Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Pecos 12-year-old swept from sectional tourney
It may not have been the same as playing the Texas Rangers or New York Yankees, but playing a team with a son of a former Ranger and Yankee on it resulted in a painful afternoon in Lubbock for the Pecos 12-year-old Little League All-Stars on Saturday.
Pecos’ stay to the Section 1 tournament lasted only about eight hours, as they dropped their opener to Midland Northern on Saturday by a 13-1 score, then were ousted from the double-elimination tournament in extra innings on Saturday night, falling to Borger by a 6-5 margin.
Midland’s 12-year-old squad came into the Section 1 tournament having won the inaugural West Texas State Tournament last year as 11-year-olds. They would score twice in the first inning off starter Arthur Navarette and then broke things opening with five more runs in the second, capped by back-to-back homers by Hunter Redman and Nicholaus Velarde, the son of former Yankee and Texas Ranger infielder Randy Velarde, who also served as one of the coaches for Northern’s All-Star squad.
“We just didn’t hit the ball and we gave up too many walks,” said Little League coach Basilio Ortega. “They just jumped on us early, and we made too many errors.”
Navarette suffered from control problems while allowing three hits in one-plus inning of work. He walked three in the first inning while giving up an RBI single to Redman.
Midland’s second run scored on a throwing error by catcher Joel Chavez.
Pecos would come back in the second inning to cut the lead to 2-1, thanks to a two-out single to right by Joseph Orona off starter Michael Christiani and an overthrow of home plate by Blair Beck. That scored Navarette, who was hit by a pitch to open the inning and moved up on Julian Armendariz’ single.
Kevin Fuentes replaced Navarette after Mason Smith tripled and Erick Collier walked to open the bottom of the second. He was then hurt when Orona pulled his foot off the bag on a throw from third baseman Dominique Bejarano on a Keith Fritscher grounder, and Navarette, now at catcher, couldn’t handle Orona’s throw home as Smith scored. Three pitches later Redman hit his second home run of the tournament to center field for a 6-1 lead, and Velarde followed with a solo shot to right to make it 7-1.
Three one-out walks in the third by Fuentes set Midland up for a six-run inning. Velarde had an RBI bloop hit after a passed ball made it 8-1, Blair Beck followed with a two-run double and Randy Kidwell had an RBI single before Tad Rodriguez relieved Fuentes. He struck out the first batter he faces, but issued two more walks and saw Midland score once more on a passed ball.
Rodriguez would start Saturday’s elimination game against Borger and again ran into control problems after Pecos rallied from a 1-0 deficit to take a 3-1 lead.
Will Paucel doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly for Borger in the first inning, but Orona got Pecos going in the top of the third, homering to center field off pitcher Gray Fallon. Fuentes and Ramiro Pinales followed with singles and Fuentes then scored off an error by Edgar Rodriguez on a Chavez grounder. Pinales then came home on a two-out double steal, while Chavez was caught in a rundown.
Paucel and Brandon Garcia singled to open the bottom of the third, but Borger then scored four runs after Daniel Hernandez was hit by a pitch, Jared Herron and Andrew Flores walked to force home two runs, and two more runs came in on a wild pitch and passed ball.
Manager Rene Rayos then replaced Rodriguez with Chavez, who started for Pecos to open up the District 37 tournament on July 1, but has been plagued by arm problems over the past two weeks. He shut down Borger over the next three innings, while Pecos scored twice in the fifth to tie the game.
Chavez’ two-out double in the fifth brought home Fuentes and Bejarano, after a walk and an error by shortstop Johnny Hernandez. But Pecos wasn’t able to get any more off Paucel, who came on in relief, and Borger won the game in the bottom of the seventh off a pair of errors, both involving Paucel. He reached when Fuentes couldn’t handle his bloop into short right field and then scored when Chavez’ throw to second on a Daniel Hernandez grounder went off the glove of Erick Salgado and into right field.
This was the second year in a row Pecos’ 12-year-old Little League All-Star team saw their season end in two games at sectionals, though this year the Little Leaguers qualified as members of a different district. They won the District 37 championship this year, while Wall, which lost to Midland Northern on Friday night, 7-1, represented Pecos’ old District 4.
Borger was eliminated from the tournament on Sunday night by Lubbock Midwest, 9-4, while Northern advanced to the title game with a 6-0 win over El Paso Socorro. Midwest had fallen on Saturday to Socorro, 3-2, in a nine inning game that delayed the start of Pecos’ game with Midland by about an hour.
Late rallies against SA send 11-year olds to Waco
The scores look a lot different, but the games were pretty much the same for the Pecos Little League 11-year-old All Stars, who survived scares on Thursday and Saturday against San Angelo Northern to earn Pecos’ first trip to the state tournament in Waco in 13 years.
Playing in the championship bracket semifinals on Thursday, Pecos took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, then saw San Angelo jump ahead by a 3-1 score, before a three-run fifth inning and an eight-run sixth blew things open for the Little Leaguers, who ended up beating Northern by a 13-3 final score.
Northern then advanced to the title game on Friday with a 3-2 win over Midland North Central, and on Saturday, looked like they might force a deciding game in the double-elimination tournament. Pecos again took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, but saw San Angelo score twice in the fourth inning, and this time hold that 2-1 lead until the bottom of the sixth, when Annalee Rodriguez homered off Juan Morales on the first pitch of the inning, and Josh Hernandez then collected a two-out single to score Israel Espudo and give Pecos a 3-2 victory.
The win puts Pecos into the 11-year-old division West Texas tournament, which begins on Thursday in Waco, with an 8 p.m. game against the Section 2 (Abilene-Wichita-Falls-Waco areas) champion. It’s Pecos first trip to state since 1992, but the first for the 11-year-old team in the first season Pecos’ Little League has fielded an 11-year-old squad, as part of the new District 37 alignment.
Northern, which won the title in Pecos’ old district to advance to the West Texas Section 1 Tournament in Fort Stockton, had not given up more than three runs in a game, until Pecos broke out in the last two innings of Thursday’s contest. That included recovering from bad starts in both games against Pecos to shut down the Little Leaguers’ bats for the next several innings.
Mark Quintana reached on an error and Brandon Garnto followed with an RBI double in the first inning of Saturday’s game against Morales. But Pecos wouldn’t score again until the sixth, while San Angelo took advantage of three Pecos errors to score their two runs in the fourth inning.
Salgado, who was looking for his fourth win in tournament play, misplayed a Marcos Uresti grounder after a leadoff single by Brandon Grisham. He came back to strike out the next two batters, but then Rodriguez was not able to handle his throw to first base on a grounder back to the mound by Jordan Minjarez , allowing Grisham to score. The play also put runners on the corners and Uresti came home when Minjarez tried to steal and Salgado’s throw to second got past Quintana for another error.
Rodriguez’s second home run of the tournament tied the game, and San Angelo then opted to walk Salgado intentionally, after he had homered twice in Thursday’s game. That play backfired when Uresti couldn’t handle a throw to second to force pinch-runner Alex Garcia on a grounder to short. Garcia would be forced at third on Devante Jenkins’ grounder to the mound, but another ground out, this one by C.J. Gomez advanced both runners, and Hernandez then ended the game by blooping a ball into short right field for the game-winning single.
San Angelo threatened one other time in Saturday’s game, loading the based with one away in the second on singles by Rene Aguilar and Uresti and a walk to Zack Lara. But Salgado then struck out Brandon McDaniel and got Minjarez to hit into a force place at second by Quintana, ending the inning.
In Thursday’s win over San Angelo Northern, Pecos struggled at the plate over the first four innings. They did take a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a hit batter, an infield single by Annalee Rodriguez and an RBI single by Espudo, but San Angelo used three walks by Espudo to open the bottom of the inning to score all three of their runs in the game.
Garnto replaced Espudo on the mound and got Morales to line out to Espudo, now at second base. But Aguilar blooped a single into right field to tie the game, and Northern took a 2-1 lead when Rodriguez couldn’t handle a Uresti grounder wide of first base. A passed ball by Salgado allowed San Angelo’s third run to score.
Salgado cut the lead to 3-2 in the third, homering to right-center field off pitcher Preston Artenga. But it wasn’t until the fifth inning that Pecos was able to put together a series of hits, after an error by Aguilar at third base opened the door for the Little Leaguers.
He misplayed a potential double play grounder by Garnto, after a leadoff single by Quintana. Rodriguez then singled to right to tie the game, and after Salgado lined out, Garnto scored on an error by Lara on a grounder to short by Espudo. Rodriguez would then score on a two-out single by Gomez for a 5-3 Pecos lead.
An error by Morales at first base on Josh Hernandez’ grounder set Pecos up for their eight-run sixth inning. Quintana and Garnto singled with one out, Rodriguez then doubled two runs home and Salgado followed with his second homer of the game, a three-run shot to make the score 10-3.
Hernandez would have a two-run single after hits by Espudo and Gomez, and Antonio Rodriguez brought home the game’s final run with a double to right-center field.
The 11-year-olds will go into the West Texas State Tournament undefeated, after winning three games in the District 37 Tournament, held in Pecos, and four more this past week in Fort Stockton. While this is the first year for Pecos to have a team in the 11-year-old division, it’s only the second year overall that an 11-year-old division has had its own tournament in Waco. Midland Northern won the inaugural West Texas State Tournament last year.
In the past, the sectional winner would advance to the state tournament involving all of Texas’ Little League sections. But four years ago, the national Little League organization split Texas into East and West sections, and created a new Southwestern Regional, also headquartered in Waco. However, the 11-year-old age group, does not advance past the state level to regional competition.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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