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for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Playoffs in doubt for Eagles after woeful weekend

It took the Pecos Eagles three weeks to recover from a 1-3 start to earn a tie for first place in the District 3-3A standings. But it took only 20 hours for the Eagles to throw all that away and be put in the position of possibly relying on outside help to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Pecos’ bats went silent while the Eagles pitchers allowed seven home runs over the weekend to the Presidio Blue Devils and Greenwood Rangers. Five came in Friday night’s game at Presidio, where the Blue Devils scored seven times in the first inning and went on to a six-inning, 12-2 victory.

The other two were by Greenwood’s David Hill, who had a grand slam last month to cap the Rangers’ 11-1 win over Pecos. This time, he hit a pair of solo home runs, while Dean Smith and Logan Bawcom shut out Pecos and kept the Rangers’ playoff hopes alive with a 3-0 victory.

“I don’t understand how you can have the two most important ballgames of the season, and the kids don’t care to step up to the challenge,” said coach Elias Payan. “We just weren’t ready to play against Presidio. All week long I tried to get them to understand what we were playing for, but when we got off the bus down there, it looked like we were getting off for a practice game.”

Pecos had tied Seminole and Presidio for first place on April 13, thanks to a 6-2 win over the Indians and the Blue Devils’ 6-2 loss to Monahans. But thanks to the weekend’s results, the 6-5 Eagles are now in a race with Seminole, Greenwood, Monahans and Fort Stockton for the final two 3-3A playoff berths. And Payan said if it comes down to the Eagles and Rangers for the last playoff spot, Greenwood holds the tie-breaker thanks to their two wins.

The Eagles began a five-game district win streak with a comeback win over Presidio last month, in which the Eagles won 6-5 after trailing 5-1 with one out in the seventh inning. On Friday, the Blue Devils got their revenge, hitting five homers off Pecos, including two by Ysidro Rocha and one by Jaime Ortega in the sixth that ended the game under the 10-run rule.

Josh Anchondo, who had survived a rough start the previous week at Seminole to get the victory, was battered around by Presidio on Friday. “The mound got to Josh. He said he wasn’t comfortable with it,” Payan said.

Meanwhile, Presidio pitcher Hector Rodriguez, who also started last month’s game, only allowed a two-run home run to Isaiah Rayos in the fifth inning, while striking out 10 Pecos batters and not allowing a hit until the fourth inning. “Josh was throwing hard, but the Rodriguez kid was throwing hard, and it was the same thing as when we played them the first time. He wasn’t throwing strikes, but we were swinging at pitches that were up above the strike zone.”

In Saturday’s game, Hill homered in the third inning off Edward Valencia and in the seventh off reliever Eddie Vela, after Greenwood scored once in the fifth inning. “I told them to forget the Presidio game after it was over, and that if we win, we’re in. But come Saturday morning, you could just look at the kids’ demeanor and tell they weren’t ready to play,” Payan said.

Vela relieved Valencia and got out of a bases-loaded jam before giving up Hill’s solo shot to centerfield in the seventh, while the Eagles were able to load the bases once on Greenwood, but couldn’t score when Rayos grounded into a force play at home and Chris Garnto flew out to end the inning. It was the second year in a row the Eagles have been shut out at home by the Rangers.

Pecos has added a 7 p.m. non-district home game against Crane on Tuesday, following Presidio’s game against 0-10 Lamesa at Eagle field. Pecos will close their regular season on Friday by hosting the Golden Tornadoes. Monahans, now 6-4 in district, and Seminole, 7-4, play on Tuesday, while the 5-5 Rangers take on 5-5 Fort Stockton in the other game.

Greenwood then ends its season against Monahans while Fort Stockton takes on Presidio, which is 7-3 on the season.

Just as Greenwood owns the tiebreaker over the Eagles, Pecos has the tiebreaker against Monahans, thanks to their two wins, while they split their two games against Fort Stockton and Seminole, and any tiebreaker there would require a playoff game. The Eagles can still avoid any third place tiebreakers and win a playoff spot outright with a win Friday over Lamesa, and losses in one of their final two games by Monahans, Greenwood and Fort Stockton.

Pecos girls seek return to state golf tournament

The Pecos Eagles golf team teed off on Monday with the top seeded group of golfers, in the opening day of the District 1-3A golf tournament at Ratliff Ranch in Odessa. And the Eagles will be hoping to be in the same group on Tuesday, as they look to return to the Class 3A state tournament for the first time in three years.

Coach Tina Doan said her team would tee off at 9 a.m. on Monday along with players from Snyder, Sweetwater and Decatur, which are the Top 4 seeds going into the tournament, based on their scores in district play earlier this month. The final 18-holes of the 36-hole tourney will start off Tuesday morning, with the top seeds based on the opening round scores.

“The girls are excited and I’m excited,” Doan said. “We just need to go down and play our hearts out and hope for the best.”

Snyder will be the heavy favorite to win the district title, based on their average round of 323 in District 4-3A play. The Eagles won the District 3-3A title with an average of just under 352 per round, and are seeded third, behind Sweetwater, Doan said.

“On the individual medalist, Shelly (Martinez) will be with the first group,” Doan said. Martinez advanced to state as a medalist last season, and placed third in Austin. Martinez in also the only Pecos player remaining on the varsity squad from the Eagles’ 2003 trip to the state tournament. Pecos won the Region I-3A title that year but placed second in Austin to Snyder.

“We’re just going to go on and play our best game,” said Doan. “We know that Chandra (Alexander) from Snyder will be Shelly’s biggest competition, along with (Alex) Smith of Decatur, Kelli Knight from Breckenridge and Shannon Morgan from Snyder.”

While the tournament is in Odessa this year, Doan said “We played it during the Midland Tournament, and we practiced on it last Saturday.” She added that Pecos also had a practice round scheduled for this Saturday in Odessa, and spent the night there on Sunday before starting the first day of play.

“They know the course and are comfortable with the course. Hopefully it will carry over and we’ll have two good days,” she said.

Monahans is the other District 3-3A team entered in the tournament. The Loboes will be part of the second foursomes sent out for opening round play today. A total of 16 teams from the eight Region I-3A districts will participate in the tournament, with the top two finishes, and any top six individual finishers not members of those teams, advancing to the Class 3A state tournament in Austin on May 11-12.

Today is also the start of the District 3-3A boys tournament, at Nueva Vista Golf Course in Midland. Lamesa and Monahans are the two district qualifiers for that tournament, Lamesa, Glen Rose, Borger ‘A’ and Graham are the top four seeds in the boys division, going into Monday’s opening 18 holes of play.

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