hc BaseballThere are thousands of tried and true Hawk Baseball fans out there and as much as we would all like to spend the week in Colorado with the Hawks, that’s just not possible for most of us!  In order to satisfy our hunger for information and calm our curiosities, we’ve created a daily journal to keep our fans updated!  Join the Hawks as they experience the JuCo World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado.  Follow along with their daily activities, game results, “quote of the day”, fan activities and much, much more!  So if you just can’t make the trip to the tournament but still want in on all the juicy details…..find it all here in the Hawk JuCo World Series Journal!

Watch for updates here:





Sunday, May 31, 2009

And then the Hawks came home…to a town full of sirens, lights, horns, signs and cheers for their 2009 JuCo World Series Champs!  The Dorothy Garrett Coliseum saw a celebration like no other tonight as we welcomed home our Hawks and let them know how proud we are.  It was a night to remember for everyone in attendance.  As Coach Smith said tonight from the podium, “This is your team and your championship too…we are proud to bring this championship trophy home to Big Spring!”

As part of the evening’s festivities, we were treated to a glimpse of the personalities that make up this Hawk team.  Tournament MVP Andrew Collazo was our “tour guide” for the night, leading the crowd and team in some chants while Burch Smith and Zach Neal showed off some hidden dancing talents (who knew they had these kinds of moves!).  Hot dogs, baseball and apple pie – Americana at its best – right here in Big Spring, Texas with your championship Hawks.  Life is good!  You can see photos from the night’s festivities here.

The tournament is over, our champs are home and as I bring this journal to a close I have to say “Thanks” to all of the fans who have supported this special group of guys throughout their journey this season.  It’s been a wild ride and you have all contributed in some way to make this season what it was. I know the players and coaches are grateful for your support.

And to you, the Hawk players, “Thanks” for leaving your special touch on this college and this community.  When you go off and get big and famous (like you’re not already), don’t forget us…we most certainly will never forget any of you!   

Hawk Quote of the Day:  

“Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the hours, weeks, months and years they spend preparing for it.  The victorious performance itself is merely the demonstration of their championship character.”  ~T. Alan Armstrong

I simply cannot think of words any better to describe the 2009 JuCo World Series Championship Hawk Baseball Team!  GO HAWKS!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

So here we are…”the day after”….I’m still getting chill bumps just thinking about the game, the championship, the numerous awards handed out to our Hawks.  It all seems like a fairytale.  NOTHING can touch this!

If you haven’t already read about it in the papers, the Hawks were well represented in the tournament awards and I would feel like I’m not doing them justice if I didn’t repeat it again here.  Infielders Monk Kreder and Bryan Johns; Outfielder Runey Davis and Pitcher Zach Neal all were honored on the 2009 Walter “Bus” Bergman All-Tournament Team.  Our very own Andrew Collazo brought home the Jay Tolman Outstanding Defensive Player AND the Preston Walker Most Valuable Player award.

 Andrew Collazo made a statement that he wanted to be known for his defense.  And while I certainly respect that, he has to know that he will go down in our history books as the clutch hitter from the championship game.  The solo home run shot in the ninth and the 2 run single in the 10th were of heroic caliber as were the thousands of defensive plays and hits throughout this memorable season for Collazo. 

This team is so unified and exhibits such a strong bond that you can’t possibly remember just one player, one hit or one play.  It’s a package deal with this Hawk team.  You can ask any one of them and you will get the same response…”we are brothers,” “nothing can touch this team,” “don’t think I’ll ever be on a team like this again,” “this team is one of a kind.”  They perform as a unit with every player knowing their role and what they can do to keep the dream alive!  And now we know that dream will never die – they have reached the pinnacle of their careers in junior college baseball and I know that only great things await each and every one of them!

For those of you who have been following the Hawks, I want you to know that they have been feeling the good karma every step of the way and are truly grateful for your support.  The team will be arriving home on Sunday and there will be a huge Hawk Homecoming Celebration at approximately 7pm at the Dorothy Garrett Coliseum on the campus of Howard College (check back at www.hchawk.com for any updates and/or changes in the schedule).  The team will be escorted through town as they come in on Hwy 87, down Greg Street to FM 700, over to Birdwell Lane and back up Birdwell Lane to the coliseum.  Park yourself on the route and let’s show these Hawks some real hometown pride as they roll into town.  A free hot dog dinner is on tap at the coliseum and everyone is invited to help us celebrate their return…meet the guys you’ve been reading about, get some autographs (that I’m certain will be worth some money one day!) and tell them personally how proud you are!

I know Grand Junction was sad to see them leave…but we are glad they’re coming home. 

Hawk Quote of the Day:  

“This was a storybook season and I am so so proud of this Hawk team.  They have shown strong character by never giving up and staying focused to take care of business and reach their goal.  We celebrate this season now but I know the lessons will surely serve them well in their futures too!”  ~Dr. Cheryl T. Sparks, President of Howard College

That’s our President…always looking out for the future of her students!  Thanks Dr. Sparks, I know the team truly appreciates your support.


Friday, May 29, 2009

Championship Game (Game 18) Photo Gallery >>

What can I say????  This is the stuff that movies are made of!  The Howard Hawks are bringing the 2009 JuCo Championship trophy back home to Big Spring, Texas….WooooooHoooooo!  If you have read any articles or watched any broadcasts about this Hawk team, you have seen and heard repeatedly that the guys set their goals early on…and kept plugging along until that goal – that dream – was realized!

I just don’t think I could be more proud of a group of young men to go the distance and do what they have done here this week in Grand Junction.  And let me tell you Hawk fans, you should be extra proud of the way this team represented our community – not just on the ball field but everywhere they went!  They were courteous, respectful and won over the hearts of Grand Junction! 

I, one who writes for a living, find it hard to find the words tonight!  I just don’t know where to begin, but for starters, here are a few little housekeeping items…yes, Jed’s picture was in the dugout for the championship game; yes, Jed got to come on the field after the game and join ‘his’ team; yes, Andrew Collazo, the tournament MVP, ‘paid it forward’ by giving his batting glove to some lucky young man in the crowd; and YES, Coach Britt Smith most definitely got a reallllly cold Gatorade bath!

Now, for the really big stuff…in the usual Hawk High Drama fashion, this team knocked our socks off tonight and left it all laying out there on the field.  It wasn’t just one person…it was every player on the team and every fan in the stands – rocking the dugout, making the final out of the game, again (Thanks Runey), being the clutch hitter, pitching 8 innings when your coaches were only hoping to get 5, making HUGE defensive plays, managing the game from 1st and 3rd base and cheering even louder than you ever thought you could. 

This day will go down in the history books of Howard College and Big Spring.  A day we can put aside all the troubles we know are out there and celebrate a true champion.  This team has proven itself over and over again this week earning their #1 ranking and their championship trophy.  They are ONE SPECIAL TEAM and I’m pretty sure I can speak for everyone else and say “Thanks Guys” for taking us all along for the ride!

Hawk Quote of the Day:  

“I’m already starting my speech to our new kids coming in…this team is special and irreplaceable but you’ll be your own team.  This isn’t a pipe dream!  We know what it takes to get here and I would love to see us come back again next year!”  ~Coach Britt Smith

Well coach, the role model has been established and we have nothing but confidence in the Hawks!


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Game 17 Action Photo Gallery >>

What a game!  Could you be more proud of the way our Hawks played?  They started off this world series with a bit of a struggle, not looking like the relaxed and confident team that we Hawk fans have watched faithfully all season long…but they hung in there and got the job done anyway.  Tonight, the team we know and love reappeared on Suplizio Field and played some true, blue Hawk Baseball!  We’re glad you’re back 100% and ready to rock Grand Junction on it’s heels on Friday with what is sure to be a great game against the Santa Fe Saints.  We’re behind you ALL the way Hawks!  Oh, did I mention that this one is for the whole enchilada?  That’s right Hawk fans…Friday night it’s on the line for the JuCo World Series Championship so get behind your Hawks – be loud, be proud!

You know, it’s easy to forget that these awesome players are college students.  They are called “student athletes” for a reason and Howard College could not be more proud of the fact that 20 of our Hawk Baseball Team went through commencement ceremonies earlier this month and graduated, many with honors.  And every semester along the way, they had a fantastic group of faculty and staff that were supporting them, encouraging them and doing everything possible to help each one of them be successful in the classroom and on the field.  None of them were more committed to this team than Linda Conway, Professor of English and Academic Advisor for the baseball team.

Conway has traveled far and wide to be with the team, faithfully attending games, wearing her infamous pink sunglasses (yet another good luck charm), all the while encouraging them in the classroom and guiding them as they faced choices about their futures.  It’s no surprise to anyone at Howard College that Linda is in the stands this week at Suplizio Field, following the Hawks and celebrating with them every step of the way as they continue the journey to their ultimate goal – the JuCo World Series Championship.  It’s one of the great things you find at Howard College, a special bond between faculty/staff and the students, one that creates memories, one that molds futures and one that helps develop champions!

I absolutely cannot sign off for this day without saying something about the awesome pitching performance that we all witnessed tonight by Zach Neal.  It was bittersweet seeing him on that mound pitching his last performance as a Howard Hawk, but man, what a performance it was!  He is a role model for his fellow team mates, for other students, for other young athletes and for his fans.  As Coach Britt Smith said, “Zach understands the game, he plays the game and he respects the game.  He is a great competitor and there is no one like him.”  And just for those inquiring minds who would like to know if Jed was at the stadium tonight…sadly, no, he wasn’t….but there was a picture of him in the dugout – and it will be there again tomorrow!

Go Hawks!

Hawk Quote of the Day:  

“These guys are great baseball players but they are also outstanding men.  I can’t wait to look around in 10 or 15 years and see what they have accomplished in life!”  ~Linda Conway

Sounds like she’s pretty proud of these guys!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

So, what can I say, we like a little high drama when it comes to our Hawk baseball…if you haven’t figured that out by now you are living under a very big rock!  Can you say GRAND SLAM?  Way to go Miles – you are our hero of the day!  Now that we knocked down the San Jacinto Gators we will be facing the Western Nevada team, again.  Sure to be a great game!  Go Hawks!    Game 15 Action Photo Gallery >>J.T. Mapes - Hawks Fan

With a rich tradition of baseball in Grand Junction, it is only fitting to share a story that should give you one of those warm fuzzy feelings to last throughout the day!  Back in 1991, the Howard College Hawks won the JuCo World Series, and, for those of you who remember that series, you will also remember a promising Hawk player by the name of Frank Rodriguez.  Frank was the MVP of the tournament tying a tournament record of 33 strikeouts, winning 2 games.  Needless to say, Frank suddenly became an idol to many young, aspiring boys dreaming of the chance to walk in his shoes.  Following that championship game, one particular young man seriously wanted an autograph from the great Rodriguez.  Among the press, the photographers, the fans, the team mates and coaches, this young man waited patiently for his golden opportunity to get that autograph.  Rodriguez kept assuring the boy he would get to him and for him not to leave, just wait a few more minutes…and that’s exactly what he did!  Waited, and waited, and waited.  Finally, it was his turn…he was really going to get his autograph…and much to his surprise, not only did he get that autograph but Frank Rodriguez gave that young man his cleats!  I’m not sure but I think it’s safe to say that young man floated all the way home with his feet never touching the ground!

Now, flash forward to 2009….the Howard College Hawks are back in Grand Junction determined to bring home a second championship for Howard College.  In the crowd for tonight’s game is none other than J.T. Mapes – returning to see the memorable Hawks play ball…and with him he brings a very special pair of cleats to give back to the school for safe keeping.  You see, J.T. was the young boy who was touched in a special way by a talented young Frank Rodriguez and was returning to the scene to wish the Hawks well and return the cleats for safe keeping (don’t fret, he kept the autographed ball!).

It just goes to show you what a small world we live in, how the lives of some very dedicated young athletes make a mark on the lives around them and how we all can learn from the generosity of others. 

Hawk Quote of the Day:  

“I LOVE junior college baseball; it is my favorite to watch.  These young men play because they love the game, unlike the pros!”

That comes from a 16 year veteran fan of JuCo Baseball and the JuCo World Series.  The locals might recognize her in her established seat with her umbrella and cooler…you know, there is no age limit on baseball fans!  I’m pretty sure she is a newly converted Hawk Fan and we’re proud to have her!


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Some of you may have noticed a special Hawk friend in some of the photos of the games and BBQ…he is one of the most devoted fans there is and the guys think it is critical for him to be present at all of their games.  He’s the “good luck charm,” so to speak, but he has to have a little help to make it to the games.  His name is Jed, he’s 9 years old with honey blonde hair and he’s a vital part of the Neal family.  Yep, that’s right, Jed is a dog!  Hawk pitcher Zach Neal’s long time best friend and strong Hawk supporter has made the trip to Grand Junction and has made himself right at home cheering on his favorite team.  Although Jed isn’t allowed in the stadium, he’s there in spirit and the team knows that he is close by at all times!  The tradition began earlier in the season as Zach’s parents brought Jed to the games, just because Zach and Jed were missing each other.  He quickly won over every member of the team and they soon noticed that the winning kept coming when Jed was there.   Way to go Jed…keep those Hawks going strong!

With a day of rest and practice on tap for the Hawks, I decided to do a little exploring here in Grand Junction so the fans at home can see some of the town and surrounding area.  This is a gorgeous little town that oozes charm and personality.  All during the month of May, there are new sculptures along Grand Junction’s downtown shopping park on Main Street.  The sculptures are displayed for free by the artists and some are for sale to the public.  This is all part of the 21st Downtown Art and Jazz Festival.  

As you can imagine, the scenery around here is breathtaking.  There is the Colorado National Monument – “The Jewel of the Grand Valley” and Rim Rock Drive which offers 23 miles of views.  It climbs from the Grand Valley of the Colorado River to the parks high country then winds along the plateau rim.  It is most definitely a picturesque place to be and the Hawks certainly feel lucky to be able to play at Suplizio Field in such a warm, welcoming town.  

Although the photos can’t begin to do justice to the landscape, check out the photo gallery for a few shots of a day of exploring!

Hawk Quote of the Day:   

“I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love.  For me they are the role model for being alive.”  ~Gilda Radner

For you Jed…we’re glad you’re there with our Hawks!  Bark up a cheer from the home town!


Monday, May 25, 2009

Another day, another win for the Hawks!  Way to go guys, taking down the Shelton State Community College Bucs 7-4 with NO extra innings this time!  Game two is out of the way and now the Hawks have a day of rest and practice to get ready for Game three.  Our opponent has yet to be determined but you can always follow the bracket on the JuCo World Series website or keep checking back here at hchawk.com for ongoing updates!

As today was Memorial Day, it was only fitting that a fireworks show followed our exciting win (even if we thought the show was just in celebration of our win!)  The fireworks were great in the big Colorado sky and made us all grateful for the heroes who have gone before us and those who are still out there fighting the fight for us all each and every day.

Our Hawks became heroes themselves to some special young Grand Junction boys.  After the game, there were two boys, somewhere between 6 and 10 years old, who were desperate for some autographs, holding on tight to their ball and bat.  Yes, it was late! Yes, our Hawks were tired! Yes, it was just two little boys wanting autographs, how big of a deal could it be! And YES our entire Hawk baseball team stayed and signed both the bat and the ball!  Hawk Fans Be Proud!  According to their mother, these two little boys now have some new heroes that made their day!  They left Suplizio Field floating on cloud 9 and think the Hawk Baseball Team is “the #1 team” in Colorado!  And did I mention that there were teams that would not even take the time to acknowledge these two boys?  Way to go guys, you make me proud!

Check out our photo gallery as we followed the Hawks for the day as well as some great game shots and fantastic fireworks!

Hawk Quote of the Day:   What has been most impressive so far in Grand Junction?

“I have been so impressed with how friendly, helpful and congenial all of the people are here.”

As reported by Kim Neal, mother of Zach Neal, who is certainly doing her part in cheering on the Hawk team!


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Today the Hawks and their fans were treated to a BBQ in the park - must have been a good reminder of home for everyone....some chicken & ribs, the park, games and family.  Speaking of games, some of the guys learned a new game that is played on the beaches in Jamaica.  You know, that Runey Davis is just good at everything he tries!  The team hosts, Lynn Thompson & Sherri Zen, were on hand for the BBQ and what a super job they have done making our Hawks and their fans feel right at home.  We can't say enough about how we appreciate you!  It comes as no surprise that many of the locals are out there cheering for our Hawks...they are growing to love them as much as we do!  One special young man (about 11) read about all the teams at the tournament and picked our Hawks to be his team to follow!  Smart choice young man, smart choice!

After a fun filled day, the Hawks returned to the hotel to get rested up and ready for Game #2 tomorrow against those Shelton State Community College Bucs.  There is a 50% chance of rain on tap for the day so game delays may be in store for everyone.  But as the old saying goes "the games must go on"...they take it to heart there at Grand Junction and I hear they will finish out the games even if it takes all night!  If everything goes as planned, there will be fireworks after the Hawks game.

Don't forget to check out the photo gallery from the team BBQ!

Hawk Quote of the Day:What are you enjoying most about the tournament so far?


"Well, of course I'm enjoying everything, but I definitely enjoy winning the most!"

And that quote comes from a Hawk parent - Rhonda Barnes, mother to Blake Barnes - who is in Grand Junction this week cheering on her son and the team!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

WWOOOOOWWW!  What a nail biter!  The Hawks took on Western Nevada College and man, did they ever give us a run for our money.  We definitely opened the series with some high drama - winning the game with a Runey Davis home run in the bottom of the 11th.  You just can't say that our Hawks don't win with style!  Not sure about all of you other Hawk fans out there, but I vote that we don't take the next one down to the wire like that....not sure the blood pressure medicine is that strong!

Next up for the Hawks...the Shelton State Community College Bucs....let's just "buc" 'em on out of our way!  Go Hawks! 

Hey, if you haven't already check it out, go to the official site of the JuCo World Series.  They have all the detailed box scores, stats, updated brackets, tournament information, etc.  If you have a question about this tournament, I bet the answer is there.  The address is www.jucogj.org

Great teams need great fields to play on!  Go to the photo gallery and see pics of game one and of this fine facility we're privileged to play on!

Hawk Quote of the Day:  Runey Davis, what was going through your mind at the plate?
"I knew the pitch would be a fast ball and I reacted to it!"

Yea! for fast balls and Yea! for quick reactions.....way to go Runey!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Hawks are flying high in Colorado!  Grand Junction, Colorado will most likely never be the same after a Howard College Hawk visit.  After a long bus ride, the team arrived at their assigned hotel and set up camp.   They've been assigned a "host"...the luckiest group of people in Grand Junction this week...a big thanks to The Grand Valley Hosts for taking care of our guys for us!

The first order of business for the team was the JuCo World Series Pre-Tournament Banquet held on Friday night at the Two Rivers Convention Center.  The banquet speaker was Dale Murphy - who just happened to be the youngest player ever to be voted the National League MVP in 1982 and 1983.  He also won five consecutive Gold Glove awards and was an All-star seven times, and need we mention a fantastic career batting average, RBI record and home run record...this guy has it all!  Maybe one of our very own Hawks will break his record too!  You just never know....

Check out the photo gallery from the banquet!

Hawk Quote of the Day:So, Coach Smith, how was the Pre-Tournament Banquet?
"The banquet was great but I was too worried about getting the team back to the hotel and rested for the early game to really enjoy it!"

That's our coach...always keepin' his eye on the goal!  Way to go Coach Smith!

Hawk Baseball in the News

Make It 13!

Make It 13!

BIG SPRING, TX - It was an exciting signing day for 13 of our HC Hawks baseball team who are early committed to division 1 schools! From left to right: Noah Miller – Abilene Christian Bryant Jordan – Abilene Christian Cam Allison – Louisiana Monroe Bryan Sturges – UT-San Antonio Brayden Dragoo – Air Force Jaxon Williams – Texas State Brandon Young – Louisiana Lafayette Mason Peterson – Abilene Christian Reese O’Farrell – Abilene Christian Ryan Williams – Abilene Christian Denny Bentley – Tennessee Chandler Coates – Arkansas StateNick Colacecchi – Abilene Christian (below left) Read more

2009 JUCO World Series
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