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Thursday, October 16, 1997

Eagles, Mustangs seek turnarounds

Sports Editor
PECOS, Oct. 17 -- The Pecos Eagles get a starter back and get to keep a starter they really weren't expecting to see for the rest of the year, while the Andrews Mustangs will be without two starters, but get a third back and will have their main starter
ready to go, when they host the Eagles Friday night, in their 1997 homecoming game.

Pecos and Andrews will both be seeking their first wins of the season in District 4-4A play, and will try and bounce back from their worst offensive outputs of the year, when they face off at the Mustang Bowl, starting at 7:30 p.m.

The Eagles come off a 37-0 loss at home to Big Spring in their 4-4A opener, in which they were held to just 44 yards in offense. The defeat dropped them to 4-2 on the season. Andrews also is 4-2, after managing just 104 yards in their 21-3 home loss to
second-ranked Sweetwater.

"Our workouts have been real good this week," said Eagles' coach Mike Belew, comparing them with the week leading up to the Big Spring game. "The participation level has been real good, and the attitude has been real good."

Pecos' offense was hampered last week by a bruised thigh suffered by fullback Lucio Florez. "Lucio's still got his thigh injury, but we get Richard (Gutierrez) back, and that should help us," Belew said. Florez and Hector Garcia had filled in for Gutier
rez, who was ineligible for the past three games, after rushing for 308 yards in Pecos' first three contests.

The other good news came Wednesday, when starting center and defensive tackle Robert Cravey was cleared to continue playing -- quite a change from a day earlier, when it was feared the senior would be lost due to a fractured vertebrae in his neck.

As it turned out, Cravey did suffer a fracture, but it apparently occurred during two-a-day workouts back in mid-August, and he made it through the next eight weeks despite the injury. The fracture turned up on X-rays taken Monday, but trainer Joel Birc
h said that after Cravey went to see a specialist in Lubbock on Tuesday, "He was cleared to play by the doctor. It was old enough (the injury) to where it healed itself."

"The doctor said there was some muscle damage and some ligament damage," Cravey said this morning. But as far as the bone itself, he added that he and his parents were told "There's nothing to worry about."

Andrews, meanwhile, lost tight end Mike Hudson and defensive tackle Gabe Gomez to knee injuries in last week's loss, but will get back quarterback Jeremy Pitkin from an ankle injury suffered three weeks ago against Levelland. And the ankle injury suffer
ed by Shaud Williams in the second half of last week's game was so undetectable, Sweetwater's coaches weren't even sure why he left the game in the fourth quarter.

"Shaud's fine," Andrews coach Mike Lebby said. "Other than (Hudson and Gomez), we're in decent shape. We earlier lost our quarterback Daniel Kessler and also lost defensive back David Stricklin, but that's just part of the game. We're just lucky we had
a little depth."

Cody Chesshire filled in for Pitkin, who was filling in for Kessler. He was 0-for-9 throwing the ball against Sweetwater, but Chesshire had to work without benefit of the Mustangs' best receiver -- himself. He had three catches for 67 yards, two for tou
chdowns, playing the first three games at split end, so Pitkin's return will also improve Andrews' receiving corps.

Williams has run for just under 1,000 yards, despite being held under 100 for the first time since last season by Sweetwater. A year ago, he ran for 248 yards against Pecos, and broke the 200 yard barrier in the team's opening playoff game, a week after
suffering a far more severely sprained ankle against Big Spring.

"They run about four basic plays, and Williams is a great running back, so we've got our work cut out for us," Belew said, adding that the Mustangs' line is about as physical as the Steers' crew that was able to push Pecos back for much of the night las
t Friday.

"They're very comparable, so it's going to be tough. We're going to have to play well to have a chance to win," Belew said.

Defensively, last week's games were also the worst so far this season for Andrews and Pecos. The Steers gained 392 yards on the Eagles, while the Mustangs were touched for 317 by Sweetwater. Up until that point, Andrews had not allowed an opponent over
200 yards per game, and Belew said, "Unless we can throw the football, it's going to be very difficult to run consistently.

"Defensively, they run man coverage in the secondary and put eight or nine up front. Basically it means we have to throw the ball," Belew said.

Pecos has seen the stacked fronts each of the past three weeks, and were able to burn Kermit and Fabens, but saw the passing problems they had against Monahans and Lamesa return in their loss to the Steers. Quarterback Jason Abila was just 2-for-13 for
13 yards, which included a couple of dropped passes.

While the Mustangs will lose Gomez on the line, Lebby said they'll get more use out of Chesshire at cornerback this week. "It hurt us over there at little bit to have him playing all the time on offense," the Mustangs' coach said.

"He's their top cornerback, and does a good job in man coverage each time. You have to have confidence in your corners to run man coverage," Belew said.

Chesshire also has safety Waylon Mayfield backing him up. Despite not picking off a pass against either Sweetwater or Lubbock Esacado, the senior has six interceptions in six games this season. "He also made 16 tackles last week," added Lebby. "He's a h
eck of a player, and that helps us, because we don't have to play Shaud on defense as much."

Andrews' defense has been sound enough this season that Lebby was able to move his son Kyle from linebacker, where he was an all-district pick a year ago, to center on offense. They still have Brandon Long and Temo Guevara back from a year ago in the li
nebacking corps.

"We try to play as many players one-way as we can, but it's a little more difficult to do that with the injuries. The other night we had five players going both ways," Lebby said.

The JV, freshman and eighth grade purple teams are still seeking their first wins, while the eighth grade gold and seventh grade purple teams will try to remain unbeaten today.

Tribe eyes end to title drought

AP Sports Writer
BALTIMORE, Oct. 16 -- The Cleveland Indians are convinced that this trip to the World Series will be different.

Given what they've accomplished thus far, it might be wise to believe them.

The Indians are back in the World Series for the second time in three years, using an 11th-inning homer from last-minute starter Tony Fernandez to beat the Baltimore Orioles 1-0 Wednesday and win the AL Championship Series 4-2.

Cleveland seeks to cement its first World Series championship since 1948, beginning Saturday night on the road against the Florida Marlins.

The Indians went 86-75 during the regular season, struggling at times before winning their third straight AL Central title. Then came the playoffs, and things started getting a little magical.

First, the Tribe rallied from a 2-1 deficit to eliminate the defending champion New York Yankees in the best-of-5 division series. Then Cleveland ousted the team with the best record in the league, beating the Orioles with four one-run victories.

Baltimore won 12 more regular-season games than the Indians.

``If people really looked at the character of this ballclub, if they looked at the reasons why we were sputtering all year long, they'd understand injuries have had a lot to do with our regular season,'' manager Mike Hargrove said.

``It's no coincidence that our team straightened out and started playing better baseball in September. We've got a good bunch of guys who have a lot of heart, a lot of character and a lot of talent.''

This team differs from the 1995 squad, which lost the World Series to Atlanta, in a variety of ways. The Indians no longer have Albert Belle, but they have a keen grasp of the fundamentals and the desire to incorporate teamwork into the formula for winni

Example: With the game scoreless and the Orioles threatening with runners on first and second with no outs in the seventh, third baseman Matt Williams scooped up a bunt by Roberto Alomar and wheeled to throw out the lead runner. Geronimo Berroa then hit
into a double play.

Four innings later, Fernandez, replacing late scratch Bip Roberts at second base, hit his first homer in 133 career playoff at-bats to send the Indians to victory.

Cleveland was the underdog in both playoff series, another departure from 1995.

``This is a totally different feeling. We're in a position where we weren't supposed to be,'' Cleveland starter Charles Nagy said. ``In '95 we were picked to go to the Series and win it all. From top to bottom, everybody's doing the little things we have
to do to win.''

Nagy did his part in Game 6, matching zeroes with Mike Mussina into the eighth inning.

The Indians managed only one hit in eight innings off Mussina, who turned in his second straight sensational performance in a losing cause. Mussina left after having thrown 108 pitches in his second successive start with three days' rest.

Mussina set an ALCS record with 15 strikeouts in Game 3, but the Orioles failed to score during his seven innings and lost 2-1 in the 12th. The right-hander was even sharper this time, retiring 20 of the first 21 batters while allowing only a leadoff dou
ble by David Justice in the fifth.

He left after allowing only one hit, two walks and striking out 10.

Mussina's line for the ALCS: 15 innings, four hits, no earned runs, 25 strikeouts and two no-decisions. He set records for strikeouts in an ALCS (25) and in one postseason (41).

Baltimore stranded 14 runners and went 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position. Rafael Palmeiro was the worst offender, going 0-for-3 and stranding five.

Cleveland managed only three hits and won the game anyway.

The Indians finally broke the scoreless battle in the 11th, when Fernandez launched a 2-0 pitch from Armando Benitez over the 25-foot scoreboard in right field to stun the crowd of 49,075. Roberts was removed from the lineup after taking a line drive bel
ow his left thumb.

``I knew something special was going to happen tonight, but I couldn't tell you I was going to hit a home run,'' Fernandez said. ``It worked out for the best. I'm glad I was able to contribute in a positive way.''

Benitez also gave up the game-winning hit in Game 2, a three-run shot by MVP Marquis Grissom, and the decisive RBI single to Sandy Alomar in Game 4.

``Unfortunately, he's a young pitcher and when you get behind in the count you can't afford to throw a pitch up in the strike zone. It didn't happen all year,'' Orioles manager Davey Johnson said.

Brian Anderson got the win, pitching a scoreless 10th inning, and Jose Mesa got three outs for the save.

The Orioles won a league-best 98 games during the regular season and were the third AL team to stay in first place from wire-to-wire.

They'll be remembered as the first of those three to fail to win the World Series.

``I don't think we have anything to be disappointed about. We got to the ALCS for the 2nd year in a row. We just didn't get it done,'' Baltimore outfielder Eric Davis said. ``Our pitchers pitched their tails off, their pitchers pitched their tails off. I
t's just a situation that someone had to lose.''

Eagles' JV plays home grid opener

PECOS, Oct. 16 -- The Pecos Eagles' junior varsity football team finally gets to play a home game tonight, when they host Andrews starting at 7 p.m.

Pecos' seventh graders also host Andrews, at 4 and 5:30 p.m., while the eighth and ninth grade teams play on the Mustangs' home field, at 4, 5:30 and 7 p.m.

The JV had two games this season canceled for budgetary reasons, out of six straight road games to open the year. They'll play two more home games the rest of the way, while the freshmen close with four straight contests out-of-town.

The JV, freshman and eighth grade purple teams are still seeking their first wins of 1997, while the eighth grade gold and seventh grade purple teams will try to remain unbeaten today.

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