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Monday, February 17, 2003

Eagles juggle lineup, go 3-2 in opening games

Pecos Eagles softball coach Tammy Walls spent much of the first weekend of the 2003 softball season looking at lineups for her team at the Andrews Softball Tournament, in which the Eagles ended up winning three of their five games and finished third in the challenger's bracket in their opening games of the season.

Pecos began play with a 5-3 win over El Paso Eastwood on Friday morning, but were then beaten by Midland Christian, the eventual tournament champion, by an 18-1 score Friday afternoon. They followed that up with a 6-4 win over former District 2-4A rival Fabens, then fell by a 4-3 score on Saturday to Andrews' black team and closed out the tournament with a 3-2 win over Lubbock Cooper.

"It wasn't until the last game that I felt like we were utilizing everyone," said Walls, who juggled her lineup several times due to problems on the infield, especially in the loss to Midland Christian.

Freshman Hillary Hinojos took the loss in that game, despite allowing only five hits in her first varsity start, after junior Stephanie Herrera got the win over Eastwood. "I knew we would have two more games that day, so I pitched Hillary against Midland Christian," Walls said. "We started out with Kelsey Flores at catcher, but we were having problems on the right side fielding bunts with two freshman (Hinojos and first baseman Jessica Flores) there, and they took advantage of my girls.

"Finally, I ended up with Jessica Flores at catcher, and I put Kelsey Flores at second base and got a little more experience on that side of the field," Walls said. "We've been fortunate the last four years to have two starters at first base and catcher (Jessica Rodriguez and Rebecca Wein), but now they're gone and we're going to have to have people step up in defensive roles."

Second baseman Danielle Garcia moved over to first, and Hinojos ended up playing right field in the other tournament games, while another freshman, Vanessa Valeriano, played third base on Saturday while starter Katie Lee was away at a stock show.

"She did a good job fielding the ball and made a couple of plays," Walls said.

"Hitting-wise, I was pleased with a couple of things, but there are some others we need to work on. Hopefully by district we'll be hitting the ball better," Walls said. "Stephanie made all-tournament and she was outstanding on offense and defense, and Neftali Salgado also had a couple of key hits."

Walls said a 20-minute injury delay for a Fabens player following a hit by Salgado hurt the Eagles' momentum in their win over the Wildcats, while Pecos had two players thrown out at home plate late in their one-run loss to Andrews' black team.

Midland Christian would win the tournament title game over Andrews' gold team, 4-3, after earlier winning their semifinal game over Monahans, 5-4. Walls said Monahans defeated Andrews black team earlier in the tournament, 2-1.

The Eagles' next games will be on Tuesday against Alpine and District 4-3A rival Presidio in Alpine, at 5 and 6 p.m. Pecos then will compete in the Tall City Tournament in Midland on Friday and Saturday, starting off against another district rival, Midland Greenwood.

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Pecos Enterprise
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