Losses drop Hawks from national softball tournament

The Lady Hawks of Howard College fell in consecutive shutout losses on Friday to end their season at the NJCAA tournament in St. George, Utah. The Hawks bats only accounted for a combined five hits in the two games,while giving up nine.Iowa Western knocked Howard out of the double elimination tournament with a 4-0 shutout. Iowa only had five hits in the game, but accumulated 14 base runners in the game, due to walks, errors and hit-batsmen. Despite the losses, Head Coach Kelly Raines was very pleased with Howard College's season."We are very happy with how the girls played this year. I could not ask for a better group of girls."Howard got hits from Lezlie Yarbar, Lana Dominguez and Faith Koria. Hawk ace Salina Mitchell was replaced in the circle in the third inning by Sandra Serna. Mitchell had been the winner in Howard's first-game win against Central Alabama on Thursday. Serna had been the losing pitcher against Salt Lake earlier on Friday.The Lady Hawks found their way into the losing bracket Friday afternoon, after Thursday's rained-out second round game against Salt Lake was rescheduled for Friday and resulted in a 2-0 loss."I think we played Salt Lake very well," Coach Raines said. "They were the number two seeded team in the tournament and were it not for that home run in the fourth inning, we would probably still be playing that one. Serna pitched a great game."Koria and Melanie Vasquez got the only two hits in the game for Howard College. Serna had allowed only one hit through the first three innings, but a solo home run by Salt Lake's Kylie Brinkenhoff went deep over the center field fence in the fourth to put the Lady Bruins ahead for good. A double to right field by the Bruins in the sixth appeared to score two more, but an outstanding play and throw by Big Spring's Yarbar nailed the second runner at the plate.Coach Raines said the team was unable to recover from the loss to Salt Lake.“The rain delay just started the ball rolling downhill. We fought back,but after the loss,we just couldn't recover. I may be wrong,but I think all the teams that lost Saturday ended up losing again in their second game.”