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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Monday, April 14, 2003

Errors cost Pecos in loss to Greenwood

Staff Writer

Two outfield errors was all it took for the Greenwood Rangerettes to clinch a playoff spot on Friday, and put the Pecos Eagles into a playoff-like situation for their final regular season game, in Fort Stockton on Tuesday.

Greenwood's Kim Smith circled the bases on a single and three-base error in the fifth inning, and the Rangerettes' Megan Chase did the same, this time on an RBI triple and an error in the outfield in the sixth inning, and Greenwood then survived a seventh inning rally by Pecos to score a 3-2 win at Martinez Field.

Combined with Monahans' 6-0 victory over Fort Stockton on Friday, it clinched a playoff spot for Greenwood and left the Eagles and Prowlers tied for third going into Tuesday's game. The winner will advance to the Class 3A playoffs while the loser's season will be over.

"That was a difficult game to lose," said coach Tammy Walls. "They have a couple of strong hitters, and they took advantage of our mistakes, and they didn't make any."

Both Eagles' pitcher Stephanie Herrera and Chase, who started on the mound for Greenwood, survived leadoff hits in the first inning, as the Rangerettes' Stephanie Adams was caught stealing after her single and Pecos' Brittany Lobstein was doubled off first when Chase caught Kristy Contreras' bunt attempt after she opened with a hit.

Herrera got out of a jam in the fourth inning, when Savannah Neely tripled over the head of right fielder Katie Lee to open the inning. Courtney Awalt and Chase both popped up and Alexis Vejil grounded back to the mound to end the threat, and Walls then replaced Lee with Vanessa Valeriano in right field in the fifth inning.

But Smith opened the fifth with a hard single that went through Valeriano's legs for a three-base error and a 1-0 Greenwood lead. Then with two outs in the sixth Awalt blooped a single just behind Contreras at shortstop, and Chase followed with a triple down the line in left that outfielder Bre'Ann Windham couldn't field cleanly, allowing her to score.

Meanwhile, the Eagles were getting a few runners on base, but none of their leadoff hitters against Chase until the seventh, when Herrera singled off Neely's glove at shortstop, and Chase then walked Jessica Flores. She got Neftali Salgado to pop to second base, but Danielle Garcia then single to center to score Herrera, and after Chase hit Kelsey Flores, she was replaced on the mound by Sara Heidleburg.

Le re-entered the game batting for Valeriano and scored Flores on a fielder's choice ground out, and Pecos then got the tying run to second base when Heidleberg walked Lobstein on a 3-2 pitch, but she came back to get a called third strike on Contreras, to end the game.

The loss left Pecos with a 5-4 district record and 11-11 overall, while Greenwood improved to 6-3 in district play going into their final regular-season game, on Tuesday against Kermit. The worst the Rangerettes can end up is in a two-way tie for third with the winner of Tuesday's game between the Eagles and Prowlers.

"We've got our work cut out for us. It's tough to win in Fort Stockton," said Walls, whose team has won two of three games with the Prowlers this season, including the teams' district meeting in Pecos by a 2-0 score. "We're going to have to go out and perform on Tuesday."

Eagles survive bad start, stay in playoff race

Staff Writer

The Pecos Eagles came up with an effective solution to the problems they have been having recently with teams in the sixth inning: Don't play the sixth inning.

The Eagles, who saw Greenwood beat them with a seven-run sixth inning on April 1 and Presidio beat them with a six-run sixth inning three days later, never let the Kermit Yellowjackets get to the sixth inning on Friday night, as they rallied from early 4-0 and 5-1 deficits to beat Kermit, 15-5, in a game that ended in the fifth inning under the 10-run rule.

"I couldn't ask for a better win than tonight," said coach Elias Payan, who was to speak following the game at the candlelight vigil for Johnny Mata at Eagle Stadium. "The kids said it would be all right, and they just came out and put it to them.."

With a 1-4 record in District 4-3A play entering Friday's game, the Eagles faced a must-win situation against the Jackets, who survived their own sixth inning problems against Pecos last month to beat the Eagles, 7-6 in the teams' district opener. In that game, Kermit used a home run to help jump out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning, and the exact same thing happened on Friday, this time with starter Jose Reyes as the victim.

Hunter Hardaway hit the home run this time, a two-run shot after Reyes didn't get a two-strike call from the home plate umpire and ended up walking leadoff hitter Lupe Munoz. Reyes would have more problems with his control and the Eagles would have more problems with the home plate umpire after that. The pitcher walked Chris Bennett and Erbay Saucedo and then hit Milo Valenzuela to load the bases, and the Eagles then lost an argument on having Bennett ejected from the game when he failed to slide on a fielder's choice force out at home plate, and ran into catcher Ruvel Carrasco after he had taken a throw from third baseman Oscar Parada.

Reyes lasted just one more batter. He walked Ben Madrid to force home a run, and Payan brought Jose Anchondo in to pitch. He surrendered a bloop single by Jesus Aranda that made it 4-0, but struck out Jay Bennett and got Madrid to ground to Parada to retire the side.

"I went out there and told Jose he can't worry about the umpire. He just has to go out there and make them swing the bat, but tonight he didn't," said Payan, who saw Anchondo allow only three hits and one run over the final 4 2/3 innings of play.

"Josh has done a good job all year long," Payan said. "He's just a freshman and he's made some mistakes, but he's matured as the season's gone on and knows what he has to do out there."

Valenzuela started on the mound for Kermit, and Elkins sent his first pitch over the fence in right-center field to make it a 4-1 game. But Valenzuela came back to get the next three batters and then made it 5-1 in the top of the second, doubled home Saucedo, who had walked with two away.

That's the way things looked like they were going to stay going into the third inning, as Valenzuela got two outs around a walk to Matthew Levario. But Javier Ramirez then came up with an RBI single and after that Valenzuela lost sight of home plate, walking Carrasco, Elkins and Reyes to force home a run. Rigo Ramirez then dropped a two-run single into left-center field to tie the game, and Pecos went ahead when Munoz missed the throw home on the play. Ramirez went to third on the error and then scored on a passed ball to make it 7-5.

Anchondo survived hitting Madrid to lead off the third inning, a leadoff walk to Hardaway in the fourth and a single by Valenzuela to open the fifth without allowing Kermit any more runs. Meanwhile, Munoz moved from catcher to pitcher to close out the second inning and got through the third unharmed, but surrendered two more runs in the fourth to make it a 9-5 game.

Rigo Ramirez singled home Elkins, who opened with a walk, and after he was forced at second base by Parada, Barney Rodriguez doubled to left-center to give Pecos a four-run lead. That hasn't been a safe margin for the Eagles in recent games, but the Eagles made sure Kermit wouldn't stage any late rallies by scoring six more times in the fifth to end the game.

Singles by Javier Ramirez and Carrasco and an error by Aranda in right field made it 10-5, and after a walk to Elkins Reye doubled home two runs for a 12-5 lead. That brought Aranda into pitch and he then saw Rigo Ramirez reach and Elkins score when Saucedo threw low to Aranda covering first on a grounder to the right side. Parada then followed with an RBI double to make it 14-5, and the game ended when Jay Bennett threw the ball over Saucedo's head at first base trying for a double play on Levario, which scored Parada with the winning run.

The win gave Pecos a 2-4 district record, while Kermit fell to 3-3 in district, but are still tied for third in the district standings with Presidio, which lost to Monahans on Friday. Greenwood defeated Fort Stockton in Friday's other game and are 4-2, a game behind Monahans, who'll be in Pecos to face the Eagles at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

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Pecos Enterprise
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