Lady Hawks rebound to win their fifth straight Region 5 championship!

Sports Editor

Howard College shook off an opening-day 10-5 loss to Midland College to start the region five softball tournament and won five games in a row to claim the tournament championship for the fifth straight year. After giving up 10 runs on 11 hits to Midland College in their first game the Lady Hawks refocussed and didn't allow more than four runs in any of their remaining games.
Howard College started their comeback from the losers bracket with a close 4-3 win over Western Texas College in game two. The Lady Hawks allowed just 4 hits in the game and held the Westerners scoreless 5 of the 7 innings of play. Marin Musicant got the win in the circle for Howard College in the game. Musicant struck out four and pitched well the whole game in the defensive win. Musicant also added three hits at the plate to lead the Lady Hawks offensively in the game as well.
With a win under their belt and momentum on their side, Howard College prepared themselves to match up against Odessa College for game three of the tournament. Against the Lady Wranglers the Lady Hawks left no doubt, and ran away with the game early scoring 4 runs in the first inning and then putting the game completely out of reach with a big time 5 run fourth inning as well. Howard College outhit Odessa 13 to 4 in the win and dominated the competition from the first pitch. Julia Grib got the start on the rubber for the Lady Hawks and allowed just 3 runs on 3 hits in the 11-3 blowout win over the Lady Wranglers to move on in the tournament.
In game four, Howard College continued to dominate and march right through their opposition with a 8-0 shutout win over the Clarendon College Lady Bulldogs. The Lady Hawks outhit Clarendon 7 to 1 in the game and had control of the game right from the get go with a big 3 run bottom of the first to start things off. Grib got the start for the second straight game and did an outstanding job in the circle for Howard College. Grib pitched five innings, struck out 7 batters and allowed just one hit in her shutout of the Lady Bulldogs. Paige Hallam and Laela Minnich sparked the Lady Hawks offense in the game with both hitting deep shots in the bottom of the fourth to help their team get their third straight win of the tournament and make it to the championship round.
In games five and six, the tournament championship, the Lady Hawks had to face the same Midland College team who sent them to the losers bracket on day one. And with one loss already on their record Howard College would need to beat the Lady Chaps two straight times to get their fifth straight region five title. Fortunately, the Lady Hawks didn't need much reminding of that fact and went to work right away in the first game of the final round scoring 4 runs in the bottom of the first inning taking control of the game from the onset and never looking back. Midland outhit Howard College 8 to 7 in the game but committed 4 costly errors that the Lady Hawks capitalized on to get the 5-2 win and move on to a one game winner take all for the regional championship. Grib did her thing in the circle and Musicant went 2 for 4 at the plate in the win and both ladies really set the tone heading into the final game of the tournament.
In the winner take all championship game, the Lady Hawks left no doubt as to who's region this is. Howard College outhit the Lady Chaps an amazing 17 to 7 in the title game and turned those hits into a dominant 10-4 win for their fifth straight Region V crown. Grib and Musicant split time in the circle for the championship game with Grib going two and a third innings and Musicant pitching four and two-thirds innings respectively. Grib gave up 4 runs on 6 hits while Musicant allowed just 1 hit and no runs to close out the game. Musicant was also dominant at the plate in the game going 4 for 5 and driving in 2 runs to lead the Lady Hawks on both offense and defense in the title game. Amanda Gonzales, Brittney Espinosa, Madison Neff and Sarah Urea all had multiple hits in the game as well with Neff leading the way with three hits and three RBI's.
Congratulation to the Lady Hawks for another great chapter in their storied legacy and on a fifth straight Region V Championship! We can't wait to see you ladies perform at the national tournament in Utah