By RYAN CZACHORSKI
---- — 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."