South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Affton baseball reflects on successful season

One highlight of season was defeating Mehlville

Despite an early exit from district play, Affton baseball’s season was successful.

Affton’s head baseball coach, Rob Uthoff, said a pair of seniors led the team.

“We had strong senior leadership from Kaleb Lamons and Jackson Wilbers that taught our young guys how we play our brand of baseball here at Affton High School,” Uthoff said. “We are a bit unconventional and certainly different than some of the summer programs here in the St. Louis area, but, we as a coaching staff, along with the senior leadership, were able to get the team to buy-in to our brand of baseball and our philosophy and it truly brought us some good, strong wins throughout the season. It’s what made us a winning ball team this year.”

The Cougars finished with an 11-10 record for the season.

Wilbers led the team with a .460 average, hitting in the lead off spot for the Cougars. The Affton senior also played well defensively.

“His defense in centerfield has been an anchor for us for the past four seasons,” Uthoff said.

Carter Kimmel went 5-3 on the mound with 46 strikeouts this season. Uthoff is looking forward to the junior returning next season.

“His work on the mound and success made him our No. 1 this year,” Affton’s coach said. “We expect him to return next season and continue to be our ace.”

Uthoff also mentioned the play of senior shortstop Jacob Johnson.

“His four years at shortstop have been fun to watch,” he said. “His hands are so soft and quick, it will be tough to replace, but we have a freshman who is up for the challenge.”

Johnson even worked with his understudy to get him ready to take over next season.

Affton also received a welcome surprise this season with the play of Dylan Meissner and Walter McCourt, two freshmen.

“Meissner solidified himself at third base for us,” Uthoff said. “Originally, we believed he would be a swing player and play the majority of his games at the JV (junior varsity) level, but he stepped up and took ownership of third base. It was fun to watch him grow and develop.”

While Meissner excelled in the field, McCourt excelled on the mound for the Cougars. He ended up being a solid No. 1 behind Kimmel on the mound, finishing 3-1 on the season with a 1.54 ERA.

“While he may not have the dominant presence yet, he certainly understood and learned how to throw to varsity hitters,” Uthoff said. “This experience will be a fantastic starting point as we prepare for next season.”

For next season, Uthoff said he and his coaching staff will start prepping for the new year with a meeting in the next few days. The players will likely play summer ball and work on their skills.

“When we return in the fall, my coaching staff and I have a plan in place to keep the boys in shape, getting them stronger and providing the opportunities for defense reps they need as well as cage work to continue to build their swings and offense as we prepare for the 2025 season,” Uthoff said. “We’re looking forward to getting back to work in the fall.”

With a plethora of young talent, the future is looking bright for Affton baseball. There were glimpses of that brightness this spring as the Cougars defeated Mehlville, 4-1, after dropping a 12-2 decision to the Panthers the previous day.

“It was the first time in my 12 years as Affton’s head coach that we have defeated Mehlville,” Uthoff said.

The Cougars also responded to a 16-1 defeat by Fox by earning a 5-4 win the following day. Once again, this was the first time Uthoff’s squad had defeated Fox in his 12 years as coach.

“Both of those games are perfect examples of our resilience and ability to put a poor performance behind us and focus on the next game,” he said. “That was a big part of our philosophy this year, ‘Get the next one.’ Whether it was the next play, next pitch, next inning or next game, we always preached that the most important play, pitch, swing, at-bat, inning, game, was the next one.”

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