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March 25, 1998

Eagles throw away 4-4A opener

Staff Writer
SWEETWATER, March 25 -- It's been a while -- seven years --
since the Pecos Eagles made the Class 4A baseball playoffs,
and it's going to be at least one more if the Eagles come up
with many more games like Tuesday night's District 4-4A
opener in Sweetwater.

The Eagles made the kind of pitching and fielding mistakes
no team that hopes to make the playoffs can make and paid
the price. The Mustangs scored six unearned runs and got
five others off home runs from the number eight and nine
hitters in the batting order, on the way to a 13-9 victory.

"The best team doesn't always win, that's the old saying,"
said Eagles' coach Bubba Williams. "Some key players didn't
have very good games, and they've got to have good games out
there to be successful."

It was certainly a night to forget for Pecos' two four-year
varsity players, shortstop Jason Abila and pitcher Moses
Martinez. Abila did have a two-run homer off Jared Shelton
in the sixth inning that tied the score at 9-9, but that
came after going hitless in his first three at bats, and
after a pair of critical throwing errors that led to five of
Sweetwater's six unearned runs.

The second, on a play at home plate in the fourth inning,
victimized Martinez, who had come on in relief of starter
Louis Valencia. He then wild pitched another run home,
giving the Mustangs a 9-4 lead. Martinez survived a fifth
inning jam when Richard Gutierrez threw a runner out at
home, but after Pecos put across three in the fifth and two
in the sixth to tie, he allowed an infield hit by Michael
Gomez, then hit Justin Gee and walked Jason Gomez to load
the bases with none out in the seventh.

Sweetwater coach Tony Heredia then ran a suicide squeeze,
and Martinez received no warning from his infielders. Daniel
Price laid down the bunt, scoring Michael Gomez for a 10-9
lead, and Martinez then saw Zack Newberry hammer a 2-1 pitch
over the fence in left for the final three runs of the night.

Sweetwater had taken a 2-0 lead in the first off Abila's
other error, when he tried to double Eddie Campos off second
base on a Steven Weyman pop up in short left field. The ball
sailed by second baseman Richard Gutierrez and into the
right field foul area, scoring Gomez and sending Shelton to
third, where he scored on Justin Gee's infield single to

But the Mustangs had problems of their own when the Eagles
were able to put the ball on the ground. After Joseph
Contreras singled to lead off the second, Shelton and
Newberry collided trying to field Luis Salgado's bunt in
front of home plate. Michael Gomez then duplicated Abila's
throw, tossing the ball past second trying to force Salgado
on a Jason Aguilar grounder. That brought in Contreras, and
Eric Aguilar's single to right then tied the game.

Oscar Luna put Pecos ahead with a sacrifice fly to right,
and Eric Aguilar would also come in, when Weyman threw the
ball by Brandon Hefnee trying to get the runner at third.

Sweetwater picked up and earned run in the third, off three
singles and a walk, before the Eagles' defense collapsed in
the fourth.

Salgado made a great stop on a hard hit ball by Newberry to
third, but John Gutierrez the missed his throw to first base
for an error. No. 9 hitter Nick Boil then put the Mustangs
ahead with a home run to left, and a walk and hit-and-run
double by Weyman followed, putting Sweetwater ahead 6-4.
Valencia then walked Michael Gomez and left after throwing
another ball to Justin Gee.

"We started making errors behind him and he just lost his
cool," Williams said of Valencia. "You're not going to find
too many high school pitchers who can do that, but Louis
just has to maintain his composure when things like that

Martinez came on an finished walking Gee, but then got
Jason Gomez to ground to Abila, playing on the infield
grass. But his spinning throw was low and sailed past Cisco
Rodriguez, allowing two runs to score. Martinez then got
Price on a pop up and picked Jason Gomez off third, but not
before wild pitching Gee home.

Staked to a five-run lead, Shelton gave it right back, with
help from Campos and Weyman.

Richard Gutierrez lined a solo homer to center with one out
in the field, and Rodriguez followed with a double. Shelton
fanned John Gutierrez, but Contreras got his second hit,
scoring Rodriguez, and wound up on third when the ball got
by Campos in left field. Salgado then grounded to shortstop,
but Weyman dropped Gomez' throw from short, cutting the lead
to 9-7.

Shelton got two quick outs in the sixth, then walked his
first batter of the night, Luna, on four pitches, and fell
behind Abila, 2-1, before seeing him send one over the fence
in left-center, tying the game. That brought Jeremy Maxwell
into pitch and he got the final out, then survived a leadoff
walk to Rodriguez in the seventh to retire the side and get
the victory.

The loss snaps Pecos' four game win streak and drops them
to 8-4 on the season, while Sweetwater improved to 6-8
overall. The Eagles now come home to play three-time
defending district champion Andrews, 10-3 winners over Fort
Stockton on Tuesday in their district opener. Big Spring
outscored San Angelo Lake View, 11-10, in the other 4-4A

Mistakes hurt Pecos in San Angelo loss

PECOS, March 25 -- A little more experience in girls
softball probably meant the difference Tuesday afternoon, in
the Pecos Eagles' 18-8 loss in San Angelo to the Lake View

The third-year Maidens and the first-year Eagles both gave
up a lot of unearned runs on Tuesday. But San Angelo was
able to do a little more with their chances than the Eagles
did with theirs, as Lake View scored seven times in the
second and four times in the fifth, ending the game under
the 10-run rule.

"We had a 6-2 lead in the second inning and then had one bad
inning and fell apart," said coach Tammy Walls, who went
with freshman Alexa Marquez on the mound the first four
innings, before replacing her with Heather Uptergrove in the

The two allowed just 10 hits, but combined with nine errors
and eight stolen bases, that was enough to let the Maidens
pull away in the final three innings.

"Alexa had a good game, but we just made some errors in the
second, and then she started walking people, and it fell
apart," Walls said. "If we can just play seven complete
innings, we can win some ballgames. It's just that we make
mental mistakes, which is part of what a young team has to
learn to overcome.

Pecos held the lead twice, going up 2-0 in the first, then
taking a three-run lead in their next at-bat, after Lake
View had scored two times in their half of the first.

But the 6-2 lead was brief. Pecos had four of their nine
errors in the second, when Lake View grabbed a 10-6 lead,
and were then held scoreless in the third by Michelle
Morales, who went the distance on the mound for Lake View.

Walls said Katrina Quiroz and Valerie Gonzales each had a
couple of hits, while Uptergrove had three RBI in the losing

Pecos fell to 0-3 in district and 1-9 on the season, while
Lake View is now 1-2 and 7-12 overall. The Eagles are at
home on Friday, for a 5 p.m. game against district-leader
Big Spring, which beat Sweetwater on Tuesday, 12-2.

NFL expected to reject replay again

AP Football Writer
ORLANDO, Fla., March 25 (AP) -- Every year, the NFL talks
about instant replay, talks some more, then votes it down.

It's likely to happen again today when the owners vote on
reinstating instant replay to enable officials to review

``We all agree we want to get the plays right. But we've
spent five years trying to come up with a system, and we
find something wrong with all of them,'' said Rich McKay,
the co-chairman of the competition committee and an opponent
of replay.

This year, the committee approved by a 4-3 vote one of two
plans that will be voted on. But that vote hardly guarantees
passage -- replay needs the vote of 23 of the 30 teams to be
implemented, and last year it got just 20.

The committee proposal is last year's version, the
``challenge'' system -- with one change.

Coaches will be allowed two challenges per game on disputed
calls, with the referee to determine the outcome by viewing
a monitor on the field. The one change: Instead of
automatically losing a timeout if it challenges, a team will
lose it only if the challenge fails.

The other was made by the Atlanta Falcons and is basically
the same the league used from 1986-91. There again would be
a replay official to determine when replay should be used,
but he won't make the decision -- the referee will from the
field monitor.

In both systems, the plays subject to review will be
possession plays -- out of bounds, fumbles, and catches --
along with touchdowns. Penalties do not come under the
replay system.

A straw vote on Tuesday indicated the division.

``It ended up six to six or something like that,'' said
Ralph Wilson, owner of the Buffalo Bills, demonstrating the
confusion in the room.

All together, there appears to be too many disagreements,
even among those who favor replay.

Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher, a proponent, voted against it
in the competition committee because he doesn't like the
challenge system. Neither does Tampa Bay's Tony Dungy, who

``I'd have to hire an extra assistant just to look at the
monitor and decide which plays to challenge.''

The only other action taken by the owners was to second a
committee recommendation to restrict illegal chucking by
defensive backs. Backs are allowed to hit receivers within
five yards of the line of scrimmage but not beyond.

In another development, commissioner Paul Tagliabue also
mentioned Toronto for the first time as a serious contender
for an expansion franchise to join Cleveland, which will
rejoin the league as an expansion team in 1999. Houston and
Los Angeles are the other contenders for a franchise that
the NFL hopes to have in place by 2001.

``There's a new window of opportunity for those cities,''
Tagliabue said, including Toronto.

For years, NFL commissioners have said they wouldn't
consider expanding to Canada because they didn't want to
hurt the Canadian Football League.

But in the last few years, the NFL and the CFL have become
linked, with the NFL providing funds to help keep the
Canadian league going and the CFL loosening its restrictions
on players who want to change leagues.

Most recently, Doug Flutie, the former Boston College star,
signed with the Buffalo Bills after starring in Canada for a

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