Alex Lange, a Lee’s Summit West graduate, pitched his LSU team past Cal State Fullerton as the Tigers avoided elimination Tuesday at the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
Lange, a freshman, went the distance for the Tigers in a 5-3 victory, his second complete game in three starts. After allowing three runs on four consecutive hits in the first inning, Lange settled down and cruised the rest of the way.
“I wasn’t really nervous or anything, or amped up,” Lange told reporters after the win. “I left a couple of pitches up and they do what good hitters do, they hit the ball. I took a step back and regrouped in the dugout and just really focused on what I needed to do to go out there and execute my pitches.”
Lange’s success comes as little surprise to his high school coach, Jay Meyer.
“He’s been unhittable. In total command in every aspect of it, mentally, physically,” Meyer said. “They might have him running for mayor down in Baton Rouge.
“He’s very mature to handle a game like that. Most kids would’ve folded the tent but to make an adjustment in the first inning … you didn’t see a change in his demeanor.”
Meyer also noted that as the game progressed, Lange got stronger. From the fourth inning on, Lange allowed only two hits, both singles.
It was another clutch performance in what has been a dominant freshman campaign for Lange, a 6-foot-3, 200 pound right-hander. In 17 starts, He’s posted a 12-0 record and a 1.97 ERA. In 114 innings pitched, he’s held opposing hitters to a .212 batting average and has allowed only 18 extra base hits.
Those numbers earned him national freshman of the year and All-America honors.
But Lange wasn’t the only Lee’s Summit West alumnus on the hill in the postseason.
Matt Hall, a lefty at Missouri State, helped the Bears reach the Super Regionals before they fell to Arkansas. He and Lange formed quite the rotation when Hall was a senior and Lange was a sophomore, Meyer said.
Hall started 17 games in 2015, posting a 1.98 ERA and a 12-2 record. The Detroit Tigers drafted Hall, a first-team All-American, in the sixth round of the MLB Draft.
On June 6, both pitchers picked up wins in their respective Super Regionals and pitched nearly simultaneously, a source of pride for Meyer.
“I’m like ‘Wow, that’s pretty cool,’” Meyer said. “Mental-wise, they’re a lot in the same. Matty Hall is ‘Gimme the ball and I’ll show you.’ And Lange is the same way.”
Lange’s Tigers will take on TCU at 7 p.m. Thursday.