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Sophomore Oscar Luna was ineligible to participate in the Eagles'
district-opening 11-2 win over Sweetwater, after playing in a 3-on-3
basketball tournament sponsored by the National Honor Society on March
22 at the Pecos High School gym.
In a press release, Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Athletic Director Mike Belew
said, "The first three places (in the tournament) were awarded cash
prizes. Upon investigating the situation, we discovered that a varsity
baseball player received one of the cash awards. This unfortunately,
violated the amateur athletic status of that athlete."
Luna's cash prize for playing on the tournament's third place team was
"As soon as the infraction was discovered, the proper agencies were
notified and the proper steps were taken to rectify the situation.
However, the fact remains than an athlete was ineligible for two
district baseball games, which means those games will have to be
forfeited," Belew's statement continued.
Luna also played in last Thursday's game at Andrews, but the Eagles were
beaten by the Mustangs, 8-2, so his participation had no effect on the
Belew said this morning that Luna was able to regain his eligibility
under University Interscholastic League rules simply by giving back the
$5 prize money to the Honor Society. He explained that the UIL allows a
player who unknowingly took money to return it within 30 days and become
"Oscar became eligible as soon as he gave the money back," Belew said.
However, he was kept out of Tuesday night's 11-1 victory over San Angelo
Lake View by Williams.
"They reinstated him, but I wasn't going to take any chances on playing
him tonight," Williams said following the game. Jason Aguilar stated in
Luna's place in the outfield.
"I almost fell over when they called me in and told me," said Williams,
who was told Tuesday afternoon about the violation. "I'm just glad we
found out early and got it corrected."
"The kid didn't realize it was wrong. Nobody realized it at the time,"
Belew said, adding the problem didn't turn up until a review by school
"Through the checks and balances system through this office and the
administration office this problem was discovered," he said. The school
then turned itself in to the District 4-4A administrative committee.
Sweetwater ISD Superintendent David Welch is administrator in charge of
the 4-4A committee for the 1996-97 school year. A secretary in his
office said Welch was out of town today and Thursday, but did get a fax
on the situation from P-B-T officials on Tuesday.
"He said he would take care of it Friday morning," in a conference call
with other district administrators, the secretary said.
The forfeit won't hurt Pecos as much as it would in previous years,
thanks to the new three-team playoff format for Class 4A teams this
year. Even with the change, the Eagles are still in a four-way tie for
the third playoff berth in District 4-4A following Tuesday's victory,
with seven games remaining on the schedule.
"We're still right in district," Williams said. Pecos is two games in
back of Andrews and one game behind second place Fort Stockton in the
"We still feel that our baseball team is the best in the district, and
we still have every intention of winning a district championship," Belew
"It was an unfortunate incident, but it is corrected, and we plan to go
forward. The kids responded like true champions last night. If that
wasn't a statement about where their heart is, I don't know what is."
The Eagles, who found out earlier in the day they would have to forfeit
their District 4-4A opening win over Sweetwater, were in danger of
falling to 0-3 in district Tuesday night against the San Angelo Lake
View Chiefs. But after a sluggish start, Abila held Lake View to four
hits over the final five innings, while going 4-for-4 at the plate and
scoring three times, including a rolling slide in the second inning that
put Pecos on top and on the way to an 11-1 victory.
"Jay pitched good, and everyone played good behind him," said Eagles'
coach Bubba Williams, who was happy with the way his team played after
finding out they had lost a game they thought they had won by an 11-2
score seven days earlier.
The forfeit may have had an early effect on the Eagles, though
apparently not on catcher Mark Abila. He bailed his brother out twice in
the first inning, picking Lanze Velez off second base with none out,
then doing the same to pinch-runner Andy Hall at third base, off a
strikeout by Jason Abila of Mark Childress.
Hall was running for Gilbert, who singled after Velez walked on four
pitches. Abila then walked Richard Luna and saw Guy Velez bloop a single
to center to load the bases.
"We were flat at the start, but I really do think Mark throwing that
runner out, and then the strikeout-throwout double play really picked
them up," Williams said.
In contrast to Abila, Lake View pitcher Sterlin Gilbert, an 11-0 winner
in his last mound appearance in Pecos two years ago, started strong,
striking out five batters in the first two innings. But the fifth one,
on Nestor Mendoza, was dropped by catcher Mark Childress with Abila
breaking towards home plate with two out.
Given the option of tagging Abila or throwing to first to get Mendoza,
Childress chose the former, only to see the Eagle runner do a rolling
slide underneath Childress' tag and onto home plate.
"He was still in the basepath. The top of his body was still in the
dirt," Williams said. San Angelo coach Rene Cordova protested Abila had
rolled out of the baseline to no avail, and things would go downhill for
Lake View from there.
Gilbert walked Eric Abila and Cisco Rodriguez to start the second
inning, then after Richard Gutierrez forced Rodriguez at second, Jason
Abila came up with an RBI single, and John Paul Vasquez followed with an
RBI grounder to second base, scoring Gutierrez.
Pecos made it 4-0 in the fourth when Joseph Strain cracked his second
home run of the year, a leadoff shot to left field. The Eagles then
chased Gilbert from the mound by scoring three more times in the fifth.
Gutierrez led off the inning with a double, but was thrown out trying to
score on Jason Abila's third hit of the night. Gilbert then walked
Vasquez and hit Mark Abila with a pitch, and then after fanning Strain,
plunked pinch-hitter John Gutierrez to force home a run.
Jason Aguilar then blooped a two-run single into left field, making it
7-0, and after another walk to Eric Abila, Gilbert went to third and
Tommy Stubblefield came on to pitch.
He got Rodriguez for the final out, but in the sixth he hit Richard
Gutierrez then saw Jason Abila get his fourth home run of the season and
fourth hit of the night, a fly ball down the line in left.
Stubblefield came back to get Vasquez and Mark Abila, but Strain reached
on an infield hit which Gilbert, now at third base, threw over the fence
to the tennis courts. It put Strain on second, from where he scored on
Mendoza's single. another infield hit, by Aguilar, followed, and Eric
Abila then ended the game under the 10-run rule with a two-strike single
The forfeit left Pecos in the District 4-4A cellar for several hours,
but the win moved them into a four-way tie for third with Lake View, Big
Spring and Sweetwater, all with 1-2 district marks. The Eagles are 10-6
(11-5) on the season.
Pecos' next game is at 4 p.m. Friday in Big Spring against the Steers,
who lost at Fort Stockton, 1-0, on Tuesday. The 2-1 Panthers are alone
in second, a game behind Andrews, which blanked Sweetwater, 8-0.
.......SAN ANGELO.......................... PECOS
......... ....ab....r....h....bi.... ..........ab....r....h....bi
L.Velez ss....2....0....0....0....E.Abila rf....3....1....1....1
Glbrt p-3b....3....1....2....0....Rdrguez cf....2....0....0....0
Hall cr.......0....0....0....0....R.Gtrrez 3b....3....2....1....0
Luna cf.......2....0....0....1....J.Abila p.....4....3....4....3
G.Velez 1b....3....0....2....0....Vasquez ss....2....1....0....1
Gonzales pr...0....0....0....0....Florez dh.....1....0....0....0
Childrss c....3....0....2....0....M.Abila c.....3....1....0....0
Lnthicm cr....0....0....0....0....Strain 1b.....4....2....2....1
Frnkln 3b-rf..2....0....0....0....Mendoza 2b....3....1....1....1
Stblfd rf-p...3....0....0....0....J.Gtrrez ph...0....0....0....1
Santillan lf..2....0....0....0....J.Aguilar lf..4....0....2....2
San Angelo..... 0 0 0...0 0 1... -- 1
Pecos.......... 0 1 2...1 3 4... --11
Game ended with two outs in sixth under 10-run rule
E -- L. Velez, Franklin, Strain, M. Abila, Gilbert. DP -- Pecos 2. LOB
-- Pecos 8, San Angelo 6. 2B -- R. Gutierrez. 3B -- Gilbert. HR --
Strain (2), J. Abila (4). SB -- E. Abila. CS -- Linthicum (by M. Abila).
..................... H R ER BB KO
Gilbert L, 2-4...... 4 2-3 6 7 6 4 7
Stubblefield.............1 5 4 4 0 0
J.Abila W, 4-2 .........6 6 1 1 3 5
Balk -- Gilbert.
HBP -- Franklin by J. Abila. M. Abila, J. Gutierrez by Gilbert. R.
Gutierrez by Stubblefield.
WP -- Gilbert, J. Abila. PB -- Childress.
T -- 1:51.
The opening, originally scheduled for Saturday at Chano Prieto Field,
has been rescheduled for April 12.
The league also announced there will be a meeting this Friday for all
coaches at Saragosa Hall to discuss the upcoming season. The meeting is
scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
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State and Regional Sports Pages--San Angelo Standard-Times
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