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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, May 28, 1999
Kangaroos pocket sweep of Eagles
By JON FULBRIGHT
SNYDER, May 28 -- The Pecos Eagles had dodged some bullets in their
first two series victories in the Class 4A baseball playoffs. But the rockets
the Weatherford Kangaroos hit Thursday night sent the Eagles tumbling out
of the state playoffs.
Weatherford scored eight times in the sixth inning of Game 1 to wipe out
a 4-2 Pecos lead, then scored eight times in the fourth and fifth innings
of Game 2 after the Eagles had erased a 4-1 Kangaroo lead and swept the
best-of-three series at Snyder's Moffett Field by 10-4 and 15-9 final scores.
After getting the big pitch or the big defensive play against both Plainview
and El Paso Riverside to avoid big innings, the Eagles couldn't pull off
the trick again in the sixth inning of Game 1. Ben Pulliam's grand slam
off Josh Casillas provided the margin of victory, and Garrett Hutson had
a pair of three-run homers in both games, both coming after Pecos errors
allowed Weatherford to keep innings alive.
"They've got a good hitting ballclub, and against a good hitting ballclub
like that you can't afford mistakes," Eagles' coach Bubba Williams said.
"We made mistakes with two outs, and they came back and made us pay."
Pulliam was the main problem for Pecos -- he had five doubles to go along
with his Game 1 grand slam -- but even pitching around him didn't help.
Down 8-4 in Game 2, Williams intentional walked Pulliam after a pair of
two-out walks by Oscar Rodriguez to Will Hobbs and Barrett Weaver. But
Todd Stovall took the third delivery from new pitcher Pifi Montoya over
the fence in left-center field for the second grand slam of the night,
and suddenly, what had been a 4-4 tie a few minutes earlier became a 12-4
Their center fielder (Pulliam), shortstop (Mark Pierce), they were all
good hitters. We tried to walk him with the bases loaded and the next kid
hits a grand slam. They could just hit the ball," Williams said.
Casillas had struck out Stovall twice in the first game following Pulliam
doubles. He also got Hutson to end the first, third and fifth innings to
kill Kangaroo threats, the last coming after a pair of two out singles.
But in the sixth Pierce opened with a hit to left and then Salgado couldn't
come up with Chad Stansell's grounder in the hole for an error.
Grant Coates' sacrifice fly to center scored Pierce and made it 3-2, and
then after getting two strikes on Weaver, Casillas ended up walking him,
then couldn't throw out Hobbs on a tap to the right of the mound, loading
That brought up Pulliam, of whom Williams said before the game, "He's their
best hitter." This time, after Casillas fell behind in the count, he sent
a 1-0 pitch over the fence in center for a grand slam and a 6-4 Kangaroo
"Josh just had too many full counts. He threw a lot of pitches, and got
behind on them, and they just sat on his fastball and boom!" Williams said.
The loss left the junior with a final record of 11-2 on the season.
Pulliam's slam shook up the Eagles, as Luis Salgado and Louis Valencia
then booted consecutive grounders by Todd Stroud and Bailey before Hutson
sent one almost to the exact same spot as Pulliam's homer, giving Bailey
more than enough runs to work with.
Neither Bailey, who improved to 7-2, or Hobbs, who won for the 10th time
in 12 decisions, were overpowering, but both did enough to keep Pecos under
control. Bailey also helped his own cause with an RBI ground out and sacrifice
fly in the first and third innings to score Hobbs, who walked prior to
Pulliam's first two doubles. But Pecos was able to answer those runs, after
going up 1-0 in the first on a single by Mason Abila and a double down
the line in right by Casillas.
A single by Kevin Bates and Mark Abila's double to the fence in left-center
put the Eagles up, 2-1, and Pecos got two unearned runs in the fourth.
After Bates singled with one out, Mark Abila reached on Pierce's error
at shortstop. Bates went to third and scored on Ricky Herrera's sacrifice
fly, and Pecos then stole a run, when Abila scored all the way from second
when Oscar Luna beat out an infield hit between Bailey and Hobbs at first
Abila had broken out of a two-month slump with a home run in Game 3 of
Pecos' series against Riverside, and came close to hitting for the cycle
in Game 2 on Thursday. He had two singles, a triple and a two-run homer
to close out his varsity career, with the last two hits allowing Pecos
to avoid seeing their season end under the 10-run rule, after a controversial
call involving Abila at home plate in the sixth helped Weatherford stretch
their lead to 15-5.
Abila's first inning single was wasted by Pecos, after Weatherford had
grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top of the first off Rodriguez, 8-3. Hutson's
two run single scored Pulliam and Stroud, who doubled and singled with
one away. In the second, Hobbs would single with two outs and score on
double No. 4 by Pulliam for a 3-0 lead.
"We threw him every pitch we could throw him, and he hit them all. That's
all you can do with a hitter like that," said Williams.
John Gutierrez got Pecos on the board in the second, taking Hobbs' first
pitch over the fence in right-center to make it 3-1. Weatherford got that
run right back, as Bailey singled and after a throwing error by Abila on
Hutson's sacrifice bunt, scored on Chad Stansell's sacrifice fly. But the
Eagles then staged their own two out rally to tie the game at 4-4 in the
bottom of the inning.
Pecos didn't hit the ball out of the infield to get their first run. Luna
reached on a bunt single, stole second on a wild pitch and went to third
when Bailey's pickoff try from catcher sailed into center field. He scored
as Mark Abila beat out an infield chop to third base and the Eagles then
tied the game when Casillas sent one way out of the infield -- cracking
his 11th homer of the season on a 3-2 pitch to tie the game.
Rodriguez then got the first two outs in the fourth before Pulliam hit
double No. 5, down the line in left. Stoval was up next and he hit a hard
shot to third that Herrera fielded, but threw over Gutierrez' head at first,
scoring Pulliam to put Weatherford ahead for good.
An upset Rodriguez then walked Bailey on four pitches and grooved the next
pitch to Hutson, who hammered it over the fence in right for an 8-4 lead.
"That hurt. Making an error and giving up four runs, and then they got
four more right after that," Williams said.
Pierce was involved in the controversial sixth inning play, as he failed
to slide at home plate after new shortstop Hector Garcia let Coates' grounder
go through his legs for an error. Pierce had reached on an error by Orlando
Lara and Coates would score on a bad pickoff throw to third by Abila, which
gave Weatherford an 11-run lead.
Hobbs, who almost blew a 10-run lead in the Kangaroos previous series against
Wichita Falls Rider, had some rockets hit off him in the final two innings
Thursday, but survived. After Abila tripled and scored on a passed ball
to lead off the sixth, Gutierrez doubled down the line in right following
a walk to Casillas. Piece then booted Garcia's grounder to shortstop, allowing
both runners to come home before Hobbs got out of trouble, striking out
Lara and Herrera after a deep fly to center by Bates.
Luna sent Hutson to the fence to open the seventh, and Abila followed with
a homer to the same spot in left-center after Alex Garcia singled off the
third base bag. That cut the lead to six, before Hobbs ended it on a Casillas
ground out to shortstop and Gutierrez liner to left field.
"They beat all three of our pitchers. They hit all of them, but I'm still
proud out the kids. They accomplished a lot this season," said Williams,
whose team ended its year with a 24-8-1 record.
Weatherford, 24-9, advanced to the Region I-4A finals for the first time,
and will await the winner of the Andrews-Lubbock Estacado series. The Eagles'
former District 4-4A rivals allowed an unearned run in the seventh on Thursday
and lost to Estacado, 2-1. Game 2 is at 12 noon on Saturday in Seminole.
R H E
1 1 0 2 0 0 0 -- 4 7 4
Weatherford 1 0 1 0 0 8
x --10 9 2
Casillas and Mk. Abila. Bailey and Coates.
E -- Pecos, Valencia 2, Salgado 2.
Weatherford, Bailey, Pierce. LOB -- Pecos 5, Weatherford 8.
2B -- Pecos, Casillas, Mk. Abila, Weatherford, Pulliam 2.
HR -- Weatherford, Pulliam, Hutson.
SF -- Pecos, Herrera. Weatherford, Bailey, Coates.
SB --, Pecos, Mk. Abila, Salgado. Weatherford, Coates.
CS -- Florez by Coates.
PB -- Pecos, Mk. Abila. Weatherford, Coates.
HBP -- Salgado by Bailey. WP -- Bailey (7-2, 7 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 2 ER,
1 BB, 4 K).
LP -- Casillas (11-2, 6 IP, 9 H, 10 R, 5 ER, 5 BB, 5 K).
R H E
Weatherford 2 1 1 4 4 3
0 --15 11 3
0 1 3 0 0 4 2 -- 9 9 5
Hobbs and Bailey. Rodriguez, Montoya (5),
Valencia (7) and Mk. Abila.
E -- Weatherford, Bailey 2, Pierce.
Pecos, Mk. Abila 2, Herrera, Lara, H. Garcia.
DP -- Weatherford 1. LOB -- Pecos 3, EP Riverside 10.
2B -- Weatherford, Pulliam 3, Hutson. Pecos, Gutierrez
3B -- Pecos, Mk. Abila.
HR -- Weatherford, Hutson, Stovel. Pecos, Gutierrez, Casillas, Mk.
S -- Weatherford, Hutson. SF -- Weatherford, Stansell.
SB -- Weatherford, Stovel. Pecos, Luna, Mk. Abila, H. Garcia.
WP -- Pecos, Montoya. PB -- Weatherford, Bailey.
W -- Hobbs (7-2, 7 IP, 9 H, 9 R, 9 ER, 2 BB, 9 K).
L -- Rodriguez (8-3, 4 2/3 IP, 8 H, 10 R, 5 ER, 5 BB, 7 K).
It's taps for Jazz after Blazers' 92-80 win
By LANDON HALL
Associated Press Writer
PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Portland Trail Blazers kept Karl Malone
and the Utah Jazz from another shot at the NBA title. Now they will try
to do the same to the San Antonio Spurs and David Robinson.
The Blazers are in the Western Conference finals, playing with the
same kind of determination and defensive smarts that the Jazz were known
for, at least before this series.
Portland put the Jazz away Thursday night with a 92-80 victory, a
game in which the Blazers made their last 22 free throws and shut down
Utah's final, desperate comeback.
``We beat the Jazz at their own game,'' Portland's Jim Jackson said.
``We kept our poise, we were patient and we outworked them. But it's all
behind us. We've got to get ready for the Spurs.''
Game 1 is Saturday in San Antonio. The Spurs, led by the veteran
Robinson and the up-and-coming Tim Duncan, have been waiting since sweeping
the Los Angeles Lakers four straight.
``The Spurs are on a tear right now,'' Portland point guard Damon
Stoudamire said. ``But they're the team that's in our way. We can beat
them, but it'll take what we did against Utah and then some.''
The Jazz, who won Game 5 to stave off elimination for the sixth time
in two postseasons, might have let their last shot with future Hall of
Famers Malone and John Stockton slip away.
``It's not the end of an era. I don't look at it like that,'' Malone
said. ``We just have to wait and see, though. There's a lot of decisions
to be made.''
Malone had one of the worst postseason games of his career, scoring
a career playoff-low eight points on 3-for-16 shooting.
``I couldn't get anything going,'' said Malone, who has played 148
postseason games. ``I couldn't give our guys much help.''
Despite Malone's familiar playoff foibles, the Jazz nearly pulled
off another miraculous finish.
Portland took a 74-65 lead with 6:40 left when Greg Anthony found
Walt Williams alone in the corner for a 3-pointer. The basket came after
two turnovers by Malone -- a ball dropped out of bounds and an errant pass
after he came up with a jump ball.
Utah gradually cut the lead, and got within two points on a layup
by Bryon Russell and a free throw by Jeff Hornacek that made it 80-78 with
Jackson's two free throws pushed the lead to 82-78 with 1:05 left.
Russell missed on a 3-point attempt, and Brian Grant grabbed the rebound.
Jackson made two more from the line to make it 84-78 with 45 seconds to
A 3-pointer by Stockton was short, and Isaiah Rider made eight free
throws in the final 33 seconds to seal it.
``We knew if we let them hang around, they could get hot and win
the game,'' Portland's Rasheed Wallace said. ``We upped our defensive intensity,
and it worked -- they didn't have anything left during the last couple
of minutes. It worked, just like it has all season.''
Rider scored 24 points, including 14-of-14 from the line, and Jackson
had 17. Arvydas Sabonis and Wallace each had 14 points, and Grant had seven
points and 12 rebounds.
``The thing that counts is defense, and Portland broke us down,''
Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. ``Sabonis broke us in two, and we never recovered.
Our defense is where we failed. We gave Portland baskets they wanted, and
that's what killed us.''
Hornacek scored 21 points, Russell 17 and Stockton had 14 points
and 10 assists for the Jazz.
The Blazers moved the ball better than in the past two games, getting
18 assists, led by Jackson's six. The team had a franchise-low 10 in Games
4 and 5.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 1999 by Pecos Enterprise