Naotala nabs All-American honors

Howard College Hawks softball player Olive Naotala was named to the NJCAA Division I Softball First Team All-American for her outstanding performance as Hawk in the 2011-2012 season.Naotala finished the season with a .445 batting average, .967 slugging percentage, 98 RBI’s and a record 32 home runs.“Olive is the best player I have ever coached,” said Kelly Raines, Hawk softball head coach. “She was 3rd team All-American last year and to come out as a sophomore and be even better – that is a hard thing to do.”Not only was Naotala recognized at the national level, but the awards came rolling in for all conference team in the Western Junior College Athletic Conference (WJCAC) as well as the Region V most valuable player.Raines added, “Olive is a great player and a great kid, we are going to miss her but wish her all the best as she continues her softball career at Texas Tech University.”The Hawks were well represented among conference and regional awards as Faith Koria (infield), Kara Isbel (catcher), Sandra Serna (pitcher) and Shelby Shelton (outfield) all made both the WJCAC all conference team as well as the Region 5 team in their respective positions.WJCAC honorable mention honors also went to Jazzmin Arrant and Megan Granado.“This team has so many quality players and they have worked hard to earn this recognition. I am very happy for each one of them,” said Raines.The Hawks postseason play was exciting and challenging as they captured the Region 5 championship for the second year in a row, earning them the ticket to the NJCAA Division I National Softball Championship tournament in St. George, Utah. After a win in game one over Lakeland College and a hard fought loss to No. 2 seed Salt Lake Community College, the Hawks battled back to beat Seminole State Community College but eventually fell to North Eastern Oklahoma A&M for their second — and tournament elimination — loss. “To make it to the national tournament is an accomplishment on it’s own – but we competed well with the top teams and although we didn’t reach the ultimate goal, I am very pleased with their performance,” added Raines. “This team is a group of fighters and we will definitely miss our sophomores as we reload and get ready for next year.”