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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas


Friday, March 29, 2002

Pecos escapes Canutillo with 5-4 victory

That old line by Yogi Berra that "It ain't over until it's over" really applied to Thursday afternoon's game between the Pecos Eagles and the Canutillo Golden Eagles.

Up 4-0 going into the bottom of the seventh, Pecos' Matthew Levario needed only two pitches to get the first two outs of the inning. But three hits, three errors and one hit batter later, Canutillo had tied the game, and Levario had been replaced on the mound by Capi Magana.

He got the final out of the inning and the Eagles got a run in the top of the eighth to grab a 5-4 lead. But Pecos still had to survive Canutillo loading the bases on two walks and a hit batter in the bottom of the inning, before Magana struck out clean-up hitter Alex Vela to end the game and keep the Eagles atop the District 2-4A standings.

Canutillo has lost a series of low-scoring one-run ballgames this season, including their first two district contests, by 3-2 and 1-0 scores against Fabens and El Paso Mountain View. Thursday's game was another low-scoring affair, but it didn't look like it would be a one-run game after Pecos scored a run in the first inning, two in the third and another in the fifth inning to take a 4-0 lead.

David Elkins doubled to lead off the game against Canutillo's Frank Molinar, and scored on Andy Barraza's two-out error on a Freddy Torres grounder. In the third Levario opened the inning with a double and scored on an error, which allowed Elkins to reach base, and he later scored on a sacrifice fly by Richard Rodriguez.

Levario reached again to lead off the fifth, this time on a single, and Mason Abila would later drive in courtesy runner Javier Ramirez with a double off Molinar.

Meanwhile, Levario only had to get out of two minor jams over the first six innings, as Andy Acosta reached third base in the first inning and singles by Vela and Molinar and an error by Oscar Parada loaded the bases in the fourth before Luis Porras popped out to end the inning.

Pecos was within one strike of winning the game twice in the seventh. The first game after Acosta reached on an error by Richard Rodriguez with two outs, and a double by Julian Lopez and single by Carlos Torres made it 4-2. Vela reached when his two-strike grounder to third was thrown low to first by Parada and past Barney Rodriguez, which scored Torres. Then, after Levario hit Edgar Munoz with a pitch, Molinar slapped an 0-2 pitch into left field for a single, scoring Vela from second base to tie the game.

Magana, who no-hit Fabens on Tuesday, then swapped places with Levario and got Josh Lopez to pop out to Levario at shortstop, and the Eagles then loaded the bases with none out in the eighth on walks to Torres and Magana around a single by Rigo Ramirez. Barney Rodriguez then scored Torres with a sacrifice fly, but the Golden Eagles kept the lead at 5-4 when Vela threw out Ramirez at home plate after fielding a carom shot by Levario off Munoz's glove at third base.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Eagles again were within a strike of winning twice before finally putting the game away. Magana got two outs after a leadoff walk to Porras, but then hit Julian Lopez with an 0-2 pitch and walked Carlos Torres after getting a 2-2 count on the hitter. But the senior then got ahead of Vela and caught him looking with a pitch to end the game and improve his record to 4-0 on the season.

Pecos won for the 11th straight time and are 15-4 on the season, 3-0 in district, while Canutillo falls to 5-11 and 0-3 overall. Thursday's game was the first of three straight in the El Paso area for the Eagles, who'll face the Mountain View Lobos next Tuesday.

Three-run sixth inning gets Eagles by San Eli

In 43 district games during the five-plus year history of the Pecos Eagles' softball program, the Eagles had never played a game in which fewer than five runs had been scored _ until Thursday afternoon.

The Eagles were getting bombed out by the Andrews Mustangs, Big Spring Steers and other District 4-4A teams in their first season of softball play, and have spent the last three seasons bombing out their District 2-4A rivals while winning three straight district championships. That included their first four district games this season, when Pecos scored eight runs once, 11 runs once and 12 runs in their two other games.

But all that changed on Thursday afternoon against San Elizario's Valerie Soto, who shut out the Eagles on two hits for five innings after her teammates has pushed across an unearned run in the top of the first inning at Martinez Field.

However, in the sixth two walks and three stolen bases set up Rebecca Wein's two-run single to centerfield, and three San Eli errors allowed Wein to score an insurance run for pitcher Stephanie Herrera, who matched Soto with a two-hitter of her own and kept the Eagles alone atop the district standings with a 3-1 victory.

"I thought their pitcher pitched a very good game," said Eagles' coach Tammy Walls. "She's the best we've seen from out there (in El Paso), and we haven't seen anybody like that since before district. But in the end Jessica (Rodriguez), Becca and Stephanie came through for us, and Katie Lee got that last RBI."

Soto, who missed the early part of the season for San Eli, had allowed only a second inning bloop double by Neftali Salgado and an infield single by Wein going into the sixth inning, while striking out five and stranding runners in scoring position in each of the first four innings.

She retired the side in the fifth, but in the sixth walked Rodriguez on a 3-2 pitch and then saw her steal second and third. Herrera then walked and took advantage of a mental mistake by Soto to take second without a throw, and Wein followed by bouncing one past the pitcher and into centerfield.

Rodriguez scored easily to tie the game and Herrera came home when centerfielder Vicki Treviso bobbled the ball, and then threw it past third base for a double error. That allowed Wein to reach third and she scored when second baseman April Valencia took her eye off Lee's grounder and misplayed the ball for another error.

"Becca had an outstanding game," said Walls. The senior catcher collected two of the Eagles' three hits and made a diving catch of an Annette Meija foul bunt to open the fifth inning.

Her only mistakes came in the first inning, part of a series of problems by Pecos that allowed Carla Garcia to score the game's first run. She walked on four straight pitches to open the game, went to second on a wild pitch and third on a passed ball, and then scored when Wein's pickoff attempt from catcher to third base bounced off Brittany Lobstein's glove and into left field.

Meanwhile, Lobstein walked but was stranded at second base in the bottom of the first inning, Salgado was stranded there after her double in the second and in the third Bre'Ann Windham was thrown out trying to score on an overthrow of third by Treviso on a Rodriguez fly, after she and Lobstein walked to lead off the inning. She then got Herrera on a pop out to end the threat.

Wein's infield hit to open the fourth was followed by a throwing error by catcher Reba Madrid that put her on second. She went to third on a grounder by Lee, but Soto then struck out Salgado and got Kelsey Flores on a grounder to second, the first of five straight batters retired by Soto until Pecos broke through in the sixth.

Herrera, meanwhile, was having few problems after the first inning. Salgado threw out Garcia in the third trying to stretch a bloop single into a double, and Herrera came back to retire three straight batters after Soto reached on an error by Lobstein to open the fourth, and ended up retiring the final 12 batters she faced to end the game.

"I felt like we settled down after the first inning. We just had to wait until we got back around to the top of the lineup, and I felt we would capitalize," said Walls.

The win moved the Eagles two games ahead of San Elizario and Canutillo in the District 2-4A standings at the midway point. Pecos is 5-0 in district and 9-3 overall, while Herrera improved to 9-1 on the season.

Canutillo is tied with San Eli after edging Clint on Thursday, 10-9, while Fabens routed El Paso Mountain View, 11-1. The second half of district play begins for the Eagles on Tuesday, with a 5 p.m. game at home against Clint.

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Pecos Enterprise
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