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By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Apr. 25 -- Mike Ferrell has confidence. What he doesn't have is
hotel reservations in Austin.
The Eagles' first-year track coach was busy trying to get those Thursday
afternoon, in anticipation that one or both of the Brownlee brothers
could be headed there in two weeks.
That will depend on the outcome of the Region I-4A Track and Field Meet
at Angelo State University today and Saturday. Bryan and Jeff Brownlee
will be competing in the discus and shot put on separate days, while on
the girls' side, Marisol Arenivas will run tonight in the 3,200 meter
run, and Penny Armstrong will go Saturday afternoon in the high jump.
The Brownlees will throw the discus first, today at 6 p.m., then come
back and toss the shot put at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday. Bryan Brownlee has
yet to be defeated in either event in any of the eight track meets the
Eagles have competed in, but Ferrell said the senior will not be seeded
No. 1 in the shot put when that event goes off.
"I know (El Paso High's) Tony White threw 58 (feet) in the shot, but
Bryan is undefeated against him this year, so I feel fairly confident,"
Brownlee's best throw was a 57-1 effort at the season opening Comanche
Relays, while his top throw in the discus came three weeks ago at the
Sandhills Relays in Monahans, a 182-5 toss.
Jeff Brownlee saved his best efforts for the District 4-4A track meet on
April 11 in Andrews. The junior placed second in the shot put, with a
50-9 throw to his brother's 56-4, while going way past his best mark in
the discus, sailing it 160-11, to Bryan's 171-5.
"I feel real confident that those two men will be able to rise to the
top when it matters most. That's what makes me excited about it,"
If one or both go to state, it will be the fourth time in five seasons
the Eagles have qualified someone for Austin after a drought of nearly
20 years. Willie Mata went to state three years in a row in the 400
meters and once in the 800, winning the state title in 1994.
Pecos' girls haven't gotten past regionals in a while, and appear to
face a tougher road in San Angelo. Arenivas and Armstrong both placed
second in their events at district, though coach Becky Granado is hoping
a calm evening tonight will help her runner's time.
"I hope so. The wind really affects Marisol," Granado said Wednesday.
Arenivas cut 13 seconds off her time in a qualifiers meet at Wink last
week, after being bothered by a 40 mph winds at Andrews on April 11.
She'll run at 8:30 p.m., while Armstrong will jump at 2:30 p.m. on
Armstrong won a jump-off over Fort Stockton's Elisa Espino to reach the
regional finals, though she struggled last week at the qualifier's meet.
It's her first trip to regional, along with Jeff Brownlee, while
Arenivas and Bryan Brownlee are in San Angelo for the second year in a
PECOS, Apr. 25 -- Even after a nightmarish two weeks of play, the Pecos
Eagles have more than a glimmer of hope they'll still make the Class 4A
playoff this season.
But the Fort Stockton Panthers can end their hopes -- and might end
those of the Big Spring Steers as well -- if they can score a homefield
victory over Pecos, at 7:30 p.m. tonight.
It's the final regular season game for the Eagles, who've dropped four
of their last five games to fall to 3-6 in district, and 12-10 on the
season. A loss would give Pecos their worst final record in district in
over 30 years.
But a win, combined with a victory by district champion Andrews tonight
at home over Big Spring and a win by the Steers at home on Saturday
against the Panthers, would leave Pecos, Big Spring and Fort Stockton
all tied for the final playoff berth, with 4-6 marks.
"We're just going to go out there and try and find some way to beat
them, then go over and watch them play on Saturday and hope we get to
win the coin flip," Eagles' coach Bubba Williams said.
If the teams do tie, a coin flip would give one team a bye. They would
face the winner of a game between the other two for the right to advance
to the 4A playoffs.
Fort Stockton can avoid those complications just by winning one of their
last two games. The Panthers went through a streak were they gave up 45
runs in three games, but snapped it on Tuesday with a 4-2 victory over
Sweetwater. After a 3-1 start, it left the Panthers at 4-4 in district,
The collapse of the Eagles' hitting has been as much responsible for
Pecos' season-ending problems as anything. Their last big game was a
15-5 win at home over the Panthers on April 8, in which the Eagles were
able to hit both starter James Matchett and reliever Steven Cordero.
Last season, Pecos was no-hit at Fort Stockton for over five innings,
and eventually lost by a 5-4 score, though none of the current Panther
pitchers were involved in that decision.
Cordero got the win over Sweetwater on Tuesday, and after shutting out
Big Spring earlier this season, coach Russell McGuiart may elect to hold
back his No. 1 pitcher for the Steers on Saturday, and go with either
Matchett or Nathan Reeves on the mound.
Williams said he would give sophomore Louis Valencia his first start on
the mound, after three good relief appearances since being brought up
from the junior varsity.
Along with that move, Williams will also try his fifth different third
baseman in as many games, while also plugging in a new second baseman
for the first time this season.
"I'm going to move John Paul (Vasquez) to second and move Santos
(Carrasco) to third," Williams said. Starting second baseman Nestor
Mendoza is with the Pecos High School band in Dallas this weekend, while
Carrasco will try to fill the hole left when the Eagles lost leading
hitter Richard Gutierrez to grades. Jason Chabarria, Gutierrez, Vasquez
and Eric Abila have been the starting third baseman in the last four
While a Fort Stockton win would eliminate Pecos, a Big Spring victory
over Andrews would also end the Eagles season. Wins by the Panthers and
Mustangs would give Fort Stockton its first playoff berth since 1989.
Other, less likely options, are:
-- The Steers could take third outright with two wins and two Panther
-- Both teams could tie for second with two Steer wins and a Fort
Stockton victory over Pecos;
-- In the most unlikely scenario, there could be a three way tie for
second if Big Spring wins twice, Fort Stockton beats Pecos and San
Angelo Lake View loses their final game tonight at Sweetwater.
The Chiefs can get their first-ever playoff spot with a victory tonight.
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