would hear his name called at the Major League Baseball Draft.

For the LaCrosse, Wis. native, a Sunday starter as a junior for the Gophers, the decision came down to his second family, the Minnesota Baseball team.

“I really wanted to stick around and play with another great group of guys,” said Lubinsky of his Gophers squad. “I had a pretty good year and my arm was getting to where I wanted it, but I didn’t get drafted again. I got a work opportunity and jumped on that, getting into the workforce.”

Now two years removed from his collegiate days with the Gophers where he held the lowest earned run average as a senior in his career (3.87) with a 4-4 record over 14 starts, Lubinsky has caught on with the Chaska Cubs amateur baseball team.

Former teammate Kyle Geason, the hard-hitting, slick-fielding corner-infield-turned-shortstop this season, threw out the idea of reuniting. J.T. Canakes, like Geason an Eden Prairie native, joined Lubinsky in signing contracts with the Cubs.

“Me and J.T. were doing some stuff with Edina Baseball Association and Geas came in one day to hit randomly and told us they needed pitching and outfielding and that was both of our spots, so we said ‘let’s check this out,’” Lubinsky said.

Once a 36th round pick of the San Francisco Giants in 2011, Lubinsky is just regaining the form that made him a successful pitcher in the Big 10. On Sunday against the Mankato Mets, the 6’2” right-hander threw an efficient five scoreless innings, allowing three hits with three strikeouts, in a 4-0 win.

It was his first start of the season after coming out of the bullpen in previous outings.

“You get up there and it’s one of those times where it just comes back and you never feel like you lost it. … Each start I’m feeling better and better. I’m upping my pitch count each time. We’ll see where we go with a few starts. I feel comfortable coming out of the bullpen or starting,” he said.

Chaska scored two runs in the third inning with Greg Lane scoring on a double steal with Cory Glieden picked off first base, but his effort to remain in a hotbox long enough allowed the lead runner to score.

Glieden later scored on a Geason single through the left-side hole.

The Cubs added two runs in the seventh inning on an Isaac Tewes sacrifice fly and a Canakes sacrifice bunt, in which the throw sailed into right field, allowing Tony Lane to score from first base.

Ryan Seifert allowed one hit with three strikeouts over the final four innings for the save.

“It’s a just a great group of guys to hang around with,” said Lubinsky of the Cubs. “Really, that’s what made us stay and play with these guys. Great organization here with Chaska. They took us in with open arms. We have good potential to make a run here.”

Lubinsky, happy living in Minnesota, working and living in the Minnetonka area, doesn’t have any plans to return to the game professionally. But never say never.

“Right now it’s just about getting back into it and having fun. I’ve always been around the game and always have had fun with it. I try to not take it too serious. When we’re in the dugout, I always try to joke around. Just being around the field and being around the guys is what it’s all about,” Lubinsky said.

“If something came up, I would have to take a pretty close look at it with work and where my body and arm are at. As of now, it’s just a little town-ball fun for me,” he added.

Check out additional content below: