Lady Hawks eliminated from tourney by Midland College

LUBBOCK — The promising season is over. One game away from the Region V title game, Howard College was upset for the second time in the tournament by Midland College on Sunday, this time by a score of 8-2.The Lady Hawks entered the Region V West Softball Championship Tournament as the top seed after claiming the Western Junior College Athletic Conference title. They were ranked No. 7 in the nation and they held an overall record of 49-9.On paper, it looked like the regional event was theirs for the taking and HC would be making its third straight trip to St. George, Utah for the National Junior College Athletic Association championship tourneyBut after dropping the first game to Midland College, 7-6, in extra innings Friday, the Hawks were forced to play additional games and move up through the loser’s bracket.They met Luna College Saturday morning and dispatched the conference newcomer 7-2. Then, the Lady Hawks smashed El Paso Community College,14-4 and it appeared whatever first round jitters the squad were long gone.Until they met Midland again.A pair of Lady Chaparral base hits and two errors committed by the Lady Hawks led to a four-run deficit in the bottom of the first inning.Sophomore Shelby Shelton led off the the second with a solo home run to make it 4-1, but Midland got its run back in the bottom half of the inning.Micherie Koria picked up a one-out single in the top of the fifth, breathing life into HC’s stagnant offense. Elizabeth Torres reached on a fielder’s choice with two outs, scoring Koria who advanced on a fly ball by Megan Granado. A lady Chap error led to an extra base, but the rally was cut short.Down 5-2, Shelton led off the sixth inning with a single, but was erased on a fielder’s choice after contact by Mallory Mitchiner. Claudette Smith recorded a base hit and Rebecca Long hit the ball well, but it went right into the glove of a Lady Chap, freezing the base runners. The Lady Hawks were unable to get the runs home.Midland, however, wasn’t finished. A RBI double, a RBI single and an interference call on Shelton led to three Lady Chaparral runs. HC Head Coach Kelly Raines was livid at the decision and argued vehemently with the umpires, but the call was upheld.Down to their last two outs, Granado singled, Torres struck out, then Jillian Navarrete drew a walk. With runners on first and second, MC pitcher Holly Herrington fanned Shelton to end the Lady Hawks’ season.Howard actually out-hit Midland 10 hits to nine, but three errors led to four unearned runs and 10 Lady Hawks were left on base during the outing.