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Jeff Kolpack, Published April 25 2008

Injury not deterring NDSU’s Langlais

Ryan Langlais’ throwing arm has been ailing lately and that’s never a good thing for a baseball player. Especially for a shortstop, who has to make some of the hardest throws in the field.

But the North Dakota State senior is playing anyway – something that is reminiscent of his wrestling genes. The son of a NDSU Hall of Famer is making his own mark at the school that produced two-time national wrestling champion Mike Langlais.

“He’s a tough kid,” NDSU head baseball coach Tod Brown said of Ryan. “He has that shoulder problem but he’s refused to come out of the lineup. Those are the type of kids you like to have on your team.”

It’s no surprise that the son of a wrestler can handle a few bruises. A few weeks ago, a reporter asked the three NDSU wrestlers who were getting ready to go to the Division I national tournament if they were healthy. They just kind of looked at each other. It was a stupid question.

Langlais said a few days off from throwing is all he needs. Certainly, it’s not affecting his bat.

He leads the team with a .322 batting average and rising. In five games last week, he hit .467 with three home runs, 11 runs batted in and nine runs scored.

“It’s kind of like last year when I hit .230 halfway through the year and then went .500 the rest of the way,” Langlais said. “I’m starting to see the ball well.”

The Bison are hoping he continues to see it well this weekend when they host Oakland University in doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday at Newman Outdoor Field. NDSU is in the Summit League cellar at 2-9 while Oakland is one spot ahead at 3-6.

At 9-22, it hasn’t been the season that Langlais envisioned with several key seniors returning. It didn’t start so well last summer when starting shortstop Matt Mossey transferred to the University of Iowa.

That forced Langlais to move from third base to shortstop, something that he’s handled just fine, Brown said.

“He’s taken over the position,” Brown said.

In the bigger picture, he’s part of a rare father-son NDSU athletic duo. Mike was a two-time national champion taking the 142-pound title in 1982 and the championship at 150 in 1984.

He’s a member of the Bison Hall of Fame and is the all-time leader in wins with 151.

Ryan was a good wrestler in high school qualifying for the Minnesota Class state tournament three times. He’s not only NDSU’s best hitter, but he’s probably the team’s best wrestler – if they ever faced each other.

“I don’t want to get hurt and I don’t want to hurt anybody,” Langlais said.

Besides, a few more wins will continue to take the hurt out of the season. NDSU has won three of its last five.

“Our morale is up,” Langlais said.

Readers can reach Jeff Kolpack at (701) 241-5546 or jkolpack@forumcomm.com.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com