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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Eagles picked to place fifth by Texas Football forecast

Back-to-back 1-9 seasons in their former district have the Pecos Eagles pegged for another season out of the playoffs by Texas Football magazine, in their 2006 preseason prediction for the Eagles’ new district.

Meanwhile, the Balmorhea Bears also are picked to miss the playoffs by Texas Football in 2006, as the Bears move into a modified district created by the division of six-man football into big- and small-school divisions.

Chris Henson takes over as the Eagles’ new head coach for this season, and will have two of the team’s five district rivals from last year as part of the new District 1-3A. Monahans and Fort Stockton were moved into the district along with the Eagles this fall, joining two of Pecos’ former District 2-4A rivals, Clint and Fabens, along with Anthony and Tornillo, El Paso-area teams with Class 2A enrollment who petitioned to play at the Class 3A level to cut their travel costs for the next two seasons.

The Wildcats and Coyotes are the only two teams the Eagles are picked to finish in front of by Texas Football, which expects Monahans to claim the 1-3A title after last years’ 10-0 regular season. Fort Stockton wound up fourth in the six-team District 3-3A last year while Pecos was last with their 0-6 record, with the one win coming at Kermit. Anthony also won at Kermit last year during District 1-2A play, but saw that game forfeited due to use of an ineligible player.

Anthony was 5-5 on the season, 2-2 in district, while Clint finished 5-3 and Fabens 3-5 last season in District 2-4A, which included nine teams and four of Pecos’ five former district rivals, and Tornillo was 2-8 and 0-4 in District 1-2A play.

No team in District 1-3A is ranked, but a couple of teams who could be area or regional quarterfinal round playoff rivals in November are in the magazine’s Top 20. Snyder, picked to win District 3-3A, is ranked No. 11, while Sweetwater and Abilene Wylie, who are favored out of District 7-3A are ranked 12th and 18th respectively.

For Balmorhea, only one school out of their former district, Fort Davis, was put in the Division I bracket for larger schools with six-man enrollments. But the split into two divisions also caused split in districts, with Grandfalls and Imperial also moving out of the same district with the Bears.

Balmorhea will be part of District 1-A Division II six man, and will be paired with Sanderson, Dell City, Sierra Blanca and Marathon. For 2006, Texas Football has the Bears slotted to finish third, with Sanderson picked first and Dell City second in the district, though the magazine’s power rankings for their statewide Top 10 has Dell City in at No. 7 and Sanderson unranked.

Grandfalls is picked to win the inaugural Division II state six-man title, and are the only other area team ranked in the Top 10. In Division I, Fort Davis is picked to place second in District I to Garden City, which is ranked second in the state to Richland Springs by Texas Football.

Late runs allow LLers to advance to sectional

Beating the same team a second time was a lot tougher for the Pecos 11-12 year old Little League All-Stars last Thursday at Chano Prieto Field. But after a 9-3 win two days earlier against Fort Stockton, Pecos was able to score four times in the sixth inning for a 5-1 win and a second straight District 37 Championship.

The 11-12 squad will advance to the Section 1 Tournament, beginning on Wednesday against San Angelo in Odessa. Pecos’ 11-12 team lost at sectionals a year ago, but the players on this year’s squad won their sectional tournament in the 10-11 division and advanced to the Texas West State Tournament in Waco.

Analee Rodriguez’ hard line drive off the leg of pitcher Alex Mendoza to open the sixth inning set up Pecos’ four run inning. “That kind of messed up his whole world,” said Pecos coach Vaughn Garnto, as Mendoza would allow three more hits in the inning after holding Pecos to just one run in the first five innings.

Mendoza was given several minutes to recover from taking the shot off his leg, but then Jesus Salgado took his first pitch and singled to centerfield, with the ball getting past Adam Martinez and rolling to the fence, allowing Rodriguez to score the go-ahead run. Pinch runner C.J. Gomez then beat the tag at third base while moving up on Brandon Garnto’s bouncer to shortstop, and Geronimo Ornelas followed with an RBI single to left field.

Mendoza then struck out Alex Garcia and Zack Rayos and got two strikes on Antonio Rodriguez before he doubled over the head of left fielder Adam Armendariz, scoring two more runs and giving Salgado some breathing room in the bottom of the sixth.

“We were hitting the ball all day, but we were just hitting it right at them,” said Pecos manager Reye Rayos.

Fort Stockton had tied the game in the third inning on a wild pitch by Salgado, after Pecos had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the inning when Mark Quintana singled with two out and went to third when the ball got past Martinez, and then scored on Devante Jenkins’ single. Salgado, who had 14 strikeouts in his 5-1 win over Monahans last Sunday, saw Fort Stockton tie the game after Martinez reached third on his bad throw to first on a bunt attempt, one of several Fort Stockton tried in the game.

“That was kind of the idea, to bunt and see what they could get going,” Garnto said. “They’re pretty aggressive usually, but against the other teams here they were really aggressive. They weren’t as aggressive against us.”

Fort Stockton came close to taking the lead in the bottom of the fifth, when Raul Rodriguez singled to left, and went to second when the ball got past Rayos. But when he had trouble picking the ball up Rodriguez tried for third and was thrown out, allowing Salgado to survive Kara Bustamantes’ single to left field that followed.

Mendoza had allowed a two out double to Ornelas in the second inning without giving up a run, and then survived a one out single by Garnto and two out hit by Garcia in the fourth inning without damage.

“They were kind of nervous too, coming in,” Garnto said about the team, which may have been the last to play a Little League game in the 54-year-old Chano Prieto Field.

New national Little League rules that go into effect for 2007 will require moving outfield fences back to 220 feet from home plate, which will require either removing trees and the outfield scoreboard at the field to move the fences back, or relocating the Little League program to the currently unused Jim Sample and Pony League fields at Maxey Park in order to meet national requirements.

For this week’s Section 1 Tournament, the games will be played at Odessa’s Jim Parker Little League on University Avenue, with Pecos and San Angelo playing in the 6 p.m. opening round game on Wednesday. The winner will face the team from District 1 (Amarillo) at 6 p.m. on Thursday, while the loser falls into a 6 p.m. elimination round game on Friday. The tournament is scheduled to run through July 17, with the winner moving on to Waco the following week.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321

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