Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, July 12, 2005
Pecos 12-year-old Llers seek long stay in Lubbock
A lack of hotel rooms moved back the start of the West Texas Section 1 Little League Tournament in Lubbock this week, and the Pecos Little League All-Stars were still in search of rooms in the Lubbock area for this weekend’s opening round of tournament play.
But Pecos is hoping they’ll still be hanging around Lubbock early next week, as the six-team double-elimination tournament will run through next Wednesday, with the winner advancing to the West Texas State Tournament in Waco.
Lubbock Western (Frenship) is hosting the Section 1 tournament, but a conflict with a girls’ softball tournament this week left the Lubbock area short of hotel space for the out-of-town teams participating. As a result, Pecos’ scheduled opener Thursday night against either Lubbock Midwest or the District 1 (Amarillo area) winner was moved back to 12 noon on Saturday. Those two teams open tournament play on Friday.
If Pecos wins, they’ll play a 6 p.m. game on Sunday against the winner of the game between El Paso and the winner of Friday’s game between Wall and Midland Northern. A loss in their opener on Saturday would force Pecos to play again at 6 p.m. that evening against the loser of Friday’s Midland Northern-Wall match-up.
This is the second year in a row Pecos advanced to the Major League (11-12 year old) sectional tournament in Little League play. Last year’s team won the District 4 championship and was made up of both 11 and 12-year olds, while this year, Pecos won the District 37 title with a team of just 12-year-olds, as the new district added play in the 11-year-old age group for the first time.
Three players off last year’s 11-12 team are back for Pecos this year, and they’ll be trying to do better than the 2004 squad, which lost both their games in Section 1 play at Abilene. Pecos defeated Fort Stockton last Thursday in the deciding game of the District 37 Tournament by a 12-6 score, following an 11-4 loss to Fort Stockton earlier in the evening and an 11-5 win over the host squad in the second round of the tournament.
Coach Rene Rayos said he wasn’t sure who would start for Pecos in their opening game on Saturday. Arturo Navarette and Tad Rodriguez started two of the district tournament games for Pecos, while Joel Chavez started one and closed out the final game, after a sore arm kept him from starting either of the final two games against Fort Stockton.
Midland Northern comes into the tournament as the likely favorite in the 12-year-old division, after they captured the West Texas championship in the 11-year-old division last year. The West Texas tournament not only includes teams from this area, but also teams from Southeast Texas and the Rio Grande Valley.
This is the fourth season that the Little League has divided Texas into East and West sections, with the winners of both advancing to the Southwestern Regional Tournament, beginning on July 23 in Waco. Pecos last advanced to the state tournament in Little League in 1992, finishing third in the 12-year-old division that year.
Pecos seeks berth in 11-year-olds’ title game
The Pecos 11-year-old Little League All-Star baseball team took different paths to victories on Monday and Tuesday night, in getting to Thursday’s semifinal match-up against San Angelo Northern at the West Texas Section 1 Tournament in Fort Stockton.
Pecos had to survive a series of errors in their opening game against Midland North Central, before taking advantage of some mistakes by Midland to score three times in the sixth inning for an 11-8 victory.
Tuesday night, the Little Leaguers were able to throw out three Lubbock Midwestern players trying to take extra bases, including one to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning, as they went on to score a 6-2 victory.
Three more Lubbock batters reached base after Bryson Mitchell was caught rounding second base too far by Clay Teague, following a lead-off double. The play allowed Pecos pitcher Jesus Salgado to survive an error and two more hits that followed in the sixth, as he won his third game in tournament play.
Salgado also caught Kevin Armendariz trying to steal to end the fourth inning after his RBI single had cut Pecos’ lead to 5-1, and Annalee Rodriguez threw out Cameron Lewis trying to take an extra base in the fifth, after reaching on a two-out error.
“That was more like the way we’ve played. I’ve never seen us play as bad defensively as we did on Monday,” said manager Vaughn Garnto. “But our kids were a little nervous in the first game, and I know they (Midland) were nervous, and I think once they got the win they got that out of their system.”
Salgado only allowed two Lubbock hits over the first five innings, while Pecos scored twice in the first and twice in the third innings, before adding solo runs in the fourth and sixth innings.
Salgado had three RBI, two coming on infield ground outs that scored Annalee Rodriguez. She had an RBI single in the first inning to score Mark Quintana, then scored in the third on a wild pitch after an infield hit.
Pecos’ fourth run scored on a bases-loaded walk by Garrison Howard to Devante Jenkins, while in the fourth Salgado singled home Quintana after a lead-off double, and his ground out brought home Rodriguez in the sixth, after she tripled with one out.
In Monday’s win over Midland North Central, Pecos rallied twice from early deficits, while Midland also rallied two times, tying the game in the fifth inning before Pecos scored three runs in the sixth to win it.
Annalee Rodriguez single scored Quintana, who opened the inning with a single, and she went to third while Garnto scored after the ball bounced over the head of Grayson Sims for a two-base error. Garnto had reached when reliever Travis Williams couldn’t field his grounder back to the mound, and Rodriguez would score when Williams threw out Salgado on his grounder to the mound, when catcher Caleb West dropped the throw from first baseman Jordan Sanders while trying to tag out Rodriguez.
Salgado had a three-run homer in the second inning off starter Christian Orona that capped a five run rally, after Midland had taken a 2-0 lead. But Midland took advantage of five errors in their half of the second to score four times, capped by a two-run double by Colton Lantham, who would go to third on the throw home and scored when Salgado’s throw to Antonio Rodriguez at third base skipped into left field.
Pecos took an 8-6 lead in the fourth thanks to four Midland errors. Quintana scored the tying run when West overthrew cutoff man Ryan Walker to the right of second base on a double steal. Garnto went to second and scored when Sanders threw past third base trying to get him on a Salgado ground out. That came after a walk to Annalee Rodriguez, and she would score on a single by Israel Espudo.
Midland got their tying runs in the fifth, off and infield hit by Williams, an error by Antonio Rodriguez on Walker’s grounder to third, a sacrifice fly by Sanders and a two-out error by Gomez at second base on Sims’ grounder. But in the sixth Antonio Rodriguez threw out West to open the inning, and after Garnto struck out Latham he got Williams to foul out to Annalee Rodriguez at first base, ending the game.
The winner of Thursday’s 8 p.m. game will advance to the tournament’s title game on Saturday, while the winner will play in the elimination round finals on Friday. San Angelo Northern defeated El Paso in their opening game by a 3-2 score, then advanced to Thursday’s game with a 6-3 win over Dumas.
Garnto said he might start off with Espudo on the mound for Thursday’s game. “We might go with Israel and try and get a good five innings out of him, and they we’ve got both (Salgado and Brandon Garnto) for the championship game and the ‘if’ game if we need them,” he said.
Most of Pecos’ 11-year-old players were members of last year’s 9-10 year old All-Star team in District 4, which won the championship there, and defeated San Angelo Northern along the way by a 9-2 score. “I don’t know if they have all the same kids (as last year’s team), but odds are there are going to be a lot of them,” Garnto said.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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