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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, May 2, 2003

Eagles hope history repeats against Indians' pitcher

Staff Writer

If the Pecos Eagles can do as well against Seminole pitcher Austin McBee tonight in Seminole as they did a year ago today on the same field, coach Elias Payan will be very happy.

On the other hand, if the results tonight are the same as in McBee's last start against the Eagles, Indians' coach Mike Brown will be the happy one going into Game 2 of the best-of-three series Saturday afternoon in Pecos.

The 17-8 Indians host the 17-10 Eagles at 7 p.m. today in the first game of their Class 3A bi-district playoff series. The game is being played a year to the day after the Eagles last visited Seminole, for a playoff practice doubleheader between the two teams.

Seminole rallied to win the first game, 5-4, before the Eagles teed off on McBee in the second game for a six-inning, 10-0 victory. The Eagles also got to McBee earlier this year when the teams played in the first round of the West Texas March Classic in Midland, but the Indians got to Pecos pitchers Josh Anchondo and Barney Rodriguez as well, and ended up winning by a 10-9 final score.

"We went up by one run in the top of the sixth inning, but then they scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth and won it on the time limit," said Payan. "We just made a lot of mistakes that day, but it will come down to who wants it more."

Brown wanted a one-game playoff in Odessa, but lost a pair of coin flips to Payan this week, and ended up with a home-and-home and best-of-three series. McBee has been their top pitcher this season and was the only player to start both games of last year's doubleheader for the Indians.

"He's not a bad pitcher. He throws strikes, but I think we can get him," said Payan on Thursday. He lasted only 2 1/3 innings a year ago, leaving following a home run by Freddy Torres. Earlier this year, he gave up an early two-run homer to Rodriguez, but didn't leave the game until after Pecos began rallying from a 7-2 deficit built up against Anchondo and then Rodriguez. The Eagles would take a 9-8 lead on a sacrifice fly by Oscar Parada, before losing in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Rodriguez struggled through the middle innings of his last start on April 22, but survived to post a 12-9 win over Greenwood, which evened his record at 6-6 on the season. He'll start Game 1 tonight for the Eagles.

"I'll start with Barney, and see how he does. If he struggles, we've got others we can throw at them," said Payan. He added that Rigo Ramirez could pitch after suffering through shoulder problems during the middle of the season, while Matthew Levario earned the shutout win last year in the practice game against Seminole. Anchondo (4-1) is scheduled to start Game 2 on Saturday.

McBee is 6-3 with an e.r.a. of 1.49 this season, but after that, the Indians' pitching hasn't been as strong. Playing at home earlier this season against Lubbock Cooper - the team the winner of the Pecos-Seminole series will face in the area round of the playoffs - the Indians were beaten 14-4, as the Pirates got to starter Tyson Farmer and relievers Pedic Guerra for the 14 runs on 12 hits in six innings.

Offensively, McBee is also one of the Indians' top hitters, along with Braxton Bates and Matt Hawkins, while Guerra and catcher Drew Worth are also returning starters from a year ago.

"I spoke with (Snyder coach) Charles Bollinger and he said they're going to hit the ball. They're scrappers," Payan said. "Their catcher's also really good, so we're just going to have to be smart running the bases. We're going to have to steal in good stealing situations, because their catcher has a good arm."

If the teams have to play a third game, it will begin following Game 2 in Pecos on Saturday, probably about 4:30 p.m. The winner will then go on to face Cooper at a site and time to be determined.

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Pecos Enterprise
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