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Minnesota wins a national softball championship, after all

It wasn't the Gophers who delivered it, but some softball hardware is coming back to Minnesota.

It wasn't the Gophers who delivered it, but the college softball season finished with some championship hardware coming back to Minnesota.

The Mavericks of MSU-Mankato are national champs at the Division II level after beating Angelo State University of Texas 5-1 in Monday's title game.

Coley Ries pitched all 7 innings and struck out 14 in Monday's clincher, which finished an MSU sweep in the best-of-three series. Ries was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament, which was held in Salem, Virginia.

After the game Ries, who played high school softball at Mankato East, called their week in Salem a dream for the Mavericks. Four other MSU players also made the All-Tournament team.

A big Welcome Home Celebration is planned at 4 p.m. Tuesday in downtown Mankato.

It's MSU-Mankato's first national championship in softball and their first in any sport since the women's basketball team won a title in the spring of 2009, the university says.

The University of Minnesota softball team had its best season in the program's history this spring, winning more than 50 games. They climbed to the number 1 spot in a national poll by the end of the season but were snubbed by the NCAA Division I tournament selection committee, which left the Gophers off the list of 16 teams that hosted games.

Minnesota wound up losing on the road to Alabama.

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