Sports

Who’s afraid of the massive unhealthy Lobo? Howard strikes concern in hearts of pitchers


Andrea Howard cheers on her College of New Mexico softball teammates throughout Friday’s dwelling sport vs. UNLV. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

Paula Congleton owes Nevada softball coach Linda Garza $7.

It was nicely value it to the College of New Mexico softball coach.

Final Sunday in Reno, Congleton moved her senior star slugger Andrea Howard as much as the leadoff place as a result of opposing Mountain West coaches have apparently seen sufficient of Howard swinging the bat.

The Lobo heart fielder is main or among the many league leaders in dwelling runs, batting common, RBIs and principally each offensive class you’ll be able to consider, which led to a string of six video games – three vs. Fresno State and three vs. Nevada – through which Howard had 23 plate appearances and was walked 18 occasions.

Of these, 16 had been intentional walks.

Of her 5 plate appearances in these six video games, Howard homered twice.

Garza deliberately walked Howard anyway to start out the sport.

A pissed off Congleton, standing close to the Wolfpack dugout within the third base coach’s field, pleaded to Garza.

“I was like, ‘Let my kid play this game,’ ” Garza mentioned of what she informed Garza.

” ‘Stop doing that. I know you want to win, but can’t you win by yourself advantage versus taking certainly one of my children out of the sport?’ ”

Two innings later, whether or not it was the alternate between the 2 head coaches or not, Nevada pitched to Howard.

On the primary pitch Howard noticed, she launched a house run to proper area that landed simply 30 toes past the 220-foot proper area wall.

Did Congleton have a look at Garza?

“Yes I did. She was like, ‘That just cost me $7 for the ball.’ ” Congleton mentioned.

Sure, Mountain West Convention coaches who’re giving Howard the therapy afforded Main League Baseball dwelling run profession chief Barry Bonds in years previous are actually nicely conscious of what Albuquerque has identified for a minimum of a decade.

Andrea Howard can crush a softball.

Upcoming this summer time, in any case, is the 10-year anniversary of Howard and her Eastdale Little League teammates profitable the 2012 Little League World Sequence.

And it was 5 years in the past when Howard and her La Cueva Excessive College teammates capped an ideal 28-0 Class 6A state championship season.

Since then, the senior heart fielder has been doing her factor for the Lobos, for whom she’s been an all-league performer. She additionally grew to become an Olympian final summer time for Staff Italy. And this 12 months, she has been as scary a hitter as there’s within the league.

And it’s all about to come back to an finish within the subsequent couple weeks.

“This is it. Right now, I’m not planning to play softball after this year,” Howard informed the Journal on Friday.

“I think I’m ready to hang up my cleats and continue to focus on my medical career.”

The Lobos misplaced 11-1 on Friday at dwelling within the opener of a three-game collection (Howard was 1-for-2 with no walks). They host the Rebels Saturday afternoon and Sunday, then play at Boise State subsequent week. To complete the season, and Howard’s softball profession, UNM is dwelling Could 12-14 vs. San Diego State.

It was the April 14-16 dwelling collection vs. Fresno State that began to concern Howard how the season may finish.

In 11 plate appearances within the collection, Fresno State coach Stacy Could-Johnson deliberately walked Howard 9 occasions. Within the two official at-bats, Howard was 1-for-2 with a house run.

“She changes the dynamic of the lineup and makes the hitters around her better,” Could-Johnson informed the Journal. “… Every time she comes to the plate, she forces her opponent to decide if they are willing to take the risk of giving up a home run.”

For Howard, staying affected person has been a problem.

“Yeah, it gets frustrating at times,” Howard mentioned. “I love hitting. But whenever that happens, I just have to think to myself that I can only control what I can control.”

She’s definitely dealt with the issues in her management fairly nicely by means of the years.

She will probably be graduating with two levels from UNM subsequent month and plans to use for medical college subsequent 12 months.

Final fall, simply months after new legal guidelines allowed for school athletes to learn from their title, picture and likeness and retain their enjoying eligibility, Howard was in prime place to capitalize on her current Olympic expertise final summerin Tokyo by internet hosting a softball clinic of her personal.

As an alternative, she helped coordinate a camp at UNM on Oct. 17 with 100% of the proceeds going to the Muscular Dystrophy Affiliation.

“She has been the guiding light of motivation, self discipline, optimism, poise under stress, her focus, her athletic ability, and just being the best teammate a team could want,” Congleton mentioned. “So, for me, she’s established herself as one of the greatest players to ever play UNM softball. And her impact on our program will be long lasting.”

Such reward is appreciated by Howard, although it’s uncommon to listen to her speak a lot about herself or her enjoying.

Because it involves an finish, she is beginning to mirror on all of it.

“I put a lot of hard work into the sport and especially for UNM,” Howard mentioned. “So I just hope that can kind of resonate with my teammates and how they (the coaching staff) are able to coach younger players coming in, and that work ethic can stay here throughout the years.”

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