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Friday, October 24, 1997

Eagles seek win despite tougher road

PECOS, Oct. 24 -- Coming off their best game of the season a week ago, Pecos Eagles' coach Becky Granado wants her team to continue that effort Saturday afternoon in San Angelo, when the Eagles close out regular season play against the Lake View Maidens.

But at the same time, Granado knows a win over Lake View might actually give Pecos a tougher road in the playoffs than they'd get by losing to the Maidens, due to the playoff pairings by the University Interscholastic League.

The Eagles and Maidens could decide second and third place in Saturday's match, which starts at about 2:30 p.m. But that's only if Lake View defeats Pecos for the second time this season. A win by the Eagles would force a playoff for second, either on Mo
nday or Tuesday and probably in the Midland-Odessa area.

Both teams will be facing either El Paso Burges or El Paso High in the bi-district round of the Class 4A playoffs, depending on the outcome of those teams' Saturday match in El Paso. But the bracketing after that seems to favor the third place finisher -
- a bi-district win would match them against District 2-4A champ Lamesa (the team Pecos faced a year ago), while the second place finisher would face District 1-4A powers Hereford, last year's Class 4A state champ, Dumas or Canyon Randall if they reached
the area round.

"I know it looks easier (finishing third), but I don't want the kids to go into the playoffs off a loss," Granado said.

Pecos has dropped six straight district matches to San Angelo, the latest a 15-9, 12-15, 15-13 contest earlier this month, when the Eagles rallied to take the lead, but then couldn't make the plays to finish off the Maidens. Hillary Lee led San Angelo's
attack, while Lee and Stacy Bartz outsmarted the Eagles' defense at the finish, scoring off a couple of soft dink shots over Pecos' front line blockers.

Pecos' 15-3, 15-8 win last Saturday over Big Spring improved their record to 6-3 in district and 17-10 on the season. Lake Vie is 7-2 and 24-5 and could still tie Andrews for first, with a win over the Eagles and a loss by the Mustangs to Big Spring.

Play begins with the junior varsity match at 1 p.m. Granado said there will be no freshman match, because Lake View's ninth graders are in a San Angelo city tournament.

Junior highs score `A' squad victories

Staff Writer
PECOS, Oct. 24 -- The results were the same in five of the six rematches Thursday night between the Pecos Eagles and Monahans Loboes.

The Loboes won both the junior varsity and freshman games, and took the junior high `B' contests, while the Eagles took Thursday's seventh and eighth grade `A' games.

Playing in Pecos, the JV fell to Monahans by a 28-0 final score, while Zavala's eighth grade purple team won 20-8 and the gold team fell by a 20-0 score. Over in Monahans, the Eagles' ninth graders dropped a 34-0 decision, while Crockett's purple won and
the gold team lost by 8-0 final scores.

The JV trailed only by a 6-0 score at halftime, but allowed three touchdowns in the final two periods.

"We just shot ourselves in the foot again with our special teams," said JV coach Jay Ragland, whose team faces San Angelo Lake View next week.

Freshman coach Tino Acosta listed the same problems for his team, though they came earlier, as the Loboes took a three-touchdown lead at the half. "Our kids played hard, but we just made too many mistakes," he said.

The eighth graders avenged their 8-6 loss at home to the Loboes last month, getting the game's lone TD on a pass from Richard Rodriguez to Ricky Plummer in the second period.

"Monahans never really threatened. They were pretty beat up at the end," said Crockett coach Phillip Garrison. He added that Mason Abila, Joey Rodriguez and Juan Abila played well on defense for Pecos, and that the `B' team also did well defensively desp
ite their loss.

Zavala's `A' team also struggled on offense, fumbling five times, but pulled things out with three fourth quarter touchdowns. Abel Lopez' diving catch on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Levario gave them a 6-0 lead, and Paul Juarez then picked up a
fumble that was about to be downed and raced 51-yards for a touchdown, with Levario adding the two-point run.

The seventh graders then gave up only their second touchdown of the season, an 82-yard kickoff return after Juarez' score, but then put the game away by recovering an onsides kick and later scoring on Levario's 1-yard run.

While the `A' team beat Monahans for the second time to remain unbeaten, the `B' team lost again to the Loboes, to fall to 2-3 overall. Monahans scored on their first two possessions, then added another TD in the second half.

Tonight at 7:30 p.m., the Eagles take on the second-ranked Sweetwater Mustangs. The Eagles will be seeking to break Sweetwater's 35-game regular season winning streak and their 29-game district run, but in a strange way, Pecos' post-season hopes may hing
e more on tonight's two other District 4-4A games than on their own contest.

Andrews goes to San Angelo Lake View, while Big Spring travels to Fort Stockton, and the Eagles will be rooting for wins by the Chiefs and Steers tonight. However, Pecos will still need at least two wins in their last three games, including next week's g
ame against San Angelo

Andrews (1-1 in district, 5-2 overall) at San Angelo (1-1, 5-2): Kendall Jones' ankle is further along in the healing process than Shaud Williams' is, but Williams has shown he can run hurt, as he did for 3½ quarters last week against Pecos. But he can't
run really hurt, which is what he tried to do at the end against the Eagles, going for minus-2 yards on four carries.

Other than Williams, no other Mustang has generated any type of offense in four of Andrews' first seven games. Meanwhile, the Chiefs were still able to move the ball through the air even when Jones was sidelined with his ankle problems. He ran for 152 ya
rds against Big Spring last week, but the Chiefs have allowed both Big Spring's Antwoyne Edwards and Fort Stockton's Jacob Vasquez to gain over 200 in back-to-back district contests. Williams probably needs to make it 3-for-3 if the Mustangs are to get t
he road victory.

Big Spring (2-0, 6-1) at Fort Stockton (0-2, 5-2): Even in Fort Stockton's darkest 0-10 days, they always played well against Big Spring. Last year, the Panthers downed the Steers on their home field, though they lost Vasquez for the season with an injur
y. Fort Stockton put up two touchdowns on Sweetwater last week, which is as many TDs as anyone's gotten in a game against the Mustangs this year, so Big Spring's defense will have its work cut out for it.

So will Fort Stockton's. Big Spring jumped out to a big lead against Lake View last week, then held on despite the absence of speedster Tory Mitchell, who was dinged up in the Steers' win over Pecos. Mitchell should be back this week, though maybe not at
full speed, giving the Panthers two runners to worry about.

Pecos swimmers headed for Abilene Invitational

PECOS, Oct. 24 -- The Pecos Eagles swimming team will get to see a couple of their District 4-4A swimming rivals for the first time this season, when they take a 240-mile drive to the Abilene Invitational today.

Diving competition will be tonight, with the swimming finals set for about 9 a.m. Saturday, and as a result, Eagles' coach Terri Morse said the team will be spending the night in Abilene.

"Because they moved the diving to Friday and moved the swimming up, there was no way we go make it a one-day trip. We would have had to leave at 3:30 in the morning," Morse said. "That's one reason we had fundraisers, to alleviate the cost of the trip."

Morse said Big Spring and Andrews would be the other district teams at the Abilene meet, while Abilene Wylie, which is part of the district for swimming only, also figures to have some swimmers in this weekend's event. Pampa will be another Class 4A scho
ol entered, though the bulk of the meet will be made up of District 3-5A and 4-5A squads, plus swimmers from Wichita Falls.

Pecos was the only Class 4A team at Midland last week, and the boys placed fifth and the girls eighth out of 11 teams. This week, the Eagles will have more swimmers to work with, after missing some due to area band competition last Saturday.

"The girls relays will be different," due to the newly-arrived swimmers, Morse said. "The boys medley (relay) will be the same, but the 200 and 400 will be different.

"We still don't have several of the boys. They're still in football, so we'll be changing things up a little bit for the next several weeks," Morse said. In addition, she said most of the swimmers who competed a week ago "will not swim the same event the
y swam in Midland. I'm trying different things because we have different personnel this year."

Rally lifts Marlins within game of title

AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND, Oct. 24 -- How wild is this? The Florida Marlins, that wild-card team, that expansion franchise, those guys in teal, are one win away from winning the World Series.

In one of the most see-saw Series ever, they overcame yet another deficit, beating the Cleveland Indians 8-7 Thursday night to take a 3 games to 2 lead. Now, with the heat on the Indians, they leave the Rust Belt, go home to Miami and play before 67,000-
plus fans doing the fish.

Two chances for this 5-year-old franchise to become both the youngest Series champion and the first wild-card team to take the title.

``When it happens, it's going to be wild,'' said Moises Alou, who hit yet another go-ahead three-run homer off Orel Hershiser and drove in four runs.

In all three of their wins, the Marlins have come from behind. This time, 22-year-old Livan Hernandez overcame an awful first three innings to become the first rookie in 50 years to win two Series starts.

``I had (pitching coach) Larry Rothschild and every Spanish-speaking guy on the team talk to him to make sure -- `Don't lose your cool, settle down, we're going to score some runs, just keep it right there,''' Marlins manager Jim Leyland said.

``I don't know which one it was, but one of them hit home,'' he said.

Leyland set off some sparks before the game, going after those who said the Marlins and Indians had no big stars and produced long, sloppy games.

``It's making me puke,'' he said. ``I'm sick and tired of hearing about New York and Atlanta and Baltimore.''

Neither team shined in the first five games. Florida's ERA is 6.75 and Cleveland's is 6.14. There have been 11 errors and 56 walks -- 12 short of the record for an entire Series.

Cleveland, trying for its first title since 1948, has outscored Florida 38-33, yet is on the verge of losing the Series for the second time in three seasons.

``We didn't get the big hits that they did,'' Marquis Grissom said.

If the Indians don't get some Saturday, when Kevin Brown pitches for Florida against Chad Ogea, the season will be over.

``They came here and beat us twice,'' Grissom said. ``I don't see any reason we can't go down there and win two.''

Florida led 2-0, but Sandy Alomar continued his magical season by putting Cleveland ahead 4-2 with an RBI single in the second and a three-run homer in the third. That gave him 10 RBIs, two short of Bobby Richardson's Series record.

``I'll trade all the records for the World Series ring,'' Alomar said.

Hershiser made the lead stand up until the sixth, when Alou's three-run homer put the Marlins ahead. In Saturday's opener, Alou's three-run drive off Hershiser broke open a 1-all game.

``Even though I haven't had that many hits in postseason play, I've been driving guys in,'' said Alou, who has three homers and nine RBIs. ``That's what counts.''

Eric Plunk forced in a run with a bases-loaded walk later in the inning, Charles Johnson singled home a run in the eighth and Alou got an RBI single in the ninth to make it 8-4.

And all those runs were necessary.

Hernandez, who walked eight in eight-plus innings, was still around at the start of the ninth and allowed a grounder to first by Bip Roberts. The pitcher took the throw from Jeff Conine and appeared to touch the bag, but umpire Ken Kaiser -- bringing bac
k memories of Don Denkinger's blown call that helped Kansas City win Game 6 in 1985 -- ruled the runner safe.

Robb Nen relieved one batter later and allowed a two-run single to David Justice and an RBI single to Jim Thome.

With the potential trying run on first and two outs, Alomar came to the plate. He hit a long fly to right, but Gary Sheffield caught it just in front of the warming track.

Florida flew back to the Sunshine State with the lead.

``Yes, there's a one game-advantage,'' Leyland said. ``But the postseason is unlike the regular season. They're only one game behind. If they win a game, everything is back even. The Cleveland Indians are very capable of making that up.''
Notes: Teams alternated wins in the first five games for the first time since the New York Yankees and New York Giants alternated wins in all seven games of the 1962 Series. ... The last rookie starter to win twice in a Series was Spec Shea for the Yanke
es in 1947. ... It was 46 degrees at gametime, eight degrees higher than at the start of Game 4. And there wasn't any snow.

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