Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Monday, March 17, 2003
Errors finally cost Eagles in Alpine tourney finals
By JON FULBRIGHT
You can't come up with comebacks all the time, the Pecos Eagles found out
Saturday afternoon, in the finals of the Alpine Tournament.
The Eagles, who had rallied for late-inning victories five times in their
first 11 wins this season, including Friday against the Wimberly Texans,
couldn't do it in the tournament's title game the next day against the Alpine
Bucks, as a series of errors allowed Alpine to score four times in their
first at-bat and twice in their final one to beat Pecos by a 6-3 final score.
"We've been making five, six, seven errors a game. Today it finally caught
up with us," said Eagles' coach Elias Payan. "We also left tons of runners
on base because we didn't bang the ball today."
Errors contributed to all of Pecos' runs as well - two in the top of the
first inning that helped Pecos get off to a 2-0 lead, and one more in the
third inning, when the Eagles cut the Bucks' lead to 4-3. But overall, Alpine
played a far better defensive game behind pitcher Jaime Rojo, who allowed
only four hits and retired the final seven Pecos batters he faced.
"Alpine's a good ball club, but they're not better than us," Payan said.
"But they wanted to win more today, and if we can't play defense behind
our pitchers, then it's going to be a long season."
Barney Rodriguez, who has struggled in the early innings in each of his
starts this season, did so again on Saturday, and wasn't helped by his defense.
Zo Serrano booted a grounder by leadoff hitter Mario Estrada, and after
Casey O'Bryant singled, Tino Estrada beat out a dribbler down the first
base line to score the Bucks' first run of the game. Alpine then tied the
score when Matthew Levario threw away Justin Cruz' grounder to shortstop
while trying for a double play, and then took the lead for good when Billy
Hinojos blooped a single to short right field.
He was then forced at second on a Brice Collier grounder to Levario,
but Rojo then singled to right-center, scoring Cruz with the fourth run of
Pecos got their two runs after a walk by Rojo to David Elkins, a single
by Jose Reyes, when Cruz booted a Levario grounder and right fielder Felipe
Valenzuela dropped a Freddy Torres fly ball. But Rojo then came back to
get Oscar Parada, Rodriguez and Joey Ortega to get out of the jam.
Levario singled and later scored in the third inning on a Rodriguez ground
out, after reaching second on a hit-and-run grounder by Torres, when he
and the ball arrived at second at the same time, causing Joseph Monclova
to boot it for an error. He went to third when Parada was hit by a pitch,
but after Rodriguez' ground out, he got Ortega on a ball back to the mound.
The Eagles' defense did improve in the middle innings, but so did the
Bucks. Levario was doubled off second in the fifth inning on a Torres line
drive to Mario Estrada at short, and O'Bryant made a pair of diving catches
in center in the sixth and seventh innings to keep Rojo out of trouble.
By the time he robbed Reyes in the seventh, Alpine had added two more
runs to their lead. Parada dropped Collier's deep fly to open the top of
the seventh, and he then beat a throw to third on Rojo's sacrifice bunt.
A passed ball by Ruvel Carrasco then scored Collier and one out later, Rojo
scored on a double error, when Levario couldn't cleanly field Lorenzo Lujan's
grounder with the infield in, and Reyes then couldn't come up with Carrasco's
throw from catcher to third base, as Rojo tried to get back to the bag.
"This was probably a good thing for us, because the kids have got to
learn they can't keep making five or six errors a game and win," Payan said.
"When you spot a team four runs with three errors in the first inning, you're
not going to win any ballgames against any good teams."
The Eagles suffered through the same problems on defense on Friday against
Wimberly, but won the game on a trio of doubles by Reyes, Torres and Rodriguez
in the sixth inning, as the Eagles rallied to win 10-9 when the game was
called under the two-hour time limit.
The doubles by Torres and Rodriguez came with two out, after an error
in the top of the sixth allowed the Texans to take a 9-8 lead.
Levario had given Pecos a 2-0 lead with a two-run homer, his first of
the season, in the first inning, and had an RBI double in the third, part
of a four-run inning after the Eagles fell behind, 7-2, with the final five
runs coming off four Eagle errors. Torres and Parada also had RBI singles
in the third, and Reyes would have one in the fourth inning when the Eagles
regained the lead, 8-7.
The second place tournament finish left Pecos with an 11-5 season record
going into their final pre-district game, at home Tuesday night against
Big Spring. Unlike the Eagles' other night games this season, their game
with the Steers will be a 6 p.m. start.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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