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Eagles repel late Indian uprising

Staff Writer

PECOS, May 4, 2001 - The game didn't mean as much as their last game did or their next game will, but Pecos Eagles' coach Bubba Williams was happy with his team's efforts Thursday night in a 5-3 playoff practice game victory at home over the Seminole Indians.

The Eagles took advantage of Seminole mistakes to score four runs in the first two innings, then added an insurance run in the sixth before Barney Rodriguez survived a seventh inning jam to get the victory, striking out L.J. Glass to end the game with the tying runs on second and third base.

"Pifi (Montoya) and Barney did a good job pitching, and our kids did a good job hitting. They were tagging the ball," Williams said. Pecos out-hit Seminole by a 7-5 margin, and came up with more big plays on defense when they needed them, though Indians' third baseman Chris Espinoza robbed the Eagles of scoring chances twice in the late innings.

That came after Pecos scored four times in the first two innings off Espinoza, who started on the mound and suffered his first loss in nine decisions this season.

Seminole didn't use their No. 1 pitcher, Aaron Peel, who was resting a sore arm and spent the night at designated hitter, collecting two of the Indians' five hits. Meanwhile, Williams opted to go with Montoya on the mound to start the game, and he allowed only one run on two hits in three innings of work.

He surrendered only a two-out single to Peel in the first inning, before Pecos got their first two runs. Richard Rodriguez opened with a single, and after a walk to Alex Garcia, moved to third base when Austin McBee couldn't handle Luis Cazares' throw from shortstop on a grounder by Mason Abila.

Barney Rodriguez followed with a two-run single to left, but Espinoza was then able to get out of trouble after loading the bases with one out.

Montoya then got out of his own jam in the second, after a walk to Glass a Scott Braly bloop single and a low throw by Richard Rodriguez to Barney Rodriguez on a Drew Wirth grounder cut Pecos' lead to 2-1. Montoya came back to strike out Cazares and Ricardo Cortez before Richard Rodriguez made a diving grab on a Rob Guerra line drive behind second base to keep the Indians from tying the score.

Seminole then got the first of its two double plays on the night in the bottom of the second, when Guerra threw out Joey Ortega at third base on a Richard Rodriguez fly ball, after Ortega led off the inning with a double. But Garcia then reached on an error by Glass at second base, stole second and went to third on a throwing error by Wirth, and came home on Abila's bloop single to right. Courtesy runner Ruvel Carrasco then scored from first base when Cortez couldn't handle Barney Rodriguez' wind-blown fly ball to left field, as Carrasco was ruled to have crossed home plate before Rodriguez was tagged out at second base.

Cortez came on to pitch in the third inning and shut the Eagles down over the next three innings, before Pecos scored an unearned run in the sixth off Braly, when Montoya doubled and Cazares threw a Rigo Ramirez grounder past third base trying for Carrasco, who was now in the game as a pinch runner.

Seminole got their second run in the fifth inning off Barney Rodriguez, after he came on to pitch in the fourth, hitting Wirth before getting Cazares to ground into a double play. A one out single by Eddie Bustamante and double by Peel set up the run, when Abila's pickoff throw got past Angel Villalobos at third base on a strikeout of Espinoza.

Rodriguez appeared ready to finish things off in the seventh, getting Evan Stone on a fly to right field and then Guerra on a bouncer to Richard Rodriguez, who went behind the bag at second to throw him out. But he then ran into control problems, throwing seven straight balls while walking Bustamante and Peel.

His next pitch was a strike, but Espinoza took it into the gap in left-center field for an RBI double, cutting the lead to two before he settled down to strike out Glass with a pitch on the outside corner to end the game and improve his record to 8-0 on the season.

"Richard Rodriguez picked up his intensity a whole lot, Rigo did a good job in center field and up and down the lineup we hit the ball," said Williams, whose team improved to 19-6 on the season, while Seminole, the District 3-4A champ, fell to 20-7 overall.

The Eagles, having won the District 2-4A title last Friday at San Elizario, are awaiting the winner of the Big Spring-Canyon bi-district playoff series. Williams said he and his coaches would scout the teams in Lubbock this weekend, and would set the time and site of next week's series on Saturday.

Pecos seeks no repeats against Andrews

The last time the Pecos Eagles face the Andrews Mustangs in a girl's softball game. Andrews did a lot of bunting.

Eagles' coach Tammy Walls expects Andrews to do a lot of bunting again tonight, but hopes that's the only thing similar to the teams' last meeting, when the Eagles take on the Mustangs in the area round of the Class 4A playoffs at Muggs Field in Midland.

Pecos, 13-10 and the District 2-4A champions, and Andrews, 20-9and the third place team from District 4-4A, will meet for the first time since the final game of the 1998 softball season at 6 p.m. tonight at Ulmer Park, located south of Wall Street and east of Midkiff Drive. The winner will advance to the Region I-4A quarterfinals against either Big Spring or El Paso Parkland next week.

The Eagles were in their first year of varsity softball competition when they played Andrews in 1998, and closed out their District 4-4A season with a 22-0 loss to the Mustangs. Pecos managed just one hit on the afternoon, while pitcher Alexa Marquez spent much of her time fielding bunts put down by Andrews' hitters, who used the game to prepare for that year's Class 4A playoffs.

Walls went to scout Andrews last week, when they won their bi-district playoff series over Borger by a 12-1 score, and said Mustangs' coach Eddie Bane still has the team bunting a lot.

"We've had Stephanie (Herrera) working on fielding bunts a lot this week," Walls said on Tuesday, adding she was considering a couple of lineup changes for tonight's playoff game.

"I'm still thinking about what I'm going to do as far as defense goes," she said. "I'm going to try and put our stronger players in the positions I think are going to be key against Andrews."

Marquez and Ashley Salcido are the lone remaining Pecos players off that 1998 team, and are scheduled to start tonight at second base and shortstop. Marquez pitched the final inning of Tuesday's 9-6 playoff practice game loss at Kermit, as the Yellowjackets rallied for five runs in the fifth inning off Herrera after the Eagles had earlier taken 4-0 and 6-3 leads.

Marquez and Salcido are also the only seniors for the Eagles in the starting lineup, and unlike three years ago, they'll be facing an Andrews team tonight with about the same level of experience.

Pitcher Courtney Pool is one of only two seniors in Andrews' starting lineup, along with left fielder Lindsey James. Walls said the Mustangs looked strong on defense against Borger, especially junior centerfielder Candace Minatra. "Their centerfielder ran down a ball in the gap and caught it, and their pitcher looked real good," she said following last week's playoff game.

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