Lauren (Reinagel) Pobst says her life on the diamond started before she was ever born. Now, a decade after her graduation from Notre Dame, her athletic legacy continues to amaze as the record books she rewrote during her career prove her status as one of the most dominant Lady Bulldogs in history.
When Pobst received her call informing her of her induction into the Hall of Fame, it was a feeling of closure. “I’ve finally done it,” she said. “I’m finally done.”
Growing up, Pobst had goals she wanted to achieve. She hit all of them. “When I was younger, I set a list of goals, a bucket list to complete,” she said. “Get the most strikeout record, win state. The very, very last one was to be inducted into the Notre Dame Athletic Hall of Fame.”
Pobst ended her Notre Dame career with a record of 84-4 with 497 strikeouts, 51 shutouts and 21 no-hitters, along with a perfect game in the 2009 state championship victory. She was All-State in 2008 and 2009 while also being the Southeast Missourian Player of the Year during those seasons. She left ND as the record holder for wins, ERA, strikeouts, shutouts and no-hitters.
Pobst credits someone who paved the way for her –her father, Ray Reinagel, a Hall of Fame member himself. His softball playing career started long before Pobst was born. “It was kind of in my blood,” she said. “My dad played forever and we just grew up on the dirt. Everybody in Kelso played softball; that’s just what you did.”
Pobst’s older sister, Lindsey, played softball before her as Lauren waited for her chance to prove herself. “While he was teaching Lindsey, I would just sit on the sidelines and wait for my turn,” she said. “When her turn was over, it was my turn. At 5 p.m. dad got off work and we were in the driveway or I’d walk over to the store and be practicing in the lumberyard where he worked. You just couldn’t get me to stop pitching. It was the only sport I knew.”
During 2009’s run to the state championship, Pobst and company were determined after they had fallen short the year before. “We were doing it for more than just our class,” she said. “We wanted to win for everybody. (My teammate)Erika’s year, we really thought we should have won that year. We just kept saying that’s our year because Erika (Reinagel) Westrich was so good, Paris (Burger) Beardslee was so good, Alex (Fowler) Graves was so good. That was just our team so when we finally did it in 2009, it was the most amazing feeling ever.”
It is easy to predict Pobst’s most memorable moment during her time as a Lady Bulldog as winning that state championship, but it’s not because of the trophy. “Winning it, but doing it with my dad,” was her best Bulldog memory, she said. “From all the late nights, the extra hours we put in before practices and after practices, the pitching sessions and growing up doing it. That was probably the most rewarding experience, getting to accomplish it with him.”
Pobst continued her career at Three Rivers College but said the feeling she got at Notre Dame was never matched. “The atmosphere had so much support,” she said. “The community feeling of the Catholic community, it was really comforting especially in the years we lost. Knowing everybody was there and just being a part of that is something bigger than what I was.”
When Pobst was growing up, each time she would attend games at Notre Dame, she would see the hall of fame plaque of her father. Now, Pobst will share that wall with her father. She said it’s a special feeling.
“It’s everything,” Pobst said. “Everything I dreamt of as a little girl. Everything my dad and I worked so hard for in high school. The sacrifices made, the late practices, extra buckets of balls. It’s everything I wanted. The perfect end to my career. To be someone up on the hall of fame wall for younger girls to go in, see, and look up to. Just maybe they will think they can do it too.”