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Friday, July 20,  2001

Junior League holds off Borger at sub-sectionals

Staff Writer

The Pecos Junior League All-Stars are beginning to develop  a pattern to their games _ jump out to a big lead, then hold on at the finish.

Pecos did that in their final two games of the District 4 Tournament last weekend in San Angelo, as seven-run and five-run leads turned into two-run and one-run victories. And on Thursday at the start of the sub-sectional tournament in Odessa, the Junior Leaguers did it again, this time against Borger.

Pecos took advantage of control problems by Borger pitchers Taylor Boren and Michael Vance to scored nine times on only two hits in the first three innings of Thursday's game, then had to hold on after that, and take advantage of a blown umpire's call to stop a Borger comeback, before adding a couple more runs in their final at-bat for an 11-6 victory.

The win put Pecos into a 7 p.m. game against Post tonight at Floyd Gwin Park. Post, the District 2 Tournament champion, drew a first round bye after District 3 champ Midland dropped out of the tournament. If Pecos wins, they'll play in the tournament title game at 7 p.m. Saturday, while a loss would put them back up against Borger on Saturday in the double-elimination tournament, starting at 12 noon.

Pecos already had five runs before they collected their first hit on Thursday, an RBI single by Edward Valencia in the third inning. Isaac Gutierrez then blooped a two-run single off the glove of diving second baseman Bobby Russell following a run-scoring passed ball by catcher Steve Johnson, which gave Pecos a 9-1 lead.

But pitcher Josh Anchondo then had control problems of his own, while catcher Adrian Barreno had his own problems with passed balls, as they helped Borger score three times in the fourth inning.

"Josh said his back started hurting him," said manager Rene Rayos. "I asked him if he could give me one more inning so I could use J.D. (Rubio) and Edward for one inning each and still have them for tomorrow (today), and he said he could."

But Rubio gave up a single to Johnson on a 3-2 pitch to open the fifth, walked Vance and then balked the runners to second and third around a fly out by Boren and a strikeout of Roque Estrella. That brought up Russell, who lined a two-strike single to left-centerfield, scoring both runners to cut the lead to 9-6.

Joseph Abel was up next and he chopped a two-strike pitch high in the air and in front of the mound _ too high apparently for the home plate umpire to see, as he called the ball foul before it bounced out to Anchondo, who proceeded to throw the ball past Joseph Jaquez at first for a three-base error that appeared to cut the lead to 9-7.

But the foul call nullified the play, and got one of the Borger coaches ejected from the game. Anchondo then struck out Abel to end the inning, and Rubio and Valencia then worked the final two innings, each allowing only one baserunner.

Borger led once in the game, at 1-0, after a leadoff walk to Marcus Virdine, a stolen base and ground outs by Johnson and Vance. But four walks and a wild pitch by Boren in the bottom of the first got Pecos two runs, and the Junior Leaguers scored three more times in the second, thanks to five more walks, two with the bases loaded, along with a shot through the legs of Estrella at third base and an RBI ground out by Valencia.

Hernandez would give Pecos some breathing room in the  bottom of the sixth, doubling to left-center field with two outs off new  pitcher Kellan Lane, after the bases were loaded when Gutierrez  singled, Jaquez was hit by a pitch and Robert Madrid walked.

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