Kylie Lange remembers what it was like to be promoted to the Brainerd Warriors' varsity softball team as a sophomore. The leaders of that team took her under their wings and made her feel welcome.
This spring she's paying it forward.
Now a senior outfielder and one of the Warriors' captains, Lange has matured into one of the team leaders, as well as one of its top players. In recognition of her efforts, Lange was selected to play in the Minnesota High School Girls Softball All-Star Series in June.
"Everyone basically plays a role as a leader on the team," Lange said. "I think I'm pretty good at including all of the JV players and varsity players and the younger ones because I used to be that person on the varsity team when I was a little sophomore."
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- Sport: Softball
- Position: Outfield
- Year: Senior
- Age: 18
- Height: 5-7
- Career highlight: Swimming in state meet sophomore and senior years, hitting two home runs in softball doubleheader vs. St. Cloud Apollo
- Other sports: Swimming
- Grade-point average: 3.87
- Favorite class: AP Psychology and AP Chemistry
- Favorite food: Hot dish
- Favorite movie: "Soul Surfer"
- Favorite TV show: "The Fosters"
- Future plans: Attend Minnesota State University Moorhead, play softball, possibly major in chemistry or psychology
- Favorite athlete: Olympic gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps, Minnesota Gophers softball team
- Parents: Steve and Lisa Lange
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Warriors head coach Shane Jordan has watched Lange mature into a captain, one who takes that role seriously and is a leader who has mentored younger players.
"She's been a positive leader, on and off the field," Jordan said. "She's matured into a captain and a high school softball player as a senior.
"She's a tremendous student. She's really good in the classroom. I'm super proud of the kid she's become with us as a Warrior softball player."
After Tuesday's doubleheader against Sauk Rapids, Lange is batting .419 with five doubles, a triple, two home runs, 12 RBIs and 12 runs scored. She has struck out only one time in 31 at bats. She leads the team in doubles and RBIs.
"She worked hard in the offseason making her swing more compact and quicker to help her at the next level," Jordan said. "She continues to work on the little things that it takes to make her a strong hitter.
"She's hitting the ball really hard to all fields right now. She hit one really hard in our tournament, about 10 feet off the ground, a line drive off the fence."
Lange bats cleanup, a spot Jordan sees her hitting the entire season.
"I like her there," he said. "She's got power—she can hit the ball over the fence. She almost always puts the ball in play. The girls ahead of her in the lineup are on base a lot so she's able to move runners around. She's not only a power hitter. She's also a contact hitter. She will put the ball in play somewhere."
In the Brainerd tournament April 22, Lange went 5-for-10 with two doubles, a home run, three RBIs and scored five runs.
"The whole team did really well at the tournament," she said. "It's easy to build off each other's success. The fact everyone was doing well pushed everyone to do their best."
The Warriors went 3-0 in the tournament beating St. Paul Como Park 8-0, Edgerton Southwest Minnesota Christian 7-2 and West Fargo Cheyenne 7-5. Those teams had a combined record of 26-9 entering Tuesday's games. Edgerton, which has lost only to Brainerd, was 10-1 and ranked No. 1 in Class 1A. Como Park was 9-2.
"We knew they would be hard teams to play," Lange said. "I think we surprised ourselves. I think it set us up for the whole season because we realized what we could actually do after we beat those teams."
Lange has continued her offensive surge this season while changing positions. In her first two seasons, she started in right field. This season she has shifted to left.
"The ball comes to you a little bit different," Lange said of left field, "and you have to be involved in some different plays. Actually, I like it a lot. I get more balls than I used to get in right field. Where the coach tells you to go, you go. I'm just happy to be playing."
Lange has been selected to play for the Class 4A team in the All-Star series. Jordan nominated her for the honor which she learned via text from her coach.
"I was surprised and happy about that," she said. "I'm excited to represent (Class 4A)."
Lange will take her softball skill to Minnesota State University Moorhead next fall to play softball. The Dragons finished 12-37 this season.
"Their record was below average, but that's all right," she said. "I went to a couple of their games and it seemed like they have a fun environment. I liked all the girls and the coach a lot. I think I will get to play some outfield. I'm sure I will fit right in."
Other notable efforts:
Jordyn Sullivan, softball, pitched a 3-hit shutout vs. Tech.
Tanner Lundberg, tennis, improved to 11-0 at No. 1 singles.
Lexi Roby, softball, was 5-for-6 with four runs scored and two RBIs in a doubleheader vs. Sauk Rapids.
Jillian Ewald, softball, pitched a 5-hit shutout with no walks and seven strikeouts vs. Sauk Rapids.
Tanner Lundberg, tennis, improved to 12-0 at No. 1 singles.