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Wednesday, September 9, 1998

Schedule mix-up gives Eagles relaxing victory

PECOS, Sept. 9 -- The Pecos Eagles were at Odessa Permian
for a volleyball match Tuesday night, but the Permian
Panthers were 205 miles away. So the Eagles varsity got a
chance to relax and try to work out some of their recent
problems with a match against the Panthers' junior varsity

Permian's varsity was up in Hereford facing the Whitefaces
and Amarillo High Sandies instead of being in Odessa to take
on the Eagles. "She (Permian coach Helen O'Neal) sent me
confirmation, but she had two other games scheduled," said
Eagles' coach Becky Granado, whose team ended up beating
Permian's JV by 15-2, 15-7 scores.

"The kids were relaxed, and I played mostly my juniors out
there, except for Sherrie (Mosby) and Philonicus (Fobbs),"
Granado said, referring to her two middle hitters. "But
since Philonicus is a sophomore, I think she was more
excited than anyone else about playing."

The Eagles came into the match off a bad weekend in
Seminole, where they lost to the host Maidens, Amarillo
River Road and Lubbock Estacado after beating Odessa High's
varsity. "Some of my juniors who hadn't played much got a
chance to play, but it was probably more beneficial for them
(Permian) than it was for us," Granado said.

Pecos' JV and freshmen teams ended up winning their matches
in two games as well, playing against Permian's `A' and `B'
sophomore teams.

The Eagles will be back to playing on the varsity level this
Saturday, when they go to Midland to face the Greenwood
Rangerettes and San Angelo Central Bobcats. Granado said the
Eagles will face Central at about 3:30 p.m., followed by a
match with Greenwood at about 5 p.m.

Bears' JV records easy win to open season

PECOS, Sept. 9 -- The Balmorhea Bears' junior varsity
football team began their 1998 six-man season this past
Friday with an easy 47-0 victory over the Tatum Coyotes.

Playing prior to the Bears' 58-8 varsity win at Tatum, in a
game ended in the third quarter under the 45-point rule, the
JV also closed out their game in the third period with their
seventh touchdown of the night, an 8-yard run by Reggie

Jerry Mendoza also had a touchdown in the third period, on a
15-yard run, after scoring the game's opening TD from four
yards out, Bears' coach Ennis Erickson said. Isaiah
Rodriguez and Adriel Roman also had two touchdowns apiece
against the Coyotes. Rodriguez scored on an 18-yard run in
the first period and a 50 yarder late in the first half,
while Roman got his first score off a 35 yard fumble return
in the opening period, and a 61-yard run early in the second

Lozano added a pair of two-point kicks on the final TD of
the first half and the opening score of the third quarter,
while Arturo Rodriguez passed to Joe Luis Lopez for
Balmorhea's other extra point.

The game was one of only three this season for the JV, who
won't play again until they face Buena Vista on Sept. 24.
Balmorhea's varsity is also off this week, but will go to El
Paso on Sept. 18 to take on the Faith Christian Lions.

Erickson said his team didn't need the bye date this week --
the first of two this season for the Bears -- to recover
from injuries. "There were just the normal bumps and
bruises," he said. The Bears' next open date comes after
back-to-back road games against No. 1-ranked Borden County
and defending District 7A six-man champ Grandfalls, which
hosts Faith Christian this Friday.

JV, freshmen starting times changed

PECOS, Sept. 9 -- The starting times for Pecos' two
sub-varsity games Thursday night at Eagles Stadium have been
changed, with the ninth graders moving their kickoff time up
by 30 minutes and the junior varsity seeing theirs pushed
back by an hour.

The freshmen Eagles will host Andrews in a 5:30 p.m. start,
while the JV takes on Alpine, beginning at 8 p.m. The games
originally had been set for 6 and 7 p.m. on the schedule.

Both Pecos teams are looking for their first wins after
losing their openers to Denver City last Friday. The
freshmen were beaten at home by the Mustangs, 21-13, while
the JV dropped a 27-12 decision in Denver City.

Richard Rodriguez had a 33 yard touchdown pass to David
Meline in the second period and a 62-yarder to Ricky Plummer
in with 2:23 to play for the ninth graders. Denver City
returned a Rodriguez fumble 56 yards for a touchdown in the
first period, and had fourth down TD runs of 23 and 33 yards
in the middle quarters for their points.

In Denver City the JV got a three-yard scoring run from Omar
Luna and a 40 yard pass from Alex Garcia to Alex Abila for
their scores. Coach Tino Acosta said the JV was within 20-12
before the Mustangs scored their final TD in the closing
minutes of play.

McGwire's short shot tops Maris' mark

AP Baseball Writer
ST. LOUIS, Sept. 9 -- Even before his first swing in spring
training, the questions started.

Could the record be broken? Would he be the one to do it?

Mark McGwire, the man who seemed destined for home run
history from the day he was born, answered them all Tuesday

Homer No. 62 was a low laser to left field, far from the
monster moonshots he's been hitting all season. In fact, at
341 feet, it was his shortest homer of the year.

No matter. Because the moment the ball barely cleared the
wall, the St. Louis slugger had won the race to break the
most recognizable record in sports, a mark that Roger Maris
held for 37 years.

``I have been talking about this since January,'' he said.
``I can honestly say I did it.''

Born two years to the day after Maris hit his 61st in 1961,
McGwire's solo home run in the fourth inning off Chicago
Cubs pitcher Steve Trachsel capped a chase that began with
his grand slam on opening day.

Though McGwire and the rest of the baseball world had been
expecting the record-breaker any day, it was still

McGwire was so excited that he skipped past first base as he
rounded the bag and had to return to touch it, pulled back
by coach Dave McKay.

``I sort of missed one big thing -- to touch first base,''
he said. ``I hope I didn't act foolish, but this is

Technically, McGwire could've been called out because of
Rule 7.09 (i), which prohibits coaches from reaching out to
assist runners. Then again, that wasn't going to happen on
this night.

Every Cubs infielder shook McGwire's hand on his trip home,
and former St. Louis teammate Gary Gaetti hugged him, as did
catcher Scott Servais. Halfway to the plate, McGwire pointed
at the Chicago dugout in tribute and saluted the fans.

McGwire was mobbed by his teammates at home as Cardinals
relievers ran in from the bullpen, and he lifted his
10-year-old batboy son Matt high into the air. McGwire then
ran into the seats to hug the family of Maris.

``I couldn't be happier for him,'' Roger Maris Jr. said.

Before the game, McGwire clutched the bat that Maris used to
hit his 61st and rubbed it against his chest.

``Roger, I hope you're with me tonight,'' McGwire said.

Cubs right fielder Sammy Sosa, who has 58 home runs and also
held Maris' bat, ran in from right field to hug McGwire as
the sellout crowd of 43,688 roared.

None of the fans, however, wound up with the lucky ball. The
souvenir, which had attracted offers of $1 million, instead
went over the fence, but short of the stands, and was
retrieved by grounds crew worker Tim Forneris.

Forneris, 22, picked it up and later gave it to McGwire in a
postgame party on the field. McGwire also got a '62 red
Corvette from the Cardinals in the postgame tribute
ceremony, and he and his son took a slow victory drive
around the field. Plus, there was a call from President

``Right when it hit off the bat, I knew it was going out and
it went right over the sign,'' Forneris said. ``There was a
bunch of ground-crew guys on the wall. But I was right on
the edge and I said, `That ball is mine.'''

Starting today, the historic ball will be on display at the
Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., along with McGwire's bat
and jersey.

The homer set off an 11-minute delay, baseball's biggest
midgame celebration since Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig's
consecutive games record in 1995. Near the end, McGwire
grabbed a microphone and returned the compliments.

``To all my family, my son, the Cubs, Sammy Sosa. It's
unbelievable,'' McGwire said. ``Thank you, St. Louis.''

Trachsel watched most of the celebration with umpires near
him, and resumed pitching after a few warmups.

``I was hoping it wasn't going to be me,'' said Trachsel,
baseball's newest trivia answer.

McGwire appeared anxious in grounding out on a 3-0 pitch in
the first inning, especially considering he hasn't homered
on a 3-0 pitch all year. His homer came in his second at-bat
on the first pitch, an 88 mph fastball at 8:18 p.m. CDT.

McGwire's homer was his 15th in 21 days, a surge that
started after Sosa passed him -- albeit for only an hour or
so -- for the homer lead in late August. McGwire walked in
his final two plate appearances in the Cardinals' 6-3

Big Mac, the only player ever to hit at least 50 homers in
three straight years, started this season by connecting in
his first four games. But while the race to break 61 is
finished, the chase to become the 1998 homer champion is not

With the Cardinals out of contention, McGwire may take off a
few days over the final 18 games; Sosa figures to play every
day down the stretch with the Cubs still in the NL wild-card
race. The loss kept them in a wild-card tie with the New
York Mets.

Like Maris, McGwire broke the mark in an expansion season.
But consider this stat: This year, home runs are being hit
at a rate of 2.05 per game; last year, the average was also

McGwire accomplished his feat in the Cardinals' 145th game,
while Maris' Yankees played 163 in 1961. Before Maris set
his record, commissioner Ford Frick declared any record
would carry a ``distinctive mark'' if it did not beat Babe
Ruth's mark of 60 in 154 games.

That decision was reversed seven years ago, but it came
seven years after Maris died in 1985. Maris played his final
game on this same Busch field for the Cardinals in the 1968
World Series.

Unlike Maris, McGwire didn't lose his hair in his pursuit of
the record, even though the expectations and pressure began
building way before the Cardinals' first workout in spring

At one point in mid-June, McGwire complained that he felt
like a ``caged animal'' because of all the attention his
batting practice sessions were attracting. Later in the
season, as the media hordes started to increase, he was
stung by an Associated Press report that he used
androstenedione, an over-the-counter muscle booster that is
legal in major league baseball, but banned by the NFL, NCAA
and International Olympic Committee.

But on this special night, all of that seemed to be in the
past for McGwire, along with the entire baseball world and

``The whole country has been involved in this since the
All-Star break,'' he said. ``People have been saying it is
bringing the country together. So be it.''

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