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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas


Thursday, February 25, 1999

Eagles look to improve defense against Loboes

PECOS, Feb. 25 -- In hindsight, the 1998 baseball season
started going wrong for the Pecos Eagles at the end of their
season-opening game against the Monahans Loboes.

The defensive problems that plagued Pecos all season long
surfaced in the final innings of that game, and allowed
Monahans to score five unearned runs in the seventh inning
to rally from an 8-2 deficit for an eight-inning, 9-8 win.

On Friday, the Eagles again will open their baseball season
at home against Monahans, this time in a doubleheader
starting at 5 p.m., and Eagles' coach Bubba Williams is
looking for a better effort on defense from an
almost-completely new infield lineup.

"We've got to look at the kids to see who can get the job
done," said Williams. "We've got a lot of options to
solidify the middle of our infield."

Pecos, which went 4-6 in district and 12-9 overall last
season, has only two part-time starters on the infield
reaturning from a year ago, in shortstop Luis Salgado and
first baseman John Gutierrez. Williams said both may again
be splitting time at those positions.

"At first we'll go with John when Joshua (Casillas) is
pitching," Williams said. "At shortstop, we'll have Luis or
Richard (Rodriguez), if he's cleared by the doctor. We'll
have Richard at shortstop and Luis at second base when Louis
Valencia is pitching."

Rodriguez broke a bone in his shoulder during off-season
football workouts, and Williams said he hoped the freshman
would be released to play by today.

The Eagles coach said Ricky Herrera would start at third
base, while Orlando Lara would also see playing time at

Defensively, the biggest improvement figures be behind the
plate, where Mark Abila returns after one-year absence.
Williams was forced to move Rodriguez' brother, Cisco, and
Oscar Luna in from the outfield to work behind the plate a
year ago in place of Abila, who earned all-district honors
on defense as a sophomore.

Luna will be back in center field for Pecos and will be
joined by another returning starter in rightfielder Kevin
Bates. "If Chacho (Oscar Rodriguez) is not pitching, he'll
be in left field. If not, then we've got Sergio Zambrano out
there," Williams said.

As far as pitching goes on Friday, Williams said, "I know
in the first game I'll start Joshua and see what Monahans
looks like, and then probably come back with Chacho in the
second game."

Pecos comes into the season off a win, tie and loss at home
in scrimmage play against Kermit, Fort Stockton and Midland
High. Home runs hurt Pecos the most in Midland's 25-7
victory this past Saturday, but errors also led to a number
of uneared runs in that scrimmage and in Pecos' 13-3 victory
over Kermit and 9-9 tie with Fort Stockton.

The Loboes won both games last season over Pecos, beating
senior Jason Abila each time. After their victory in Pecos,
Monahans dowed the Eagles on their home field by an 11-9
score, in which eight of the Loboes' runs were unearned.
Joel Najar, who won both games for Monahans, figures to be
one of the two starters on Friday for the Loboes.

Harris out as Lakers' head coach

Sports Writer
INGLEWOOD, Calif., Feb. 25 -- With a straight face, Del
Harris said he was looking forward to coaching Dennis
Rodman. Now, someone else will get the chance.

As the quirky Rodman took part in his first practice with
the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday, executives Jerry West
and Mitch Kupchak were announcing the firing of Harris
following three road losses in as many days.

West said one of two assistants -- Kurt Rambis or Larry
Drew -- will succeed Harris for at least the rest of the

``This is an organizational change; this is just not one
person wanting to make a change,'' West said. ``The last two
games have been something that has not been acceptable from
our perspective.

``To see your team perform against opponents that you feel
like you should beat -- we just felt like there was a

West referred to a 117-113 overtime loss in Denver on
Monday night, and a 93-83 loss at Vancouver on Tuesday
night. Denver's victory was only its second in 10 games this
season, and Vancouver had never beaten the Lakers in 12
previous games.

West said longtime assistant Bill Bertka will handle the
head coaching duties tonight against the winless Los Angeles
Clippers in Anaheim before a decision is made on Drew or
Rambis, both former Lakers players.

Spokesman John Black said Wednesday night the team hoped to
make a decision on a successor to Harris ``in the next 48

Considered one of the teams to beat in the NBA this season
following the retirement of Michael Jordan and breakup of
the Chicago Bulls, the Lakers bring a disappointing 6-6
record into tonight's game -- the first of two in as many
nights against the Clippers and four games in the next five

Rodman, a member of championship teams with the Bulls the
last three years and the NBA's leading rebounder the past
seven seasons, said he expects to play his first game for
the Lakers on Friday night at the Forum.

``It's very unfair to Del Harris,'' Rodman said of the
firing. ``He was in a no-win situation, unless the team won
and got to the (NBA) Finals. This business is ruthless and
it will tear your heart out. There is no security at all.''

Said Harris: ``You don't realize what Dennis Rodman is
going to bring to this team. He's going to rebound; he's
going to set picks; he's going to pass the ball and get on
those who don't. I was all armed and ready to go, I can tell
you that.''

West said he had not spoken to former Bulls coach Phil
Jackson or anyone else about the coaching job because things
happened so quickly, but felt confident Rambis or Drew
``will be the person that will be able to get us to where we
want to get.''

``It's always difficult to talk about hypotheticals, but if
that situation is presented, I know that Phil would look at
that carefully,'' Jackson's agent, Todd Musburger, said when
asked if his client might be interested.

West pointed out the Lakers usually hire coaches from
within the organization, and Harris said he hoped Rambis or
Drew would get the job.

Harris, 61, was in his fifth season with the Lakers. He
guided them to a 224-116 record and improved their
regular-season record in four consecutive years, a feat
accomplished by only eight other coaches in NBA history.

``I don't feel like a loser today,'' he said. ``There will
be other doors that will open for me. There always have been
when other doors have closed.''

Despite the fact that star Shaquille O'Neal missed 22 games
last season, the Lakers had a 61-21 regular-season record --
one of the best in the league. But they were swept by the
Utah Jazz in the Western Conference finals.

In Harris' three previous years, the Lakers won 48, 53 and
56 games. They won 33 the year before he was hired.

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Pecos Enterprise
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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