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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas


Thursday, May 9, 2002

Tigers in path of Eagles in area round of playoffs

Staff Writer
The area round of the Class 4A playoffs has been a stumbling block for the Pecos Eagles the past two seasons.

On Friday, they'll try to get past that roadblock in what will be their final trip into the Class 4A playoffs, when the Eagles take on the Frenship Tigers at Christensen Stadium in Midland.

Game 1 of the best-of-three series will begin either at 7 p.m., or 30 minutes after the conclusion of the second game of the Class 5A playoff series between Lubbock Monterey and El Paso Eastwood, scheduled for 2 and 4:30 p.m. at Christensen. Game 2 of the Eagles-Tigers series will begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday with a third game, if necessary, starting about 3:30 p.m.

After reaching the Region I-4A semifinals in 1999, the Eagles have lost three-game series each of the past two years in the area round, falling to Pampa two years ago and to Canyon last season. Canyon then fell to Frenship in three games in the regional quarterfinals in 2001 and this past weekend, the Tigers again defeated Canyon, this time in the bi-district round, beating that group of Eagles 13-4 in Game 1 and then 16-9 in Game 2 this past Saturday.

The Tigers were in a three-way race with Snyder and Andrews for the District 2-4A title this season, and held the lead until faltering in the final two weeks of play with losses to Andrews and San Angelo Lake View. But even with that, this past weekend's wins lifted Frenship's record to 22-8, while Pecos is 21-6 on the season after splitting a pair of playoff practice games last Thursday in Seminole.

In the playoff wins over Canyon, sophomore shortstop Chris Richburg was the hitting star for the Tigers, collecting a pair of triples in their opening game victory, then hitting three home runs in the Game 2 victory, the second breaking an 8-8 tie.

Leadoff hitter Chad Nesteby also had a strong game at bat on Saturday, while Cody Fielding and Ty White had RBI hits in the Tigers' 10-run second inning on Friday.

"They're a good team, but they're a beatable team," said assistant coach Junior Williams, who scouted the playoff series in Plainview with assistant coach Elias Payan. "But we've got to play. If we don't play they can blow you out."

The Tigers have been stopped at bat this season _ Andrews Brock Johns two-hit Frenship in the Mustangs' 2-0 win on April 19 that helped Andrews win the 4-4A title _ but the Eagles will go into the series shorthanded on pitching, with the loss of starters Capi Magana and Barney Rodriguez, who were a combined 12-1 this season.

Head coach Bubba Williams said Richard Rodriguez (4-3) would start Game 1, while Matthew Levario (6-1) would pitch the second game on Saturday. "We'll start Richard in Game 1 and see what he can do, and go from there," said head coach Bubba Williams.

The Eagles ran short of pitchers two years ago in their playoff series loss against Pampa, and will be without Barney Rodriguez at least for the area round of the playoffs, after he spent a week in the hospital with an infected ankle. If this weekend's series goes three games, Williams said, "We'll go with Rigo (Ramirez) or Jose Reyes."

Both pitchers have only worked twice this season. Reyes went the final two innings of the second game last Thursday, shutting out Seminole despite some control problems, while Ramirez' last game was a March 9 complete game win over Cobre, N.M.

Richard Rodriguez held Seminole in check for 4 2/3 innings last week, before giving up a two-run homer in the fifth to Seminole's Aaron Peel. Then in the sixth, two lead-off hits, a missed pop-up, an error on a pickoff throw and two walks allowed Seminole to rally for two more runs and a 5-4 victory. The loss snapped Rodriguez' four-game winning streak.

Frenship will probably go with Kris Kelley (5-2), who no-hit Canyon for the first three innings last Friday while his teammates were pushing across 10 runs in the second inning. "He's a sidearmer. He's got a pretty good fastball," said Junior Williams.

Frenship head coach Eric Leger started Brady Campbell in Game 2 last week against Canyon. "He's a fastball-curveball pitcher, but he's probably their No. 3 pitcher," said Junior Williams. "No. 2 is that (Josh) Brazell, who came in in relief." Brazell picked up the win, relieving David Swinconos in the fifth after Canyon tied the game and getting out of a base-loaded jam. He allowed one run in 2 1/3 innings of work.

Levario ended up pitching against mostly Seminole's reserves in Game 2 last week, but has allowed only one hit in his last nine innings of work while beating the Indians and El Paso Mountain View by 10-0 scores. The junior hasn't allowed a run over the past 13 innings, since a leadoff home run by Canutillo's Julian Lopez in Pecos' 13-1 win on April 19.

The Eagles are the last of three West Texas teams still alive in the Class 4A playoffs who'll be dropping down to Class 3A next year. Canyon will also go down to 3A as will Snyder, which beat out Frenship for second place in District 4-4A but lost to Pampa in the area round of the playoffs last weekend. The winner of the Pecos-Frenship series will advance to the Region I-4A quarterfinals against the winner of the Andrews-El Paso Burges playoff series, being played Friday and Saturday at Coronado High School in El Paso.

Recreation Dept. begins summer T-Ball league sign-ups

The Reeves County Community Sports and Recreation Department has begun signing up boys and girls for the summer T-Ball program.

The league is divided into two age groups and is open to children between the ages of 4 and 7. Parents can pick up enrollment forms at the recreation department office at the old Pecos High School gym during regular office hours. Entry fee is $10 per child, and a birth certificate along with signatures of both parents must be provided with the completed enrollment form.

Deadline to register is Friday, May 24. For further information, contact the recreation department office at 447-9776.

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Pecos Enterprise
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