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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Wednesday, April 2, 2003

Eagles squander 9-0 lead, fall to Rangers, 13-11

Staff Writer

The Pecos Eagles' margin of error for making the playoffs disappeared Tuesday afternoon, wiped out along with their huge early lead against the Greenwood Rangers.

The Eagles, who came up a run short in comebacks from a six-run deficit against Kermit and an eight run deficit against Monahans to start District 4-3A play, couldn't hold onto a nine-run lead after two innings at Greenwood on Tuesday and ended up losing, 13-11, on Shane Moody's two run triple in the bottom of the sixth inning.

"Greenwood's not the kind of team that's going to quit. We just make a lot of little mistakes and they just scratched away," said head coach Elias Payan "We left runners in scoring position, and we had the meat of the lineup up."

Starter Jose Reyes struggled with his control through 3 2/3 innings of work, leaving after the Rangers had cut Pecos 9-0 lead to 9-6 in the fourth inning. Matthew Levario came on and got out of trouble after that, while the Eagles added single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to go back out to a five-run lead. But three errors in the seventh inning allowed the Rangers to score seven times off Levario and Barney Rodriguez, who took the loss after coming on following a Justin Cranfill double that made the score 11-8.

"Everybody's going to hit the ball. We don't have any pitchers who can blow it by guys, so we're going to have to field ground balls and we didn't today," Payan said. Pecos ended up making seven errors in the game, a return to their fielding problems after committing just two errors in their previous two games.

Adam Banda started for Greenwood, but only lasted into the second inning. David Elkins opened the game with a triple and scored on a Reyes ground out, while Rigo Ramirez doubled home two more runs in the first inning. Ramirez missed a stop sign at second base when Payan held up Rodriguez at third and was thrown out to end the inning, but would pick up another two run hit in the second off reliever Ryan Bruno, this time on a bases-loaded single. It followed a two-run single earlier in the inning by Reyes and a two-run double by Oscar Parada, and made it 9-0.

Reyes, meanwhile, used a double play started by Parada in the first inning to get out of a jam, after Bruno reached on an infield hit and he hit Kevin Rossler with a pitch to open the inning. In the second, Ramirez couldn't hold onto Crockett's deep fly to start things off, but left him on second by getting Toby Bunch, A.J. McCullough and Silas Ethridge.

But in the third, when Bruno doubled and Rossler walked to start the inning, the Rangers finally got on the board thanks to wild pitches by Reyes, which set up sacrifice flies by Moody and Crockett, around two more walks, one intentional, to Dustin Wilber and Adam Banda.

Then in the fourth, McCullough singled and Etheridge walked to start the inning and one out later Rossler singled to make it 9-3. Pecos' defense then began failing, as Zo Serrano missed a pickoff throw on Ethridge at second, and catcher Ruvel Carrasco then missed a chance to take advantage of a mistake by Rossler, who started walking towards third base after another walk to Wilber.

Carrasco's throw to second sailed over shortstop Matthew Levario's head, and while it was fielded by Serrano and no runs scored, Banda then singled home two runs and Crockett followed with an RBI hit to make it 9-6. Levario came on and got the final out after another walk to Banda, and the Eagles got back a run in their next two at-bats, as Elkins doubled and Reyes singled with one out in the fifth, and Parada singled, went to third on a passed ball and wild pitch, and scored on Ramirez' second double of the game in the sixth.

But the five-run lead disappeared in the bottom of the inning. Serrano couldn't handle Wilber's spinning grounder to lead off, and after a walk to Banda, both runners came home on Crockett's double. That brought on Rodriguez, and while he did get Bunch for the first out, McCullough and Etheridge followed with singles to make it 11-9.

Bruno then popped to second and Rossler hit what should have been an inning ending grounder there, but the ball managed to get by both Serrano and Ramirez in center field for a double error, allowing the 10th run to score. Moody then laced his triple into left-centerfield to give Greenwood the lead, and added an insurance run by scoring on a passed ball by Carrasco.

Banda then secured the win, giving up only a two-out single to Levario in the top of the seventh inning.

The loss drops Pecos to 1-3 in district and 13-8 on the season, while Greenwood is 3-1 and 9-8 overall. Pecos now begins a stretch where four of their next five games will be at home, starting on Friday when they host Presidio.

"Our backs are against the wall. If we want to make the playoffs, we're going to have to win all those games," Payan said.

Pecos 360 011 0 11 10 7

Greenwood 002 407 x 13 10 3

Banda, Bruno (2) and Bunch. J.Reyes, Levario (4), Rodriguez (6) and Carrasco. W - Bruno. L - Rodriguez. DP - Pecos 1. E - Pec., Levario, R. Ramirez 2, Serrano 4. Grn., Banda, Etheridge 2. 2B - Pec., R. Ramirez 2, Elkins, Parada. Grn. - Bruno, Crockett. 3B - Moody. SF - Grn., Moody, Crockett. SB - Pec., R. Ramirez, Levario. CS - Pec., R. Ramirez. HBP - V. Reyes by Banda, Rossler by J. Reyes, Rodriguez by Bruno. WP - Banda, J. Reyes 2, Bruno. PB - Carrasco 2, Bunch.

Golfers stay in 2nd place in 3-4A play

The Pecos Eagles golf team widened their margin for second place after the second round of the three-round District 4-3A boys' golf tournament on Tuesday at the Ward County Golf Course in Monahans.

But the lead isn't big enough for coach Kim Anderson to get complacent about a fifth straight trip to regionals.

"We gained ground on (Fort) Stockton, and we're ahead of Greenwood by 11 strokes, but Greenwood's the team that worries me," Anderson said. "We play at Hogan Park (in Midland) next week, and that's the course they play every week.

"Their top four kids have good solid swings. They're good golfers, not just basketball players who play golf," he said. "But I think we're going to be all right, so long as two of my kids don't blow up on me."

Monahans all but wrapped up a trip to the Region I-3A Tournament by shooting a 303 on their home course, after an opening round of 291 in Kermit on March 24. Their 594 score is 40 shots ahead of the Eagles, who fired a 316 on Tuesday after an opening round of 318. They added five strokes to their lead over Greenwood, which shot a 321 after opening with a 324 and are at 645 after 36 holes.

Fort Stockton, which was three shots in back of Pecos after the opening round, lost 14 strokes to Pecos on Tuesday and are in fourth place, with a 653 score.

Individually, while Pecos' regional berth is still in doubt, Anderson said junior Sal Nichols is close to wrapping up an individual spot at the I-3A tournament later this month in Midland-Odessa. He shot a 74 and is tied for second in the medallist race with Greenwood's Evan Dunkerson and Monahans' Derek Jordan and J.W. Burnett, all with 149 scores.

Michael Nichols shot a 79 and Pete Vasquez had an 81 on Tuesday, and are both at 160 through 36 holes. Jake McKinney shot his second straight round of 83 and is at 166, while Casey Breiten shot an 82 and is at 168.

David Bradley tied Vasquez for third-best score of the day for Pecos, shooting an 81 to lead the 'B' team and is at 168 overall. Andre Varela shot a 112, Dustin Gulihur shot a 114 and is at 234, Will Kington shot a 120 and is at 242 and Tyler Kington also shot a 120 and is at 267.

The 427 score was 49 shots better than the opening round.

, and left the 'B' team with a 903 score overall. Kermit 'A' shot 338-667, Monahans 'B' had a 356-697, Fort Stockton 'B' shot a 370-713, Greenwood 'B' had a 383-764 and Presidio had a 443-865 for the other scores on Tuesday.

The second round of the District 4-3A girls' tournament is Thursday in Fort Stockton. Pecos' girls hold a 21 shot lead after the opening round of play last week in Pecos.

Loboettes shut down Eagle bats in 5-0 victory

The Pecos Eagles' pitching and defense both were better the second time around against the Monahans Loboettes, in the teams' second District 4-3A softball match-up of the season on Saturday in Monahans.

But while the Eagles gave up seven fewer runs to the Loboettes, Monahans' pitcher Raquel Hawkins didn't allow any runs to Pecos, and ended up with a 5-0 shutout win over the Eagles.

The Loboettes scored three times in the first inning and twice more in the third to improve their record to 7-0 in district and clinched a playoff spot in the process. The Eagles fell to 4-3 in district and are back in a tie for third place with Fort Stockton in the 4-3A standings.

Despite the loss, coach Tammy Walls said her team played better than in their 17-3 win on Monday at home over Presidio. "We had an error that cost us two runs, but overall I saw a big improvement," she said. "Monahans is a good team and we played them a close game."

"Raquel Hawkins pitched real well for them and their third baseman Emily Speed made some excellent plays against Brittany (Lobstein) and Bre'Ann (Windham). They hit a couple of hard shots down the third base line that she made plays on to keep them from getting hits."

Hawkins, who did not pitch in the teams' 12-5 game three weeks ago in Pecos, kept the Eagles off base most of the afternoon. "Stephanie (Herrera) got picked off between second and third, Kelsey (Flores) got on on a fielder's choice and Neftali (Salgado) walked," Walls said. "We made contact, but we didn't get it out of the infield."

Herrera, who came on in relief to get the win against Presidio on Monday, took the loss on Tuesday. Walls said Herrera pitched better than in her first game against the Loboettes, but hurt herself with a throwing error to third base in the third inning that allowed Monahans' final two runs to score.

"I'm disappointed, but I saw some improvement," Walls said. "They had a couple of hits on us, but the score really should have been 2-0."

The Eagles will stay on the road on Friday for a game in Kermit against the Yellowjackets. After that, Pecos' final two district games have been pushed back due to a conflict with next week's District 4-3A track meet. Their home game against second place Greenwood, scheduled for Tuesday, is now set for Friday, April 11, while their final regular season game, in Fort Stockton against the Prowlers, will be played on April 15.

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