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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Eagles down Indians, tie for first

The Pecos Eagles ended a five-game stretch of hitting frustration against the Seminole Indians Thursday night, while pitcher Josh Anchondo kept the Indians’ bats quiet enough to shut out Seminole over the final six innings of play, as the Eagles moved into a tie for first place in the District 3-3A standings with a 6-2 victory.

Anchondo threw a lot of pitches on Thursday and Seminole had runners on base in all but one inning, but the Indians were only able to break through in the first inning, collecting three hits and two runs to wipe out an early 1-0 Pecos lead. Meanwhile, the Eagles’ run was their first in 10 innings off pitcher Trey Curiel, but while the Indians were never again able to get to Anchondo, Pecos would regain the lead with two runs in the fourth inning, then chased Curiel with a three-run fifth inning.

“We’re starting to come into our own, as far as hitting the ball like we did at the start of the season,” said Eagles’ coach Elias Payan, whose team tied Seminole for second on Friday, and then moved into a three-way deadlock for first when Greenwood defeated Presidio by a 6-2 score on Saturday. The Eagles travel to Presidio this Friday, then come home for a Saturday afternoon game against the Rangers.

Seminole’s Michael Martinez posted a 1-0 win last month in Pecos, and the Eagles hadn’t scored an earned run on Curiel since the second inning of the teams’ bi-district playoff game in 2004, a stretch of 15 innings. But that changed immediately in the first inning on Thursday when Eddie Vela led off with a single, stole second and then scored on Kenny Rayos’ two-out single to right. Edward Valencia followed with a double down the line in left, but Curiel got Isaiah Rayos on a bouncer to third to end the inning.

Seminole responded with their own two-out rally in the bottom of the first off Anchondo, who struggled with his control for most of the night.

“He threw a lot of pitches because he was having trouble with his curveball,” Payan said. “That’s why I only called about one or two curveballs at the end of the game. I wanted to stick with the fastball because Josh’s fastball moved good enough to fool most of their hitters.”

The Indians’ runs came when Blake Tittle singled to open the first inning inning, Drew Phillips walked with one out, and then with two away Todd Warren singled to center to score Tittle, and Curtis Angley followed with a double to left-center field, bringing Phillips home.

Both teams had some strong defensive play in the early innings to help their pitchers. Warren at third and Tittle at short helped Curiel avoid trouble in the second and third innings, while Isaiah Rayos and Miguel Estrada kept the Indians from widening their lead in the bottom of the third, after a walk to Phillips, single by Martinez and passed ball by catcher Chris Garnto put runners on second and third with one out.

Warren followed with a grounder to short that Rayos threw home just in time for Garnto to tag out a sliding Phillips, and Angley followed with a sinking line drive that Estrada was able to lunge and catch just inches off the ground to end the inning. Rayos then opened the top of the fourth with a double to left, and after a passed ball by catcher Steve Kubrieck, Garnto single to center to tie the game.

Two outs later, Vela would single to right to score pinch runner Jeremy Martinez to put Pecos ahead, and in the fifth, a one out error by Warren at third base opened the gates for the Eagles to score three more runs.

Warren made a diving stop on a Valencia grounder down the line, after a Kenny Rayos double and balk by Curiel moved him to third with one out. But Warren then threw wide to Martinez at first and Valencia was safe, and Isaiah Rayos followed with a single off the bag at third to make it a 4-2 game. Garnto then blooped a single to right and Valencia scored on another passed ball, and John Paul Salicdo followed with a two-out single to make it a 6-2 game.

Angley came on to pitch and struck out Vela to end the inning, then survived a lead-off double by Anchondo and a misplayed Jose Chavez fly ball by Corbin McDaniel in the sixth, getting Kenny Rayos and Valencia to line out with the infield playing in and then Isaiah Rayos on the grounder to third.

“We’re still lacking that knockout punch. When we’ve got second and third and none out and got the meat of the lineup up, we’ve got to start making something happen,” Payan said. “But when you’ve got Josh on the mound, you can get away with that.”

Seminole had gotten the tying run on to the plate in the bottom of the fifth, after Curiel led off with a single and Anchondo walked Warren and Angley on seven pitches with two outs. But he came back to fan Fernando Dominguez on three straight pitches to end the inning, then retired three straight hitters in the sixth, after a leadoff walk to McDaniel.

In the seventh, Anchondo would survive Pecos’ only error of the night, when Vela dropped Warren’s one-out fly ball to center after a single by Martinez. Pinch runner John Guzman came in for Martinez after that, but he would break for third on a soft line drive by Angley that Isaiah Rayos would catch behind second, and then step on the bag to double off Guzman and end the game.

The win improved Pecos’ season record to 19-5 while they, Seminole and Greenwood all are 6-3 in district, a game up on fourth place Monahans. The Eagles will be in Presidio for Friday’s 7 p.m. game against the Blue Devils, then turn around and play Greenwood at home on Saturday afternoon, in a game moved back four days due to TAKS testing. Payan said the starting time for that game has been moved up an hour, from 2 to 1 p.m., due to Greenwood’s high school prom that night.

Pecos girls claim District 3-3A golf title

The Pecos Eagles girls golf team earned their first district title in three years and sixth in the past eight seasons on Thursday, widening their final margin to 33 strokes over runner-up Monahans in the final round of the 54-hole tournament.

Playing at the Lamesa Country Club, the Eagles shot a 332 for the low round of the tournament and finished with a 1.055 score. Pecos had gone into the final round with a 24-stroke lead over the Loboes, who fired a 341 and earned the second place regional berth by 78 strokes over the host Golden Tornadoes, with a 1,088 score.

Shelly Martinez also had the low round individually of the tournament on Thursday, a 70 to win the medalist title with a 232 score, 29 shots head of runner-up Paige Shaw of Monahans.

Eleanor Mason shot an 87 in the final round and ended up fourth in the tournament, with a 271 score, one shot ahead of Carolina Briones, who shot an 88 and finished with a 272. Rica Pino tied Mason for the second-best round for the Eagles, with an 87, and wound up with a 285 score, while Stephanie Galindo shot a 92 and finished at 290 overall.

The Eagles also had three medalist golfers competing in the tournament. Evelyn Flores shot a 99 and finished with a 305 score, Kayla Natividad shot a 112 and finished with a 334 score and Samantha Sparkman shot a 118 and wound up with a 336 score for 54 holes. The Eagles will now prepare for the Region I-3A Golf Tournament, scheduled for April 24-25 at Ratliff Ranch in Odessa. The Eagles will be trying to follow up their first district championship in three years with their first regional title in three years. Pecos won the 2003 Region I-3A title, though the lost to regional rival Snyder in the state finals.

Snyder shot a 923 in the three rounds of its District 4-3A Tournament last week to advance to regionals, where they’ll be favored to capture the I-3A title. The Eagles’ 1055 score matched District 4-3A runner up Sweetwater.

Trailing Lamesa in the tournament were Seminole, with a 374-1206; Monahans ‘B’ with a 391-1213; Seminole ‘B’ with a 411-1302; and Greenwood, with a 517-1556. Seminole’s Crystal Caviness won a playoff over Fort Stockton’s Rita Munoz for sixth place and a regional medalist berth, after both finished with 275 scores. Individual golfers who place in the Top 6 qualify for regionals if their team as a whole doesn’t earn a regional berth.

Eagles send five to regional track

Three past Region I-3A track and field qualifiers will be returning to regionals next week, while one freshman girl and one senior boy will be making their first regional appearances following Friday’s District 3-3A Track and Field Championships at Eagle Stadium.

Junior Chantell Mazone and senior Jessica Florez will be making their second straight trips to Odessa, after Florez qualified in the discus while Mazone won that event, and placed second in the shot put. Also going in two events will be senior Jennifer Martinez, as she won the 3200-meter run Friday morning and then finished third Friday night in the 1600 meter run to earn the final 1-3A regional spot.

Also placing third and earning a regional berth for the Eagle girls was freshman Jasmine Rayos, in the 200 meter dash, while for the boys, their lone qualifier was senior Andrew Grant, who advanced by placing second in the pole vault.

Monahans easily won both divisions of this year’s 3-3A meet, with the boys scoring 208 points, while Seminole won a narrow race for second, finishing with 115 1/2 points to 115 for both Greenwood and Fort Stockton. Pecos was next, with 32 points.

For the girls, the Loboes finished with 202 1.3 points, while Lamesa was second, with 134 points. The Eagles had hoped to battle with the Golden Tornadoes for the No. 2 spot, but didn’t do as well as hoped in some of the running events and ended up third with 76 2/3 points, while Greenwood was fourth with 75 points.

Mazone threw 114-foot-6 to win the discus by just under three feet over Monahans’ Allison Miller, while Florez placed third with a 106-3 throw.

In the shot put, Lamesa’s Shanequa Hawkins got off a 37-foot-11 throw in the final round to win, while Mazone threw 36-6 and Miller beat out Florez by two inches for the No. 3 spot at regionals, with a 35-foot-7 effort.

“That’s not her best throw,” said Eagles’ coach Donna Gent of Mazone, who threw two feet further in her last competition before district. “I think when she gets to regionals she’ll throw better than what she did today.”

Martinez had a fairly comfortable margin most of the way in winning the 3200 meters, with a 12:47.87 time, nine seconds in front of Presidio’s Kelly Coffman and almost 30 seconds in front of Monahans’ Daisy Zamarippa. But when the 1600 meters ran off 10 hours later, Martinez had to battle to beat out Monahans’ Catherine Cutbirth for the final regional berth with a 5:56.48 time, .27 seconds in front of Cutbirth. Zamarippa won with a 5:50.58 time while Coffman was second, at 5:53.57.

“Jennifer hurt her ankle in the mile, so she didn’t run her best, plus she’s been bothered by strep throat. But she’ll run better in two weeks,” Gent said.

Rayos had qualified for regionals just prior to the 1600, going 27.28 in the 200 meters.

Monahans’ Chelsea Cartwright picked up her fifth gold medal of the day in winning with a 26.68 time, while Lamesa’s Tamika Smith was next, with a 27.17 time.

“Jasmine ran her fastest time all year,” said Gent, who was also happy with her leg of the 1600 meter relay, when she went from last to first, “She ran a 62 leg, which was an unbelievable leg to get us into first, but we just couldn’t hold on.”

An injury in the girls’ pole vault competition may have cost the Eagles a shot at a regional relay berth in the 800-meter race. Junior Jenny Palomino was hurt during the morning competition and had to drop out of that race Friday night, where the Eagles placed fourth, 1 1/2 seconds behind Greenwood.

“She ran the sprint (400) relay, but had to drop out of the 800, because she got her foot stuck in the slot in the pole vault and rolled her ankle,” Gent said.

The other Pecos runner to earn a regional alternate berth was junior Bianca Baeza, who placed fourth in the 400-meter dash with a 1:05.95 time. Pecos’ other points came from juniors Kathryn and Heather Lamka, who placed fifth and sixth in the 3200 meter run, while the two reversed their positions in also finishing fifth and sixth in the 1600 meter run. Freshman Brittany Palomino, who was fifth in the long jump and sixth in the triple jump and 100 meter dash; the 1600 meter relay team, which took fifth; and from freshman Gaby Garcia and senior Olga Mendoza, who finished in a three-way tie for sixth in the pole vault. Grant earned his regional berth for the boys with a 12-foot effort to place second behind Monahans’ Andrew Arredondo, who won with a 13-foot-6 vault.

“Andrew finally broke the 12-foot barrier,” said coach Robbie Ortega, who added that overall, “We were snakebit tonight. We had a lot of guys come in fourth.”

Senior Justin Hannsz appeared to have second place wrapped up in the 300-meter hurdles, when he fell going over the next-to-last hurdle and was passed by Seminole’s Stephen Sprull and Greenwood’s Marcus Kujawski. That came after Larry Johnson had finished fourth in the 400-meter run and just before Pete Juarez placed fourth in the 200-meter dash, “I thought Justin and Eli (Hinojos) both had a chance, but they both stumbled at the end, and we were hoping to get the 4-by-200 (800 relay) out, but some bad handoffs just killed us,” Ortega said.

Johnson’s 53.66 was a second behind Seminole’s Micah Clay, while Fort Stockton’s Adrian Navarro won with a 50.91 time. Hannsz’ 42.60 time was .17 in back of Kujawski, in a race won by the Panthers’ J.J. Hickman with a 39.29 time, while Juarez, who qualified for regionals last year, lost out by a tenth of a second to Fort Stockton’s Alfred Aggredano with a 23.64 time, in a race won by Adam Norris of Greenwood in 22.83.

Hinojos placed fifth in the long jump, but his 16-foot-6 1/2 effort was just 1 1/2 inches behind third place finisher Jonathan Hill of Seminole, while the 800 meter relay team’s fifth place finish with a 1:35.77 time was just .82 seconds behind third place Greenwood. The boys’ other points came from their 1600-meter relay team, which also finished fifth.

“I’m still proud of all the kids. They gave it all they had,” said Ortega, adding that Grant would probably compete in a qualifiers meet this weekend in Iraan, before Region I-3A competition on April 28-29 at Ratliff Stadium in Odessa.

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