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Cougar Softball Wins National Title

         AKRON, OHIO -- Southern Illinois University Edwardsville captured its first NCAA Division II softball crown Monday with a 3-2 victory over Lock Haven in the longest national championship game in history.
         SIUE won the 12-inning, three-hour, 15-minute marathon championship game at Firestone Stadium. The Cougars dethroned defending national champion Lock Haven with some strong pitching and timely hitting.
         "I'm extremely proud of my team. I said this the other day, and I'll say it again. This team amazed me again today. They did not let down at any moment," said SIUE Coach Sandy Montgomery.
         The Cougars complete the season 49-8, winning its last 16 games. SIUE won the Great Lakes Valley Conference title, the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional championship, and now have a gold trophy for the national championship.
         "We peaked at the end of the season and played our best today," said Montgomery.
         The national championship is the 17th in the history of SIUE Athletics. SIUE has won two in men's soccer (1972, 1979), seven in men's tennis (1978 through 1984), three in wrestling (1984-85-86) and four in women's tennis (1986-87-88-89). The 1979 men's soccer team won the championship as a Division I program.
         SIUE All-American pitcher Kaitlin Colosimo, 29-3, was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament after going nine innings of scoreless relief of starter Sabra McCune. Colosimo won three games in the national tournament, including a no-hitter Saturday over Lock Haven in a winner's bracket game. She also recorded a save against Cal State-Stanislaus.
         Lock Haven, ranked No. 2 in the NFCA National Coaches Poll, traded runs early in the game with the Cougars, ranked fifth in the final regular season national poll. Lock Haven scored in the third and fourth innings. SIUE tallied runs in the fourth and sixth innings.
         It was a Ashley Price RBI single in the top of the 12th inning, scoring Jodie Ohlau, that made the difference.
         SIUE rapped 13 hits off first team All-American Kristin Erb, who lost for the second time this season to SIUE in three days. Her record fell to 39-4 for the season.
         The Cougars finished with four players on the All-Tournament team. Colosimo and Ohlau were joined by catcher Libby Lenart and shortstop Kaeleigh Rousey on the team.
         The longest previous national title game was in 1991 when Augustana defeated Bloomsburg in 10 innings.
                  -siue cougars-