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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, March 31, 2006

Eagles stun Blue Devils with five-run seventh, 6-5

The law of averages finally worked out in the Pecos Eagles favor Tuesday night against the Presidio Blue Devils, just in time to keep the Eagles from falling into a huge hole in the District 3-3A baseball standings.

The Eagles, losers of three of their first four district games, appeared headed towards loss No. 4 at home on Tuesday against Presidio. The Blue Devils had taken advantage of Pecos mistakes to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 5-1 lead going into the bottom of the seventh inning, and pitcher Hector Rodriguez appeared on his way to a win when he got Chris Garnto to fly out on the first pitch of the bottom of the seventh.

But the No. 8 and 9 batter in the Eagles’ order, Jonathan Garcia and John Paul Salcido, then worked out walks off Rodriguez, before the breaks finally started going the Eagles’ way.

Two key errors by Pablo Rodriguez and Jaime Ortega opened the gates for three runs, and Isaiah Rayos then singled up the middle on the first pitch he saw from reliever Juan Aguilar to score two more runs and give Pecos an improbable 6-5 victory.

“We’re going to just take what we can get, but we have to be good enough to make then pay for their errors, and tonight we did,” said Eagles’ coach Elias Payan, whose team had failed to capitalize on their opponents’ mistakes in all but one inning of their first four district games.

“I know we’ve got players who don’t want to lose, but we’ve got to do the little things like being more patient at the plate,” said Payan. “I think one inning we went down on just four pitches.”

Swinging at first pitches n the seventh inning hurt the Eagles against Hector Rodriguez, but ended up helping them against Aguilar. Along with Garnto’s fly out, Josh Anchondo also flew out in the seventh on the first pitch he saw from Rodriguez, after Eddie Vela reached base when Pablo Rodriguez booted his grounder to second base, which also scored Garcia.

Rodriguez was one strike away from a win when he walked Jose Chavez to load the bases, and was replaced by Aguilar. He proceeded to walk Kenny Rayos on five pitches to make it a 5-3 game, but Edward Valencia then hit what looked to be a game-ending grounder to Ortega at third base.

However, with Chavez coming over from second Ortega booted the ball and missed Chavez, and then couldn’t recover in time to throw out Valencia. Vela scored to make it 5-4, and Rayos then swung at Aguilar’s next pitch and hit it just to the left of new shortstop Alonzo Amancia, who had moved in from left field to replace Aguilar, and the past new left fielder Alejandro Franco, who had moved to the outfield from first base when Rodriguez left the mound. Erve Rodriguez was then unable to field the ball cleanly behind Franco, and Chavez and pinch runner Lee Roy Rodriguez both came home to give Pecos the victory.

Payan said that while he did want more patience from his hitters, he didn’t mind the middle of his order swinging at the first pitches from Aguilar in the seventh.

“I told them we would take the first pitch because we needed baserunners, but when Kenny came up with the bases loaded I was hoping he’d get a good pitch to hit from Aguilar.

When he walked and Edward came up, I didn’t tell him to take a strike, because I know he’s a good hitter, and he did hit it hard.

“When he got on, I almost told Isaiah to take a pitch, but I was hoping he was going to groove him a pitch to hit,” Payan said.

Tuesday’s game started 45 minutes late due to lightning in the area, and then was delayed for 45 minutes when a second line of thunderstorms passed through the area. That line cost the Eagles about half their fans in the stands, and also seemed to turn the game’s momentum around, though Pecos did grab a 1-0 lead after the rain delay.

Josh Anchondo, who went 4 1/3 innings and took the loss on Friday in Pecos’ 11-1 pounding by Greenwood, started on the mound and retired the first eight hitters he faced before the rain delay, and then got the final out of the third inning.

The Eagles, meanwhile, failed to capitalize on a hit batter and one-out walk in the first and an Ortega error on an Isaiah Rayos grounder and a Garnto single in the second. Rodriguez fanned Kenny Rayos and got Valencia on a ground out to end the first, while the second inning ended on a strange play, after Garcia popped a bunt attempt back to the mound.

It was the same play as a week earlier in Pecos’ 1-0 loss to Seminole that resulted in Valencia being doubled off first base, but this time Rodriguez dropped the bunt. However, he recovered in time to throw out Garcia, and Rayos, who had gone back to second when the ball went in the air, was then thrown out trying for third, to end the inning.

The Eagles did score in their first at-bat after the rain, on a Kenny Rayos ground out that scored Anchondo, who had singled and moved to third on Chavez’ single off Franco’s glove at first base. Anchondo maintained that lead through the fourth, but in the fifth inning Ortega broke up the no-hitter with a single to left that then got past Luis Licon for an error, the first of four over the next three innings for the Eagles’ outfielders.

The second tied the game, when Garcia couldn’t hang on to Amancia’s fly ball into the gap in right-center field. Anchondo got out of the inning after that, but in the fifth Erve Rodriguez singled to open the inning and after a sacrifice bunt by Aguilar, Isidro Rocha lined a single to center that skipped past Vela, scoring Rodriguez. Robert Nunez replaced Anchondo on the mound, but after a passed ball by Garnto and two walks, Rocha would make it 3-1 when he scored on Franco’s sacrifice fly to right field.

Valencia came on to pitch the seventh and got two quick outs, but Erve Rodriguez and Aguilar then reached on infield hits, and Rocha followed with a single. Garcia, who had moved over to left field in the sixth, tried to throw Rodriguez out at home, but his throw sailed over Garnto’s head, and Aguilar kept running, and scored all the way from first before the Eagle catcher could get the ball back to Valencia at home plate, to make it a 5-1 game.

Valencia, 4-0 ended up getting credit for the victory, his second over the Blue Devils this season, while Aguilar took his second loss to the Eagles, after falling by a 5-0 score the opening weekend of the season at the Ozona Tournament. The win improved Pecos to 2-3 in district and 14-5 on the season, while Presidio dropped to 2-2 and fell out of a first place tie with Fort Stockton and Seminole, who were rained out on Tuesday. “This type of ballgame gets us back into it,” Payan said. “We needed a boost in confidence like that.”

Greenwood defeated Lamesa, 10-0, in Tuesday’s other game. Greenwood and Monahans are also tied with Presidio for third place, while Lamesa, Pecos’ next district opponent, is winless at 0-5. The Eagles are home again at 7 p.m. on Friday for a non-district game against Alpine, before going to Lamesa next Tuesday for an afternoon game against the Golden Tornadoes to close out the first half of 3-3A play. Payan said Vela, 2-3, would probably start on Friday against the Bucks.

Girls 1st, boys 5th after district golf openers

The Pecos Eagle girls golf team bounced back from some of their recent struggles on Monday and grabbed the first round lead in the District 3-3A golf tournament, though coach Tina Doan is hoping to still see some more improvement from her team in the upcoming weeks.

Meanwhile, Pecos’ boys didn’t fare as well playing on their home course on Wednesday, as the Eagles stand tied for fifth after the opening round of their district tournament.

Pecos’ girls, who had problems in their early March tournaments after starting off the season strong, shot a 356 to grab a 15 stroke lead over Monahans in the first round of the 54-hole tournament, which was held at the Gaines County Golf Course in Seminole.

“Overall, it was windy and cold, and we were expecting a nice day, but it was good,” said Doan, who had three of her golfers place in the Top 6 on Monday, including Shelly Martinez, who shot a 75 and leads the medalist race by 11 strokes over Fort Stockton’s Maria Juarez.

“Shelly played a solid round of golf,” Doan said. “She could have shot two or three strokes better, but the wind played havoc on the green.”

Carolina Briones shot a 90 and is tied for fourth with Monahans’ Paige Shaul. Eleanor Mason shot a 91 and is tied with the Loboes’ Jordan Jurnigan for sixth place, though Doan is hoping she and Stephanie Galindo, who shot a 100 on Monday, will improve their rounds.

“My little sophomore Carolina came through, and she had been struggling. I’ve just got to get my two juniors into the 80s if we’re going to get by here, but overall it was a good start,” she said.

Rica Pino had a 105 for Pecos’ other team score. Individually for Pecos, Evelyn Flores shot a 99, Kayla Natividad had a 110 and Samantha Sparkman shot a 112 on Monday.

Pecos and Monahans, which have advanced to regionals as teams each of the past three years, again appear headed for regional berths going into the second round, next week at the Ward County Golf Course. Monahans’ 371 score is 29 strokes ahead of third place Lamesa, which shot a 400. Monahans ‘B’ is next at 404, followed by Seminole at 414; the Maidens ‘B’ team at 454 and Greenwood at 507.

“We needed a little lead with the next round in Monahans next Thursday (April 6),” Doan said. “We’ll see if we can keep our composure and maintain our lead.”

Aside from Juarez, Fort Stockton also had the No. 3 medalist golfer after the first round in Rita Munoz, who shot an 89. But Doan said the Prowlers only have one other golfer participating, and as a result, cannot qualify for a four-person team score.

The final round of the tournament will take place on April 12 in Lamesa. Pecos started a one-day tournament there last Thursday, to prepare for the start of district play, but Doan said bad weather led to the tournament’s cancellation after only nine holes.

On the boys’ side, the Eagles placed in a tie with Seminole out of 11 teams competing, but found themselves trailing both Fort Stockton’s ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams, along with Monahans and Lamesa after Wednesday’s round at the Reeves County Golf Course. The Loboes used a hole-in-one by their No. 1 golfer, Victor Calzada, to grab a three-stroke lead over Lamesa for first place in the team standings.

The Eagles shot a 340, tying them for fifth with Seminole, two strokes behind the Panthers’ ‘B’ team. Monahans leads with a 302 score, followed by Lamesa at 305 and Fort Stockton’s ‘A’ team with a 320 total.

“We just have to hustle it up and go play better at Nueva Vista,” said coach Kim Anderson, who was hoping for better results on the Eagles’ home course.

Individually for Pecos, Joseph Tarin shot a 79 to lead Pecos, while Zack Morton was next with an 82 score. Heath Armstrong had an 89 and Matt Ogelsby shot a 90 in his first tournament action of the season to round out the 340 total. Nathan Duke shot a 97 for Pecos’ other ‘A’ team score, while medalist golfers Guthrie Long had a 98 and Frank Deishler shot a 116 for the Eagles.

“Joseph’s sitting in eighth, but he’s got to get into the Top 6, and Zack’s just sitting three shots in back of him and four shots in back of sixth,” Anderson said, referring to qualifying for regionals. The top two teams advance to Region I-3A competition, along with any medalist golfers in the Top 6 who are not members of the two regional squads.

Calzada’s hole-in-one came on the 16th hole and allowed him to fire a 69 on the day. He holds a four-stroke lead over teammate Jo Jo Birdwell and Lamesa’s Michael Morales in the medalist race. Tornadoes Nathan Kirkland and Brad Crossland are tied for fourth with scores of 77, while Lamesa’s Randall Whitley and Fort Stockton’s Luke Abbott are one shot in front of Tarin in sixth place, with 78 scores. The Panthers’ Joseph Chapman and Monahans’ Cory Petrez also shot 79s on Wednesday.

Trailing Pecos and Seminole in the team standings were Monahans ‘B’ at 354, Greenwood with a 365 score, Seminole ‘B’ at 385, Greenwood ‘B’ at 389 and Lamesa ‘B’ with a 395 total. The Eagles were two golfers short of fielding a ‘B’ team, while the other District 3-3A school, Presidio, doesn’t have a golf program.

The second round of the boys’ 3-3A tournament will be held at Nueva Vista in Midland next Tuesday, while the final round is scheduled for April 11 in Fort Stockton.

Meanwhile, on Saturday Pecos will host another golf tournament, when the first round of the area junior high tournament for both boys and girls tees off at the Reeves County Golf Course. Monahans, Kermit, Fort Stockton and Andrews are the other teams entered in that tournament, with the final rounds at those sites through May 6.

Pecos gets lots of runs, few hits, in 10-0 victory

Pecos Eagles’ softball coach Tammy Walls was hoping her team would hit a little better in Tuesday’s home game against the Presidio Blue Devils than they did four days earlier in a 3-0 home loss to the Greenwood Rangerettes.

On paper, they didn’t. The Eagles managed only two hits in the game, one less than they had in their loss to Greenwood. But 11 walks by Presidio pitchers and a couple of key errors more than made up for Pecos’ lack of hits, while pitcher Amalie Herrera no-hit the Blue Devils over five innings, as the Eagles snapped a three-game district losing streak with a 10-0 win.

Pecos got back to the .500 mark at the halfway point on the 3-3A schedule thanks to a pair of unearned runs in the first two innings off starter Christa Carrasco, followed by a seven-run inning off Carrasco and reliever Cynthia Corrales, who came on despite Carrasco’s having no-hit the Eagles through the first three innings of play. Errors by shortstop Edna Dominguez in the first and second innings gave the Eagles a 2-0 lead, and Carrasco left after issuing her fourth and fifth walks of the day, to Vanessa Valeriano and Brittany Palomino, to open the fourth inning.

“She was throwing a riser, a little high strike and we were getting under it,” said Walls, whose team had managed just four runs in their last three district games. “One of the things we have to do to get out of our slump is to swing at good pitches, and I told them they needed to start being more selective about their pitches.”

Carrasco helped the Eagles, wild pitching the game’s run home before Gabby Garcia collected the first hit of the day, singling up the middle to score Palomino for a 4-0 lead. She got Hillery Hinojos to foul out to Dominguez, but Jenny Palomino then singled to center, and Garcia came around to score when the throw home got by catcher Lizet Villanueva.

In the second inning Garcia walked and immediately stole second on the same play, with Brittany Palomino on third base. Corrales tried to stop that from happening twice in the fourth, by throwing to first after walks to Cassandra Terrazas and Herrera. But both times that backfired, as Jenny Palomino scored on the walk to Terrazas, who then did steal second on the throw home, and after a wild pitch, she scored on the walk to Herrera, who then stole second.

Herrera would later score on a bases-loaded walk to Valeriano, while the final run of the inning came in on a passed ball by Villanueva.

Terrazas scored the first run of the game in the first, on a walk and error by Dominguez on Jessica Florez’ infield bouncer, and the game ended in the fifth under the 10-run rule, when Olga Mendoza drew a bases-loaded walk to force home Lindsey Shaw.

Herrera opened the game by walking Joanni Villa, but she was later caught in a rundown between second and third on a Maria Gamboa grounder, and Florez then threw out Gamboa trying to steal second. A second inning walk to Villanueva was Presidio’s only other baserunner, as Herrera ended up with the no-hitter and six strikeouts.

“I told her just to throw strikes,” Walls said. “We didn’t work the plate, because I didn’t think they could hit Amalie, so we didn’t try to work the corners as much as we have.”

Presidio remained winless in district with the loss, at 0-6, while Pecos reached the halfway point with a 3-3 record. The Eagles will open the second half of their 3-3A schedule Friday afternoon in Lamesa against the Golden Tornadoes. Pecos rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to defeat Lamesa at home earlier this month by a 12-2 score, as Florez had a grand slam and three hits in the win.

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