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Lock Haven Wins First Division II National Title
Kristin Erb hurled a four-hit shutout, and Julie Robitaille added a two-run home run to cap a three-run second inning as Lock Haven claimed its first national title with a 3-0 win over Emporia State Monday afternoon at the NCAA Division II Softball Championship in Salem, Va.
Erb struck out eight Hornets over the full seven innings as she capped the 2006 campaign with a 36-1 record and tournament Most Outstanding Player honors.
“I wanted to hit my spots and keep the ball low,” Erb said. “I wanted to get ground ball outs and do whatever it took to win the game. I just threw to the glove.”
Melissa Stevens fell to 30-4 despite allowing just three runs on three hits with seven strikeouts in six innings. The three runs against the senior hurler came in the second inning.
Stevens walked Heather Johnson to leadoff the frame, and following a sacrifice bunt from Sarah Norris, Robitaille took an offering the opposite way over the right field fence to give the Lady Eagles the 2-0 edge. Another walk put Ilia Lopez on base, and following a stolen base and an Amanda Roosa single, she scored on a Julie Popovich base hit for the game’s final run.
“I knew that she liked the outside corner, so I took advice from my coaches and went with the pitch,” Robitaille said.
“After the first inning we knew we had to jump on early strikes,” Courtney Hughes said. “We tried to make the adjustments, and we started swinging at good pitches early. It was a good adjustment.”
After being staked to the early margin, Erb retired 13 of the last 16 ESU hitters she faced to claim the first title for a Mid-Atlantic Region team since California (Pa.) in 1998.
“It’s an exciting feeling. We did a good job offensively and defensively, and we got a great pitching performance. I can’t tell you how great it feels.”
Hughes, Steph Nail, Roosa and Popovich joined Erb on the all-tournament team. Stevens garnered all-tourney honors for ESU, joining teammates Channon Nitz and Chelsea McClernon on the squad.
Other all-tournament honorees were Renee Rubio and Kianna Urbanski of Cal State Bakersfield, Lindsay Tripp of Central Oklahoma, Keidra Baitey of Georgia College & State, and Megan Brown from Florida Southern.
Lock Haven closed out the season with a 56-4 record, while Emporia State finished the season 62-7.
Photo Caption: Julie Robitaille puts Lock Haven on top with a two-run home run in Monday's NCAA Division II national title game. (Photo by Gary Brittain)