It’s extremely weird seeing Larry Lundy wearing bright red at a Salem High School baseball game.
But when it’s his son coaching against the Tigers, well…family ties run deep.
That was the case last month when St. Clair baseball head coach Mitch Lundy led his Bulldogs into the Missouri Class 4 District 9 Tournament championship game against upset-minded Salem May 20 at Sullivan High School.
Salem, which had posted a pair of one-run wins in the previous two district games – including a semifinal victory over No. 1-seed Owensville – also gave second-seeded St. Clair a scare in the title contest until senior Wesley Hinson slapped a one-out, bases-loaded line-drive single over a drawn-in Tiger outfield to produce the game-winning blow in the bottom of the seventh inning, allowing the Bulldogs to pull out a 3-2 walk-off victory and end Salem’s season.
That put St. Clair into a Class 4 Sectional playoff matchup against Springfield Catholic, which Catholic would win 4-2.
But it was a banner season nonetheless for Mitch Lundy and St. Clair, which finished the season 15-8 and captured the Four Rivers Conference championship with a 6-1 league mark.
“It was a good year,” said Lundy, now age 35. “It’s something going in we thought we were capable of doing. It’s only the second time we have won a conference or district championship. The Four Rivers Conference is a very tough conference; it’s just solid all the way through.”
Ending Salem’s campaign was at the same time a tad unfortunate for Lundy, who was a standout Tiger athlete in baseball and basketball.
Lundy, a 2005 graduate, was an all-district and All-SCA baseball player and an All-SCA honorable mention pick in basketball for the Tigers during his playing days.
At Salem Lundy played under longtime Tiger baseball head coach Don Smith. His assistant coaches were Phil Karr and Tony Edwards. When St. Clair eliminated Salem last month, Karr was Lundy’s opposing head coach and Edwards the Tiger assistant.
St. Clair also won the Salem Tournament earlier this spring, although the Bulldogs didn’t play Salem then.
Lundy recently completed his sixth school year as a teacher/coach at St. Clair, and his fourth season as Bulldog baseball head coach.
Over the last four years Lundy has faced Salem three times and has beaten the Tigers twice.
“As head coach, you just want to beat them,” Lundy said. “But there is always a special place in my heart, to play Salem. I will always be a Salem Tiger. But competitively, you always want to beat them.”
And he knows it puts family in a funny situation.
“My dad is going to root for me over anyone,” Mitch Lundy said of Larry. “Same way with my brother (Jason Bass). It’s nice to get down there and see familiar faces and play your old team. It makes you a little nervous. But I’m always proud to be from Salem.”
After graduating from Salem High, Mitch went to Fontbonne University with Tiger teammate Patrick McCoy. Lundy played baseball and basketball at Fontbonne for two seasons before transferring to Southwest Baptist University, when he received his B.S. degree in physical education and health in 2010.
He was a teacher and assistant basketball and baseball coach for three years back at Salem before becoming the Vienna High School boys’ basketball head coach, a position he held from 2013-15. Lundy then moved on to St. Clair.