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Tuesday, May 26, 1998

Eagles place three on 4-4A baseball team

PECOS, May 26 -- Three members of the Pecos Eagles were
named to the All-District 4-4A baseball team on Saturday,
while one other received honorable mention in voting by the
district's six coaches.

Seniors Jason Abila and Richard Gutierrez and junior Oscar
Luna were named to the team, and Eagles' coach Bubba
Williams said senior Cisco Rodriguez received honorable
mention. Abila and Rodriguez were named to the team last
season as well.

The Eagles finished a disappointing 4-6 in district this
season, due mainly to problems on defense, which showed up
most noticeably on the record of Abila, who signed a letter
of intent to play at Ranger Junior College in April, despite
a 2-6 season mark.

Abila allowed 53 runs in 49 innings, but only 17 of those
runs were earned, for a 2.42 earned run average. He struck
out 90 batters while walking 33 in his 10 pitching
appearances, nine as a starter. As a hitter, he batted .388,
leading the team in home runs with eight and in RBI with 20.

Gutierrez led the team in hitting with a .500 average,
collecting 33 hits in 66 at-bats. He also had four homers,
19 RBI and led the team in doubled with eight while earning
his second all-district honor. He was named as a sophomore
in 1996.

Luna was selected for the first time, after placing second
on the team in hitting this season with a .393 average. That
included three home runs and 13 RBI this season, which was
spent mostly as the Eagles starting center fielder.

He and Rodriguez were pressed into catching duties when the
Eagles lost last year's all-district pick, Mark Abila before
the season started. Rodriguez was a first team pick last
season as an outfielder, and earned honorable mention this
season after he finished with a .354 average, including 11

Andrews pitcher Chris Trevino was named the district's Most
Valuable Player, after he posted a 12-3 season record for
the Mustangs, who went undefeated through 4-4A play. He was
joined by another Mustang junior pitcher, P.J. Lewis, along
with senior catcher Elton Emiliano and four other junior
infielders -- first baseman Brandon Long, second baseman
Gerald Bueno, shortstop Shaud Williams and third baseman
August Lewis.

Andrews also had junior Jeremy Pitkin and sophomore Adrian
DelaCruz on the team, along with designated hitter Mike
Hudson, a senior.

After Andrews, the all-district picks didn't match the
teams' final position in the standings. San Angelo Lake View
-- the surprise of the district, finishing second and
advancing to the third round of the playoffs along with
Andrews before being eliminated -- had just three players
selected to the team, while third place Big Spring had only
two, but fifth place Fort Stockton put five on the squad and
sixth place Sweetwater had four players chosen.

The Chiefs, who lost in the regional quarterfinals to Snyder
while Andrews was falling to Frenship, put sophomore pitcher
Oscar Solis on the squad, along with senior first baseman
Guy Velez and junior outfielder Colby Sykes. Big Spring,
which lost to El Paso Burges in the first round of the
playoffs, was represented by senior pitcher James Darling
and senior second baseman Wes Mouton.

Fort Stockton placed two pitchers -- senior Steven Cordero
and junior Nathan Reeves -- on the team, along with senior
shortstop Gerald Leyva and junior outfielders Jonathan Rojas
and Jeremy Hickman. Sweetwater had no pitchers named, but
senior shortstop Michael Gomez, senior outfielder Jason
Gomez and junior outfielders Justin Gee were named, and
sophomore catcher Zack Newberry was selected as Newcomer of
the Year.

Andrews' coach Joe Ray Halsey was named Coach of the Year,
the fourth straight he's either won or shared that honor.

Refs irk Bulls more than Miller's killer

AP Basketball Writer
INDIANAPOLIS, May 26 -- Reggie Miller made another killer
3-pointer, giving the Indiana Pacers a stunning last-second

No one will dispute that.

Miller also seemed to throw a punch with 4.7 seconds left
after he was yanked down by Ron Harper.

Therein lies the controversy that will be the subject of
considerable debate leading into Game 5 of the Eastern
Conference finals.

NBA vice president Rod Thorn was on the spot today as he
reviewed videotape before deciding whether Miller does or
does not deserve an automatic one-game suspension.

``I didn't throw a punch. I'm not dumb enough to throw a
punch in a playoff game,'' claimed Miller, whose 3-pointer
with 0.7 seconds left Monday gave the Pacers a 96-94 victory
over the Chicago Bulls, evening the series at two games
apiece. ``I was trying to get out of the ruckus. I was
pushing my way out of there.''

The moment in dispute happened as the Pacers, trailing
94-93, were getting three chances to pull out the victory.

Jordan blocked a jumper by Derrick McKey with 6.4 seconds
left, and Scottie Pippen then stole the ensuing inbounds
pass after it was deflected by Harper.

A scuffle broke out after Harper yanked Miller by the arm,
sending him tumbling into the Chicago bench. Replays
appeared to show Miller throwing a punch as he got up.

No technical fouls were called after order was restored.

``They backed off, acted like they were afraid,'' Chicago
coach Phil Jackson said of the officials. ``It's a technical
foul, if not a punching foul, but they didn't have the
courage to make that call.''

``I think everyone saw Reggie become the aggressor, and no
one was punished for it,'' Jordan said.

The league also has to look at tape of Jalen Rose, who left
the Pacers' bench area during the altercation. He also could
be subject to a one-game suspension.

Pippen went to the line with a chance to give the Bulls a
three-point lead, but missed both free throws.

``Scottie, Michael and Dennis Rodman have been through a
lot of wars, but pressure can get to anybody,'' Miller said.
``At that point in time, it got to Scottie.''

Indiana called its final timeout in order to inbound at
halfcourt, and Miller circled around the top of the key,
shoved Jordan away, then received the pass and turned to
shoot. He let fly from a step behind the 3-point arc, and
the shot hit nothing but net.

``The play was designed for him,'' Pacers coach Larry Bird
said, ``but I didn't think he was going to be as wide open
as he was.''

In a display of emotion similar to what followed his Game 3
heroics (three 3-pointers and 13 late points), Miller, still
bothered by a sprained right ankle, jumped up and down and
twirled in circles as he headed back to the Indiana bench.

``I saw that Michael was trailing a bit,'' he said of the
winning play. ``I stayed focused on the rim and my rhythm,
and the rest is history.''

The Bulls still had another shot, though, and Jordan
managed to get open about two steps behind the arc for the
final shot of the game. It kissed off the backboard, spun
around the rim and fell out, sending Market Square Arena
into pandemonium.

``I knew it was long, but I had an angle on the
backboard,'' Jordan said. ``It was out of my hands once it
left my hands.''

The best-of-7 series resumes Wednesday night at the United
Center, and the Bulls will be in an unfamiliar position.
This will be the first time since 1993 that they have been
tied 2-2 in the conference finals.

Cheever gets long-awaited Indy victory

INDIANAPOLIS, May 26 (AP) -- Though mellowed by age, his
hair now sprinkled with gray, Eddie Cheever still has that
edge to him. Admittedly, he's not always the easiest guy to
get along with.

``I have no idea what my reputation is,'' said Cheever, who
put a lasting signature on what had been a nondescript
career by winning the Indianapolis 500. ``I just want to
work and be left alone. If anybody bothers me, I'm going
after them.''

Meeting with reporters at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway a
day after his first significant victory in nearly two
decades of major open-wheel racing, the man known as ``Eddie
the Ego'' willingly discussed his personality traits.

But he took issue with those who say he's a journeyman, an
also-ran, an unworthy racer to carry on the Brickyard legacy
of Foyt, Unser and Andretti.

``I'd like to get something on the record,'' the 40-year-old
Cheever said Monday. ``I wasn't playing tiddlywinks. I was
driving in Formula One.''

For most of the 1980s, Cheever was the only American on the
Formula One circuit. While he never won, he did come close
to the checkered flag a few times during his decade-long
tenure -- notably in the 1983 German Grand Prix and at
Detroit and Montreal a year later.

``I'm so proud of the fact that I did more Grand Prix races
than ... any American that's lived,'' he said. ``That was a
hard thing to do. I was an American living in Europe. That's
like an Italian trying to drive NASCAR.''

OK, so maybe Eddie the Journeyman isn't quite accurate. But
Outspoken Eddie still fits him to a tee.

He couldn't resist a little jab when someone pointed out
that every team came out on pit road Sunday to salute
Cheever as he cruised by on his way to Victory Lane.

``There were a few guys I would have liked, though, to stand
in front of the car,'' he said. ``I was looking for them and
they weren't there.''

Cheever speaks three languages and is one of the most
articulate drivers in the Indy Racing League. Though born in
Phoenix, he was raised in Italy, where he dreamed of racing
at places like Monaco and Monza, not Indianapolis.

``Formula One is the most intense form of racing you'll ever
find,'' Cheever said. ``It's consuming. You have no life.
For 10 years, I didn't really know what I was doing. It
dawned on me when I stopped driving Formula One just how
busy we were all the time.''

Cheever abandoned Formula One following the 1989 season,
coming back to the United States to race Indy cars. He spent
six years in CART without winning, then moved to the
fledgling IRL in 1996 and formed his own team.

``I finally understood the meaning of team,'' Cheever said.
``One thing Formula One teaches you to be is extremely
egocentric. That's probably a mistake I made in my career,
not always working with the team, thinking I could do it all
myself. That doesn't work.''

Still, Cheever has his feisty moments. Sitting beside his
crew chief, Owen Snyder, he chuckled when recalling their
first meeting at a testing session last year.

``I got into an argument with Owen in the first five
minutes,'' Cheever said. ``If somebody else had not been
there to get between us, we probably would have gotten into
a fist fight.

``Have I changed? Well, I've probably got a lot more white

He's also got a lot more money. At the Victory Dinner on
Monday night, Cheever's financially strapped team got a big
boost when he picked up a prize of $1,433,000. The total
purse was $8,722,150, breaking the former mark of $8,612,450
set last year.

Cheever won an IRL race at Orlando, Fla., in January 1997,
but now he has a victory that will stand for the ages. And
he doesn't plan on stopping at one.

``I want to win as many Indy 500s as I can,'' Cheever said.
``My life is here. This is what I live for.''

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