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Howard Officially Named to Italian Olympic Team

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— A year delayed, but Andrea Howard is officially going to the Olympics.

The Albuquerque native was officially named to the Italian national team final roster ahead of the Tokyo games, and after a phenomenal showing at the Women’s Softball European Championship.

Howard finished the championship hitting .545 with 18 hits, six home runs, two doubles, a triple, 40 total bases and 23 RBI, starting in all of Italy’s 11 games. The La Cueva High School graduate led the tournament in hits, total bases and RBI, while tied for the lead in home runs, third in runs with 14 and was in the top five in slugging percentage and batting average.

Further, she posted a 1.212 slugging percentage and .579 on-base percentage, and produced six multiple-hit games, six multiple RBI games and tallied a hit in all but one game.

In the championship game against the Netherlands, Howard went 3-for-4 at the plate with a solo home run in the bottom of the first to lead off Italy’s scoring and added a two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth that made it 6-3, which proved to be the difference in the game. Howard added a single to right in the fifth and was intentionally walked in the sixth as the Azzurre won the championship with a 9-5 final.

It was the second game of the tournament in which Howard hit multiple home runs, going 2-for-2 at the plate with two home runs and four RBI against Hungary.

However, her best game of the tournament came against Bulgaria, in which Howard went 3-for-4 with seven RBI on a three-run home run and a two-run triple in the first inning, along with a two-run single and a walk in the three-inning game.

Over the 11 games that Italy played in the European Championship, the Azzurre outscored their opponents 125-6 with nine shutouts.

Italy will compete against five other teams in the Olympics in the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia and Mexico. Competition begins on July 21 (in Tokyo) and concludes with the final games on July 27. Italy will open up against the United States on July 20 at 9 p.m. MT.

Back on July 27, 2019, Italy defeated Great Britain 5-0 in the WBSC Europe/ Africa Qualifier championship game to clinch a bid to the Olympics, however the final roster for the Olympic team was not determined until the conclusion of the European Championship.

After the games, Howard will return to the Lobos for her fifth year.