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April 20, 2001

Pecos looking for unbeaten softball mark

PECOS, April 20, 2001 - The Pecos Eagles will be looking to complete their first undefeated district season this afternoon, when the close out regular season play with a 4 p.m. game at Martinez Field against the San Elizario Eagles.

Pecos will be trying to finish 10-0 in district and go undefeated at home in 2-4A play for the third year in a row, while San Elizario still has a chance to finish second in district play if they can come away with a victory this afternoon. The host Eagles are 12-9 on the season while the visiting Eagles are 10-10, and tied for second with Clint at 6-3 in district.

"Our last district loss (at home) was to Andrews," coach Tammy Walls said. That was back in 1998 during the Eagles' first season of varsity softball play, when they went 0-10 in district. The Eagles have lost once during district play in each of the past two season.

Pitcher Alexa Marquez took the loss against Andrews as a freshman, and is one of two varsity players remaining from that first-year team. She got the win in the Eagles' last home game, their wind-plagued 15-4 win over Fabens on Apr. 10, and pitched the first two innings this past Tuesday, when Pecos won at El Paso Mountain View by a 14-4 score.

Stephanie Herrera went the final five innings in that game, and pitched the first game against San Elizario, when the Eagles posted a six-inning, 15-5 victory.

Pecos already has clinched a first round playoff bye, which will keep them from facing either Andrews, the District 4-4A runner-up, or district champion Big Spring in the area round of the Class 4A playoffs. The Eagles will face either the third place team from 4-4A or the second place team from District 3-4A in the area round, probably on May 1 at a site to be determined. Before then, Walls said she's hoping to get a practice game scheduled for next week, possibly against Monahans.

Comebacks fail Eagles against `Cats

Staff Writer

PECOS, April 20, 2001 - After living dangerously for their first four District 2-4A home games, the Pecos Eagles finally paid the price Thursday evening against the Fabens Wildcats.

The Eagles, who won their first four district home games despite blowing four-run and five-run leads in two games, and falling behind by four and five runs in the two others, were shut down by the Wildcats' defense and pitcher J.R. Ontiveros through the first five innings of Tuesday's game. The Eagles did cut a 3-0 lead to 3-2 in the sixth, but then allowed Fabens to get back both those runs in the top of the seventh and lost by a 5-3 final score.

"They played a we didn't. We made too many mistakes in too many innings, and they made the plays," said Eagles' coach Bubba Williams, whose team fell into a tie for first with San Elizario going into their 5 p.m. game today at Canutillo. "We hit the ball right at them and they made the plays."

Five times in the game the Eagles got either their first or second hitter of the inning on base, only to see the next batter up hit a shot right at a Fabens player. Ontiveros converted a hard grounder by Alex Garcia into a double play in the first inning, shortstop Tury Cleto did the same with a Richard Rodriguez grounder in the third almost turned two on a Joey Ortega grounder in the fourth, while center fielder Omar Madrid hauled in line drives by Mason Abila with one on and one out in the fifth and with one on and none out in the seventh.

All that spoiled Pifi Montoya's first pitching appearance in over a year. The senior allowed two runs, one earned, and only one hit in four-plus innings of work, leaving after walking Jose Saucedo to lead off the fifth.

"He did a good job pitching, but he got a little tired," Williams said. Montoya left trailing 1-0 thanks to his own throwing error to first base on an Ontiveros grounder with two outs in the third inning. It scored Humberto Alvarez, who had singled and went to second on a passed ball by Mason Abila.

Barney Rodriguez came on for Montoya in the fifth, and wasn't as effective at the outset, while also being hurt by the Eagles' defensive lapses. He struck out Marcos Ornelas, but then saw Madrid single to left field and Alvarez bounce one past Angel Villalobos at third base and down the left field line. That scored Saucedo, and Mendoza came home when leftfielder Matthew Levario misplayed the ball in the corner for an error.

Pecos' best chance to score in the early innings failed when Villalobos lost track of the outs and failed to run from first base on David Elkins' double to left-center field in the second inning. He had to hold at third and Ontiveros then got Levario to pop out to Ornelas at second base to end the inning.

Villalobos and Elkins were involved in the Eagles' sixth inning rally, when Fabens' defense finally gave Pecos an opening in the sixth, though both runs were earned.

Villalobos walked to lead off the inning, and pinch runner Daniel Terrazas went to third on a bad pickoff throw by Ontiveros. He scored on Montoya's ground out before Elkins hit his second home run of the season, a solo shot to left to make it 3-2.

Errors by Cleto and catcher Jose Quezada helped score Garcia with two outs in the seventh, but by then the Eagles' own errors had given Fabens back their two-run lead. Manuel Cadena walked, and after a passed ball and wild pitch, scored on a Madrid sacrifice fly. Barney Rodriguez then hit Alvarez with a pitch and the freshman went all the way to third on a stolen base and wild pitch, then scored when Villalobos threw away Ontiveros' slow bouncer to third.

The loss snapped Pecos' 12 game winning streak and clinched a playoff spot for Fabens. The Eagles are now 6-1 in district, 15-6 overall, while the Wildcats are 5-2, 10-10 overall going into their game at home today against San Elizario.

"Hopefully we'll come down off our high horses now and realize we've got to go out and play," said Williams, who plans to start Barney Rodriguez today against Canutillo, which blew a 5-0 lead in Pecos earlier this month and lost to the Eagles by a 7-5 score.

Bears' Lozano wins first at qualifiers' meet

PECOS, April 20, 2001 - Balmorhea's Billy Lozano came away with a first place finish on Thursday, during a regional qualifier's meet held at Crane High School.

Coach Gary Gallego said Lozano took first in the discus competition with a 131-foot-11 throw, and was also third in the shot put, going 41-10. The discus effort was his best of the season, while the shot put throw was about 3½ feet short of his 44-4 toss on April 12 at Wink, when he placed third in the Class A section tournament and earned a trip to the Region I-A meet next weekend in Levelland.

"Billy's coming around real well. He didn't like the (discus) ring over there, but he still threw his best of the season," Gallego said

Gallego said about eight Class A, 2A and 3A teams were at the Crane meet, and he was able to take two of his three regional qualifiers. Logan Humphries finished fourth in the high jump, while discus qualifier Jourmain Matta was already up in Levelland, for the UIL Class A academic regionals on Thursday.

Humphries jumped 5-foot-8 on Thursday, the same height that earned him a regional berth last week. "There were a couple of kids who beat him (at Wink) that he finished ahead of. The only ones who beat him were a kid from Ozona and a couple of kids from Crane," Gallego said.

"Logan's only been jumping for about a month now. The first time he did it was around March 1, and he said next time he hopes he can get to six feet," Gallego said.

Golf teams' goals differ at regionals

PECOS, April 20, 2001 - The goals are a little different for the Pecos Eagles golf teams this coming Monday and Tuesday, when they compete in the Region I-4A Tournament in San Angelo.

The boys will try to improve on their results both from last year at regionals and from earlier this year at the Quicksand Golf Course, while the odds are longer for Pecos to earn one of the two Class 4A state tournament berths.

Pecos' girls, meanwhile, probably have never had a better chance to earn a trip to state than this year, but to do so, they'll probably have to battle a trio of other schools in the Region I-4A field, which traditionally is the toughest regional in the state each year.

Pecos qualified both their `A' and `B' golf teams for regionals for the third straight year, following the District 2-4A Tournament in Pecos on April 9. But for regionals, coach Tina Hendrick is focusing on the `A' team as having the best shot at earning a trip to Austin.

"If we can shoot what we shot at district over there (a 317 at district), we can be competitive," she said. "The JV will be going down there to also compete, and at the same time get a lot of experience."

Pecos finished fifth last season at regionals, when Snyder won the Region I-4A title and Andrews was second. This year, Andrews figures to be the regional favorite, while the Eagles will battle the Tigers, Southlake Carroll and Granbury for the other state tournament berth.

In February, the Eagles placed fourth at the San Angelo Invitational with a 737 score, while Andrews won with a 672 score and Southlake Carroll was third, with a 726 total. One of the tournament's two rounds was at the Riverside Country Club, where next week's tournament will be held.

The boys played one round earlier this season at Quicksand Golf Course during San Angelo Invitational play, and ended up in 20th place overall. Last season, the boys' teams were 14th and 15th at regionals and at district on April 9, the `A' team beat out the `B' team by eight strokes for the district title.

The top three scored at district came from the `B' team, but coach Kim Anderson said he didn't plan on making any changes to his teams for regionals.

"The first five kids on the varsity have seen the course before. Hopefully, they'll play it a little better this time," Anderson said. "Without a practice round you don't get a chance to hit shots and see where they go."

"Hopefully, we'll pull everything together at one time, but there are a lot of great teams, and we're still young," he added. "Our varsity is two seniors and three sophomores," while the top three scores at district all came from freshman players on the `B' team.

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