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College baseball: Former Airline stars help LSUE win NJCAA Division II national title

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Former Airline pitchers Jerry Couch and Dalton Burrell played big roles as the LSUE Bengals won the NJCAA Division II national championship in Enid, Okla.

LSUE defeated Western Oklahoma State 5-4 in 14 innings Saturday night to win its seventh title in the last 15 seasons. The Bengals finished 51-7.

Couch, a sophomore, and Burrell, a freshman, did not play in that game. But Couch, named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Pitcher, won two games in the World Series and Burrell won one.

Couch pitched a three-hitter with in a 9-1, seven-inning victory over Phoenix College in the Bengals’ opener on May 30.

LSUE defeated Kellogg Community College 11-2 in seven innings in its second game Monday then eliminated Kellogg 11-6 Wednesday.

Burrell was the starter and winner in the latter game. He allowed just three hits and two earned runs in six innings.

The Bengals then lost to Western Oklahoma State 9-4 in the first of the three-game championship series Thursday.

Couch returned to the mound Friday. He allowed five hits and two earned runs in seven innings as LSUE forced the decisive third game with a 12-3 victory.

Another former Airline standout, freshman Bryson Connell, also saw action in the World Series. He pitched two innings of relief in the loss to Western Oklahoma State, allowing four hits but only one run.

Couch finished the season 12-1 with a 3.82 ERA. He had 69 strikeouts in 92 innings.

Burrell finished 5-0 with a 3.82 ERA. He had 39 strikeouts in 37 2/3 innings.

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