After winning the United Small College Athletic Association national championship last year, Bree Lange and her Saint Mary-of-the-Woods softball teammates had a target on their backs this spring.

But that didn’t stop the Pomeroys from going out and winning another title. They went 31-6 and won four games on consecutive days in May in Akron, Ohio, to repeat as national champions.

“I think we had a better team this year, and I think we were more motivated because people were gunning at us,” Lange said. “I think it went a lot better because we were very motivated. Everyone worked hard together, and I just think it was a better season for us.”

A junior from Hauser, Lange didn’t have quite as prominent a role on this year’s SMW team as she did her first two years. A pitcher during her high school days with the Jets, she played left field for the Pomeroys most of the past two seasons. This year, she mostly batted as the designated player but still saw some action in left and right field.

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As a freshman, Lange batted .280 with two doubles and 14 RBIs in helping SMW to a USCAA runner-up finish. Last season, she hit .292 with three doubles and 13 RBIs when the Pomeroys claimed the national title. This year, Lange batted .170 with four RBIs and seven runs scored.

One thing Lange was able to do last season that she won’t be able to do this year is celebrate a championship with her sister, Hailey.

Hailey Lange helped Hauser to the Class A state title last spring, and the pair received their championship rings at around the same time.

“It was awesome,” Bree Lange said. “I’m so proud of her.”

The sisters were hoping to share in another double title this season, but the Jets, who had been undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the state, fell to Borden 4-3 in the finals of the North Daviess Semistate on Monday.

Bree Lange is on track to graduate next May with a degree in business administration. She hopes to add a third national championship to her softball résumé.

Regardless of whether SMW can three-peat, she’ll look back on the past two titles with fondness.

“I just think playing with my teammates, they’re a lot of fun,” Lange said. “We had fun together, we worked hard, and we played really well together.”

Bree Lange

High school: Hauser

College: Saint Mary-of-the-Woods

Year: Junior season complete

Position: Outfield/designated player

Major: Business administration

Family: Parents Shawn and Shelly Lange, siblings Joe and Hailey Lange

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.