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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Hit shortage ends season for Pecos 11-12 LLers

The Pecos 11-12 Little League All-Stars were able to make a little hitting go a long way for the better part of two weeks in tournament play. But the lack of hits finally got Pecos over the weekend, in the Section 1 Tournament at Odessa.

Pecos, which won their opener over San Angelo Northern despite getting just four hits, defeated Borger with a sixth inning rally on Thursday despite managing just one hit over the first five innings of play. Jesus Salgado shut out Borger, and Pecos used a sixth inning home run and a couple of Borger errors to win by a 3-0 final score.

But after taking a 2-1 lead in the first inning on Saturday against Lubbock Western, Pecos was unable to score the rest of the way, while Western used a five-run fifth inning to break open the game and send them on to a 9-2 victory. That put the Little Leaguers into a Sunday night rematch against Borger, and while they again used a home run and some Borger errors to score their runs, they didn’t fare nearly as well on the mound. Borger used a pair of errors in the first inning to score five times with two out, then used three-run home runs in the next two innings to defeat Pecos and end their season, 11-6.

“We didn’t hit the ball. We had people on base, but we didn’t put the ball in play, and that was the difference,” said Little League manager Rene Rayos, whose team left 11 on base, and eight in scoring position, against four Borger pitchers.

Having lost on Saturday with C.J. Gomez and Devante Jenkins pitching, and needing to beat Lubbock Western twice on Monday if they could win Sunday’s game, Rayos opted to save Salgado and started Antonio Rodriguez on the mound. But after getting the first two outs in the first inning, he saw the next seven batters reach base, then was pulled in the second inning and replaced by Brandon Garnto, after allowing two walks and a three-run homer by Luke Downs that gave Borger an 8-1 lead.

“We were going to save Brandon also, but they started hitting Anthony, so we came in with Brandon,” Rayos said. Garnto, who started and picked up the victory on Wednesday against San Angelo Northern, went the final 4 2/3 innings.

“He did a good job, but we just didn’t hit the ball,” Rayos said.

An error by Josh Hernandez at third on a Downs grounder in the first inning, which followed Chris Ellis’ RBI single, set things up for Borger against Rodriguez. Max Lusk singled and Alix Whitworth doubled to make it a 4-0 game, and after an infield hit by Grant Boren, Lusk scored on an error by Garnto at second on Dustin Clark’s grounder.

Pecos got one run back in their half of the first off Downs, who also started Thursday’s game. Jenkins homered with one out, but Pecos would then leave the bases loaded, and with a seven run lead going into the bottom of the second, Downs was replaced on the mound by Daniel Hernandez, so he would still be eligible to pitch on Monday under Little League rules.

He ran into problems right away, walking Zack Rayos, then seeing errors by outfielders Boren and Clark on singles by Rodriguez and Mark Quintana make it 8-3. Garnto would single to score Quintana, but Pecos was unable to do anything else with the middle of their order up, and in the third Ellis would get those runs back with a three run homer, after Hernandez doubled and Miles McKinney would be hit by a pitch to open the inning.

Those were Borger’s final runs, but they were more than enough. Pecos couldn’t take advantage of a leadoff walk to Salgado in the third, or an error on a Quintana grounder to open the fourth. They did use a walk to Israel Espudo and a Salgado single in the fifth too score, when Espudo beat the throw home on an Elias Ballard grounder to shortstop. That brought Garth Payton on to pitch, and he would get Quintana and Jenkins to end the inning. Ellis came on to pitch the sixth, and after getting the first two outs, allowed Pecos’ last run, on a double by Geronimo Ornelas and a single by Salgado, before getting Ballard on a comebacker to the mound to end the game.

Ellis had relieved Downs in Thursday’s game, after Ornelas’ two-run homer in the sixth inning gave Pecos a 3-0 lead. Pecos had broken a scoreless tie moments earlier when Analee Rodriguez scored when Garnto’s single to center was misplayed by Boren. She had singled and moved to second on a walk to Salgado to open the inning.

“It was just a bad time to go into a slump, especially with my top hitters,” said Rayos.

“But I’m proud of the kids. We won district and won sections with the same kids who went to state last year, but it’s just a little tougher when you get to the 11-12 year olds than with just the 11-year olds.”

Odessa pulls away at finish, ousts Big League squad

Late innings weren’t kind to the Pecos Big League All-Stars in three of their four Section 1 Tournament games in San Angelo last week.

Pecos was able to take advantage of the round-robin format to advance to Saturday’s tournament finals, with a 6-5 win over the host Northern All-Stars. But that came after they had seen San Angelo use two sixth inning home runs to rally for a victory on Wednesday, and then watched Odessa Eastern plate 14 runs in the sixth inning on Thursday to turn an 11-7 deficit into a 21-11 win.

Pitcher J.R. Lujan was able to work around home run hitters Anthony Gonzales and Chris Rivas in the seventh on Friday to get the win, but on Saturday a Justin Jones home run wiped out an early 1-0 Pecos lead, and Odessa would take advantage of two outfield errors in the fourth inning to score four times off pitcher Timo Reyes, before going on to a 14-4 win to earn a trip to the state tournament in Waco.

“It started with errors. We missed some routing fly balls and some routing grounders to left field,” said coach Robert Barreno, while at bat, Pecos also had problems with pitcher Landon Culp. “We had three hits until the seventh inning, then we started a little rally and they killed us with a double play.”

Osber Saenz walked and scored on a fielder’s choice grounder by Lujan in the first, while Pecos took advantage of a Jones error to score twice in the fifth inning. Reyes went the first five innings on the mound for Pecos, before James Garcia and Jonathan Dominguez finished things up for Pecos.

On Friday, Joseph Ontiveros’ fifth inning sacrifice fly broke a 5-5 tie, and he then was able to snare Adrian Allniz’s blooper behind shortstop with two outs and the bases loaded in the seventh to preserve the victory. Pecos had intentionally walked Rivas after Austin Terry was hit by a pitch and bunted over to second by Gonzales, then intentionally walked Joel Kelly after a passed ball by Saenz put both runners in scoring position. Saenz then caught Ryan Moeller’s foul pop up before Ontiveros got Allniz’s blooper while falling backwards in the outfield to end the game.

An error by Lujan and singles by Rivas and Gonzales in the first inning had given San Angelo a 1-0 lead. Pecos took a 3-1 lead in their half of the third on two out singles by Saenz and Tony Reyes, a throwing error by pitcher Mitchell Putska, Timo Reyes’ RBI triple and an RBI single by Lujan, but Northern tied the game in their next at-bat, off a Gonzales sacrifice fly and homer by Rivas.

San Angelo went ahead 5-2 in the bottom of the fourth, off an error by Ontiveros, an RBI single by Putska and a double steal of second and home, but in the fifth Tony Reyes singled and scored on Timo Reyes’ double, and after a single by Lujan, Sal Baez tied the game with a sacrifice fly off Moeller, who came on in relief.

Pecos had other chances to score in the late innings, but had three runners thrown out at second base in the last four innings. “We were just overrunning the bases and not paying attention to what the coaches were saying,” said manager Tony Reyes, Sr.

Only three teams were entered in the Section 1 Tournament, with Districts 1, 2 and 36 not sending representatives. Odessa Eastern will begin play in the four-team Texas West State Tournament at Baylor University this Friday.

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