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Tuesday, February 8, 2000

Eagles' pitching good at scrimmage

PECOS, Feb. 8, 2000 -- Two out of three things were working for the Pecos Eagles baseball team, during their first scrimmage of the 2000 season Monday against the Fort Stockton Panthers.

Pecos did well on the mound and in the field for the most part, but coach Bubba Williams did have some concerns about the team's hitting following their 6-1 home scrimmage victory over the Panthers.

"Our pitching and defense looked good, but we've just got to hit the ball in certain situations. We've got to hit the ball with runners in scoring positions," Williams said.

Hitting with runners on second and third was a problem for several years for the Eagles, but something they did do in 1999, when they ended a seven-year playoff drought and advanced to the Region I-4A semifinals.

"What worries me right now is our hitting," Williams said. "We had too many strikeouts today. Last year I knew our top seven or top nine kids would hit the ball. Right now Josh (Casillas) hit the ball, Mason (Abila) hit the ball and Luis (Salgado) did, but we need for the others to hit it."

Williams doesn't have his full squad out yet from both basketball and swimming. He'll get players out from basketball next Wednesday, but probably won't get starting outfielder Kevin Bates back until after the state swimming finals in late February.

As far as the pitching goes, Williams is looking to replace Oscar Rodriguez, last year's No. 2 pitcher who moved during the off-season. He does have back Casillas, who retired all four Fort Stockton batters he faced, and No. 3 pitcher Pifi Montoya, and looked at several other pitchers during the three-hour scrimmage.

"Josh did a good job, Luis Salgado came in and did a good job," Williams said. "The kids I'm depending on came through.

"Capi Magana had some trouble with his control, but he looked good, and Gilbert Fierro has been out for a year, but he looked good out there," the Eagles' coach said.

Pecos only had one hit, a single by Abila, in the late innings. Fort Stockton got it's lone run off a couple of walks by Magana and a single, but the Eagles were able to end the threat by nailing the Panthers' runner at second base. Abila, who will replace his brother Mark at catcher this season, also threw out a runner trying to steal in the early going Monday.

Williams said the sub-varsity players would travel to Fort Stockton for a scrimmage this afternoon, while the varsity will hold two more pre-season scrimmages, this Friday at home against Odessa High and a week from today in Kermit. Regular season play for Pecos begins with a home-and-home series on Feb. 25-26 against Monahans, and the Eagles will have three other pre-district home games, against Kermit, OHS and defending state champion Andrews, before starting District 2-4A play on March 21 at Fabens.

Pecos cagers close out home schedule

PECOS, Feb. 8, 2000 -- The 1999-2000 basketball season comes to an end tonight for the Pecos Eagle girls' basketball team, and the home portion of the schedule also wraps up for Pecos' boys tonight, when both teams host the San Elizario Eagles at 6 and 7:30 p.m.

Pecos' squads will be looking to improve on their efforts a month ago at San Elizario, and the boys will be hoping to close out their home schedule with their first win of the season. The Eagles have two more games after tonight, at El Paso Mountain View on Friday and at Canutillo a week from tonight.

San Elizario's boys and girls teams are still fighting for playoff berths or playoff position with Clint, Mountain View and Canutillo. Both teams come in to the games in second place, the girls with a 6-3 record and the boys with a 5-2 mark. Playing at home on Jan. 22, San Elizario's shut down both Pecos squads, winning the boys game by a 63-26 score and the girls' game by a 51-24 margin.

The girls also had problems scoring points on Friday at Clint, where they fell to the Lions by a 55-19 score. "They're style took us out of the game right at the start. They played physical and we didn't know how to react," said Eagles' coach Brian Williams.

San Elizario is smaller than Clint, and has relied on their guards to be their main scorers. Rachel Diaz led the Eagles with 14 points in last months win.

San Elizario's boys had a balanced attack in their win over Pecos, led by Albert Jacobo's 15 points. Hector Rodriguez had 15 for the Eagles that night, and put in 28 on Friday in a 72-59 loss at Clint.

"We played a hard fought district game on the road, which is something we haven't done in a long time," said coach Tino Acosta, whose team has lost three close district games at home out of their four contests so far.

Tiger roars back to extend win streak

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif., Feb 8, 2000 (AP) - The ball landed 4 feet from the 15th hole and trickled back into the cup. Tiger Woods raised his right fist in the air in triumph, having turned the implausible into the inevitable.

Woods stretched his remarkable streak to six straight PGA Tour victories with an amazing comeback Monday in the final round of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, shooting six birdies and an eagle and overcoming a 7-stroke deficit with seven holes to play.

Woods pulled within four of the suddenly vulnerable Matt Gogel, a PGA Tour rookie, when Woods pulled out a wedge for his second shot on the par-4 15th. He holed the shot from 97 yards away.

Though it only tied him for second place, the eagle seemed to demonstrate that the streak was not about to die on this gray day along the Pacific coast.

"I'm back in it," Woods said as spectators cheered wildly.

Gogel, who began the day with a 5-stroke lead over Woods and extended that margin to seven by making five birdies on the front nine, had no idea Woods was leading until he walked up the 16th fairway and saw the leader board.

By that time, Woods had birdied 16 and 18 to finish at 15-under 273. Gogel had a chance 30 minutes later to force a playoff with a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th, but missed it and then missed another short putt to fall into a tie V.J. Singh for second at 275.

Notah Begay, scheduled to begin serving a seven-day jail sentence later this month for a recent drunken driving conviction, was among three players tied for fourth at 12-under 276.

"I really thought it was V.J. or Notah that was one or two strokes behind me," Gogel said. "I was amazed. I will not ever be amazed anymore."

It was the biggest final-round comeback of Woods' career and made him the first golfer since Ben Hogan in 1948 to win six consecutive tour events. The record is 11 straight victories by Byron Nelson in 1945.

His largest final-round comeback until Monday had been four strokes, at Las Vegas in 1996 and the Mercedes Championship in 1997. He won both those titles in playoffs. This time, he hugged caddie Steve Williams as Gogel's putt missed on the 18th.

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