Baseball Freshman Lange Collects Corbett Award
Story submitted by Ed Daniels of the Greater New Orleans Sports Selection Committee.
Annual Greater New Orleans Hall of Fame Banquet Scheduled for August 8 in the Superdome
NEW ORLEANS – After a sensational freshman campaign, LSU freshman pitcher Alex Lange has been selected as the male winner of the 2014-15 James J. Corbett Award presented by the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
The Corbett Awards are presented annually to the top male and female amateur athletes in the state of Louisiana. They are selected by the Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee, a group of current and former media members who select the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame, as well as annual award winners in a variety of categories, including the Corbett Awards and the Eddie Robinson Award.
This year’s Corbett winners will be recognized along with 23 other individuals and two teams at the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Banquet on Saturday, August 8, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
In the proud history of LSU baseball, Lange may have compiled the best season ever by a freshman pitcher.
Lange won 12, lost none. He crafted a 1.97 earned run average, limiting opponents to a .212 batting average while striking out 131 in 114 innings.
Lange was named National Freshman Pitcher of the Year by the National College Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA), and Freshman of the Year in the Southeastern Conference. He was a First-Team All-American according to Collegiate Baseball, Baseball America, NCBWA and Perfect Game.
And, Lange was voted the male winner of the 2015 James J. Corbett award. The award, voted on by the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s media selection committee, is given to the best amateur athlete in the state of Louisiana.
“I hoped to get some mound time as a freshman,” said Lange. “Getting into the starting rotation was my ultimate goal.”
Lange quickly became the staff ace. In his collegiate debut, he allowed just two hits and no runs while striking out seven. As he established himself, he picked up key SEC wins over Ole Miss, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi State, Missouri and South Carolina.
But he saved his best for post season play. In a 2-0 win in the Baton Rouge Regional, Lange tossed a complete game six hitter, striking out 12 against a powerful UNC-Wilmington squad.
“I thought Alex was as good a pitcher as we faced all year,” said Seahawk coach Mark Scalf. “He is a tremendous competitor and got stronger as the game progressed. We were impressed with his poise against our lineup, which was one of the strongest we’ve had in my time at UNCW.”
Lange followed that up by tossing eight innings and striking out 11 in a 4-3 super regional victory over UL-Lafayette.
In Omaha, Lange picked up LSU’s lone victory in the College World Series. Lange allowed three runs in the first inning, then held Cal State Fullerton to two hits and no runs over the final eight innings. LSU won 5-3.
“After they scored three, I told myself they weren’t going to score four,” said Lange. “I was going to make it tough on them. I just had to trust my stuff.”
Mainieri said Lange’s performance in Omaha was a testament to his mental toughness.
“He was not intimidated,” said Mainieri. “He showed poise and toughness.”
Lange, who hails from Missouri, is no stranger to winning. As a senior at Lee’s Summit West High School, he posted a perfect 12-0 record with a 0.82 ERA on his way to Gatorade Player of the Year honors for Missouri. With his win streak still going, the ace said he’s already looking forward to next year.
“I came to LSU to win a national championship.”
And, at LSU it all started with a 95 mile an hour fastball on February 14th, 2015 against the University of Kansas.
“After Alex threw that pitch, a buzz went through the entire crowd,” said Mainieri.
For the 2015 Corbett Award winner, it was the beginning of a special season.
The Corbett Award was created in 1967 and named in honor of the late James J. Corbett to commemorate his many contributions to intercollegiate athletics and specifically to the Sugar Bowl. At the time of his death, Mr. Corbett was the Athletic Director at Louisiana State University. These awards are presented annually to the most outstanding amateur male and female athletes in the State of Louisiana. The Corbett recipients are selected each year by members of the New Orleans Sports Awards Committee, based on nominations submitted by the state’s sportswriters, sportscasters and sports information directors.
Since its inception in 1967 (through 2014), Corbett Award winners include 16 NFL players, seven Major League Baseball players, four NBA players (including two Hall of Famers), eight Olympians (including seven Gold Medal winners), three WNBA players and one PGA Tour star.