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


Monday, March 2, 1998

Bears sink Pirates, lose starter in accident

Staff Writer
VAN HORN, March 2 -- In the Balmorhea Bears' opening playoff
game last Tuesday, every starter except senior post Zane
Rhyne was in some kind of foul trouble by the third quarter.

Friday night in Van Horn, Rhyne was the one who had foul
problems. He picked up his third halfway through the third
period and his fourth just seconds into the final quarter,
with the Bears holding a two-point lead over the Valentine

Valentine then tied the game on a Charlie Flippen lay-up
before the Bears' defense tightened up on the Pirates' post,
while Balmorhea post Arturo Miranda found openings inside to
help the Bears pull out to a nine-point lead.

Baskets and free throws by Debiasie Mendoza down the
stretch then ended the Pirates' hopes and gave the Bears a
60-49 victory and a berth in the Region II-A quarterfinals
on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in Ozona against Eden.

It's a game the Bears will have to play without starting
forward Travis Woodruff, who was wounded in a hunting
accident over the weekend. Coach Adolfo Garcia said Woodruff
was shot in the foot, and "it's serious enough that he won't
be able to play anymore.

"It's a very big loss," added Garcia, who used only one
substitute, guard Manny Mendoza, in Friday's win.

Garcia didn't take Rhyne out after he was whistled for his
fourth foul with 7:28 to play, and he was able to last until
the final 54 seconds, leaving the Bears ahead 56-49.
Valentine's Gabe Calderon sank two foul shots off the play,
but Miranda was then able to dribble out of trouble twice
off the inbounds, and found an unguarded Woodruff for the
clinching lay-up with 42 seconds to play.

"I don't believe in that," Garcia said, of taking Rhyne out
in the final period. "When you do that, they'll get cold,
and it seems like they always come back and commit a foul
immediately. That's why I let the players stick it out, plus
I knew Zane would be smart enough not to pick up his fifth
foul right away."

One thing Garcia did do was give Rhyne more help against
Flippen, by having Woodruff front him on the right side of
the basket. The move worked, as Flippen had 19 points at the
time, and managed just four more the rest of the way.

"He was eating us alive," the Bears' coach said. "Once we
started fronting him, we found out the other guys couldn't
hit and we started taking the lead."

Balmorhea held Valentine scoreless for the first 3:12 of
the game, but had problems generating offense themselves,
managing just two baskets by Woodruff and a Rhyne steal and
lay-up during that span. The Bears ended the period up by
four, and would grab a nine-point lead midway through the
second period, at 15-6 off a steal by Miranda and a Mendoza
basket, but Flippen and Dan Seaney led a closing 11-1 run,
with Flippen's lay-up giving Valentine their first lead, at
17-16, just before the half.

The teams traded the lead several times in the third
period, before Valentine went up by four, 35-31, off steals
and lay-ups by Ralph Almanza and Flippen. Mendoza answered
with a lane jumper, and Woodruff tied the game with a steal
and lay-up of his own as the quarter ended.

"For some reason we were dropping passes a lot. I don't
know what went wrong, but we're going to work on it Monday,"
Garcia said of the turnover problems.

Miranda had seven points in the first 3½ minutes of the
final period, as the Bears began finding openings inside on
Valentine, which ran into both foul and turnover troubles of
their own midway through the quarter. The Pirates had
several unforced errors, while Seaney and Jaime Estrada both
picked up their fourth fouls down the stretch, and put the
Bears in the bonus.

Balmorhea didn't shoot as well from the line as they did in
last Tuesday's victory over Rankin, but after missing two
foul shots, Rhyne put the Bears ahead to stay with two more
at the 6:15 mark, and Mendoza made four of seven in the
final 2:20, including three just around the two-minute mark,
after a Calderon 3-pointer cut the margin to 50-45.

He added one more foul shot, then stole an Almanza pass and
scored with a minute to play for a 56-47 lead. Foul shots by
Kevin Castillo and Miranda in the closing seconds gave the
Bears their 11-point final margin.

"Arturo started real slow, but he picked it up in the
second half," said Garcia, as Miranda finished with 11
points, while Mendoza led Balmorhea with 16, Woodruff had 13
and Castillo and Rhyne 10. The win raised the Bears' record
to 24-2, while Valentine ended their season with a 24-8 mark.

The winner of Tuesday's game will earn berth in the Region
II-A Tournament at McMurry University in Abilene this
Friday. Eden, 23-7, advanced to the quarterfinals with a
57-38 win over Bronte on Tuesday night in Ballinger.

L. Williams 0 0-0 0; Seaney 2 0-0 4; Flippen 11 1-1 23;
Calderon 4 2-2 12; M. Almanza 0 0-0 0; R. Almanza 2 1-1 3;
Estrada 1 0-0 3. Totals 20 6-6 49.

Miranda 5 3-8 11; Woodruff 6 1-2 13; D. Mendoza 6 4-7 16;
Castillo 3 2-4 10; Rhyne 4 2-4 10; M. Mendoza 0 0-0 0.
Totals 23 12-25 60.

Valentine 4 13 18 14 -- 49
Balmorhea 8 8 19 25 -- 60
Three-point goals: Valentine 3 (Calderon 2, Estrada),
Balmorhea 2 (Castillo). Fouled out: Balmorhea, Rhyne. Total
fouls: Valentine 20, Balmorhea 15.

Eagles batter Panthers, claim Sandhills title
Staff Writer
MONAHANS, March 2 -- Those hitting problems Pecos Eagles'
coach Bubba Williams was worried about going into the 1998
baseball season don't seem as big now after the first week
of play.

The Eagles scored 10 times in the first inning of the
championship game of the Monahans Sandhills Tournament
Saturday night, and 10 more in their final at-bat against
the Fort Stockton Panthers, as Pecos took the tournament
title for the second year in a row with a 26-11 victory.

"We've got the four kids at the top of the lineup really
seeing the ball and hitting it good, not just last night but
even going back to the scrimmage against Midland High," said
Eagles' coach Bubba Williams, as the win completed a 49-run
weekend for the Eagles, who racked up 49 hits and 57 runs in
their four opening week games.

The Gutierrez brothers, Richard and John, almost completed
a 10-for-10 night against the Panthers, if not for a
`bad-hop' out to end Pecos' 10-run sixth, in which Richard's
bouncer up the middle hit the back of the mound and bounced
over to shortstop Steven Cordero, who threw him out to
retire the side. Gutierrez was 5-for-5 with a double before
that, while his brother was 4-for-4, including a two-run
homer in the fifth, his third in as many days.

"Jason (Abila), Richard, John and Oscar (Luna) are all
hitting right now, and if they keep doing that, we'll be all
right," Williams said. Luna was 4-for-5 with five runs
scored while Abila had a five RBI night with three doubles
in six at-bats.

The 26 runs was Pecos' biggest output in a decade, since a
25-run game against Abilene Wylie. But it wasn't the largest
victory margin, as the Panthers' offense gave the Eagles
some nervous moments in the middle innings.

Moses Martinez had control problems from the outset, and
lasted only 2_ innings in his second start. He pitched out
of a first inning jam by getting two comebackers to the
mound, then allowed an unearned run in the second before
leaving after surrendering a grand slam to Chris Irigoyen in
the third.

Pecos led 14-2 at the time, but the Panthers would score
three more unanswered runs off Richard Gutierrez in the
fourth, before his brother's homer off James Matchett in the
fifth got the Eagles' offense going again.

Brandon McAdams started on the mound for Fort Stockton and
lasted just two-thirds of an inning. He surrendered nine
first inning runs, but just one earned, thanks to three Fort
Stockton errors.

The first was by Michael Pules on an Abila grounder after
Luna's lead-off hit. Richard Gutierrez followed with a
ground rule double, and scored after his brother walked,
when McAdams threw away Eric Aguilar's bunt single. Matchett
than dropped Luis Salgado's pop to first, and after that, a
walk to Ricky Herrera and Kevin Bates' ground out scored two
more runs.

A single by Luna and Abila's first double made it 8-0, and
brought Nathan Reeves on to pitch. He would wild pitch Abila
home, then give up the final run of the inning, on a single
and double by Richard and John Gutirrez.

In the third, two more Panther errors, two more hits by the
Gutierrezes and a balk, passed ball and wild pitch made it
14-2, and then things really got out of hand in the sixth,
when the Eagles had nine hits off Matchett before Beau
Nativivdad came on to get the final out.

Abila had two doubles in the inning, while Bates and
Salgado also had doubles and Bates later added an RBI
single. Pecos ended up with 21 hits on the night, while Fort
Stockton had three of their 13 hits in the sixth inning, but
ended the game after a Irigoyen hit, when Martinez was
caught in a rundown as Michael Pacheco scored the final run
of the night.

The out ended the game under the 10-run rule and came after
a 13-1 victory over Crane in five innings in the tournament
semifinals on Friday night. Abila tossed a no-hitter while
striking out 10 Crane batters, with Carl Jeffrey scoring
Crane's lone run off an error.

Jason Aguilar and Salgado had doubles in the win, to go
along with homers by Richard and John Gutierrez and Luna as
part of an 11-hit attack.

"We've got a good pticher in Jason Abila, and the other
pitchers may not be the caliber of Jason, but they're still
good pitchers who we can work here and there a couple of
innings, and they'll do the job," Williams said.

The Eagles' main concern coming out of the tournament was a
back injury suffered by catcher Cisco Rodriguez on Friday.
It kept him out of Saturday's game, and Williams said
Rodriguez' status was "day to day."

The Eagles will be off Tuesday, before playing a pair of
road games on Thursday and Friday in Kermit and Monahans.
The Eagles opened the tournament with a 10-6 win over
Kermit, after losing a big lead in their season opener at
home to the Loboes and falling 9-8 in extra innings.

Pecos boys third, girls fourth at Sandhills

MONAHANS, March 2 -- The point totals were a little higher
for the Pecos Eagle girls on Saturday, at the Monahans
Sandhills Relays, while the totals slipped some for Pecos'
boys against a tougher field of competitors.

The girls added 22 points to their total at the
season-opening Comanche Relays, finishing fourth in Division
III with 60 points, while the boys slipped from second to
third in the standings, with 71¼ points in the Division I

San Angelo Lake View won the boys title for the second week
in a row, with 184 points, to 141¼ for the host Loboes. Fort
Stockton was just behind Pecos with 59½ points. Big Spring
took the girls' title by a 150-122 margin over Lake View,
with Kermit third at 96 points and Fort Stockton fifth with

The girls' improvement came mostly from the return of senior
distance runner Marisol Arenivas, who became sick before the
Comanche. She placed second to Lake View's Brandie Powell in
both the 1600 and 3200 meter runs, and the Eagles also got a
fifth in the 1600 from Liz Parent, who missed the Fort
Stockton meet.

Penny Armstrong, who won first in the discus and high jump a
week ago, repeated on Saturday, taking the discus with a
106-foot-8 throw and the high jump by clearing 4-foot-10.
The Eagles' other field event points were by Marisela
Arenivas, who was fifth in the long jump.

"She kind of went down on that (high jump), but we're still
working on it," said Eagles' coach Lily Talamantez.

Pecos' other medal came from the girls' 1600 meter relay
team of Yvette Barreno, Shay Lara, Maricela Arenivas and
Erica Orona, which came in third, while the 800 meter team
just missed a medal placing fourth.

The boys lost about 60 points off their first week total,
part of that due to the absence of shot put/discus thrower
Jake Fowler and the disqualification of the boys' 1600 meter
relay team. The Eagles won the mile relay last week, but
were DQed this time for bumping Denver City during an

"We ended up third with a 3:36.4, but we're still real
young, and still have a whole lot of work to do," said boys'
coach Mike Ferrell.

Fowler placed second to Jeff Brownlee in both his events at
Fort Stockton, though Brownlee struggled this time at
Monahans. The senior had shorter throws in both events and
placed second in the shot and third in the discus.

Len Carson improved on his pole vault mark and was third at
11-feet, while Roy Marta and Chris Reyes, 1-2 at Fort
Stockton, tied for fourth.

Two other sophomores, Jomar Gallego and Jacob Esparza, also
earned their first medal of the season. Esparza set a new
school mark in the triple jump, taking third with a 39-4
effort, while Gallego finished in a four-way tie for third
in the high jump.

Pecos' other field event points came from John Gutierrez,
who was fifth in the discus before going 4-for-4 Saturday
night in Pecos' baseball victory across the street in the
Sandhills Tournament.

Ferrell said aside from the disqualification, the Eagles
1600 team was hurt by the absence of senior Billy Rodriguez,
who ran the 800 and 1600 meter races instead, and earned
pair of silver medals behind Big Spring's Marco Torres, with
2:01.7 and 4:43 times. "That was probably a difference of
three or four seconds," said Ferrell.

The Eagles got a trio of fourth place finishes, from Orlando
Matta in the 400 meters, Lucio Florez in the 300 meter
hurdles, and from the 400 meter relay team, while Oscar
Medrano took sixth in the 3200 meter run.

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