SPRINGVILLE—There are very few days off for Springville baseball player Austin Lux. Having just completed a 45 game summer ball schedule, the incoming senior has just a few weeks off before the start of fall baseball.
Lux will remain with the Western New York Prospects, an organization with several teams in different age brackets, where he plays for its premier team, dubbed as the showcase team.
The team travels throughout, and sometimes outside, the state to showcase the best baseball talent among high school players in the area. When the team isn’t on the road, it competes in the County of Erie Baseball Association’s 23-and-under division. Oppositions in the County of Erie league can be as much as eight years older than some of Lux’s teammates but in the end, the best improvement for the Prospects comes from playing the best competition.
Those top opponents can take the spotlight away from individual stellar performances as they did for Lux last week in New Jersey. Lux went the distance from the mound in the third game of a four-game series of a 9-3 loss, despite allowing just a single earned run and just a handful of hits.
It was those types of performances that earned the Griffin an individual invite to the Prep Baseball Report showcase in Binghamton earlier this summer.
Playing baseball nearly year-round has brought improvements to Lux’s game in almost every area. This summer he believes his pitching benefitted the most with his best pitch determined by situation.
“My slider or curve are probably my best pitches when I’m going for the strikeout, but otherwise a fastball to get strikes,” Lux said about what he thought were his best pitches.
In addition to New Jersey, Lux’s Prospect team has competed in tournaments in Niagara Falls, Darien Lake, Pittsburgh and at Canisius College. Those opportunities along with his PBR invite give him the greatest exposure for colleges to recruit him.
To date, there have been various colleges that have started a dialogue with Lux but after fall ball is complete, it will be his senior year as a Griffin next spring that will ultimately decide where he heads next.
After a stellar season for Springville this past spring, Lux was one of three Griffins named to the all-star team in Erie County Interscholastic Conference play.
The Griffins lost a 2-1 heartbreaker in the second round of the playoffs to Depew in May. From the mound, Lux allowed just a single earned run in throwing over 100 pitches. From the plate, he had his team’s only extra-base hit.
Although he primarily rotated between the mound and the outfield for the Prospects, his play with the Griffins was between pitching and shortstop.
His season fielding percentage for Springville ended near .900 with 24 putouts, 34 assists and three double plays. From the mound, Lux’s ERA was 2.00 while facing 122 batters through 28 innings in seven games. He allowed 19 hits and 14 runs, while walking 12 and striking out 34.
From the plate, he finished with a .438 batting average with 28 hits from 64 at-bats. The second-year varsity player had a slugging percentage of .703 and an on-base percentage of .507.
Lux finished with 18 runs, 20 RBI, was second on the team in extra-base hits with 13 and was the lone Griff to record a home run this past season to go with a pair of triples and 10 doubles.
He also finished with nine stolen bases and batted .500 or better in half the team’s games this past season that included a pair of four-hit performances for Springville.
Lux may have improved his pitching game the most this summer, but his performance at the plate was his best improvement during the school year.
“I want to take us beyond the second round of the playoffs ... and hit the weight room more,” Lux said on his spring goals.
While building upper body strength can be both a blessing and a curse for a pitcher, Lux wants to improve upon his slugger status without compromising the the flexibility he’ll need to throw the ball. He’ll focus on his thighs and calves in lower-body workouts that he hopes will allow him to throw faster by using more drive to push off the mound.
Coaching-wise he couldn’t be in better hands. His father Joel is the Griffin skipper and the younger Lux is thankful that although he is constantly being pushed by his father, that sometimes the most effective communication between the two can come without any words, from just a look.
Looks are also what Lux hopes to see more of from college recruiters and although his final Springville season is more than six months away, he’s doing everything he can now to make it a successful one.