SALEM, VA. – Minnesota State Mankato won its first softball national title Monday by beating Angelo State 5-1 for a sweep in the best-of-three NCAA Division II championship series.
“It’s just really phenomenal,” said Lori Meyer, in her 33rd season as Mavericks coach. “I can’t put it into words.”
Senior Coley Ries (41-3) threw a three-hitter, striking out 14, and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
The Mavericks (64-7) recorded the second-most victories ever for a D-II champion.
“This week has been unbelieveable and an absolute dream,” said Ries, a Mankato East graduate. “All of us have dreamed about this since we were little. And being Most Outstanding Player is something I could have never imagined, but the bigger part of that is the fact that we were able to do it together and win a national championship.
“… Holding up that championship trophy is what we’ve gone for all year, and I could not be more proud of this group.”
The Mavericks scored an unearned run in the third inning on Ashley Thell’s RBI double, and they added two unearned runs in the fourth on three hits and two errors by Angelo State.
Kenedy Urbany hit a homer in the sixth inning to pull the Rambelles (60-7) within 3-1, but the Mavericks responded in the bottom of the inning with a two-run single by Jess Meidl.
“I have a saying that I shared with the team,” Meyer said. “ ‘Coming together is a beginning. Working together is progress. Staying together is success.’ And this group of 15 [players] has really done that.”
It’s the Mavericks’ seventh national title as an athletic program, their first since women’s basketball in 2009. They also won D-II titles in men’s cross-country (1988) and men’s hockey (1979), and they have won three titles in wrestling (1958 and 1959 NAIA, 1965 NCAA Division III).