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."
Flaming Hearts win St. Anthony Invitational
The Flaming Hearts of Effingham were the overall winners and also had the medalist. Effingham shot a team score of 312 to beat the host Bulldogs by nine shots. Hearts senior Jackson Wendling finished with a 72 to take medalist honors.
Teutopolis takes opener against St. Thomas More
Teutopolis took the course with a new coach and four players, but as coach Becky Probst said, it takes four to score.
And those four Lady Shoes took their first match of the year, topping Champaign St. Thomas More 216-227 in both teams' openers at Cardinal Golf Course in Effingham.
Time to tee off, golf season starts fall sports campaign today
The fall sports campaign kicks off in earnest Monday afternoon, with the first area varsity contests being held in Windsor and Effingham this afternoon.
The St. Anthony Invitational boys golf tournament will be held at Fox Prairie Golf Course at 1 p.m. in Windsor, while the Teutopolis Lady Shoes host St. Thomas More at Cardinal Golf Course at 4 p.m.
Flaming Hearts' flexibility a plus; Effingham prepping for upcoming soccer season
Three days into the practice season, Effingham soccer coach Aaron Witges sees a lot of flexibility.
It was something his squad had last year, with 10 seniors but young players forcing their way into the lineup as well.
Coming off a 10-8-3 season, some of those young players will find themselves in new positions for the Flaming Hearts this season.
Flaming Hearts set with new coach
The Effingham Flaming Hearts volleyball team will have a new but familiar face leading them on the sideline this season.
As a former player for the Hearts, coach Mindy McCollum-Boswell will look to lead her team to their first regional title since 2008.
Czachorski: Bears backups worrisome
This might sound shockingly similar to a number of columns I've written in the past, but it bears repeating (excusing a terrible pun).
The quarterback situation is worrisome.
Newton soccer kicks off, inaugural season starts Sept. 2
For the first time in the history of Newton High School, a soccer team will be a part of the fall sports season.
Pocrnich wins national ATV title
As people get older, their chance at a national championship diminishes, but Effingham’s Kevin Pocrnich was able to win one at 49 years old.
Pocrnich won the Class 16 Senior 40+ Mountain Dew ATV Motocross Championship and according to the league website, finished fourth in the Class 14 30+ Veteran division. He went out with a bang, winning the final race of the season in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee Saturday.
Teutopolis alum Thompson part of no-hitter
A pair of Effingham natives are making some noise up in the Northwest League.
Teutopolis alumnus Derek Thompson and Effingham alumnus Nick Gardewine, both members of the Spokane Indians in the Texas Rangers organization, earned some recognition over the past week.
Comets coming off stellar season
The Stew-Stras Comets finished in second-place at the state championship last season, a high-water mark for the program in recent years.
Coach Ronda Schlechte lost five players who played quality minutes from last year’s team, but she said she has a lot of freshmen that have the ability to help the team.
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- Flaming Hearts win St. Anthony Invitational