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"I'm not taking any chances. This is no time to to save anybody,"
Williams said about tonight's District 4-4A opener between the Eagles
and Sweetwater Mustangs.
The Mustangs will make the 210-mile trip tonight to face the Eagles,
starting at 7:30 p.m. It's the second time Sweetwater's had to make a
weeknight trip to Pecos in two months, but it didn't bother their
state-bound basketball team, which beat Pecos by 27 points back in
The Mustangs' baseball team isn't as highly-ranked as their hoop squad,
but Williams is still worried about how Pecos will handle sophomore
pitcher Jarod Shelton, who'll start tonight for Sweetwater.
The lefthander allowed just one unearned run on Friday, working 2_
innings of relief in a 7-5 home loss to Kermit.
"I've been working him on pitch counts for about four or five innings.
Hopefully, he'll be ready to pitch a full seven once district begins,"
said Mustangs' coach Tony Heredia on Sunday.
Sweetwater comes in with just a 4-10 mark, but were without three of
their starters until recently, and their coach said they've been playing
"We've shown we can do all aspects of the game. We just haven't been
able to put seven innings in yet," Heredia said.
Williams is hoping Abila can keep that streak going.
The junior has only a 2-2 mark, but is allowing under two earned runs a
game. Pecos gave up five uneared in his first loss, 5-1 to El Paso
Burges, and two in an eight-inning, 3-2 defeat to Abilene Wylie.
Abila had some control problems last week at Greenwood, while his
teammates committed three errors behind him. But the Rangers made far
more mistakes, and the Eagles cranked out 16-hits, as Abila left with a
14-2 lead in an eventual 16-6 victory.
Mistakes did hurt Pecos in their 9-3 loss on Friday to Lamesa. They made
eight errors, then saw the Tornadoes come back and commit nine in the
second game of the doubleheader. The Eagles won that, 12-2, to move to
9-4 on the season.
Williams has looked at seven different pitchers and several other
reserve players duirng the Eagles' last three games. But after Friday's
win, he said, "I'm going to put the best nine out there, and others are
just going to have to play their rolls when they get a chance to go in."
With the new three playoff format this season, a loss wouldn't be fatal
to either team, but it wouldn't be a good way either for the Eagles to
go to Andrews, for their road opener on Thursday against the
Andrews opens district play tonight in Fort Stockton, while Big Spring
and San Angelo kick off the 4-4A season with a 4 p.m. game on the
The Eagles shot 330 to beat host Van Horn by five strokes. Coach Joe
Wheeler said Fort Stockton's `B' team also was at the tournament, and
shot a 340.
Pecos shot a 346 on Saturday at Fort Stockton, in the first round of
the district tourney. They're in eighth place there, two shots behind
the Panthers' `B' team, while their `A' team is tied for first with
Andrews at 305.
"We got first, and I'm pleased with that, but we're going to have to
have two or three guys shoot in the 70s to keep up with the others in
district," Wheeler said. "That's why I wanted to go to this tournament.
"It's the first time we've gotten first in a while, and the kids'
attitudes are a whole lot better when you're winning.
Jason Salcido led Pecos on Monday with an 80, followed by Casey Love
with an 82, Lee Lyles with an 83, Chris Ryan with an 85 and Robert
Cravey with an 88.
Pecos' `B' team also played in Van Horn, and shot a 369 over the 18
holes of play. Individually, John Granado had an 85, Dallas Jarrett and
Erik Machuca both fired 93s, and Michael O'Callahan shot a 98.
District play for the Eagles resumes next week in Sweetwater, and
concludes on April 12 in Big Spring. And while catching the 4-4A leaders
is a longshot, Wheeler said, "If we can stay in the (3)20s or (3)30s,
we'll have accomplished what we set out to do. We're still a young team."
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State and Regional Sports Pages--San Angelo Standard-Times
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