It didn’t take long for Boonville senior Reece Lang to sign his letter of intent with Jefferson College out of Hillsboro, Missouri.
Although Lang still has one year left as a member of the Boonville Pirates baseball team, the senior hurler made it official Wednesday during a signing in front of family and friends at the media center at BHS to play for Jeff Co.
Lang said he chose Jeff Co. because they are Juco powerhouse that makes the Division I Junior College World Series about every year and has won the conference championship the last 16 years in a row.
“Jefferson will do great things for my future in baseball and I will get to pitch right away during my first year,” Lang said.
As a pitcher only for the Pirates, Lang  definitely held his own on the mound last spring while finishing 6-0 with an ERA of 0.972.  Lang was also third on the team in innings in 2018  with 36. Only Jared Viertel and Connor Barnes had more innings than Lang with 54 and 46 1/3 innings, respectively. But still despite throwing fewer innings, Lang still recorded 47 strikeouts while giving up just eight runs (five earned) on 22 hits and eight walks.
Former Boonville Pirates baseball coach Fred Smith said it’s a great day for Reece Lang and the entire Lang family. “Obviously Reece was a critical piece or component of our success last spring when we beat Lutheran St. Charles and Westminster Christian in the same week to go to the Final Four,” Smith said. “Again it goes back to the basics. Reece throws strikes, he’s grown and he has worked hard in the off season. Last year he lifted all winter and increased his velocity so I think he will do well there. If he continues to work and stay healthy he has a chance to be a Division I prospect pretty quickly.”
As for what Lang brought to the table night in and night out for the Pirates, Smith said bottom line if you look at his stats he ended up with 50 strikeouts but more importantly he only had 7-8 walks so you had a left-handed pitcher that commanded the zone that just went out and attacked and threw strikes.
“To me that is the big thing in high school baseball, fill the zone and be aggressive and Reece did both of those things,” Smith said. “The projection for him is to go two years there and then he will have that option of either going in the draft, which is a possibility, or if he keeps work hard a Division I scholarship.”
Adam Arnette, who will takeover as head coach in the spring at Boonville, said Lang  has played a big part in the team, and has worked hard in doing so.
“He has put in a lot of time and has worked hard to get where he is right now,” Arnette said. “He will do great things at Jefferson College, and will continue to grow as a player. But, we still look for him to have a great senior season, and help lead our team and our pitching staff.”
Although Jeff Co. is a two-year program and a member of the NJCAA Division I, Lang said his short term goals include succeeding at Jefferson in both athletics and education.
“With baseball, I hope to get up to 90 mph-plus with better command of all my pitches and help lead my team to another appearance at the Juco World Series,” Lang said. “As for my long term goals, I want to transfer to a high Division I university if not drafted from Jeff Co. sooner or later, with help from this program. I hope to play pro ball, which is an all-time dream of mine.”
While Lang has yet to write the ending to a remarkable career at Boonville, he said without a doubt his best game yet was the upset against No. 2 Westminster Christian Academy last spring. “Shutting down a team like Westminster while my teammates rally back from a 6-0 deficit was awesome,” Lang said. “Giving the ex-Cardinal manager’s son a backwards K was cool, too. That game is probably my career highlight. As far as team highlight, it’s probably making it to the Final Four last spring and sharing such an experience with my friends was incredible.”
Of course Lang knows playing at the next level won’t be easy. He said there is always room for all-around improvement but the thing he needs to develop the most is a change-up-a lefty’s best friend.
“Also, I need to get bigger and stronger which will help with my explosion and throwing the baseball harder,” Lang said.
Lang said he still remembers his playing days from the time he was playing YMCA Rookie League to high school. He said baseball has always been his sports passion and recalls the days of playing with his older brother, Riley.
“I am playing baseball in college for two very important people in my life, my father and my grandpa,” Lang said. “My father, Kevin, has coached me ever since I can remember and I’d love for him to continue and coach from the stands at the next level. My biggest fan, my grandfather Kenny Lang, never missed a single game. I know that he would want me to play the game that we both loved so much for as long as I can.”
Lang said while he had his heart set on Jeff Co. as soon as they offered him a scholarship, he added that Missouri State also showed some interest but ended up filling their roster.
That turned out to be good news for Jeff Co., who now has Lang for the next-two years. It’s now up to Lang to reach his goal of playing at the next level and possibly pro baseball.