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Youth doesn't hold back Lang

Ike sophomore earns NOW Newspapers All-Suburban honors

New Berlin Eisenhower's Katie Lang makes a catch this season against New Berlin West.

New Berlin Eisenhower's Katie Lang makes a catch this season against New Berlin West. Photo By Peter Zuzga

July 1, 2011

Not too often does one run into a softball player who is good at every aspect of the game at a young age. But New Berlin Eisenhower sophomore Katie Lang is one of the exceptions to that rule.

Lang not only made the Woodland Conference All-Blue Division team, but the All-Woodland Conference team, which is made up of both the Black and Blue Divisions.

And the reason she did is because of her strong performances pitching, hitting and fielding.

"It's definitely a great honor; there's a lot of great teams," Lang said. "It's great to know I have that potential and I have two more years to play."

Ike coach Jeff Setz smiled when asked about Lang's quick rise to success.

"It didn't surprise me," he said. "Seeing her growing up, she worked very hard at it year-round."

A true triple threat

When she toed the rubber, she allowed only 16 earned runs in 76 innings for a 1.47 ERA to help her to a 10-1 record. She tallied 95 strikeouts and three shutouts.

At the plate, she hit for a .365 average with 27 hits, 23 runs and 17 RBIs.

In the field, she was able to go the entire season without an error in 40 chances while she pitched or played in the outfield.

"She is an all-around good athlete," Setz said.

Setz credited her changing of speeds and ability to move the ball around for her great pitching numbers.

"She throws a very good change-up and a superb curveball for strikes to get ahead of hitters and fools the batter often," he added. "She can throw it four to six inches off the plate, get the hitter to reach for it and dribble it back to the mound."

With so many great hitters at the varsity level, Lang said she tries to keep the ball off the plate and she throws nothing directly over the plate so the hitters do not have anything good to jump on.

"Changing speeds is important so the opposing hitters don't know what's coming," she said.

Producing, without power

Although she is not a power hitter, Lang was still able to produce runs as the fifth hitter in the Lions lineup.

"Her ability to put the ball in play and hit the ball up the middle makes her a successful hitter," Setz said.

Lang said as a pitcher, she watches the opposing pitcher closely when batting.

"I can focus on their grip and sometimes it gives me an idea of what they are going to throw," she said.

In the field, Setz said Lang's versatility, speed and great fundamentals helped her with her fielding percentage.

"She also throws very well overhand and can cover a lot of ground and makes the correct throws when needed," he said. "She played first base a couple games and she was a natural over there."

Lang said playing on the varsity team her freshman year was intimidating but helped her come into her own skin.

"I realized how important it was to have leaders," she said. "Whether they are on the field or cheering from the dugout."

And although she might not be an outspoken leader yet, Lang led by example and was never intimidated this year, Setz added.

Lang, who plays on a traveling team in Illinois in the summer, is looking forward to good things next season.

"She doesn't say a lot and let's her play speak for herself," Setz said.

- Tom "Sky" Skiboshcontributed to this story.

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