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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas


Wednesday, March 6, 2002

Eagles' early runs stand up in 3-1 win

Staff Writer
A lot better weather produced a lot better game from both the Pecos Eagles and Lamesa Golden Tornadoes on Tuesday at Martinez Field. But in the end the Eagles still had the `3' next to their name and the Tornadoes still had the `1' alongside theirs.

Playing in windy, 30-degree temperatures a week ago in Lamesa, the Eagles outlasted the Tors in extra innings by a 13-11 final score. On Tuesday, in windless, 70-degree weather at Martinez field, both teams scored 10 fewer runs, with Pecos making single runs in the first three innings stand up for a 3-1 win over Lamesa in their final pre-district game.

Stephanie Herrera allowed only two hits, one a single off the pitcher's glove in the second inning and the second a bloop hit behind second base in the fourth inning that should have been caught, but fell in to score the Tors' only run of the afternoon. Herrera then walked Honda Villafranco to load the bases with two out, but fanned pinch-hitter Stephanie Manval, one of her 15 strikeouts in the game.

"Stephanie was right on target for most of the day," said Eagles' coach Tammy Walls. "She was throwing it low and inside when she wanted it there."

Meanwhile, Lamesa starter Judy Tejeda was getting out of even bigger jams for most of the afternoon. Tejeda allowed only four hits, but had control problems of her own during the game that were offset by three Lamesa double-plays, two when Pecos runners were caught off base on infield line drives.

"Our baserunning hurt. We made a lot of errors due to mental mistakes," said Walls. "We've been harping on not leaving runners stranded, and some of the girls may have been eager to score, but they got off the base too early," which included Erica Franco being called out in the sixth inning for not standing on second base on a 3-2 pitch by reliever Ashley Hunter to Jessica Minjarez in the sixth inning.

Pecos did get an unearned run in the first inning, when third baseman Rebekah Wells misplayed grounders by Brittany Lobstein and Herrera before Katie Lee's RBI single to center field. In the second, the Eagles had their first baserunning mistake, when Neftali Salgado was doubled off second base when Hunter snared Danielle Garcia's line drive to shortstop. But Jessica Rodriguez was able to score Mari Mendoza with a single to center after that, for a 2-0 Pecos lead.

The Eagles made it 3-0 in the third when Herrera doubled and scored when Tejeda threw away Lee's grounder back to the mound with one out, but after walks to Bre'Ann Windham and Salgado loaded the bases Lee was doubled off third base on a line drive by Mendoza back to Tejeda.

Lamesa got their leadoff runner on base in three of the first four innings, but took advantage only once. Crystal Bunton reached on a passed ball third strike to open the game but was thrown out trying to steal second by Becca Wein, while Wells was stranded at first base in the second inning after her single off Herrera's glove. Herrera struck out the side in the third, but in the fourth, Amber Bunton walked to lead things off, went to second on a passed ball and scored when Hunter's pop up fell in between Franco at second base and centerfielder Cheyenne Grice.

Lamesa would threaten only once more, when Sylvia Bentiez reached third base in the fifth. But Herrera and first baseman Kelsey Flores were able to get Amber Bunton on a slow grounder after Benitez walked with one out, and then Lee threw out Wells on a grounder to third, after Bentiez reached that base on a wild pitch by Herrera.

"Kelsey and Stephanie had good plays and Katie made a good play," said Walls. "We have some inexperience on the team, but they have talent. We can teach them the fundamentals, but they bring the talent to the game."

Walls got all of her reserves into the game after the third inning, but did put some starters back in for the final inning. Only Garcia, who went back in at second, had to do any work, though, as Herrera fanned four of the final six batters she faced and got Villafranco on a line drive back to the mound before Crystal Bunton popped to Garcia for the final out.

"I wanted everybody to play, especially at home. I wanted them to play before the home crowd and before district began, because that won't always be the case," Walls said.

The Eagles improved to 4-3 with the win and will open the District 2-4A portion of their schedule next Tuesday in Clint against the Lions. The Eagles beat out Clint by a game for the district title in 1999 and 2000 and won the district title by two games over the Lions last season. Clint lost to El Paso Del Valle on Tuesday by a 9-7 final score.

Panthers use pitching, power to pound Pecos

Two hits in two innings were all the Odessa Permian Panthers needed to take command of their game Tuesday afternoon against the Pecos Eagles, as the Panthers used walks, errors and Adriel Herrera's second inning grand slam home run to jump out to a 6-0 lead on starter Barney Rodriguez, on the way to a five-inning, 14-0 victory over Pecos.

"He just had trouble locating the strike zone," said Eagles' coach Bubba Williams of Rodriguez, who had control problems during scrimmage play, but avoided them in his season-opening wins over Monahans and Lamesa.

On Tuesday, he walked five batters in two innings of work, and had one of the Eagles' two errors in the first inning, that allowed Permian to take a 1-0 lead, then in the second, after David Durrell doubled down the line in left to lead things off, he walked T.J. Sparks and Danny Herrera to load the bases.

Durrell then scored when Zoe Serrano booted Cory Zimmerman's grounder and Adriel Herrera then hammered Rodriguez' next pitch over the fence in left for a grand slam and a 6-0 lead.

"When Barney's on it's hard for them to hit his curveball, but he couldn't get it over with any consistency," said Williams.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez was one of the few Eagles to have much success even touching the ball at the plate. Danny Herrera struck out the Eagles' first five batters before Rodriguez flew out to end the second inning, and would later line into a double play off reliever Dustin Looney to end the game.

"The pitcher they had (Herrera) we were just overmatched against," said Williams. "We're just not where they are right now. They have most of their kids out there all year round, while we have to share ours with other sports."

Pecos' only hit was a third inning single by Richard Rodriguez, who was back in the lineup after last Friday's problems in Kermit. Rodriguez also was one of two relief pitchers Williams used for Barney Rodriguez, coming on in the third along with Matthew Levario in relief of Barney Rodriguez, who Williams wanted to save for this weekend's Cotton Valley Tournament in Fabens.

Levario, who went seven innings on Saturday in a 9-8 win over Greenwood, allowed a couple of late runs in the third, after Richard Rodriguez struggled for the second straight game on the mound, allowing his fourth home run in his last four innings of work.

"We're just going to have to work with him in practice," said Williams. "His ball is just straight right now. He throws it up there, but it's not moving, and any good high school kid can hit a straight fastball."

The loss sends Pecos into their Cotton Valley tournament opener on Thursday with a 4-3 season record. The Eagles will face the El Paso Burges Mustangs in a 1 p.m. CDT opener at San Elizario High School. Burges, 3-3-2, dropped three games this past weekend to Andrews, Midland Lee and Lubbock Monterey at the Midland Tournament of Champions, and tied Fabens on Tuesday, 6-6, in a game called due to darkness.

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Pecos Enterprise
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