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Examiner
  • Lufft developing into star for A's

  • Jeremy Lufft’s evolution as a player has been on full display the last two nights at Hidden Valley Park in Blue Springs.

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  • Jeremy Lufft’s evolution as a player has been on full display the last two nights at Hidden Valley Park in Blue Springs.
    On Tuesday night, Lufft went a combined 5-for-8 and made a handful of slick plays at third base as the Blue Springs Rod’s Sport A’s split a doubleheader with Hi Boy Drive In/Post 340. Wednesday night, Lufft was at it again in the first half of a Zone 2 East doubleheader against the Sedalia Post 642 Travelers, going 2-for-4, reaching three times and plating three runs and making a diving snag at second base to end the third inning and help the A’s to a 17-7 six-inning win.
    Lufft’s been one of the most pleasant surprises for A’s manager Mike Rooney. After Wednesday’s first game, the Blue Springs High School junior is hitting .472 with 24 RBIs and 26 runs scored. He can also play every position except catcher. But what Rooney likes most about the second-year A’s player is how little he cares about his credentials.
    “He’s batting (No.) 2 for us and he’s hitting over .400 and he comes up the other day and says, ‘If you need me to bunt I’ll bunt,’” Rooney said. “‘I’m a good bunter,’ he says, ‘I’ll get the runner moved up.’ I say, ‘Well, I’d rather you just knock the crap out of the ball.’”
    Lufft’s done plenty of that this season, like Wednesday when he crushed an RBI triple to deep center field, but he wants it clear what his motivation is.
    “I love to bunt,” Lufft said. “It’s one of my favorite things to do. I’m just not really focused on my stats. I don’t look at my stats. I don’t worry about them. When people tell me my stats, I don’t listen. I’m just here to play for the team.”
    Rooney said Lufft is a markedly improved player from a year ago. In the offseason, he spent the fall months taking grounders from his dad, Tom Lufft, constantly. Once it got cold, he went to his garage, where he has a tarp set up that he hits balls into.
    He also committed to the weight room, working on his upper body Mondays and Tuesdays and his legs on Thursdays and Fridays while working in core workouts.
    Lufft says he can notice the results.
    “I’m just feeling it,” he said. “Whenever I hit the ball, I feel more man behind me.”
    Batting second, Lufft adds a key cog to an already potent lineup with five players with at least 30 at-bats hitting over .400. On Wednesday, David Stober and Kyle Reed, the A’s Nos. 3 and 4 hitters, combined to go 8-for-9 with seven RBIs and three doubles.
    Page 2 of 2 - Add an improved Lufft to that mix and there just aren’t many holes in the A’s lineup.
    “He’s young and still learning,” Rooney said. “He’s got a lot of skills. He’d make a good ballplayer for a college coach somewhere.”
    Follow Shawn Garrison on Twitter: @GarrisonEJC
     

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