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March 9, 2001

Bulldogs maul Eagles in tournament opener

Staff Writer

PECOS, March 9, 2001 - Memo to the Sweetwater Mustangs, Ballinger Bearcats, Merkel Badgers and the other teams in Abilene Wylie's Class 3A district _ when you face the Bulldogs, pitch em' slow.

Rigo Ramirez had the Bulldogs batters a little off-balance with a combination of off-speed pitches, but Wylie still pushed across two runs in three innings on the sophomore, and that came after they hit the fastball from starter Capi Magana all over Christensen Stadium, en route to a 15-4 victory Thursday in the opening round of the West Texas March Classic in Midland.

The loss dropped Pecos into a 9 a.m. game this morning against Monahans, which lost its opener to Colorado City by a 6-5 final score.

The loss was the Eagles' second straight in five innings under the 10-run rule. They were beaten at home on Tuesday by Odessa Permian 13-3, but coach Bubba Williams said unlike that game, "They (Wylie) hit the ball today. I'd rather they beat us like that than the way we lost Tuesday."

The Eagles did open the door a little for the Bulldogs during the game, allowing three unearned runs and four others to score because of misjudged fly balls and a missed double play. But Wylie still collected five legitimate extra-base hits out of 15 hits overall, and took control of the game from the start with eight runs in the first inning.

Danny Ruth and Ryan Saltzgarber singled off Magana before Brett Unger hit a fly ball that centerfielders Matthew Levario misjudged into an RBI double. After Lance Loza walked, shortstop Richard Rodriguez booted Brian Ergish's grounder for an error, as a second run scored.

Magana then allowed a Nick Kincaid RBI single, walked in a fourth run and then saw No. 9 hitter Brent Gailey double home two more runs for a 6-0 lead. Ruth then struck out in his second at-bat of the inning, but Saltzgarber doubled past a diving Ramirez in left field to make it 8-0.

All those runs allowed Wylie head coach Clay Martin to pull Kincaid, his No. 1 pitcher, after only one inning to save him for later in the tournament. The lefthander, 3-0, had shut out El Paso Montwood on a four hitter a week earlier and didn't allow a run in his only innings of work, though that was due mainly to the Eagles forgetting the passed ball third strike rule for the second time this season.

Rodriguez and Alex Garcia opened the inning with singles, but when Mason Abila swung and missed at a two-strike pitch, catcher Casey Wunderlich dropped the ball. Abila was automatically out because a runner was on first, but when he took off for the base, Garcia began running to second, and that forced Rodriguez to go to third, where he was easily tagged out by Rocky Hussman.

It was the first of three double plays on the day for Wylie, the other two third-to-second-to-first twin killings started by Hussman in the fourth and fifth innings.

Pecos' Angel Villalobos also made a couple of nice plays over at third base, but when he got a force out on third after fielding a one-out grounder by Kincaid in the second, his throw to first was wide, and the Eagles missed the double play. Wunderlich then made them pay with a two-run double into right-center field for a 10-0 lead.

"We missed some fly balls and didn't get that double play and they hurt us," Williams said. "You can't give a team like that that many outs."

Kincaid's replacement on the mound, sophomore Jeff Rairden, ran into control problems in the second inning, walking Levario and Ramirez before Sebero Jaquez singled and David Elkins followed with a double to right center. Even that had its bad moments for Pecos, when Jaquez stopped 20 feet past third base as Elkins was heading for third, but he managed to score when Saltzgarber's throw from second base to Wunderlich was wide of home plate.

Elkins' hit did chase Rairden from the mound. Senior Aaron Owens came on and allowed only one more run, helped by Wylie's two double plays.

Magana lasted only three batters into the third, when Ramirez came in after triples by Saltzgarber and Unger. He allowed a Loza sacrifice fly to make it 13-3, then surrendered two run in the fourth with two outs, on a Hussman triple, but overall had more success keeping the Bulldogs' hitters off-balance than Magana did.

"Rigo looked good. I'm proud of the way the sophomore came in there in a tough situation," Williams said.

Magana, 1-1, took the loss, while the Eagles overall fell to 2-4 on the season and the Bulldogs improved to 6-1 and faced Seminole at 9 a.m. in a tournament quarterfinal game.

Today's Pecos-Monahans game was the third meeting of the season for the two teams. The Loboes beat the Eagles in extra innings in their season opener, 12-7, while Magana three-hit Monahans the following day in a 15-5 victory.

If Pecos won this morning, they were scheduled to face Merkel at 2 p.m. in the consolation semifinals at Christensen Stadium. A loss would send the Eagles into a 9 a.m. game Saturday against the loser of today's Kermit-Alpine game.

Netters get win over OHS in final match before break

PECOS, March 9, 2001 - The Pecos Eagles closed out their pre-Spring Break tennis schedule this past Tuesday with a 9-6 win over the Odessa High Bronchos.

The Eagles faced OHS's reserves, and as a result, coach Bernadette Ornelas said the Bronchos didn't have enough players for Pecos to get in the usual six singles and three doubles matches in the girls' division.

Still, she said the Eagles did better than the last time they faced OHS, Ornelas said. "They played us last year and beat us pretty solidly. This time our kids are developing a tougher game and are playing better on the court."

The boys did play their regular number of matches, winning five of nine overall. Trent Graham, Michael Orona and Phillip Salcido picked up singles victories, and all three also won their doubles matches, with Graham teaming with Jay Dannelley for his victory.

On the girls' side, Brenda Fuentes picked up a pair of wins in singles and with Natalia Ornelas in doubles. Kristina Dominguez and Elizabeth Carreon got the Eagles' other singles victories.

The tennis team is now off for two weeks, until the Monahans Tournament on March 23-24. Before then, the Eagles' reserves will take on Wink in their first match after Spring Break, on March 20.

Pecos (9) at Odessa High (6)

Boys Singles

Trent Graham defeated Jameson Farrell, 6-3, 6-2; Jay Dannelley lost to Blake Gibson, 6-0, 6-4; Orlando Mendoza lost to Jack Roberts, 6-0, 6-1; Stephen Lamb lost to Matt Callaway, 6-1, 6-2; Michael Orona defeated David Guerrero, 6-0, 6-2; Phillip Salcido defeated Alvin Carpenter, 8-3.

Girls Singles

Brenda Fuentes defeated Karina Melendez, 8-5; Kristina Dominguez defeated April Kamantra, 8-2; Elizabeth Carreron defeated Shelly Willford, 9-8; Whitney Lamb lost to Jennifer Rioga, 6-4, 7-5.

Boys Doubles

Graham and Dannelley defeated Roberts and Callaway, 2-6, 6-2, (8-6); Mendoza and Lamb lost to Farrell and Gipson (no score available); Orona and Salcido defeated Guerrero and Carpenter, 5-7, 6-4, (7-2).

Girls Doubles

Fuentes and Ornelas defeated Sara Smith and Willford, 7-5, 6-2; Dominguez and Carreron lost to Melendez and Kamantra, 2-6, 7-5 (8-6).

Pecos teams hit the road for events this weekend

PECOS, March 9, 2001 - The Pecos Eagles track teams will be headed for different locations this weekend, with the boys in Odessa today and Saturday for the West Texas Relays, while the girls travel to Wink on Saturday for the Wildcat Relays.

Meanwhile, Pecos' golf teams headed to tournaments in Andrews and San Angelo today, while the Eagle girls' softball team will be going to Fort Stockton on Saturday, for a pair of games to close out their pre-district schedule.

The Eagles will be trying to improve on the first two track meets, this season, at Monahans and Fort Stockton. The boys picked up a gold medal at the Sandhills Relays and the girls earned one at the Comanche Relays, but neither team has been at full strength so far this season and neither has broken the 30-point barrier yet in total points.

Coach Lily Talamantez added the trip to the Wildcats Relays after next weekend's scheduled West of the Pecos Relays were canceled due to a lack of teams. They'll be competing against mostly smaller schools, while coach Jerry Parent's boys will be up against only other Class 4A teams in Odessa, including former district rivals Andrews and Big Spring.

The West Texas Relays start at 2:30 p.m. today with field events at Ratliff. Running preliminaries also are today while the other field events start at 10:30 a.m. Saturday and the running finals at 11:45 a.m., with the 3200-meter run. The Wildcats Relays in Wink open at 9 a.m. Saturday.

In golf, Pecos' girls will see how they fare against likely regional rivals Andrews and Snyder at the Andrews Invitational, while the boys end a two-week break at the San Angelo Invitational. The girls won the B Division of the Tall City Invitational last week, while the Mustangs and Tigers played in the A Division, while the boys will have a full squad of golfers for the first time this season at San Angelo today and Saturday.

The softball team will face Fort Stockton at 1 p.m., followed by a match-up against the Sonora Broncos. Pecos is 3-8 on the season after snapping a five-game losing streak on Tuesday with a 36-3 win at Marfa. District 2-4A play for the Eagles opens at home a week for today against the Clint Lions.

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