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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide for Reeves County, Trans-Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas


Thursday, February 19, 1998

Eagles debut with young squad

Staff Writer

PECOS, Feb. 19 -- The Pecos Eagles will play their
first-ever varsity softball game Friday evening in Alpine
with a starters on the mound and behind home plate who may
be there until the next century.

The Eagles open the 1998 softball season against the Bucks,
and coach Tammy Walls said she'll be going with freshmen
both at pitcher and catcher, and will have underclassmen in
several other positions as well.

"Alexa Marquez will be my starting pitcher," Walls said.
"She's really been working hard to get some consistency down.

"She's been working on her muscle movement and her pitches
are getting faster each day. She just needs to work on her
consistency more," said Walls, who also may look at freshmen
Ashley Salcido and Philonicus Fobbs and senior Annette
Marquez on the mound.

Another freshman, Tammy Perkins, will start at catcher, and
there are a few other Eagles who could be playing in the
same positions through their senior season, in 2001.

Outside of shortstop Gabi Bafidis and third baseman Erica
Orona, most of Friday's starting lineup will be back for at
least one or two more seasons, by which time the Eagles will
move from their current District 4-4A into the new District

Three of Alpine's current district rivals -- El Paso
Mountain View, Clint and Fabens -- will be part of the
Eagles' new district, and like Pecos, they are all starting
varsity play this season. In contrast, the Eagles will face
state semifinalist Andrews and regional semifinalist Big
Spring during 4-4A play this year.

District play won't start until March 17, and the Eagles
will play seven games before then, including one next
Tuesday in Fort Stockton, where 4-4A play will get underway.
Walls said she plans to look at a number of players between
now and next month, before deciding on her regular starting

"It's still early. When we get into district I want
everybody to get into the position of feeling comfortable,
and not feeling like I'm going to take them out if they make
a mistake," she said. "Right now, nothing's etched in stone.
I'm going to try everyone out."

Alpine was in the same position last year the Eagles are
now, as a first-year program. But with only Monahans as a
district rival, the Bucks were an automatic playoff
qualifier in 1997, despite a 2-13 mark.

"I think we have a chance to do well against them. I was
surprised how well we did against Greenwood," Walls said,
referring to last week's scrimmage against the Rangerettes
and Monahans.

Friday's game originally was scheduled to start at 5 p.m.,
followed by a junior varsity game about 7 p.m. However,
Walls said instead, the teams will probably hold a JV
scrimmage at 5 p.m., followed by the regular varsity game.

"We had to do that because I've got some girls in track (at
the Comanche Relays), and I'm trying to work something out
to get them to Alpine from Fort Stockton," Walls said. Pecos
has nine girls in both track and softball this season.

Lipinski, Kwan hold skating lead

NAGANO, Japan, Feb. 19 (AP) -- Chris Witty did her job. Now
it's up to Michelle, Tara and a burly group of bobsledders
to give the United States a shot at its best Winter Olympics

On a day when ``The Herminator'' flew and Tomba fell, Witty
pushed the U.S. medal total to 11 in the Nagano Games today
by taking the silver in the 1,000-meter speedskating.

With Michelle Kwan and Tara Lipinski 1-2 going into the
women's figure skating final and the U.S. bobsled team a
possible medal contender, the United States could surpass
its previous best of 13 medals won four years ago in

Witty, who won a bronze earlier in the games, became the
only American double medalist despite falling a fraction of
a second short to Marianne Timmer of the Netherlands. With
only the 5,000-meter women's event left, this looks to be
the first time since 1984 that U.S. speedskaters will fail
to win gold in the Olympics.

``I felt I was just struggling a little bit,'' Witty said.
``I'm a little sad, but pretty excited. Silver isn't too

Hermann Maier, meanwhile, will bring two gold medals and
memories of one horrific crash back from the Nagano Games.
So far, Alberto Tomba has only gotten the crash part down.

With fans chanting ``Her-mann, Her-mann,'' the Austrian
daredevil raced twice down an icy slope to win the men's
giant slalom. It was the second straight gold for ``The
Herminator'' since he flew upside down off the downhill
course last week in his Olympic debut.

Maier went all out, even though he didn't need to on his
second run. It paid off, though he nearly lost control
several times as he lengthened a nearly half-second lead
after the first run to win with a time of 2 minutes, 38.51

``I skied to the limit on a wonderful, fast track,'' Maier
said. ``I am not a hero. I am happy. Two together is
unbelievable in my first Olympics.''

Tomba, the swashbuckling Italian skiing hero, looked the way
Maier did in his first race, crashing in the snow. After
waiting 13 days to race, he lasted only 18 seconds before
hooking a ski on a gate and skidding into a bright green
safety net.

The two-time Olympic giant slalom champion will now have to
wait until Saturday's slalom to try to medal in his fourth
straight Olympics.

Tomba's fans were hardly fazed cheering their hero even as
he glided cautiously to the bottom of the hill.

``He already has five Olympic medals,'' one said.

Stefan Eberharter of Austria finished second in 2:39.36 and
Michael Von Gruenigen of Switzerland won the bronze in

-- SKIING: Hilde Gerg, whose bronze in the women's combined
two days earlier was her first Olympic medal, may have been
the most surprised of all in winning the slalom on a steep,
treacherously slick hill that had humbled some of the top
medal contenders.

Gerg was lifted in the air by teammate Katja Seizinger,
arguably the world's best women skier, after a brilliant
second run that gave her victory over Italy's Deborah
Compagnoni by a slim six-hundredths of a second. Zali
Steggall won Australia's first skiing medal by finishing
third. Seizinger did not compete in the race.

Kristina Koznick of Burnsville, Minn., failed in her bid to
become the first American to medal in the women's slalom
since 1972. She was a distant ninth after the first of the
day's two runs, then straddled the gate and was disqualified
just before the finish of the second.

-- SHORT TRACK: America's best hope for a medal in the
women's 500-meter race never made it past her first-round
heat. Amy Peterson, a bronze medalist in Lillehammer,
finished a half-second out of first place in her heat. The
gold medal went to Canada's Annie Perreault; Yang S. Yang of
China won the silver and and Chun Lee-kyung of South Korea
the bronze.

-- FIGURE SKATING: A day after her medal chances were dashed
when she fell in the short program, Nicole Bobek fell a
dozen times in practice before skating over to her coach and
sobbing. Things were happier for Kwan and Lipinski, who
practiced confidently with the knowledge they are 1-2 going
into Friday's long skate that will decide the gold medal.

-- BIATHLON: Germany's Ursula Disl already owned five
Olympic medals, but there was something missing -- none of
them were gold. That changed today when Disl and her
teammates won the 4x7.5-kilometer biathlon medal despite a
dropped pole and some spotty shooting. Petra Behle skied the
anchor lap, taking a German flag just before the finish and
skiing across holding it aloft. Russia finished second,
while Norway was third. The six medals make Disl the
winningest biathlete in Olympic history.

-- NORDIC COMBINED: Tens of thousands packed the ski jump
area on a brilliantly sunny day, expecting to see Japan
start toward its third straight Nordic combined team gold
medal. Japan's team produced only one jump over 90 meters,
leaving the two-time defending Olympic champions in fifth
place after the ski jumping portion of the two-day

Finland took a small lead over Austria, Norway and the Czech

Cubs lose - Caray dies of heart attack

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif., Feb. 19 (AP) -- Nobody sang ``Take Me
Out to the Ballgame'' with the same unbridled enthusiasm.
When he bellowed ``Holy Cow,'' there was no mistaking his
raspy voice. Harry Caray personified baseball to countless

A failed ballplayer who was a huge success in the broadcast
booth, he projected his zest for the game -- and for life --
across the airwaves for more than a half-century.

Caray, who was believed to be 77, died Wednesday of cardiac

His death was mourned by many, including baseball people,
First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and fans across the

Caray, who always considered himself just one of the guys in
the bleachers, would say, ``You can't beat fun at the old
ballpark.'' And he seemed to live that line.

``It's really been a heck of run for Harry -- just an
amazing human being. He squeezed every drop out of about
four lifetimes. He really lived life to the fullest,'' Cubs
general manager Ed Lynch said.

Hall of Famer Stan Musial said: ``We're going to miss old
Harry. He was always the life of the party, the life of

Mrs. Clinton said Caray helped her celebrate her 50th

``Harry was one of a kind and nobody could sing `Take Me Out
to the Ballgame' like he could. And I hope he's doing a
seventh-inning rendition in heaven,'' Mrs. Clinton said.

David MacAskill, a bartender at Harry Caray's restaurant in
Chicago, said, ``He wasn't a big shot and he made you feel
at home. He was a big part of baseball. Part of the Cubs'
spirit died today.''

An orphan from a rough St. Louis neighborhood, Caray dreamed
of playing major league baseball. But as a teenager, he
attended a tryout with the Cardinals and was rejected.

So he decided that he should break into the game as a
broadcaster. Caray brashly wrote a letter to KMOX, claiming
he could do a better job calling Cardinals games than the
station's announcer were doing. Impressed by his
determination, the station manager helped Caray get a job at
WCLS in Joliet, Ill. By 1946, Caray was back in St Louis and
the ``Voice of the Cardinals'' for KMOX.

After 25 years behind the mike in St. Louis, Caray was fired
in 1969 after a dispute with the Busch family. He spent the
next season broadcasting Oakland Athletics games, then
signed on with the White Sox in 1971 and quickly built a

After Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn bought the White
Sox, Caray jumped to the Cubs in 1982 and onto cable
superstation WGN-TV.

With his thick, oversized glasses and colorful style, Caray
became familiar to a nationwide audience.

During his 15 years with the hapless Cubs, he was fond of
spelling names backward and mentioning fans, including his
favorite bartenders, who were visiting the ballpark.

``Happy Birthday to So-and-So. ... Happy Anniversary to
So-and-So. That's always been my way of acknowledging the
fans,'' he wrote in his 1989 autobiography, ``Holy Cow.''

Another favorite Caray exclamation was ``It might be, it
could be, it is -- a home run!'' and he'd shout ``Cubs win!
Cubs win! Cubs win!'' after each Chicago victory. He said he
developed his trademark phrases during a semipro baseball
tourney at Battle Creek, Mich.

Caray died four days after having a heart attack during a
Valentine's Day dinner with his wife at a nightclub
restaurant near their winter home.

Eisenhower Medical Center spokesman said funeral
arrangements were pending. Family spokesman Bill Wills said
he believed there would be two services, one in Rancho
Mirage and another in Chicago.

Fond of beer, Caray was known as the ``Mayor of Rush
Street,'' a popular nightclub district, and his downtown
restaurant has remained popular since its 1987 opening.

In later years as Caray's health began to fail, his
broadcasts were full of scrambled names and other mistakes.
He often complained that criticism of his broadcasting
skills began only after he was inducted into the Hall of
Fame in 1989.

Caray had recently reduced his broadcasting on WGN. He cut
out road trips in 1997, saying they were ``a grind for
ballplayers, and they can be pretty tough on announcers,

In December, it was announced that his grandson, Chip Caray,
would join him and analyst sidekick Steve Stone in
broadcasting Cubs home games. Harry said recently that he
didn't intend to retire and planned to join his grandson in
the booth again this season.

Caray was born Harry Christopher Carabina. His precise age
was unclear; he brushed aside questions about it. The Cubs
media guide said he was born March 1, 1920, but other
accounts had him as much as five years older. Wills said
Caray was 78.

Caray was the patriarch of a three-generation broadcast
family. In addition to grandson Chip, there is Caray's son,
Skip, who announces Atlanta Braves games.

Caray won the Ford C. Frick Award in 1989 to put him in the
broadcast wing of the baseball Hall of Fame, and he was
elected to the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall
of Fame in 1988.

Caray once said Cardinals star Musial was the best baseball
player he ever saw, although he said a case could be made
for Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Hank Aaron and
others of their era.

In addition to his wife, Caray is survived by five children,
five stepchildren, 14 grandchildren and one

The family asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations could
be made to his two favorite charities: the Maryville Academy
in Des Plaines, Ill., or the Misericordia Home in Chicago.

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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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