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April 30, 2001

Defensive, offensive effort helps get Eagles 2-4A title

Staff Writer

PECOS, April 30, 2001 - The first pitch of the game from Barney Rodriguez was lined into center field for a base hit by Angel Muela. The second pitch was lined into left field for a hit by Rigo Esparza.

But the San Elizario Eagles not only didn't get either runner past second base, neither Muela or Esparza even got to second, as a more focused Pecos Eagle team turned up the effort on defense and dominated the host Eagles on Friday, winning the District 2-4A baseball title by a 12-1 score in a game called after six-innings by the 10-run rule.

Pecos already had a 2-0 lead off starter Bo Solis when the Eagles defense went to work. Muela's single was fielded by Rigo Ramirez, who threw the ball to second baseman Alex Garcia, who then fired the ball to catcher Mason Abila, who was trailing behind Muela. He put the tag on Muela, who slipped off first base as he came back after rounding the bag and was called out.

Esparza followed with his single, and three pitches later attempted to go to second when a Rodriguez pitch bounced away from Abila. But the catcher recovered in time and fire to Garcia, who tagged Esparza out, and Rodriguez then caught Solis looking with a third strike to retire the side. The Eagles then pushed across three more runs in the top of the second inning.

"That was the turning point in the game," said Eagles' coach Bubba Williams. "Their first man comes up and gets a hit and Mason comes up from behind and gets an out, and then Mason's able to get a bad ball and recover and throw him out, and their morale went from way up to way down and ours when from there to there."

A lack of intensity in the early innings has hurt the Eagles in district - they finished with a 9-1 record, but were either trailing or tied in seven of those games, often thanks to unearned runs. On Friday, the Eagles played errorless ball, and outside of a couple of wild pitches by Rodriguez, never gave San Elizario any scoring chances.

San Eli, meanwhile, gave Pecos an unearned run in the first, after Richard Rodriguez sent Solis' third pitch of the game to the center field fence for a triple. Abila then beat out an infield bouncer for a hit, scoring Rodriguez, and moved to second and third on a bad pickoff throw by Solis and a passed ball by catcher Angel Morales. He then scored on Barney Rodriguez' ground out.

In the second, David Elkins walked and scored after hits by Pifi Montoya and Ramirez, with Ramirez moving up to second base on the throw home. That allowed him to score on Richard Rodriguez' single to right field, giving Pecos a 5-0 lead.

Pecos made it 6-0 in the third and chased Solis from the mound after a walk to Angel Villalobos and Montoya's RBI double to right-center. Jaime Reyes came on and got out of trouble, then held Pecos scoreless in the fourth, while the host Eagles got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth off Barney Rodriguez.

Solis reached on an infield hit, and after moving up on a wild pitch scored on Tony Perez' RBI single to center before Rodriguez got Morales on a fielder's choice grounder to retire the side. Perez' hit was the last of five surrendered on the afternoon by Rodriguez, who survived a few control problems in the later innings to raise his record to 7-0 on the season.

Meanwhile, Pecos got the run back in their next at-bat, when Elkins walked and later scored on a single by Ramirez, then ended things by scoring five times in the top of the sixth inning.

Reyes, who had balked Elkins to third base in the fifth inning, balked again in the sixth after walking Garcia and giving up a hit to Abila to start things off. Barney Rodriguez then singled Garcia home, and after Villalobos was intentionally walked to load the bases, Elkins managed to come up with a two RBI ground out to first base, when first baseman David Almanzar missed the tag, then came bag and just got Elkins at first base after he fell down while dodging the tag. With both runners on the ground, Abila scored and then courtesy runner Oscar Parada scored over the protests of Morales, who claimed - very loudly - he blocked the plate, though he was unable to hold onto the ball.

Up 10-1, the Eagles then got the runs they needed to end the game under the 10-run rule, as Montoya blooped a single over the drawn-in infield to score Villalobos, and Richard Rodriguez then scored pinch-runner Ruvel Carrasco with a sacrifice fly.

"We were focused from the start, and I told them we would 10-run-rule them right from the start and that's what we did," Williams said. "Richard starts us off with a triple, Pifi had two base hits, Rigo had a couple of hits and Barney came through and got the outs for us."

Winning the district title also allows the Eagles to get a week off before beginning the Class 4A playoffs. They'll face the winner of this weekend's Canyon-Big Spring series sometime around May 11 in the area round of the playoffs. San Elizario, meanwhile, will host El Paso Ysleta in the bi-district round of the playoffs, while the only team Pecos lost to in district this season, Fabens, will take on El Paso Burges in the other bi-district series.

Williams said that the Eagles would play one playoff practice game in Pecos this coming Thursday, at 7 p.m. against Seminole.

Pecos fails to advance at regional

PECOS, April 30, 2001 - The Region I-4A track meet was as tough as expected for the Pecos Eagles track teams over the weekend. The Eagles failed to score a point and qualified only one person for the finals during the two-day meet at Angelo State University.

Freshman Stephanie Herrera earned a spot in the finals of the girls' shot put on Friday and ended up eighth overall, for the best performance for any Pecos competitor at the I-4A meet.

"Stephanie went out and threw her personal best," said Eagles' coach Lily Talamantez, as Herrera had a 107-foot throw, four feet better than her winning mark at the District 2-4A meet in Canutillo three weeks ago.

That was the girls' lone gold medal effort at district, with the Eagles' other regional qualifiers coming as district runners-up.

"The sprint (400 meter relay) team ran their best time, a 51.0, and I still think they could have done a lot better if they had prepared more," Talamantez said. "With all the other things going on, it was hard to get everyone to practice at once."

Despite cutting their time, the 400-meter team finished at the back of the pack at the regional meet, and the 800 meter relay team along with 800 meter runner Michelle Saenz and 3200 meter runner Mari Martinez also failed to crack the Top 12 at the meet.

"We have everybody coming back, and hopefully, they'll work a little harder next year. I know our freshmen after the meet were saying they were going to work harder and run more next year to get better," Talamantez said.

Pecos had only one regional qualifier on the boys' side in senior Daniel Terrazas, who failed to reach Saturday's finals, ending up 10th overall, coach Jerry Parent said.

"He ran a 50.9, and he was out of the finals by about four-tenths of a second," Parent said. "He got really tight the last 50 meters."

Terrazas won the 400 meters at district with a 50.3 time, which would have been sixth best in Saturday's finals. "There were just too many 49s and 48s," said Parent.

No District 2-4A competitor earned a state berth, but two, Fabens' Ricky Ontiveros and Clint's D.J. Shephard, earned third place medals, Ontiveros in the 3200 meter run and Shephard in the 200-meter dash.

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