Sean Lubin did not pitch one inning at La Roche College this spring, but this summer, the South Hills Greater Pittsburgh Federation League baseball team has counted on Lubin to be one of its aces on the mound.
Lubin, a Bridgeville area resident and a 2010 South Fayette High School graduate, is the team's No. 2 pitcher behind Ethan Weiss and helped South Hills to a 7-7-1 record through 15 games.
"He's been phenomenal," said South Hills player/manager Kenny Morgan. "He's not the biggest of guys -- he's probably 5 feet 6 -- but he's deceptive. You don't expect him to throw as hard as he does."
Lubin's fastball tops out in the mid-80 miles-per-hour range and he throws a curveball, changeup and even a knuckleball. But his biggest asset may be his competitiveness.
"I love Sean," Morgan said. "He's one of those kids who will just scrap with you and won't back down. He goes out there and just wears his emotions on his sleeve."
Despite not pitching during his junior season at La Roche, Lubin said it didn't take him long to build up his arm strength.
"I throw batting practice during the [college season], so my arm was in pretty decent shape," Lubin said. "My brother [Nick] is also a pitcher and so I've been throwing with him."
Nick Lubin, a Class of 2004 graduate of South Fayette, is also on the South Hills Federation team. Because of the age difference, this season marks the first time Nick and Sean have played on the same team together.
The chance to play together was something the two brothers previously joked about, but neither thought the possibility would become a reality.
"I was always the bat boy for his teams growing up," Sean Lubin said. "We always joked around about what it would be like to play together, but never thought it would happen.
"So it was pretty cool when he was pitching and they hit a ground ball to me at shortstop."
Sean Lubin mans the shortstop position for South Hills when he isn't pitching, which is the same position he plays for the Redhawks.
Of the players who played in at least half of La Roche's games this past season, Lubin finished fourth with a .329 batting average. He also led the team in walks and was second in stolen bases.
His ability to get on base and put pressure on defenses are why Morgan often has Lubin hitting near the top of the lineup.
"He can do it all," Morgan said. "He can hit, bunt and has good speed, so when he gets on, he moves on the bases. He brings a lot to the team."
Morgan is very familiar with Lubin. Morgan was two years ahead of Lubin at South Fayette, and competed on some of the same baseball and wrestling teams with him.
Lubin said it's nice to play with Morgan, his brother and other guys from the community (many of South Hills' players are from South Fayette and Chartiers Valley) during the summer.
But the main advantage Lubin sees is how well it prepares him for returning to college baseball in the fall.
"Anytime you can see live pitching, it's an advantage," Lubin said. "You can go practice at the cage, but it's completely different than what you see in games. So I definitely think playing in the league helps me stay fresh for college."sportsother