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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Pecos hosts Odessa High in baseball opener

The 2003 baseball season will open under fairly warm but windy conditions for the Pecos Eagles' baseball team today, as they take on the Odessa High Bronchos at the Pecos High School baseball field.

Game time is 7 p.m. for the Eagles and Bronchos, who scrimmaged in Odessa two weeks ago. It's the first of three home games this week for Pecos, as they'll host Snyder in a doubleheader this coming Saturday.

The Eagles come off a 22-8 season last year and a 10-0 record in District 2-4A, but will be trying to improve on their recent playoff results. The Eagles have lost in the area round of the Class 4A playoffs each of the past three seasons, and were swept last season by Frenship.

This year, Pecos will be a member of District 4-3A and will have two other playoff qualifiers in their district in Kermit and Monahans, which comes into the 2003 season ranked in the Top 10 in Class 3A baseball.

The Eagles return seven of nine starters from a year ago, and will go tonight with Barney Rodriguez on the mound. The senior went 7-2 a year ago but missed several weeks at the end of the season due to illness.

"We've had a good week of workouts," said Elias Payan, who'll be making his debut as Pecos head coach after serving as assistant coach for Bubba Williams the past four seasons. "I just wish we had our kids out for most of the year the way the 5As do. But the kids came in with a good attitude, and that's what's helped us come along."

Along with Rodriguez on the mound, Payan will have all three outfielders back, in seniors Freddy Torres and David Elkins and junior Oscar Parada, while shortstop Matthew Levario and first baseman Rigo Ramirez also return. Ruvel Carrasco moves in from third base to catch and Jose Reyes will take over at third base, while Zoe Serrano, who started several early season games a year ago, will play second base.

Payan said Joey Ortega, the designated hitter for Pecos the past two seasons, will also be in that role tonight against the Bronchos, batting for Serrano.

OHS graduated most of their starters from last season, but do return pitcher/shortstop Barrett Pradon, though he's not expected to start tonight on the mound.

"OHS' pitching is always going to be strong, it's just a matter of us playing good defense behind Barney and helping him out," Payan said. "We've been working on our defense more in practice, and we're going to face some good pitching, so I expect our hitting to be a little behind, but I do expect the defense to play good behind Barney. I'll be disappointed if we don't do that."

Payan said he would start off carrying 15 players on his varsity squad, but could expand that to as many as 18 as the season goes on. That includes one freshman at the start of the season, infielder/pitcher Jose Anchondo, though Payan said he would split time between the varsity and the freshman team in order to get in more work at pitcher. The freshman and junior varsity teams are scheduled to start their 2003 seasons on Friday against Monahans.

Bears, Horns open playoffs at Pecos gym

The Balmorhea Bears will begin play in the Class A-Division II playoffs tonight, with a game against the Buena Vista Longhorns at the Pecos High School gym.

The Bears and Longhorns, former district rivals, will meet in the bi-district round of the playoffs beginning at 7 p.m. The winner will face either Lometa or Novice in the area round of the playoffs.

Balmorhea comes into the game with a 20-3 season record, which is actually a little down from last year, when they went 24-2 and advanced to the Class A-Division II state semifinals before losing to Utopia. The Bears did go through their District 9-A schedule undefeated, and return two starters from that team, in post Jourmaine Matta and guard Ivan Rodriguez, who have been the team's leading scorers this season.

Buena Vista was the District 10-A runner-ups this season behind Sanderson. The Bears defeated the Longhorns in a non-district game at Imperial back in December.

Scorecard error costs Eagles shot at tourney title

An unsigned scorecard cost the Pecos Eagles a shot at first place over the weekend at the Fort Stockton Golf Tournament over the weekend, but despite that mistake, coach Kim Anderson was happy with the Eagles' final round score of 311 on the Pecos County Golf Course.

"We came back from a 13 stroke deficit to get third place," Anderson said, as the Eagles moved up from a 347 score on Friday to pass five other teams and take third with a 658 score, behind Monahans, which shot a 329-323-652, and Big Spring, which also shot a 311 on Saturday and won with a 642 score.

Friday's total was 15 strokes higher than it could have been because junior Sal Nichols' score was not allowed. "Sal had an unsigned scorecard, that's why he was disqualified," Anderson said. "I gave it back to him, and he didn't sign it before he turned it in.

"He had an 84, so we would have shot a 332, but that was no excuse. It was partially my fault, because I should have had him sign it in front of me," Anderson said.

Nichols shot a 77 on Saturday and would have finished with a 161 score, while Pete Vasquez was runner-up medallist for the tournament, shooting an 80-72-152. Michael Nichols shot a 79-80-159, Jake McKinney had an 89-82-171 and Casey Breiten shot a 99-93-192 for the tournament.

"We could have shot a 306 on Saturday, but Mikey finished with a triple-bogey, double-bogey or he would have shot a 75," Anderson said. "But if we can keep shooting 311s or shoot rounds of 306, we're going to be in good shape when regionals come around."

The 311 score allowed the Eagles to pass the host Panthers (661), Andrews (662), Midland Lee (667), El Paso Burges (669) and Midland High (677) in the final round of the tournament..

Pecos' next tournament will be this weekend at Ranchland Hills and Ratliff Ranch in the Midland-Odessa area. The Eagle girls, who took this weekend off, will have their own tournament on Friday and Saturday in Fort Stockton.

Netters sweep division titles in tournament

The Pecos Eagles' tennis team swept all four division titles, and took second place in two of the four divisions as well this past Friday, when they hosted their own team tournament at the Pecos High School tennis courts.

"I was real happy with the tournament and the way the kids participated," said coach Mike Ortiz. "It's a good sign, and I hope it continues."

In the boys' singles bracket, Trent Graham won the division title, sweeping all six sets and losing only four games in the process, while Michael Orona advanced to the second round of the tournament, and Donald Walker and Frankie Hernandez ended up in the consolation semifinals.

On the girls' side, Natalia Ornelas took first place, winning three matches in straight sets and losing just eight games along the way. Whitney Lamb advanced to the tournament's second round before losing, while Rachel Rubio was eliminated in the tournament's consolation quarterfinals.

In doubles play, Pecos ended up taking both first and second in the boys and girls divisions. On the boys' side Jay Dannelley and Joel Sotelo scored a 6-3, 6-2 win over teammate Stephen Lamb and Orlando Mendoza, and both teams advanced to the tournament finals with straight set victories in the semifinals.

In the girls' division, Elizabeth Carreon and Jennifer Rayos swept teammates Amanda Fleming and Beatrice Villarreal by 6-0, 6-0 scores. Carreon and Rayos also won their opening two matches in straight sets, while Fleming and Villarreal won in straight sets in the semifinals, after a 6-2, 6-7 (7-4), 6-4 win over Rodriguez and Bedell of Crane in their opening match of the tournament.

Crane, Monahans, Midland Trinity and Wink were the other teams entered in Friday's tournament. It also was the first of two for Pecos between the end of their District 4-3A team schedule and the start of the Region I-3A team tournament next weekend at Levelland.

"We'll go to Fort Stockton this week," Ortiz said. "Some of the same teams will be there, but Fort Stockton will also be there, so it will be a little tougher." The Panthers downed the Eagles in dual meet play two weeks ago and will be the district's No. 1 seed going into regional play.

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