Howard off to good start on the mound

Left-handed pitcher Hayden Howard had an impressive first week back on the mound for the Saints.
Howard was named the Week One KJCCC Co-Pitcher of the Week after throwing for 10 innings without allowing one earned run.
Howard is from Carrollton, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. He is the oldest of his siblings with a half brother who is 5 years old and a stepsister who is 13 years old.
Howard will soon return to Texas to continue to play baseball at Texas Tech University. Howard has always been inclined towards playing baseball rather than other sports.
“I just grew up around it,” Howard said. “My mom would always throw the ball at me and it was just something that I would always do when I had free time. It just kind of stuck and I grew to love it by just playing it.”
Being around baseball led Howard to be a fan of the Texas Rangers, yet the player he looks up to is Cole Hamels, a pitcher who currently plays for the Phillies. Besides being a good pitcher, Howard said that the reason he likes Hamels is that he is also left-handed, so he tries to imitate him.
Another person that also had an influence on Howard to be where he is now was his high school assistant coach, Ryan Nelson.
Nelson, too, attended Seward County Community College where he played baseball for the Saints in 2003 when they won the Jayhawk West conference. He was named most valuable player that year for the conference.
“He was young and could really connect well with me,” Howard said. “I trust him and I still talk to him every couple weeks. We stay in touch very well, and we just talk. He keeps me in line and focused on what I am trying to do.”
Nelson was one of the reasons that helped Howard decide to come and play for the Saints.
Brent Bezio, Howard’s roommate and teammate, said about Howard, “He is a crazy kid, but really fun to be with.”
In regards to baseball, Bezio said that Howard being a left-handed pitcher means he already has an advantage. Then, add in that his fastball sits around 88-91 mph along with his ability to locate the ball pretty well, leads to Howard’s good pitching game.
“As long as he throws strikes and keeps the ball low, he does really well,” Bezio said.
A couple months ago, Howard made the decision to continue playing after this season at Texas Tech, who had an impressive 2014 season with 45 wins. The Red Raiders also reached the College World Series last year at Omaha. Another thing that led to Howard’s decision to play there was the coaching staff.
“The pitching coach there is very well known,” Howard said. “He was a major league scout for a long time, and he just has a lot of connections. He was a first round pick, too, and he is just very well educated in baseball knowledge wise. The whole coaching staff just felt like a good fit. They are doing something right since they made it to the World Series.”
Besides baseball, Howard also enjoys messing around while playing basketball and being outdoors.
Howard said, “I like going out to the lake in the summer when I have a little off time and also playing video games like a bunch of people here [at the dorms].”
Howard and the Saints will continue the season Saturday against Odessa College at Odessa, Texas, in a double-header and will have another double-header Sunday at Midland, Texas, against Midland College.

 

Crusader photo/ Efren Rivero  Hayden Howard pitches on the cold season opener against McCook Community College. Saints have a season record of 3-4 after having an early start to the season. Saints will face Odessa College Saturday.
Crusader photo/ Efren Rivero
Hayden Howard pitches on the cold season opener against McCook Community College. Saints have a season record of 3-4 after having an early start to the season. Saints will face Odessa College Saturday.