Underclass Spotlight: No. 1 ranked player in the Class of 2014, RHP Alex Lange from Lee's Summit West

Calling a sophomore a veteran on a team comprised mostly of juniors and seniors is a rarity at any level of baseball, but sophomore RHP Alex Lange (right) from Lee's Summit West HS  has earned the veteran status in his second year of varsity with the work ethic, attitude, and talent of a seasoned veteran.

As a freshman last season, Lange got a taste of what it takes to play varsity baseball, surrounded by a core of players who are among the top in the state, and succeeded in that roll.

Fast forward to this season, Lange is emerging as the ace of the Lee’s Summit West pitching staff and is poised to be one of the top pitchers in the Midwest as his career continues to progress the next few years.

With his easy 88-91 mph fastball and change of pace breaking ball, Lange has posted a record of 3-0 with two saves so far this season, and has struck out forty batters in thirty-four innings of work, while allowing only five earned runs.

We recently caught up with Alex Lange (No. 1 ranked player in the Class of 2014) to get some thoughts on his career to this point and what expectations he has for the future.

PBR: You are a big contributor to Lee’s Summit West, a fixture in our Top 10 rankings this season. Talk a little about the how you have contributed and the supporting cast around you.

Lange: Thanks, that’s very kind.  As a pitcher, you have one job; throw strikes.  That is all I have to worry about at West.  I know my defense is going to be behind me to make the plays.  I know we are going to swing the bats and put up the runs. It makes it easy on a pitcher when you have that kind of support behind you.

PBR: What is your biggest strength as a player?

Lange: I feel my greatest strength is my ability to go in and jam hitters.  I love throwing my two-seam, so I throw it in and let it do its thing.

PBR: What aspect of your game do you believe needs the most improvement?

Lange: I think I need to further develop a change-up.  To be effective, you need to be able to change speeds consistently.  I have good movement on it, but it’s only 8-10 mph off my fastball and isn’t always down.  I just need to work on “location” a little more in order to get it closer to where I want it to be.

PBR: What are your expectations for the recruiting process?

Lange: I really don’t have many expectations.  I’m just enjoying the ride and staying focused on my game.  I don’t let the process get in the way of working towards my goal.

PBR: What type of program would you like to play at? What is most important to you: Caliber of program, coaching staff, academics, etc…?

Lange: What is really important to me is getting a quality education and developing as a pitcher.  I need to feel a connection with a pitching coach that’s willing to help me reach my full potential.  A bonus would be to play in a program with the highest caliber of players who will challenge me to succeed at the next level.

PBR: What schools are you most interested in right now, and why?

Lange: Playing for an SEC school has always been a goal of mine.  The level of talent and competition is incredible.  I would be honored to play baseball for any one of them.  At this point in time, my interests are most focused at Arkansas and Mizzou.  I love the facilities at Arkansas, the support of the fans, and am developing a great relationship with Coach Butler.  As for Mizzou, the city of Columbia is really cool, they’ve got a fantastic pre-med program, and Coach Hobbs is easy to talk to and he gets me.

PBR: What are your personal goals for the 2012 season?

Lange: Personal goals for the season include developing a consistent change-up and making the Midwest Area Code team to play in California in August.

PBR: What are your high school team goals for 2012 season, and are they being met at the halfway point in the season?

Lange: Our goal as a team is to make a trip down to Springfield (State) and come back with a ring.  At this point, we’re looking like a favorite; real contenders for the title.

 PBR: What team do you play for in the summer?

Lange: I play for Marucci Elite out of Louisiana.  Chad Raley is our coach; he’s great guy who’s really supportive.

PBR: What is your fondest memory or highlight from your 2011 baseball season (High School or Summer)?

Lange: My fondest memory from last year was when our high school team, Lee’s Summit West, beat Sedalia on a walk-off homerun by Matt Fultz during districts.  As a freshman playing in districts for the first time, that was really something special.  I was in awe.

A highlight was having an opportunity to pitch in Royals Stadium with my fall team, the Royals Elite Scout Team.  I remember taking the mound and looking around.  I felt humbled, but remember thinking, “Gosh, I could get use to this”.

PBR: What is your most memorable moment in baseball so far in your life? 

Lange: My most memorable moment in baseball so far was when I threw an 84 pitch perfect game last summer at K-State.  I tried not to think about it until the last pitch was thrown.  I was really fortunate to have a phenomenal defense; we celebrated as a team!

PBR: Who is the toughest pitcher that you have faced?

Lange: The toughest pitcher I have ever faced is Matt Hall.  He has a devastating lefty curve ball.  Being a teammate, I’m fortunate to be able to talk pitching and baseball with him.  I learn a lot just from watching him.

PBR: What are your thoughts on the implementation of BBCOR bats from both a hitting and pitching perspective?

Lange: From a pitching perspective, I love BBCOR bats.  They don’t allow the pitch to be hit hard, unless the batter puts a really good swing on it.  These bats force the batter to square the ball up in order to get a solid piece of it.  From the hitting standpoint, I feel it separates the men from the boys because as a hitter, you really have to focus on driving the baseball as opposed to just making contact.

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