SALEM, Va. -- Minnesota State softball won its first-ever national championship by defeating Angelo State 5-1 on Monday afternoon at the James I. Moyer Complex.

“I don’t even know if it’s sunk in,” coach Lori Meyer said. “You just try and take it all in. This is something you work so hard for, and to realize it with this group of seniors is just phenomenal.” 

Coley Ries (41-3), the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, continued her dominant play giving up one run on three hits with 14 strikeouts to lead the Mavericks (64-7).

“I knew in pregame and watching her warm up that she was even sharper today than she was yesterday,” Meyer said.

“This week has been unbelievable and a dream, and a dream for all of us,” Ries said. “Holding up that championship trophy is what we’ve fought for all year, and I couldn’t be happier or more proud of this group.”

Minnesota State took the first lead of the game in the bottom of the third inning when Amber Thell drove in McKenzie Paap on a double to left-center. The Mavericks tacked on two more in the fourth to push their lead to 3-0. Samantha Buhmann led the inning off with a double, then scored after a throwing error on a bunt by Carly Esselman. After a sacrifice bunt, Alyssa Rickels reached base on another bunt, and a fielding error on Paap’s ground ball to short allowed another Mavericks run to score.

Angelo State (60-7) got on the board in the top of the sixth on a solo home run down the right field line from Kenedy Urbany. The Mavericks once again had the answer in the bottom of the inning with two more runs on Jess Meidl’s two-run single to left. After a groundout, Ries struck out the final two batters to begin MSU’s celebration.

Rickels and Esselman each had two hits, and Meidl had two RBI, for the Mavericks on Monday.

Urbany (21-2) took the loss in the circle giving up three runs on four hits. Morgan Hill came on in relief and pitched the final three innings allowing two runs on five hits. Angelo State’s defense was pressured into three errors that allowed three unearned runs for the Mavericks.

“Today we just ran into a buzzsaw,” Angelo State coach Travis Scott said. “Minnesota State just played really well. We can go home a little disappointed that we didn’t win the national title, but we can go home knowing we lost to a class program.”

2017 NCAA Softball Championship All-Tournament Team
Olivia Gore (West Virginia Wesleyan)
Macy Coleman (Armstrong State)
Madison Williams (Humboldt State)
Hannah Vet (West Virginia Wesleyan)
Jane Trzaska (Armstrong State)
Jess Meidl (Minnesota State)
Kenedy Urbany (Angelo State)
Alyssa Rickels (Minnesota State)
Danae Bina (Angelo State)
Carly Esselman (Minnesota State)
Courtney Barnhill (Angelo State)
McKenzie Paap (Minnesota State)
Most Outstanding Player: Coley Ries (Minnesota State)