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Wednesday, March 15, 2000

Eagles ignore warning, get blasted

Staff Writer
PECOS, Mar. 15, 2000 -- The warning Pecos Eagles' coach Bubba Williams gave his team following last Saturday's win over Colorado City apparently fell on deaf ears.

Williams told his team after their sloppy 7-6 victory that they needed to play a lot better on Tuesday against the Andrews Mustangs "or it's going to be embarrassing."

They didn't and it was.

Andrews scored eight times in the first inning, including five unearned runs off four Pecos errors, on the way to a five-inning, 15-5 victory over the Eagles at the Pecos High School field.

Williams said some of his players apparently didn't take things very seriously going into Tuesday's final pre-district game. "We weren't ready to play. We had kids show up late (for the game), and you've got to have a good attitude all the way around," he said. "If you don't have a good attitude you won't win."

"I told them if they played like that against Andrews they would 10-run us," he said. "It was an embarrassing night for the Pecos Eagles ballclub."

Andrews, which lost eight of nine starters off last year's state championship team and used two sophomores on the mound Tuesday, had problems of their own on defense, but unlike Pecos were able to make enough key plays at the right time to avoid any disastrous innings.

Right fielder Tyson Deaver made a sliding catch of an Orlando Lara fly ball to end the first inning, after Pecos had cut the Mustangs' lead to 8-3. Then in the third inning, the Mustangs turned a double play on Richard Rodriguez, after a single, walk and error loaded the bases with none out. The Eagles did get a run in on the play, and added another on Ivan Guebara's single, but starter Steven Lopez then got Lara on another fly to right to end the inning.

Pifi Montoya and Josh Casillas were the victims of the Eagles' inability to make the plays Tuesday, but hurt themselves as well by falling behind Andrews' hitters and issuing eight walks on the night.

Ricky Herrera couldn't field Brian Holt's sharp grounder to start the game, and after Montoya walked Hobert Rodriguez, Adrian DelaCruz blooped a single into right field. Hobart was caught off second, but Casillas, who started the game at first base, held the ball, allowing Rodriguez to get to third base and Holt to come home.

Rodriguez then scored on Simon DelaCruz's ground out and Dever followed with a double to right-center field. Derek Hicks and Roger Horton then walked on five pitches, and two more runs scored when shortstop Luis Salgado missed a throw from Capi Magana on Robert Belding's potential double-play bouncer to second base.

After a strikeout of Brock Johns, Holt singled home Andrews' sixth run, and two more runs then scored when centerfielder Joey Garcia misplayed Rodriguez soft fly ball into a two-base error. Montoya then got Adrian DelaCruz on a comebacker to the mound to end the inning.

Montoya's night on the mound ended after that, not because of his pitching but because he was plunked on the elbow by Lopez during Pecos' three-run first inning. Belding had back-to-back errors at first base and Simon DelaCruz also booted a Salgado grounder in the inning, but Dever's play in right kept Lopez out of further trouble.

Casillas replaced Montoya and went the final four innings. He allowed one run in the second, off a Simon DelaCruz single, a wild pitch and bad pickoff throw by catcher Mason Abila and Dever's single to center. Andrews scored four more times in the third, with Dever again getting an RBI single after two leadoff walks and an infield hit by Simon DelaCruz. Another run scored when Kevin Bates let Dever's hit get past him, while a passed ball by Abila and a Hicks ground out got two more runs home.

Montoya, who finished out the game playing first base, took the loss for the Eagles after three wins to open the season. Lopez got the victory, with Johns pitching two scoreless innings in relief to close things out for Andrews, which is 8-4 on the season.

The Eagles fell to 8-3, and Williams gave his team the rest of the Spring Break week off to recover from Tuesday's loss. But he also warned them they'd have to improve their attitude starting Monday, when they began preparing for their District 2-4A opener, next Tuesday afternoon in Fabens.

"I know some of our kids care. The others have got to start caring if we're going to be successful, and they will," Williams said.

Pecos' big inning routs Fabens

PECOS, Mar. 15, 2000 -- The Pecos Eagles' softball team had little trouble with the Fabens Wildcats on Tuesday, as they improved to 2-0 in District 2-4A with their second road win in four days, by a 26-8 final score.

The Eagles scored three times in each of the first two innings, then broke things open with an 18-run third inning against Fabens, which fell to 0-3 in district play.

Alexa Marquez pitched the first two innings, allowing only a single run in the first inning off a walk and ground out. Ashley Salcido came on in the third, after the Eagles built up their 23-1 lead, as coach Tammy Walls was able to clear her bench in the later innings and get everyone into the game.

Walls said Salcido struggled with her control, which helped the Wildcats make the game a little closer before Marquez returned to finish things off.

At bat, Walls said Marquez had a two-run homer, while Katrina Quiroz went 5-for-5 and Mireya Medrano had three triples in the victory.

The win lifted the Eagles' season record to 7-4 going into their second of three games this week, Thursday afternoon at Martinez Field against El Paso Mountain View. The 4 p.m. game is a make-up of the March 8 district opener that was canceled due to high winds. Pecos then goes back on the road Saturday, for a 2 p.m. game at San Elizario.

Spurs win as Elliott returns after surgery

AP Sports Writer
SAN ANTONIO, Mar. 15, 2000 - Sean Elliott's first game back in the NBA after a kidney transplant surprised his coach and his opponents.

It even startled Elliott himself.

"I felt good. I was surprised how I felt. I thought I wouldn't feel my legs to start the game," Elliott said, admitting he was nervous before the San Antonio Spurs' 94-79 victory over Atlanta on Tuesday.

Elliott completed his comeback seven months after undergoing a kidney transplant. He played 12 minutes, shot 1-for-3 from the field and thrilled the Alamodome crowd with a dramatic dunk.

Elliott missed a 22-foot jumper and a layup in the third quarter. Then, with a quick step around defender Roshown McLeod, he drove the lane and slammed the ball in with his right hand.

It was the kind of play he envisioned for months during his rehab.

"You always dream about that," Elliott said. "It was kind of in the back of my mind."

The dunk might have been more memorable, he said, than his famous off-balance 3-pointer that helped the Spurs win a crucial playoff game over Portland last year in the Western Conference finals on the way to winning the NBA title.

Most importantly, though, Elliott is back.

Despite his limited play, coach Gregg Popovich and the Spurs couldn't help but ponder the possibilities for the rest of the season.

"It's going to be interesting to see what we do next, to see what he can handle," Popovich said. "I think in the second half it was pretty much getting your team back - having the championship team."

The Spurs don't plan to push Elliott for the sake of winning, the coach said.

But a few quality minutes could help the Spurs down the stretch, said David Robinson, who led the team Tuesday with 26 points, including 12 in the decisive fourth quarter.

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