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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Wednesday, September 23, 1998

Eagles stop working in loss to Wildcats

Staff Writer
PECOS, Sept. 23 -- Here's something for the Pecos Eagles'
football team to remember before they open their District
2-4A season against the Fabens Wildcats early next month: No
matter how many people tell you you're going to breeze
through your new district opponents, none of those teams is
going to just lay down and give you a win without working
for it.

That's a lesson the Pecos Eagles' volleyball team painfully
learned Tuesday night, when they opened up their district
schedule hosting the Wildcats at the Pecos High School gym.

The Eagles, who were favored to win the inaugural 2-4A title
and already owned a non-district victory at home over Fabens
this season, jumped out to a 14-4 lead in the first game,
then appeared content to wait for the Wildcats to make a
mistake and give them game point in the opener.

They did, but by the time Cindy Arrieta spiked the ball into
the net the Eagles had lost all of their momentum and almost
all of their lead. Fabens cut a 10-point deficit to 14-13,
and for all but the final moments of the rest of the match,
the Wildcats dominated the Eagles, winning the second game,
14-4, then jumping ahead in the third, 12-3, before fighting
off a late Pecos rally to win by a 15-8 final score.

"The seniors are the ones that killed us," an angry coach
Becky Granado said after the loss, as her team reverted to
its early-season form after four straight victories during
the past two weeks. "We had no consistency. After that first
game we were just out there.

"They scored four or five quick points in the second game
and that was the ballgame. We just stopped communicating,"
Granado said.

Senior Sherrie Mosby had a strong start and finish, but a
rough time in the middle part of Tuesday's match against
Fabens' Beverly Alarcon, while the Eagles' got just a couple
of kills from outside hitters Shaye Lara, Linsey Hathorn,
Julie Lujan and Monique Levario.

"All this just tapping the ball over -- that won't do,"
Granado said. "I told my outside hitters they can't just tap
the ball over to do anything, they're going to have to hit
it. But that's what they did."

Fabens held the lead just once in the opener, at 1-0 after
an Alarcon spike. Mosby tied it by killing an overset, and a
couple of Fabens errors gave Pecos a 2-1 lead.

Sophomore Philonicus Fobbs blocked Arrieta to start a 9-1
run for Pecos, and finished it off with a kill that gave the
Eagles their 14-4 lead. But after that, Pecos' offense shut
down for the next hour, not gearing back up until Mosby came
up with a trio of kills with Fabens closing in on match
point in Game 3.

Alarcon led Fabens' failed comeback in Game 1, but dominated
Game 2, and by the time it was over Arrieta and Bella Munoz
had gained enough confidence that they were also spiking the
ball through Pecos' front line.

By then, the Wildcats were also having to worry less about
Pecos' spikes. The problems the Eagles had handling severs
or passing the ball to their setters returned in full force,
after a series of low, line drive serves for points by Lori
Hernandez at the start of Game 2 sent them into a tailspin
from which they couldn't recover.

"We couldn't pass the ball, and when you can't pass the
ball, you can't set, and went you can't set, you can't hit,"
Granado said. "That was just uncalled for. We just did not
respond. The seniors are going to have to pick it up and not
wait for Philonicus to do it."

Fabens improved their season record to 12-5 while Pecos fell
back below .500, at 8-9 on the season going into their
Saturday road trip to El Paso, where they'll face Mountain
View starting about 4 p.m. The Lobos have just one win in 16
matches this season, and dropped their 2-4A opener to San
Elizario, 15-5, 15-3.

Pecos' junior varsity needed just 30 minutes to defeat
Fabens in their match, 15-7, 15-1, while the Eagles'
freshman gold team lost to the Wildcats, 15-9, 15-13. The
freshman purple team was idle, but will face Mountain View
on Saturday, starting at 2 p.m.

Helling's 20th gives Rangers two-game lead

AP Sports Writer
ANAHEIM, Calif., Sept. 23 -- Johnny Oates shook his head, a
bit awed by Rick Helling's season.

Helling was a combined 5-9 with Florida and Texas in 1997,
his first full major league season, and his career record
before this year was 11-16.

Now suddenly he's a 20-game winner.

Helling held Anaheim to three hits and one run in eight
innings of a 9-1 win Tuesday night to go to 20-7 this
season, becoming just the third pitcher in Rangers history
to reach the 20-win mark.

``Who would have thought at this time last year that he
would be a 20-game winner?'' the Texas manager said. ``All
he needed was the opportunity. And he worked hard and he
earned that opportunity.''

Helling's fine outing against the Angels helped Texas open a
two-game AL West gap over Anaheim with five games to go.

``He couldn't have won his 20th at a better time,'' Texas
shortstop Royce Clayton said.

Asked about reaching 20, Helling said it really hadn't sunk
in yet, but he was more than willing to talk about the
Rangers' consecutive 9-1 routs of the Angels.

``We came out here tied in the race and the last two nights,
we've played unbelievable. We've had offense, defense,
pitching,'' he said.

Helling allowed just two baserunners over the first seven
innings, and gave up the only Anaheim run when Garret
Anderson tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly in the
eighth. The 27-year-old right-hander walked none and struck
out five, allowing just six balls out of the infield.

He joined Ferguson Jenkins (25-12 in 1974) and Kevin Brown
(21-11 in 1992) as the Rangers' only 20-game winners.

Oates was very pleased with the 18-2 totals over the Angels
in the first two games of the three-game showdown.

``A manager likes to see that,'' he said. ``That was a real
big game. They get bigger with each passing day. Now we've
still got a job to do. If we can win the next one, we'll be
in pretty good shape.''

Helling said he knows the Angels will be determined to come
back in the final game of the series.

``They're a very good team,'' he said. ``They've survived
through some injuries, and I'm sure they're not going to lie
down for us.''

Although being routed on consecutive nights seemed to make
for a dire outlook for the Angels, Anaheim centerfielder Jim
Edmonds cast their situation in a different light.

``It doesn't look bleak. If we win tomorrow, we're one game
out. It's as simple as that. We have five games left and we
still have a chance.

``We were three games back in '95 with five games left to
play and we pulled it out (tying Seattle before losing a
one-game playoff). You guys can write us off or whatever you
want to do, but we've still got five games to play and we're
going to play them. We're not desperate.''

Angels manager Terry Collins said: ``Our pride is at stake.
Our guys won't quit. These guys have bounced back so many
times, I'm sure they've got one more time in them.''

The Rangers broke the game open with a three-run homer by
Luis Alicea, his sixth, and solo shots by Rusty Greer (15th)
Juan Gonzalez (45th) in the eighth.

Alicea, a former Angel, homered off rookie reliever Jarrod
Washburn. One out later, Greer hit a shot off Washburn, and
Gonzalez followed Greer with his homer off Rich DeLucia for
his major league leading 157th RBI.

The Rangers scored an unearned run in the first inning and
three runs, two unearned, without the benefit of a hit in
the seventh on their way to beating Chuck Finley (11-9) for
the ninth consecutive time dating back to June 19, 1995.

Finley lasted 6 1-3 innings, allowing four runs, one earned,
on four hits. He struck out seven and issued a season-high
seven walks.

``He battled,'' Helling said of Finley. ``The final score
looked like a blowout, but it was close most of the way.''

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