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Van Horn Advocate
Last season, when junior hitter Lori Marquez rotated to the back line, the Eagles' offense all but died. Pecos did end a three-year playoff drought, but the weakness was glaring in matches against good teams like Andrews and San Angelo Lake View.
This year, Pecos showed signs of correcting that problem during pre-district play. But on Tuesday, the Eagles again couldn't find another consistent hitter down the stretch, and that allowed Andrews to come back twice from big deficits to defeat Pecos for the sixth straight time, 15-13, 10-15, 16-14.
"We just don't have anyone consistent enough to put the ball down when Lori's not there," said Eagles' coach Becky Granado, "Then all it takes is one mistake for the other team to get on top."
A botched set with Pecos ahead 13-10 in the deciding match gave Andrews new life, and a tip call took away Pecos' last momentum with the match tied at 14-all, after Marisol Arenivas poked in a shot over Andrews' blockers to cap a long volley between the teams.
The tip, which at first wasn't called against Pecos' blockers, nullified what would have been a 15-14 lead on a bad spike by Andrews. The Mustangs then won when Shirhonda Bell hit a ball out and a soft hit by Lindsey Hudgers caught the Eagles' defense flatfooted.
"We do some good things, but our mental mistakes kill us," Granado said. "We don't know how to forget about our mental mistakes and go on, and by the time it's over the other team has caught up to us."
Gail Taylor had a couple of kills in the opening match for Pecos, but the Eagles started rolling when Marquez scored six points in an 11-0 run off a trio of kills, two dinks and a block on Mustangs hitter Ali Bane. But then, a block of Marquez by Brittany Reynolds and a bad hit by the senior turned things around.
The Eagles set away from Marquez the next few times, and after she rotated to the back line, Pecos managed only a Taylor kill for a point, while giving Andrews six points in a 10-1 run off bad hits. Andrews did earn their final two points, off spikes by Hudgens and Leesa Lopez.
"We had them down 12-3 and we should have won that game," Granado said. "Sometimes we don't know who's where. We have Lori in the middle and we don't set it to her when Lori was hot and let them get back into it."
Game 2 started out like Game 1, with Andrews coming from a 5-1 deficit to within one, at 7-6. But this time after a time-out, Pecos was able to recover, while being helped by Andrews' unforced errors late in the game.
The victory raises Andrews' season record to 9-6, while Pecos falls to 11-8 going into Saturday's match at Sweetwater.
Andrews also won Tuesday's junior varsity match, 15-6, 15-8, while the Eagles swept the freshmen contests. The gold team downed the Mustangs, 15-4, 15-6, while the purple team won by 15-13, 15-8 final scores.
After an executive council session Tuesday stretched past midnight, owners said more ideas were presented and that the number of possible plans had increased, not decreased.
``We need to air everything out because what we're doing is going to be done for a long time,'' acting commissioner Bud Selig said after the five-hour meeting, another indication that a vote will be put off.
A council member, speaking on the condition he not be identified, said it's highly unlikely a plan could be formulated that would win approval in the next two days. Two other council members said they weren't even sure what proposals would develop from the latest discussions.
``Every day my fax is busy, clubs sending different plans,'' Selig said, going on to say there was no one plan.
Owners have been unable to issue a 1998 schedule because they can't figure out where to put the two expansion teams, Arizona and Tampa Bay.
Teams support certain plans, but not others:
-- Houston would like to play against Texas, but doesn't want to move to the AL and prefers the Rangers shift to the NL;
-- Philadelphia would shift to the AL, but only as part of the radical geographic realignment in which 15 teams would change leagues;
-- Atlanta, Cincinnati, the New York Mets and Pittsburgh would use their veto power to block radical realignment, and the Chicago Cubs, San Diego and San Francisco also would vote against it;
-- Tampa Bay would like to be in the same league with Florida, but preferably not in the same division;
-- Baltimore would vote against any plan that potentially would allow a Northern Virginia team in its league;
-- San Francisco would sue to block Oakland from joining the NL, and most plans have the Athletics joining the NL along with Anaheim and Seattle;
-- Arizona would use its veto power against any plan shifting it to the AL.
``I understand the trepidation and concerns teams have,'' Selig said.
Owners arriving at the meetings weaved their way through celebrities such as heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, who was attending the opening of Atlanta's All-Star Cafe, which is just down the block from the hotel baseball is using. Tiger Woods, Andre Agassi, Sugar Ray Leonard and Wayne Gretzky also were on hand.
When they made their way through the crowd, they made clear that consensus is a ways off.
``I'm sure people will say things in the heat of the moment, but, hopefully, rationality will take over,'' said Texas Rangers president Tom Schieffer, an advocate of radical realignment.
The executive council planned to meet again with the realignment committee today, then brief teams during separate league meetings. Both leagues meet jointly Thursday.
The problem began at a meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz., last January, the deadline for assigning the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Devil Rays to leagues. The executive council proposed to put Arizona in the NL West and Tampa Bay in the AL East, shifting Detroit from the AL East to the AL Central and moving Kansas City from the AL Central to the AL West.
The Royals balked, got the Rangers' support and won enough backing to block division assignments. Owners then put Arizona in the NL and Tampa Bay in the AL without assigning divisions.
With no movement since then, a provisional schedule has been drawn up with Tampa Bay in the AL West and Arizona in the NL West. To further complicate matters, after watching the first season of interleague play, many teams decided they'd like to keep interleague games bunched together in future seasons, just like they were in 1997.
With two 15-team leagues, there would have to be an interleague game nearly every day. To change that, someone has to move.
``Baseball has procrastinated for some time. I'd like to see some action taken,'' said Arizona owner Jerry Colangelo, who hopes for a vote during Thursday's joint meeting. ``It should have been taken in Scottsdale last winter. I viewed this as an American League problem. I still do.''
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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