SPRINGFIELD — Katie Lange's freshman year was a time of adjustment at Lincoln Land Community College. Lange, the ace for Altamont High School last season, had to adjust her pitches, her expectations, even the amount of playing time she'd receive."Altamont's a really small town, I wasn't really used to having other pitchers on the team, carrying five or six pitchers," she said. "I got to college, the time was split up a little more. I was very grateful to get the most innings, because I worked hard to get it."It wasn't a surprise that she made all the adjustments necessary, becoming a key cog for the Loggers as they advanced to their first ever NJCAA Division II tournament. Lange was at the forefront of the late season push, earning wins during the Region 24 tournament, the District P play-off tournament and the NJCAA National Championship tournament. The Loggers were defeated by regional foe Illinois Central College in the Region 24 finals, pushing them to the play-off tournament in Hendersonville, Tenn. against Surry CC. They swept Surry, capped off by Lange's shutout in the second game in a 5-0 win."Before the game, I was very nervous coming in," Lange said. "I just knew I had to throw my best game to get us to nationals. All I thought about was not letting them get on the ball. It really helped me out, I was very careful with what I threw. My pitches were working. It was an awesome feeling, that'd we made it to nationals, it was probably one of the best feelings I've ever had."The results in Clinton, Miss. at the national tournament weren't what the Loggers were hoping for, but Lange continued her winning ways, picking up the Loggers' only win in three games. Lange went 4.2 innings and allowed two runs to earn an 11-2 win over Cuyahoga CC in game one. Lincoln Land went on to lose its next game to Illinois Central and were eliminated, finishing 12th in the nation."I'm proud of our team, everything just started working," Lange said. "We peaked at the perfect time, we peaked at regionals. We all came together as a team."Lange led the Loggers (29-27) in innings pitched (89.2) on the season. Her stats were a little rough, as she had the highest ERA on the team, but as everything was, it was a matter of adjustment for Lange late in the season. "I've never been the type to blow the ball by people. I got by on movement on the ball," she said. "I had gained a few miles per hour, my ball wasn't moving as much. Toward the end of the season, I just focused on the movement."Her sophomore year looks to provide more consistent efforts, but of course, it will be her final year at Lincoln Land. Her plans from there are clear. "My plans are to come back to Lincoln Land, and then transfer to a four-year school to play," Lange said. "I don't know where yet."
Maroons hoping first time's the charm
In two years at the helm of the Dieterich Movin' Maroons, Jeff Staser is 45-17 with a trip to the regional final in 2013, and regional and sectional crowns in 2014.
In the process, he's brought Dieterich to uncharted territory, as the Maroons will play in its first-ever Super-Sectional game tonight against Sesser-Valier at 6 p.m. at Southern Illinois University.
Shoes "ready to break through"
The eight Teutopolis Wooden Shoes seniors have accomplished enough to make almost every other high school in Illinois jealous.
Three area runners medal at SIU
A pair of area runners started off the track season with a bang, as St. Anthony's Anna Sophia Keller and Cumberland's Tye Sutherland took home first-place medals in the opening meet of the season Saturday.
Teutopolis advances to 4th straight Super-Sectional
Teutopolis couldn't have started each of the first three quarters any better.
The Wooden Shoes Shoes took an 11-0 lead in the first five minutes of the first quarter and started the second and third quarters on 7-0 and 9-0 runs, respectively.
Their third-quarter outburst gave them the 17-point lead that was too much for Greenville to come back from. The Shoes won 64-53 to advance to Tuesday's Class 2A Carbondale Super-Sectional at Southern Illinois University. It's Teutopolis' fourth-straight trip to the Super-Sectional round.
Maroons make history
With just more than 12 minutes left, Dieterich's offense was scuffling and the Movin' Maroons trailed St. Anthony by 11, 34-23.
Then Alex Bohnhoff kick started the Maroons' offense with a pair of 3-pointers, and Dieterich completed a big comeback to down their NTC rivals 58-51 and win its first-ever sectional title
Zerrusen reflects on 1K milestone, career
Josie Zerrusen used to be a handful for her Effingham coaches, but turned into a headache for opponents by the end her senior season.
Zerrusen, the only one of four Hearts seniors to reach 1,000 points in her career this season, was preoccupied with scoring points as a sophomore on a 20-10 team in 2012.
But the Hearts improved as Zerrusen matured, recording 54 wins in the last two seasons, including a school-record 28 this season and a regional championship. Zerrusen grew up by changing her attitude and refusing to take summers off.
All-NTC showdown set at sectionals
At least one area team will play Monday at Southern Illinois University for Super-Sectionals. Teutopolis is looking to make it two.
Tonight will mark the end of the road for either St. Anthony (22-10) or Dieterich (22-8), as the NTC rivals clash for the Class 1A Red Hill Sectional championship. A win would be Dieterich’s first-ever sectional crown, and it would be the first for St. Anthony since 2001.
Teutopolis (20-9) is looking to advance to the Super-Sectional round for the fourth-straight season and is playing for a sectional title for the fifth-straight year. The Wooden Shoes take on Greenville for the Class 2A Vandalia Sectional title.
Olney ends Effingham's season
Effingham battled offensive woes in waves this season and found ways to win almost 80 percent of the time, but not on Wednesday.
Olney, one of the Hearts' 20 victims this year, ended Effingham's season with a 35-32 win in the Salem Regional, surviving a poor shooting night as well.
Dieterich advances in convincing fashion
The Dieterich Movin' Maroons used a January loss to Patoka to motivate themselves Wednesday night at the Class 1A Red Hill Sectional.
It was more successful than they ever could have hoped for, as Dieterich stomped the Patoka Warriors 61-39 and advanced to Friday's sectional final against St. Anthony.
St. Anthony edges Oblong 72-69
BRIDGEPORT — A rare miss by Oblong’s Koert Mehler made the most noise.
Mehler heaved a 75-foot, full-court shot that barely rimmed out to send the game to overtime; instead, St. Anthony (22-10) survived 72-69 to advance to Friday’s Class 1A Red Hill Sectional championship.
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