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Friday, April 3, 1998

First place Big Spring blows by Pecos

Staff Writer
PECOS, Apr. 3 -- Coming off a 24-7 season in 1997, with most
of their players back and undefeated through the first four
games of District 4-4A play, the Big Spring Steers didn't
figure to need any help from the Pecos Eagles in their
wind-delayed matchup Thursday afternoon at Martinez Field.

But they still got some.

The Eagles' first-ever game at their new ballpark was
controlled quickly by the Steers, who scored 10 times in the
first inning, while pitcher Angie Phillips tossed a
no-hitter on the way to a 19-0 victory, in a game ended
after three innings under the 15-run rule.

Eagles' pitcher Alexa Marquez should have gotten three of
the first five Steer hitters out, but they reached base on
three of Pecos' six first inning errors. Big Spring wound up
seeing their first 10 hitters reach base before Pecos could
record an out.

"That kind of blew the whole game for us," Eagles' coach
Tammy Walls said of the early mistakes. "I attribute that to
being a young team."

While conditions weren't as bad as last Friday, when the
game had to be postponed due to high winds, Walls said
Thursday's gusts caused problems for her players.

"This is the first time we've played in such adverse
conditions, and they didn't know how to handle it," she
said. "You have to be aggressive going for the ball out
there when it's that windy, and we didn't judge the ball
right and got rattled."

The Eagles started with a double-error on Heather
Uptergrove, who dropped Amy Chabarria's throw from third
base on Honey Belew's grounder, then threw the ball past
Marquez on the mound. Ashley Salcido then misjudged Jessica
Canales' short fly to left field before Jessica Cobos
brought both runners home with a double down the third base

Uptergrove and Salcido would have more fly ball problems as
the inning wore on, and the Eagles would also be victimized
by a couple of bunt singles. They finally got an out when
Gabi Bafidis threw out Canales on a grounder to short, but
Cobos followed with another two RBI hit, though she was then
thrown out trying to steal by catcher Katrina Quiroz.

Big Spring added two more runs -- one earned -- in the
second inning, then scored seven times in the third. Cobos
collected two more hits and Melissa Martinez had an
inside-the-park home run in the inning, but the Eagles also
committed six more errors, and wound up with 14 for the game.

Phillips, meanwhile, wasn't overpowering, but allowed only
one hard shot, a line drive by Tammy Perkins that Junaita
Valdez snared for the final out of the game. Phillips struck
out two Eagles while allowing only one baserunner, Marquez,
who walked but was erased on a double-play grounder back to
the mound by Bafidis.

The loss left Pecos at 0-5 midway through their first
district softball season, and with a 1-11 record overall
going into today's 5 p.m. game at Martinez field against the
Fort Stockton Prowlers.

Fort Stockton lost to Big Spring on Tuesday, 9-4, and are
3-2 in district, 9-10 overall, including a 22-1 non district
and 17-3 district win over the Eagles so far this season.

Walls said she would again start Marquez on the mound this
afternoon. "Alexa's improving every game, considering she'd
never even picked up a softball before this year," she said
of the freshman. "She's getting her control down better, and
I'm very pleased with her."

Eagles hope defensive woes end against Steers

PECOS, Apr. 3 -- The Pecos Eagles baseball team will try to
avoid what the Eagles' softball team suffered through
Thursday night and what they've had to endure during the
first three games of District 4-4A play, when they host the
Big Spring Steers tonight at 7:30 p.m.

Errors helped Big Spring's girls win Thursday afternoon in
Pecos, and errors have been the Eagles' main problem in
baseball for the past two weeks. They've committed 17 in
their first three district games, which has led to 46 runs,
29 on those unearned, and an 0-3 record in 4-4A play.

The latest loss was a 16-8 decision at San Angelo Lake View
on Tuesday, in which the Eagles held an 8-5 lead after 4½
innings of play. Louis Valencia took the loss, giving up 10
runs, only two of which were earned.

Valencia got the win three weeks ago, when the Eagles
defeated Big Spring at the Snyder Tournament by a 4-2 final
score, in a game in which Pecos committed just two errors.
Tonight, Eagles' coach Bubba Williams said Jason Abila, 1-4,
would start on the mound. Abila struck out 13 Andrews
batters a week ago, but seven Pecos errors and a series of
passed balls and wild pitches led to 13 unearned runs, as
Andrews rallied from a 3-1 deficit for a 7-5 victory.

Eagles' coach Bubba Williams said he'd try Cisco Rodriguez
behind home plate tonight against the Steers. Rodriguez
caught Pecos' district opener against Sweetwater, while
Oscar Luna was behind home plate in the loss to Andrews and
Abila caught against Lake View.

In contrst to the Eagles, the Steers have done the right
things at the right time to get three wins in their first
three 4-4A games, tying them for Andrews atop the district
standings. Big Spring rallied from a 10-5 deficit to win at
San Angelo, 11-10, then made a 7-0 first inning lead stand
up in a 9-7 victory over Sweetwater before outscoring Fort
Stockton on Tuesday, 8-6.

UT buys out Penders' pact for $643,000

AP Sports Writer
AUSTIN, Apr. 3 (AP) -- A divided and somewhat dazed Texas
basketball team was left to pick up the pieces after coach
Tom Penders' resignation in the wake of a player revolt.

``It's a confusing time right now, and I think it's going to
hurt the team for awhile,'' said freshman guard Bernard

Smith was one of four players who went to the home of Texas
athletic director DeLoss Dodds on March 8 and complained
about playing for Penders and his program.

The Longhorns finished 14-17 this season, one of two losing
seasons for Penders in 10 years at Texas. Penders leaves as
the winningest coach in Longhorns history with 208 victories
and 110 losses as well as eight NCAA tournament appearances.
He averaged nearly 21 wins.

Penders' resignation came 3½ weeks after freshmen Luke
Axtell, Chris Mihm and Smith as well as sophomore Gabe
Muoneke -- all starters and cornerstones of the team -- met
with Dodds and complained about the program.

Junior co-captain and leading scorer Kris Clack, a Penders
supporter who repeatedly said Penders' departure would send
a signal that players could run off a coach, shook his head
in disbelief.

``I'm going to have a different perspective when I look in
the eyes of those players about what kind of person they
are,'' Clack said.

``But I'm not going to go out and point fingers. I'm going
to go out there and play to the best of my ability. But it
just makes me look at people in a different manner.''

Penders, 52, who had four years remaining on his contract at
$550,000 per year, resigned Thursday and will be paid
$643,000 from the university as a settlement.

The departed coach said it was time to make changes, adding
that he is considering television and radio jobs as well as
coaching again.

Axtell and Muoneke have said they intend to transfer.

Axtell's mother, Mollie Axtell, said Thursday night that her
son wasn't ready yet to comment about whether he has had a
change of heart.

Muoneke said he is still considering his options.

``The people who say it was a player revolt are looking for
a scapegoat,'' Muoneke said Thursday night. ``It's really
and truly impossible for three freshmen and a sophomore to
get rid of a nationally recognized coach.

``They can believe that, but it's really ridiculous. I don't
have any personal grudges against Coach Penders at all. I
just told the truth, and if people think I'm a baby for
telling the truth, that's their business.''

Axtell was at the center of the storm. After being suspended
by Penders for academic reasons on March 17, Axtell
responded by accusing Penders of lying, verbal abuse and

Mihm, a high school teammate of Axtell's at Austin Westlake,
defended Axtell.

``The four players, including myself, went to DeLoss Dodds
and we just aired some feelings about the program,'' Mihm
said. ``We had nothing to do with working together to
conspire to take coach Penders out.

``Luke has taken the brunt of the blow on that one, and
that's unfortunate. But it really hasn't been our fault
through the whole thing.''

Junior co-captain Chico Vazquez said he believes the team
can come together as time passes.

``There is a possibility that we could all come together,''
Vazquez said. ``We are a family. We all love each other.''

Clack said he doesn't think Longhorns fans will blame
Penders' leaving on the four players who met with Dodds.

``We have great fans and I don't see them disrespecting
anyone or treating anyone badly,'' Clack said.

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