Is Casey Stangel
a pitcher who hits? Or is she a hitter who pitches?
Consider the following before deciding.
As a senior at Lake City (Coeur d'Alene, Idaho)
, Stangel batted .640, drove in 64 runs and had 33 extra base hits — including 15 home runs. Despite walking 21 times, her slugging percentage was an off-the-charts 1.348.
As a pitcher Stangel, who will continue her career at Missouri, was 28-0, struck out 208 batters in 143 innings and for the fourth time in four years, was named the Inland Empire League's Most Valuable Player. Her ERA was 0.73.
For her career at Lake City, the 5-10 left-handed swinging and pitching Stangel averaged nearly two strikeouts per inning and two RBIs per game.
Doesn't matter whether she hits or pitches, she does both extremely well and is the MaxPreps 2013 National High School Softball Player of the Year.
"I couldn't have asked for a better athlete to come through our program and help get it to where it's at," said Lake City coach Laura Tolzmann. "She's left her mark, and it's been an awesome example for underclassmen to have similar goals and to keep the tradition going."
With Stangel in the pitching circle and in the batter's box, the T-Wolves won a pair of 5A state titles, grabbed a third and a runner-up spot in four years. And they won 75 of their last 77 games.
During the recently completed 2013 season, Lake City was 28-0 and outscored its opponents 367-41. That's right, Stangel scored plenty more runs (54) than she allowed (15 earned runs). All totaled, 20 of the 28 wins were run-rule abbreviated games and she still accounted for 118 runs.
As a junior, the three-time Gatorade Idaho Softball Player of the Year posted a 22-2 record in 132.1 innings with a 0.37 ERA and 218 strikeouts, leading the Timberwolves (22-2) to the 2012 Class 5A state championship game. She also batted .558 with 11 home runs and 59 RBIs last season.
Stangel finished 25-0 with a 0.33 ERA and 283 strikeouts in 149 innings as a sophomore, leading Lake City to the 2011 Class 5A state title. She also batted .590 with 52 RBIs, 36 runs scored, 16 doubles and 11 home runs. She produced a 1.205 slugging percentage and .611 on-base percentage.
Stangel, who is named after legendary New York Yankees manager Casey Stengel, said this was her favorite high school season.
"It's just such a great team ... we clicked," she said. "We started working hard in winter, kept working hard through the season. And we didn't get caught up in being undefeated. It was an awesome year and awesome team. Being undefeated is a huge thing and I think it is so very special."
As for being named Player of Year, she praised her teammates.
"I had a good year, but you can't have an individual year without an awesome team," said Stangel. "This was a huge team season, instead of individual. We're not just individuals out there, we're a team. I think we broke every school hitting record there is. It holds true — hard work pays off."
As a team, the T'Wolves batted .493 and had an on-base percentage of .538 and an unheard of .799 slugging percentage.
"We just loved playing the game, playing together," said Stangel. "We worked harder ... we didn't think about anything but playing. No one game was more special than another. Each one was a new day, a new game ... another game to play together. Each one was memorable."
Stangel said the wintry weather in northern Idaho makes for a shorter softball season than in warmer states, but this year's team was focused.
"The snow might have been a blessing this year," she said. "It kept us indoors and kept us working on fundamentals, breaking down our swings and working on what we needed to work on to improve."
When asked what she does away from the softball field, the 5-10 daughter of Chris and Debbie Stangel, said, "I think about being on the softball field."
Stangel comes from a sports family. Her dad was a professional baseball pitcher, her mom played soccer at UCLA and her brother plays baseball at the University of Montana.
Tolzmann praised Stangel's desire to be better.
"Not only her work ethic, but her attitude, her hustle," she said. "She always wants to be better every day."
While she is arguably the greatest softball talent ever to play in Idaho, there is more to her than just softball. She carries a straight-A grade average, is on Lake City High School's Student Council, attends a youth group, volunteers at Real Life Ministries and is a member of the National Honor Society.
Stangel's career at Missouri begins with the start of summer classes on July 1.
As for being a pitcher who hits or a hitter who pitches, she doesn't have to make a decision just yet — look for her to do both at Missouri.