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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Bears get two golds at Iraan track

The Balmorhea Bears got a pair of gold medals in field events and placed seventh overall on Saturday, at the Cactus Relays in Iraan.

A.J. Garcia took first place in the discus, while Alexis Lozano won the shot put for 20 of the Bears’ 24 points on the day. Garcia had a throw of 133-feet-10 to capture the discus by just over two feet, while Lozano’s 48-foot-2 effort in the shot put was over 7 1/2 feet ahead of second place Miguel DeHoyos of Iraan.

Balmorhea’s other points in the meet also came in the shot put, where Garcia finished fourth, with a 37-foot-9 1/2 throw. The Bears had no points in the running events, while the girls did not score at the meet, which was won by Iraan’s boys and Crane’s girls.

Pecos girls grab third at Sandhills Relays

The Pecos Eagle girls didn’t earn any first place medals on Saturday at the Sandhills Relays in Monahans, but they did come away with 71 points and a third place finish, while Pecos’ boys continued to struggle, scoring just two points at the meet.

The girls picked up seven medals on the day in Monahans, including two-second place medals apiece by senior Jennifer Martinez and junior Chantell Mazone. Martinez was second to San Angelo Lake View’s Shaylon Vodran in both the 1600 and 3200-meter runs, edging Monahans’ Daisy Zamarippa by less than a second in the 1600 for the No. 2 spot, with a 5:44.75 time. That was six seconds in back on Vodran, who finished 27 seconds ahead of Martinez in the 3200 meters. The Eagle runner had a 12:53.87 time and was 21 seconds in front of Presidio’s Kelly Coffman.

Pecos also picked up points from Kathryn Lamka, who finished fifth in the both the 1600 and 3200-meter races, while Heather Lamka was seventh in both races. “Kathryn cut her time by 32 seconds, and Heather had a 33 second improvement,” said Eagles’ coach Donna Gent. She added that Martinez improved by 19 seconds, Kathryn Lamka by 16 seconds and Heather Lamka by 17 in the 1600 meters.

Mazone lost out to Monahans’ Allison Miller on her home field in both the discus and shot put. Miller threw 36-feet-3 1/2 to Mazone’s 35-foot-1 in the shot put and 115-1 to Mazone’s 112-10 1/2 in the discus. Jessica Florez also placed in both events, with a fifth in the shot put and a sixth in the discus.

The other individual medals for Pecos were third place finishes by Bianca Baeza in the 400-meter dash and Jasmine Rayos in the 200 meters. Baeza ran a 1:04.96, while Rayos had a 27.22 time. Earlier, Baeza finished fifth in the triple jump, while Rayos was sixth in both that event and in the long jump.

Pecos’ other medal was by the 1600-meter relay team of Baeza, Rayos, Michelle Contreras and Cheyenne Carrasco, which placed third with a 4:26.27 time.

The Eagles’ other points came from their 800-meter relay team of Baeza, Carrasco, Rayos and Jenny Palomino, which finished fifth.

“I was very pleased with the girls. Our times are coming down, and they’re working hard,” Gent said.

The boys’ only points at the Sandhills came from a fifth place finish by junior Larry Johnson in the 400 meter dash.

“We ran really well, but our inexperience is showing,” said coach Robbie Ortega. “We had a lot of freshmen running for us.

“It was a tough meet, we just couldn’t get into (points) place. We got seventh a lot,” Ortega said. “We had some bright spots with our freshmen and JV. Phillip (Williams) ran well and placed seventh in the triple jump and some other freshmen ran at the varsity level for the first time.”

Monahans’ girls and boys easily won their divisions. The Lobo girls had 199 points to 135 for Lake View. Big Spring was fourth, behind the Eagles, with 62 points. On the boys’ side, the Loboes won with 201 points to 97 for Big Spring and 91 for Lake View, with the Eagles placing eighth in the nine-team field.

Eagles struggle, ump’s calls in Loboes’ win

Pecos Eagles softball coach Tammy Walls wasn’t happy with the strike zone calls of the home plate umpire in Pecos’ 9-4 loss to the Fort Stockton Prowlers last Tuesday. So when the Eagles ended up with the same umpire on Friday against the Monahans Loboes, Walls had the same problems, and the Eagles had pretty much the same results.

Heather Shuler one-hit Pecos, while the Loboes scored once in the first inning and three more times in their final two at-bats for a 4-0 home field victory over the Eagles, who dropped to 2-2 in District 3-3A play.

“It’s frustrating when you don’t know when you’re going to get a strike and when you’re going to get a ball,” said Walls. “Jessica (Florez) has been swinging a hot bat, but she gets caught looking at a pitch she thinks is low and I thought was low. That’s the way it went. “When you’ve got their fans saying ‘Don’t worry Heather, you’ll get the next one,’ and then he calls the pitch a strike - their fans were laughing about it, that’s how bad it was,” said Walls, whose team was fanned 13 times by Shuler, including nine out of 10 batters between the end of the third and the sixth innings.

Monahans would get on the board in the first, when Ashley Jarrett doubled down the line in left field and scored on Dina Ortiz’s single to center. Pecos then got their only hit of the day with one out in the second, when Savannah Ewing doubled down the line in left. But Jenny Palomino was unable to lay down a sacrifice bunt and ended up striking out, and Loboes’ shortstop Kelly Almanza, playing over towards third base, then snagged a line drive by Vanessa Valeriano headed towards left field, to end the inning.

Eagles’ pitcher Amalie Herrera got out of trouble in the first after a two out single by Shuler and a passed ball put two runners in scoring position, then did the same in the third. A leadoff error by Valeriano on a Jarrett grounder to shortstop, a stolen base and a wild pitch put her on third with one out. But she was able to strike out Ortiz and get Erin Garcia to ground to the mound.

But the Eagles lost a little of their composure in the fifth, when first baseman Hillary Hinojos pulled her foot off the bag on a lead-off grounder by Briana Cheney. Two passed balls and a wild pitch on the next four pitches to Ortiz brought Cheney all the way around the bases, and Ortiz then went to second on a bad pickoff throw by Herrera, then came home on a Shuler single.

Herrera helped herself out in the sixth, picking Katlin Mitchell off third after she had singled and moved over on errors by Cassandra Terrazas and Ewing. But the latter error allowed Almanza to reach base, and she would eventually score the fourth run on a single by Cheney after a walk to Jarrett. Monahans would eventually load the bases, but Pecos escaped without any further damage when Valeriano threw out Jarrett at home on a Garcia grounder, and then got her at second on a grounder to short by Shuler.

“I thought we held our composure, and that’s something we work on. But we just didn’t hit,” said Walls, whose team takes a break from district play on Tuesday with a game against Marfa, before hosting Greenwood on Friday. Walls said unlike their district games, where the junior varsity game follows the varsity contest, Tuesday would begin with the JV game at 5 p.m., followed by the varsity sometime between 6:30 and 7 p.m.

Eagles take out anger on Loboes

Twelve wins in their 14 pre-district games didn’t mean anything for the Pecos Eagles, when they lost their District 3-3A opener to the Fort Stockton Panthers last Tuesday. But faced with the prospect of a 0-2 start, the Eagles responded in a major way Friday night in Monahans, as they took control from the start and routed the Loboes by a 24-5 final score. “After we lost to Fort Stockton I told them we were going to have to go out and play ball,” said Eagles’ coach Elias Payan, after his team scored 12 times in their first three at-bats, and then doubled that total in the fourth inning, on the way to a 24-1 lead. “Whoever our next opponent was, we were going to take it out on them.”

Josh Anchondo didn’t play in last Tuesday’s game, but regained his eligibility Friday afternoon and made the most of it. Anchondo hit a home run in the first inning off starter Blake Whisnand after he walked Eddie Vela to open the game, then homered with two runners on in the second off reliever Tito Olivas, to put the Eagles ahead, 7-0, while holding Monahans to only one run over the first three innings, before running into control problems in the fourth and giving way to Robert Nunez.

Anchondo also homered in last year’s 4-2 win by Pecos at Monahans, a game that ended in the top of the seventh after a light tower near home plate blew out and could not be repaired. That also led to some bad blood between Payan and Monahans’ coach Arcadio Rivera, who wanted the game finished at a later date.

The resulting dispute ended up getting the Eagles banned from this year’s Monahans Sandhills Tournament, so Friday’s game was the first meeting between the teams since last season. The bad feelings continued through the rout and into the fifth inning, when Payan had his batters swinging at every pitch in order to get things over faster under the 10-run rule.

“I said just swing and let’s get out of the inning, because if it rained or the lights went out again, it would be just like we didn’t play,” said Payan about the game, who said Rivera was upset by the Eagles’ halfhearted efforts at bat in the fifth. “I’m just proud of the way we came out and played and took it out on them. If he’s upset, he’s upset.”

Whisnand got out of trouble after Anchondo first home run, but only lasted two batters into the second inning. He walked Chris Garnto and gave up a single by Isaiah Rayos and was replaced by Tito Olivas, who then threw a pickoff attempt past first base, allowing one run to score. John Paul Salcido and Eddie Vela followed with singles that brought home Rayos, and Anchondo then sent his second homer over the 344-foot sign in right-center field to make it a 7-0 game.

Pecos would chase Olivas and make it 9-0 before the inning was over. Jose Chavez singled, and Kenny Rayos and Jonathan Garcia walked before Chavez came home on an infield hit by Garnto. Larry Jasso replaced Olivas after a bases-loaded walk to Isaiah Rayos and got out of the inning, and then kept Anchondo in the ballpark to open the third. But he still reached base on a single, and back-to-back doubles by Chavez and Kenny Rayos followed to make it 11-0. An RBI single by Garnto off the left field fence would get Pecos their 12th run.

All the time between innings cost Anchondo some of his control by the bottom of the third. He walked three batters, which along with a single by Anthony Cota got Monahans on the board, but got out of the inning when Chavez turned a Whisnand grounder to second into an inning-ending double play.

Things got even worse for Monahans in the top of the fourth off new pitcher Sean Merrick. Two walks, a hit batter and a fielder’s choice ground out by Kenny Rayos made it 13-1, and a two out hit by Garnto scored two more runs before the Loboes’ defense gave the Eagles nine unearned runs. Cota dropped an inning ending force at second on a grounder by Garnto, and shortstop Sam Graves would boot a Vela grounder a few batters later. Jasso then went back to third, where he mishandled a grounder by Chavez. Salcido had a single in the middle of the errors, and Kenny Rayos followed with a RBI hit off Monahans’ fifth pitcher of the night, Flavio Armendariz, who then walked Edward Valencia, hit Garcia and Garnto and wild pitched a run in before finally striking out Isaiah Rayos to end the inning.

Payan cleared his bench after the 12-run inning, and the Eagles had a few problems of their own with the revised line-up on defense in the fourth. Two errors, two infield hits, a walk and a balk made it a 24-2 game, and after Anchondo wild pitched Olivas home, he was replaced by Nunez. He would strike out T.J. Brooks and Whisnand, but not before hitting Armendariz and Cota to make it 24-4. Nunez would plunk Merrick in the fifth, and he would eventually score on a passed ball by new catcher Javier Mendoza for the final run of the long night.

Although the final score was lopsided, the teams are tied in the district standings at 1-1, after Monahans opened their 3-3A schedule last Tuesday with a victory at Presidio. Pecos improved its overall record to 13-3, while Anchondo went to 2-1 on the season with the victory.

“I told them all week the other teams weren’t going to lie down for them, and that we were going to have to earn our victories,” said Payan, whose team is home Tuesday night for a 7 p.m. game against Seminole. The Indians beat the Eagles twice last season, with pitcher Trey Curiel shutting out the Eagles in 10 innings of work to earn both wins.

Curiel, who also shut down Pecos in the Class 3A playoffs two seasons ago, figures to start again for the Indians on Tuesday, while Payan said either Vela, 2-2, who took the loss against Fort Stockton, or Valencia, 3-0, would pitch on Tuesday.

“Edward’s arm is a lot better. I thought about bringing him in tonight, but I wanted to give him a little more rest,” said Payan, who added he’d probably hold Valencia for Friday afternoon’s game at Greenwood. “I’ll have to see, but Greenwood’s already seen Eddie once.”

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