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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas


Friday, May 3, 2002

Eagles, Indians split pre-playoff doubleheader

Staff Writer

Pecos Eagles coach Bubba Williams and Seminole  Indians coach Mike Brown pretty much got to see what they wanted  Thursday night, in the team's pre-playoff doubleheader in Seminole.

Brown got to see all of his players on the field, and got to see his team come back from a three-run deficit to defeat the Eagles, 5-4, in the opening game, while preparing for the Class 3A playoffs. Williams got to see his team compete against a good squad in the No. 4-ranked Indians for the first time in over a month, and got to see his team bounce back in the second game against Seminole's second-line varsity pitchers and reserves for a six-inning, 10-0 victory.

And the California Angels got to see Richard Rodriguez.

Actually, the Angels' top major league scouts were at the game to see Seminole's Aaron Peel, who is already being groomed by Brown as a relief pitcher, either for college or the minor leagues. The senior, who was worked out following the doubleheader, contributed a two-run homer in the first game and picked up the win with two innings of scoreless relief with his 91 mile-per-hour fastball, but that came after Rodriguez had shut down Seminole for 4 2/3 innings and collected a solo home run of his own off pitcher Ricardo Cortez, to help Pecos build a 4-1 lead.

"The kids looked good. They hit the ball real well and Richard and Matthew (Levario) both pitched well," said Williams, whose team collected 11 hits in the opener and 10 more in Game 2. "We were facing a pretty good team and the kids responded, and played good defense for most of the night and had good offense."

Two defensive lapses in the sixth inning ended up costing Pecos the opening game. Peel's two-run shot in the fifth had cut the Eagles' lead to 4-3, when Scottie Braly, who had singled home Seminole's first run in the first inning, doubled down the line in left to open the sixth. Drew Worth then stuck his bat out and popped a single to centerfield, and after Cortez sacrificed him to second base, Blake Bingham reached when Rodriguez and first baseman Rigo Ramirez let his pop up drop in for a hit.

"They were both calling for the ball, and Richard backed off at the last second because he thought Rigo was going to get it, and Rigo thought Richard was going to," Williams said.

With the bases loaded and No. 9 hitter Brandon Bates up, Brown tried a squeeze play that failed when Rodriguez pitch was too high for Bates to bunt, and Braly got caught off third base. But catcher Mason Abila's throw bounced off third baseman Ruvel Carrasco and into foul territory for an error, allowing Braly to score to tie the game.

Rodriguez then forced home the winning run with walks on 3-2 pitches to both Braly and Austin McBee, before getting an inning-ending double play, as Bingham was called out on an appeal for leaving third base too early on Pedie Guerra's apparent sacrifice fly.

Peel then retired the side in order in the seventh, though the Eagles almost got to him in the sixth. Joey Ortega's leadoff bouncer was tipped by Peel and went through the legs of shortstop Luis Cazares for an error, and then Carrasco reached on an infield single between first and second. But Peel then got David Elkins to pop a sacrifice bunt to first base, got Rodriguez to ground into a fielder's choice and got Abila on a fly out to rightfield after wild pitching Rodriguez to second base.

Rodriguez, who was clocked at up to 85 mph on the radar gun used on Peel, ended up with a six-hitter to go along with his solo homer in the fifth inning off Cortez, who allowed three runs in relief of starter Braly. Abila followed the homer by singling and scoring on two out hits by Ramirez and Oscar Parada.

Pecos had taken a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning on a single by Ramirez and an infield hit by Levario, and the same two batters had tied the game for Pecos in the second, as Ramirez led off the inning with a double and scored on Levario's single to center field.

Levario, who no-hit El Paso Mountain View in his last start, allowed only one hit in four innings of work in the second game on Thursday, an infield single to Tyson Farmer in the third inning. Parada, playing third base in the second game, just missed throwing Farmer out, after taking away hits from Matt Hawkins and Robert Ramirez in the first two innings.

Meanwhile, McBee was the lone Game 1 starter to go in Game 2 for Seminole, but lasted only 2 1/3 innings on the mound, until Freddie Torres' fifth home run of the season, a three-run shot to left field, gave Pecos a 6-0 lead.

Pecos got two unearned runs in the first, when Abila singled home Elkins after he reached on a passed ball strike out, and courtesy runner Jaime Muela scored on a Parada ground out, after Ramirez reached on a one-out error. Torres' homer came after singles by Abila and Ramirez and a throwing error by Farmer had made it 3-0.

Guerra came off the bench to pitch and retired the side, but allowed three more runs in the fourth. Ramirez doubled home one run, and while the Eagles lost another when Muela missed second base, Ramirez would score on another error by Farmer on a Parada grounder and he came in following singles by Torres and Levario.

Jaime Reyes pitched the last two innings without allowing a hit, though he did have some control problems, and the Eagles were able to end the game an inning early under the 10-run rule when Ortega singled home Ramirez in the sixth inning.

Levario improved to 6-1 on the season with his win, while Rodriguez is 4-3 after taking the loss in Game 1. The Eagles are 22-6 on the season including their forfeit loss to Clint, while Seminole is 20-4 on the season going into their Class 3A playoff series against Perryton or Tulia next week.

Williams and the other Eagles coaches will be in Plainview tonight, for Game 1 of the best-of-three playoff series between Canyon, who defeated Pecos in the area round of the playoffs a year ago, and Frenship. This year's area round is scheduled for May 10 and 11 at Christensen Stadium in Midland.

Pecos seeks 1st playoff win against ex-rival Lake View

There was a big difference last season for the Pecos Eagles in the Class 4A playoffs against the Andrews Mustangs, compared with the last time they met the Mustangs as District 2-4A rivals in 1998.

The first-year Eagles cut Andrews' run total down by 20 runs from their last meeting three years earlier. Unfortunately, their run total stayed the same _ zero _ and then ended up losing a one-hitter to the Mustangs, 2-0, in the area round of the playoffs.

Tonight, the Eagles face another former 2-4A rival they haven't seen since 1998, in the San Angelo Lake View Maidens, when the teams face off in the area round of the playoffs beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Ratliff Softball Complex in Odessa.

The Eagles were a first-year program and the Maidens were in their second season of varsity softball in 1998. The last time the teams met Lake View was able to rally from an early 4-0 deficit for a 15-5 win. But when the teams meet tonight, the Eagles will actually have a little advantage in playoff experience, having won the District 2-4A title the past four seasons, while Lake View made the playoffs for the first time this year, finishing third behind Andrews and Big Spring in District 4-4A.

However, the Maidens will have a playoff advantage over at least three of the Eagles' starters tonight, having already won their bi-district playoff game over Borger last week, 5-2, to improve to 19-12 on the season.

Pecos is 14-4 going into tonight's game, and while most of the Eagle starters were on last year's team, coach Tammy Walls will have three freshmen, Danielle Garcia, Katie Lee and Kelsey Florez, starting on the infield in place of last year's seniors, Alexa Marquez, Ashley Salcido and Evelyn Galindo.

"I'm going to put Danielle at shortstop, Katie at second base and Kelsey at third," said Walls, whose three other infield players all were starters on last year's team, including seniors Jessica Rodriguez and Becca Wein and sophomore Stephanie Herrera, who took the loss against Andrews in the playoffs despite allowing only four hits.

Herrera is 13-2 on the season, losing only to Lubbock Coronado, 2-1, and to Monahans in a practice game last week, 8-0. Errors were the Eagles' main problem that night, something Walls hopes doesn't repeat itself against the Maidens.

"We worked on things we saw we needed to work on against Monahans, and tried to get everyone comfortable with their position," said Walls, whose regular shortstop, Brittany Lobstein, won't be eligible until next week. "We had to make some changes, but we realize what we need to do to be successful."

Walls said Lake View pitcher Josie Jungman, "isn't really fast, but she's accurate. She's not going to walk anybody. But when I scouted her she didn't have a change up."

"They have one really good hitter (Jennifer Hill), who I don't expect we'll be giving her much. Their first three batters (Lydia Robledo, Jungman and Carnotta Baker) have some speed and laid the ball down against Borger."

If the Eagles win, they will probably face a playoff rematch against Andrews next week. The Mustangs, who won the 4-4A title, face Pecos' District 2-4A rival Fabens in an area round playoff series at 5 p.m. today and starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Martinez Field.

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