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Friday, April 14, 2000

Eagles face Lobos with new lineup

PECOS, Apr. 14, 2000 -- Pecos Eagles baseball coach Bubba Williams planned to make some lineup changes following his team's 9-2 loss to Fabens on Tuesday. But as things turned out, he'll be making more than he had hoped to today, when the Eagles travel to El Paso for a 5 p.m. game against the Mountain View Lobos.

Five players will be starting at new positions this afternoon for Pecos, as Williams tries to get a spark back into his team following it's fourth straight flat district performance.

Freshman Matthew Levario will make his varsity debut at third base, while sophomore Capi Magana will take over at second base and seniors Jerry Trujillo and Ivan Guebara will start at first base and catcher against Mountain View. Meanwhile, sophomore Richard Rodriguez, who started Tuesday's game in right field in place of the injured Kevin Bates, will move over to left field today while Bates returns to his spot, after missing two games due to an ankle injury.

Some of the changes were made because of the Eagles' recent hitting problems _ they managed just six hits Tuesday against Fabens _ while others were not planned. Juniors Alex Garcia and Daniel Terrazas are ineligible for the next few weeks, while Williams said sophomore Mason Abila, who had two of the six hits on Tuesday, is sick and won't be making the trip to El Paso.

All that comes on top of the problems the Eagles have had with their pitching staff. "We started off with three left handers before the season and now one is out (Pifi Montoya) one moved (Oscar Rodriguez) and one is hurt (Josh Casillas)," Williams said, though Casillas will get the start on the mound this afternoon.

The senior made his first mound appearance in two weeks on Tuesday, allowing two runs, one earned, and four hits in three innings of relief work, after suffering from tendonitis of the elbow. He struck out six batters, although Williams said, "Josh still doesn't have the velocity he had last year."

The Eagles have worked out with their new lineup the past two days, and Williams said, "Practice was fantastic. The attitude was good and the kids really worked hard and showed a lot of enthusiasm."

The Eagles also found out their 3-2-1 record in District 2-4A play is still good enough for second place, since Fabens tied Mountain View in their first meeting. The Loboes, who were two-hit by Montoya and Magana in a 16-0 loss in Pecos last month, are 0-4-2 in district play after a loss on Tuesday against Fabens.

Following today's game, the Eagles return home to host Clint, which at 6-0 is 2½ games ahead of Pecos in the District standings.

"We're just piecing ourselves together as a team and hoping we can get a playoff spot and host a game in Pecos," Williams said. "It's going to be hard to catch Clint. I don't know if they're going to lose two games, but if we can get second, the second place team will host the first round playoff game."

Cleveland eyes Brown as top pick

AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND, Apr. 14, 2000 - Courtney Brown could be on the verge of becoming a Cleveland Brown.

Penn State's dominant defensive end has emerged as the likely No. 1 pick in Saturday's NFL draft by the Browns, who opened contract negotiations Thursday with Brown's agent.

A Browns spokesman confirmed that Lal Heneghan, Cleveland's salary-cap guru and chief contract negotiator, met in New York with Marvin Demoff, Brown's representative. Heneghan was also scheduled to meet with Carl Poston, one of linebacker LaVar Arrington's agents.

Demoff did not return a phone message left at his Manhattan hotel by The Associated Press.

The Browns are favoring Brown, and if they can work out a deal before Saturday, they will make him the first defensive lineman taken No. 1 overall since Dan Wilkinson went to Cincinnati in 1994.

"I would say that there is a strong lean toward Courtney Brown in the building," Browns president Carmen Policy told WTAM radio. "When I say strong, I'd say 65 percent."

In the past two weeks, the Browns narrowed their choice to either Brown or Arrington, his Nittany Lions teammate. Now the club is trying to find out which of them they can sign by noon Saturday.

Pre-draft negotiating is nothing new to the Browns, who used the same tactic last year with quarterbacks Tim Couch and Akili Smith. The team prefers to have some kind of contract agreement reached before the draft to eliminate the chance of their top pick holding out in training camp.

However, by sticking with that policy, the Browns are in effect allowing the players to decide where they want to play. If either refuses to negotiate with Cleveland, then they could steer their way to the Washington Redskins.

It's no surprise the Browns are maintaining a closed camp as the clock ticks closer toward when they have to hand commissioner Paul Tagliabue a card holding the name of the top pick.

They did announce that Couch will be part of the travel party flying to New York on Saturday morning to welcome the team's top pick.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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