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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Hinojos gets powerlifting alternate state spot

Pecos Eagle powerlifter Eli Hinojos earned an alternate regional berth on Saturday in the Region I-3A boys’ competition, held at Brownfield High School.

Coach Fred Howard said Hinojos finished third in the 132-pound weight class to advance to the state competition as an alternate, while two others, Ruben Salgado and Elias Valenzuela, placed fourth in their divisions and Pecos was ninth overall in the division, finishing with a total of seven points.

Salgado was fourth at 242 pounds, while Valenzuela was fourth at 114 pounds. Along with Salgado, Mason Baeza and Albert Lopez tied for sixth in the 242-pound weight class, while Michael Lee was 10th in that division.

The other two Eagle lifters to make the trip to Brownfield, Lamberto Herrera and Chris Navarette, finished sixth and ninth respectively in the 165-pound and 275-pound weight classes.

“The guys really did a great job representing Pecos,” Howard said. “Just about everybody bettered their personal bests.”

Points scarce for Eagles at W. Texas Relays

Points were hard to come by for the Pecos Eagles track teams over the weekend at the West Texas Relays in Odessa.

Both Pecos teams were shorthanded for the meet, and ended up scoring just two points on Saturday in the running finals of the two-day meet, while in the field events on Friday, the girls picked up two medals from junior Chantell Mazone, who finished third in the discus and then won the Division II shot put.

Mazone threw 36-feet-10 to beat Monahans’ Allison Miller by one foot, while in the discus, she had a 119-foot-3 throw, placing one foot behind Miller for second. Crane’s Amanda Baker won with a 121-foot-9 effort.

“Chantell would have gotten second in the discus,” said coach Donna Gent. “She threw 121, but she thought it was going out of bounds, and stepped out, so she scratched, but it ended up staying in.”

Gent said distance runners Kathryn and Heather Lamka missed out in scoring points in the 1600 or 3200-meter runs, while the Eagles didn’t have any runners in the shorter races. “All my sprinters were gone to softball,” she said. “I should have pretty much everyone this week.”

The boys’ only points came from Andrew Grant, who was fifth in the high jump on Friday, with a 10-foot-6 effort; and the 800 meter relay team, which placed sixth in the finals on Saturday, with a 1:35.89 time.

“Larry (Johnson) just missed out by one spot of making it into the 400 (meter) finals,” said coach Robbie Ortega. “We ran well, considering it was spring break, and we only took nine boys, and some of those were freshman.

“Our times are getting better, and hopefully over the next few meets we’ll have everyone there and the ones who are hurting right now will get better,” said Ortega, who added that senior hurdler Justin Hannsz was held out of the meet to allow his injured hip to heal.

Monahans’ girls and Abilene Wylie’s boys took the Division II titles in Odessa. Both Pecos teams will be in Monahans this coming Saturday, for the Sandhills Relays.

Pecos begins road stretch with 10-3 win

The Pecos Eagles softball team were able to pull away after giving up a couple of early runs for the second straight game on Friday, and improved their record to 2-0 with a 10-3 victory in Seminole over the Maidens.

Jessica Florez had a home run in the second straight game, this one a two-run shot in the fifth inning, as Pecos scored the game’s final five runs after holding early 3-2 and 5-3 leads. It was the second win of the season by the Eagles over the Maidens, with the first coming last month at the Crane Invitational.

“Seminole’s a much improved team, which is what I expected them to be,” said Eagles’ coach Tammy Walls.

Gabby Garcia started and went two innings for the Eagles, before Amalie Herrera came on to pitch the final five innings and earned the victory. “I thought Gabby did a good job,” said Walls, who started the freshman after Herrera missed one of the mid-week practices over the spring break holiday. “After I put Amalie in, Seminole really didn’t hit the ball.” Meanwhile, at bat the Eagles had 14 hits overall on Friday, though Walls said outside of Florez’s homer, “They weren’t hard hit balls. They were just flairs in front of their outfielders. I don’t know if those would have been hits against our outfielders.”

“We were able to capitalize on their defense. We’re still not as strong running the bases, but I saw some improvement,” she added.

Florez’s homer came after her grand slam in the second inning of last Tuesday’s 12-2 win over Lamesa, and gave her three overall for the season.

The win improved Pecos’ record for the season to 13-3 going into a pair of road games this week, Tuesday in Fort Stockton and Friday at Monahans. The Loboes are the defending District 3-3A champions, while Fort Stockton handed Pecos two of their three losses this season, a 7-3 loss in pool round play at Crane, and an 8-7 loss in the tournament’s title game.

“I’m certain we can beat them,” said Walls. “When we played them before we didn’t have the same defense. We’ve made some changes since then that I think make us more solid.”

Hawks grab tournament title away from Eagles

One comeback held up and one didn’t for the Pecos Eagles, in their final two games of the West Texas March Classic in Midland on Friday and Saturday.

After winning three easy games over Tornillo, Midland Lee’s junior varsity and O’Donnell, the Eagles jumped out to a 4-0 lead over the host Greenwood Rangers on Friday night, only to see the Rangers use a series of hits and Pecos mistakes to score seven times in the fourth inning to grab an 8-4 lead. But the Eagles answered back with five runs in their next at-bat, and Isaiah Rayos made the one-run lead stand up over the next two innings, as Pecos scored a 9-8 victory in a game ended in the sixth inning under the two-hour time limit.

The Eagles worked their way back from a 5-1 deficit Saturday afternoon to take a 6-5 lead over Iowa Park after six innings, in the tournament’s championship game at Citibank Ballpark. But this time there was a seventh inning, and the Hawks would come back to score two runs on a Blake Beals double and RBI single by Andy Garcia, who then stole second and caught Pecos napping, when he scored all the way from second base on a wild pitch by Josh Anchondo.

Dusty Ross would then survive two errors by his defense in the bottom of the seventh inning, getting Rayos to ground to the mound with two outs and the bases loaded to preserve Iowa Park’s 7-6 win.

“We were not playing well today, but we’re still battling good ball teams,” said Eagles’ coach Elias Payan. “The mental part was what killed us. We were missing signs and making some bad decisions. We’re going to have to think more to get past good teams like that.”

The Eagles will try to avoid their first losing streak of the season, and start off District 3-3A play on a winning note, when they host Fort Stockton at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in the 3-3A opener for both teams. It’s also the first of five home games for Pecos out of their next seven, four of those district contests.

Both the Eagles and Hawks had problems on defense in the title game. Pecos took a 1-0 lead when Jose Chavez led off the bottom of the first with a single off the glove of third baseman Grant Gibson, and scored on a throwing error by Gibson on Edward Valencia’s two out grounder. But in the bottom of the inning, after Iowa Park tied the game when Chris Smoak walked and scored on Cody Hicks’ one out sacrifice fly, Drew Fulfer followed with a single off Anchondo, and scored when John Paul Salcido booted Brandon Rusk’s grounder, and Chavez then couldn’t come up with Kenny Rayos’ throw from first to third base to try and get Fulfer.

Gibson followed with an RBI single for a 3-1 lead, and in the fourth, Iowa Park scored twice more, after a leadoff effort by Isaiah Rayos on Hicks’ grounder to short, when Fulfer doubled, Anchondo balked Hicks home and Fulfer scored when Rusk grounded out to Salcido.

Pecos got those two runs back off Beals in their next at-bat on a bloop single by Chavez, after a two-out hit by Chris Garnto and a walk t Luis Licon. Beals was then pulled by manager David Fuhrman in the fifth after reaching his pitch count, and the Eagles then tied the game off Rusk, who moved in to pitch from shortstop Kenny Rayos singled and Valencia walked to open the inning, and Pecos then surprised Iowa Park when Jonathan Garcia laid down a suicide squeeze bunt to score Rayos. Valencia then came home when Gibson again mishandled a grounder, this one by Garnto, to tie the score.

In the sixth, Pecos took a one-run lead on Kenny Rayos’ RBI single, after Rusk hit Vela and walked Isaiah Rayos with one away. Ross then came on to pitch and retired the side, and in the seventh, Beals took Anchondo’s first pitch into the gap into left-centerfield. Ross then bounced out to Kenny Rayos, moving Beals to third, and he scored on Garcia’s single down the right field line. He then stole second and kept running around third on the wild pitch, as Garnto couldn’t pick up the ball in time to get it to Anchondo.

A wild pitch also scored the winning run on Friday night against Greenwood, as Kenny Rayos came in when the pitch from Dean Smith got past catcher Evan McFarden. It was Smith’s final pitch, as both he and Vela, who started for Pecos, struggled through 4 2/3 innings of work.

“I told them ‘let’s see what kind of team we are after having a bad inning’. We are a mature team and when we have to scratch back, that’s what we do,” Payan said.

All five of the Eagles’ runs in the fourth came with two away, following a leadoff error by shortstop Logan Bawcom on a Garcia grounder. Chavez had an RBI triple and scored on Vela’s single, and after walks to both Rayoses, Valencia tied the game with a two-run single. Vela left the game after allowing six hits to the first seven batters in the top of the fourth, followed by errors by Isaiah Rayos and Valencia on three straight infield grounders. Chad Caver and David Hill hard RBI singled to tie the game, and Greenwood took the lead on an RBI double by Colton Wilbur and Bawcom’s second triple of the game.

Pecos took the lead in the second after a two-out walk to Anchondo and Bawcom’s first error of the game, also on a Garcia grounder, when Garnto singled both runners home. Miguel Estrada followed with a bloop single and two more runs came in on a double by Chavez. Greenwood got a run back in their next at-bat when Estrada missed Wilbur’s line drive to left for a two-base error and then scored all the way from second on Bawcom’s infield hit that Isaiah Rayos stopped on the edge of the left field grass.

Rayos ended up being the third Pecos pitch of the tournament to get his first win in his first mound appearance of the season. Geno Leos earned the victory Thursday morning, in an 11-4 win over Tornillo, while Vincent Palomino pitched Pecos’ 11-1 win Friday morning over O’Donnell.

“I was hoping Eddie could get out of that inning, but when he couldn’t, I looked around and saw who we still had available and came back with Isaiah,” said Payan, who added Robert Nunez was not available due to some soreness in his shoulder.

Valencia improved his record to 4-0 with his victory Friday afternoon over Midland Lee’s JV, striking out eight while allowing one hit. Chavez had three hits in the game, Garnto and Vela had two apiece while Kenny Rayos had a double and triple, and would follow that up with a three-run homer against O’Donnell. He also had a triple in the win over Tornillo, while Anchondo had a pair of doubles.

The 4-1 record over the weekend improved Pecos’ season record to 12-2 going into Tuesday’s district opener against Fort Stockton. The Eagles and Panthers split their two district games a year ago.

“Overall, I’m proud of how our kids played. They did well, and I told them the games that count are coming up,” Payan said.

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