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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pecos girls place second at Golden Crane Relays

The final team totals came as a surprise to Pecos Eagle girls track coach Donna Gent, when they were announced Saturday at the end of the Crane Golden Crane Relays.

“We got second?” Gent asked other Eagle coaches after being told that despite fewer gold medals than the week before, Pecos had moved up in the point standings, placing second to the host Golden Cranes out of 16 teams at the day-long meet. The Eagles finished with two first place finishes and 97 points in a meet won by the host Cranes with 140 points.

Pecos’ boys, meanwhile, didn’t score as many points as the previous week at the West of the Pecos Relays, but did pick up their first gold medal of the year while ending up ninth in the final standings.

Saturday was the third track meet of the season for the Eagles, but the first for the girls without a conflict with softball. “It just helped having all the runners, even though Brittany Palomino was a bit hurt, and that hurt us a little bit. I had to change up the relays some,” Gent said. The junior hurt her leg during the running preliminaries, after placing fourth in the triple jump and sixth in the long jump Saturday morning.

Jasmine Rayos, who won the triple jump two weeks ago in Fort Stockton, but injured her knee and didn’t jump last week in Pecos, came back to take first by a half inch over Monahans’ Kali Lewis, with a 33-foot-9 effort. Pecos’ other’ first place came in the first running event of the day, as Kayla Natividad took the 3200 meter run with a 13:18.44 time, edging Alpine’s Emily Hendryx by just under a second.

Ally Salcido, who won both hurdle events the previous week, was second in the 100 and 300 meters to Crane’s Summer Sutherland, but her 17.05 and 49.64 times were both better than the previous Saturday in Pecos. She also picked up a gold as part of the 1600 meter relay team last week, but this time the Eagles were third, with a 4:19.21 time. Pecos also was third in the 400 meter relay with a 52.21 time, while placing second in the 800 meter relay, with a time of 1:53.04

“Everything we improved on except for the mile relay, which was the same as at the West of the Pecos Relay,” Gent said. “I replaced Brittney on the 400 with Carissa (Cerna). We had a chance to beat Kermit there, but we got beat at the line. One leaned and one didn’t.”

Cerna was edge by Kermit at the finish line there by .18 second, but the Eagles’ team of Rayos, Brittany Quintana, Cerna and Dakota Long held off the Yellowjackets in the 800 meter relay, earning the No. 2 spot by .05 second.

Salcido also placed fourth in the pole vault, while the Eagles’ other medals came from Natividad, third in the 1600 meters with a 6:07.33 time, and Diana Parada, who was third in the 100 meter dash in her first race of the year.

“Diana ran a 13.3 in the prelims but came out of the blocks bad. We worked on that, but she ran a 13.5 in the finals,” Gent said. “She had already run in the sprint relay prelims, the 100 prelims and the sprint relay finals, and her first day to run was Wednesday, so I think her legs got tired.”

Pecos’ other points at the meet came from Heather Lamka, sixth in the 3200 meter run, and Olivia Castilleja, who was sixth in the 300 meter hurdles.

While the girls had more runners out, boys coach Derek Price was minus several team members due to conflicts with both baseball tournaments and the Region I powerlifting competition. Pecos finished with 22 1/3 points in a division won by Crane, with 117 points to 94 for Monahans. However he said as with the girls, the boys’ overall numbers were better than the previous week in Pecos.

“I was proud of the mile relay. We took 11 seconds off our time,” he said. “The only one that didn’t drop was the sprint relay, but our first leg was in baseball, so I changed everything. I moved Dillon Garcia to the first leg, but he was sick Thursday and Friday, so he didn’t run as good a time.”

Pecos’ Robert Herrera did pick up his first gold medal of the season in the discus, winning with a 141-foot-9 throw. “He won it on his final attempt,” said Price, who added that the sophomore had trouble with the ring alignment and saw several throws go out out bounds.

Herrera also finished fifth in the shot put, while freshman Jerome Mazone tied for fourth in the high jump in his first meet of the season. In the running events, the lone medal for Pecos came from Luis Morales, who was in the 200 meter dash with a 23.6 time. The Eagles’ other points came from the 400 meter relay team, which was sixth.

“Jerome was eighth in the 400 in prelims, Matthew (Florez) was eighth in the 400 and we were eighth in the 4-by-200 (relay), but it’s only a seven-lane track, so they didn’t make finals,” Price said.

The Eagles’ next meet, the Golden Tornado Relays, have been moved from a day-long meet on Saturday to a afternoon-evening meet on Friday in Lamesa. The change won’t affect the boys, who were already in conflict with the Midland Greenwood baseball tournament, but Gent said the move will create a conflict on Friday with softball, which plays its final pre-district game that night in Marfa. Pecos will be off for spring break the following week, then compete in their final meet before district on March 29 in Kermit.

Golfers still seek improvement after Andrews, Angelo tourneys

The Pecos Eagle golf teams both finished in the middle of the pack over the weekend, in tournament play at Andrews and in San Angelo, with the girls placing 14th out of 22 teams at the Andrews Girls Golf Tournament and the boys ending up 12th out of 19 teams in the Blue Division of the San Angelo Boys Classic.

Pecos’ girls shot 382-384-766 in Andrews, where the host Mustangs won the tournament with a 36-hole total of 653. Pecos’ boys shot a 366-344-710 for their rounds at Bentwood and Riverside in San Angelo, in a division won by Aledo with a 624 total.

Coach Gaylon Doan said that while the boys cut 22 strokes off their opening day total, district rival Fort Stockton lowered their opening day round by 36 strokes, shooting a 315 to place sixth with a 662 score.

“You can see where we are as far as Fort Stockton, and Monahans is going to be about the same,” said Doan. “Right now we’re not making very good decisions on the golf course.”

Heath Armstrong had the best two-day total for the Eagles, shooting an 88-81-167. Richard Dutchover was next with an 88-82-170, while Nathan Duke shot an 86-88-174, Mateo Tarango had a 104-94-198, and Coe Duke shot a 112-93-205.

“We’ve got to play smarter golf and manage the golf course better,” said Doan, whose team will play again in a one-day tournament on Wednesday in Lamesa.

The girls also placed behind one of their District 2-3A rivals, as Monahans finished fourth on Saturday, with a 689 total for the 36 holes of play. Fort Stockton also was entered in the tournament, but the Panthers did not have a minimum four players to have a team score.

Coach Tina Doan said Rica Pino had the best round for Pecos, shooting a 95-87-182. She was followed by both Tatum Windham and Kayla Natividad with 190s, after rounds of 92-98 and 91-99 respectively. Samantha Sparkman with a 106-100-206, and Rina Pino with a 104-105-209, were the other two golfers for the Eagles in Andrews.

“That’s what I’ve got to go with due to eligibility. I’ve only got eight golfers competing in district after spring break, so I’ll take a mixed group to Lamesa on Thursday,” she said.

“We’ve just got to learn to get up and down in fewer strokes. I was pleased with some of the decision-making and with the choice of clubs, and Rica came and had a good round on Saturday. But right now we’re just trying to get a few more to shoot in the 80s and then see how we do.”

Rangerettes use Eagle errors to rally in 7th for 6-2 victory

With District 2-3A softball play only a week away, playing well at the end of close games is something the Pecos Eagles’ softball team needs to work on.

The Eagles, who missed a chance to finish at .500 last weekend against Class 4A and 5A schools at the Prairie Dog Classic when they lost a two-run lead in the final inning against Canyon Randall, went into the seventh inning of their game at home on Friday night nursing a 2-1 lead against the Greenwood Rangerettes, and again, saw the lead vanish. Greenwood scored five times in the seventh for a 6-2 win over Pecos, to drop the Eagles below the .500 mark for the first time this season.

“We just got a little nervous at the end and started making mistakes,” said Eagles’ coach Tammy Walls, as pitcher Gabby Garcia ran into control problems to start the seventh inning, and the Eagles ‘defense then made several mistakes after that, allowing the Rangerettes to rally after leaving the bases loaded in the previous inning.

Greenwood freshman Linsey Hays picked up the win, while going 3-for-3 at the plate and scored what turned out to be the game-winning run for the Rangerettes. But the run didn’t come after one of her hits, but after she was hit in the head by a pitch from Garcia, one pitch after Garcia walked No. 9 batter Juli Muldow on a 3-2 pitch.

Garcia’s next pitch sailed over the head of catcher Diana Parada, moving both runners up a base, and Brownyn Hays followed with a game-tying single. Her younger sister would then put Greenwood ahead when she scored on another wild pitch, and after a third wild pitch moved her to third, Hays scored when a pickoff attempt by Parada got by third baseman Kristen Ikeler. Pecos’ mistakes continued after Garcia got Amber Garduno for the first out. Amber Dublin collected her second double of the night and Kate Collins singled. She then stole third and Dublin scored when Brittany Palomino dropped a throw in front of second from Parada, and after another single, this one by Britt Kutowski, Collins scored the final run on Krista Elkand’s ground out to third.

“We had the No. 9-1-2 batters coming up, and we walked the No. 9 batter and hit the No. 1 batter,” Walls said. “Gabby pitched awesome the first six innings, but she just lost her control in the seventh.”

Garcia had held Greenwood scoreless for five innings, after the Rangerettes had taken an early 1-0 lead on a single by Linsey Hays to start the game and the first of Dublin’s two extra-base hits. But the Eagles tied the game in the second when Parada reached on an infield single and then scored all the way from first when Aileen Rayos doubled over the head of Selena Roman in left field.

The same two Eagles gave Pecos their 2-1 lead two innings later. Parada walked and then stole second after being picked off first and came home on Rayos’ RBI single to right field. “Aileen had a great game, going 2-for-3, and she had an awesome catch in right field,” Walls said, referring to a foul fly Rayos ran down off the bat of Roman in the fifth inning.

Garcia survived Linsey Hays’ second and third hits without a problem. The second came with one away in the third and the Eagles’ pitcher then struck out Brownyn Hays and Garduno, around a couple of wild pitches that moved Hays to third. In the fifth, she fanned Hays again, this time after her sister singled with two away.

The Eagles were unable to score after Palomino reached on a two-out error in the fifth by Muldow, and then Garcia survived a bases-loaded jam in the sixth, when Dublin reached on a one-out error by Ikeler and Kutowski reached on an infield single and Eklund walked with two away.

Garcia fanned Roman to retire the side, but Hays then survived a leadoff error by Dublin at shortstop in the sixth on a grounder by Ikeler, before the Rangerettes broke through in the seventh, and Hays retired the side in order in the bottom of the inning.

“They had a good pitcher. She went outside on us, and we chased it and made it easier for her,” Walls said.

The loss dropped Pecos to 8-9 on the season going into their final two pre-district games, both on the road this week, at Snyder on Tuesday and in Marfa on Friday. Greenwood improved its record to 11-3 on the year.

Close wins earn Eagles tournament split

Losing leads at the end of the game is not something Pecos Eagles’ baseball coach Eric Garcia wants to see a lot of this season.

So after watching the Eagles lose a one-run lead in the bottom of the seventh for the second time in a week, during the opening day of the Snyder Tournament on Thursday, the Eagles’ coach was happy to see his team avoid losing a four-run lead on Friday to get their first tournament win, and then win Saturday morning in extra innings after cutting down the winning run at home plate in the bottom of the seventh.

Pampa scored five runs in the first inning of Pecos’ tournament opener on Thursday morning, and went on to score a 6-1 win, while in the second game, the Eagles held a 4-0 lead midway through their game against Abilene Wylie and were up 5-4 going into the bottom of the seventh inning, only to see the defending Region I-3A champs rally for a 6-5 victory.

On Friday, Pecos would jump out to as much as a 6-1 lead over the Dumas Demons, and were up by four going into the bottom of the seventh before holding on for a 9-8 victory. Then on Saturday, Pecos took an early 3-0 lead over Lubbock Christian, only to see Lubbock tie the game in the fifth and put runners on first and third with one out in the seventh when Matt Sanderson was thrown out trying to score on Jake Trew’s fly ball to left fielder Lucas Chavez. Pecos then scored twice in the top of the eighth, and Vincent Palomino survived a two-out double in the bottom of the inning to earn a 5-3 victory.

“That play by Lucas was outstanding,” Garcia said, as Chavez hit third baseman Justin Contreras, who then threw to catcher J.R. Lujan for the tag on Sanderson that sent the game into extra innings. “We work on that situation all the time, with a running on first and third with one out, and he made a great throw and that sparked us and we ended up getting two runs in the next inning.”

Pecos had taken advantage of some early mistakes by Lubbock Christian and pitcher Brad Bell to jump out to a 2-0 lead in the first, and then added a run in the third. Walks to Isaiah Patino and Reyes and an error by shortstop Cody Plank on Lujan’s grounder loaded the bases, and Contreras then drove in a run when his fly ball to center was misjudged in the wind by Sanderson, who let the ball drop in front of him for an RBI single.

Reyes then scored when Bell missed the throw back to the mound by catcher Tyler Branham. Bell would leave the bases loaded, but in the third Eli Valenzuela would score on a passed ball by Branham. Valenzuela was running for Lujan, who opened the inning with a single, and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Contreras and a James Garcia ground out.

But that would be all the scoring for a while for Pecos. Eagles’ starter Gerald Saenz survived allowing the first two runners to reach base in each of the first two innings, and was helped out in the second by the first of Pecos’ four double plays in the game. But in the third Saenz would hit Sanderson with a pitch with two outs, balk him to second and then see him score when Brenham blooped a double down the right field line.

Another double play in the fourth around a walk and a second hit batter kept the Eagles ahead by two, but in the fifth Palomino replaced Saenz on the mound and struggled, as Lubbock Christian tied the game with two runs.

A leadoff walk to Brent Leslie and a one-out single by Sanderson was followed by Palomino hitting Branham to load the bases. Trew then scored one run with a sacrifice fly and Taylor Timmins tied the game with an RBI single before Palomino could retire the side.

Garcia said the senior, who pitched Thursday’s game against Wylie, hurt his ankle earlier in the tournament.

“He said it felt better towards the end of the game, but you could tell he didn’t have his control,” Garcia said. “But we’ll try to get him some rest to get him ready for the Midland Greenwood Tournament.”

While Pecos’ pitchers struggled, Bell settled down to retire nine straight Eagles after a leadoff single by Chavez in the fifth. He ended up stranded on third and Bell got Pecos in order in the sixth and seventh, and looked as if he would get the win when Sanderson singled with one out in the seventh, and moved to second when Chavez’s throw got past Tony Reyes.

He then went to third when Branham beat out an infield chop to second, but Chavez was able to get a moving start towards home plate on Trew’s medium-distance fly to left and fired it in to Contreras, whose throw to Lujan was in time to get Sanderson for the final out of the inning.

In the eighth, Reyes led off by doubling off the fence in centerfield then stole third before Lujan stuck out his bat on a two strike pitch and blooped an RBI single over Plank’s head to give the Eagles the lead. Lujan would then give Pecos an insurance run when he scored on an infield single by Palomino, who was able to beat out the chop to third after being thrown out on a similar play in the second inning.

“What I was most proud of was we had struggled and lost a couple of games at the end, but in the last two games here, the whole team came through and we were able to hold on,” Garcia said. “Gerald did an excellent job. It was his best outing of the year. He went out and threw strikes and got a couple of ground balls that the defense helped out on.”

Palomino didn’t have to run on Friday in two at-bats, as hit a solo homer and a two-run shot over Dumas’ Arturo Gonzales. “Timo also was 4-for-4 with a double,” said Garcia, who added that Reyes picked up the save for Isaiah Vela by getting the final two outs in the seventh in relief of Saenz, who had replaced Vela in the fifth after Dumas cut Pecos’ 6-1 lead to 6-4.

“Isaiah pitched a good four innings, and I think that was the most important thing about the last two games, we got a chance to get some good innings from Gerald and Isaiah,” said Garcia, who saw his No. 2 pitcher, Geno Leos, lose his eligibility for at least the next three weeks going into play at Snyder.

In Friday’s loss to Wylie, Jared Wallace’s one-out double in the bottom of the seventh off Palomino gave the Bulldogs their victory. Pecos got four runs in the second off starter Matt Field, but was held to just one run the rest of the way, while Wylie had single runs in the third through sixth innings, with Garcia saying a missed call in the fifth helped the Bulldogs get their third run.

“There was a bad call in the fifth inning than allowed a runner on third base. Timo threw him out from shortstop and the tag was right on him, but the umpire called him safe, and that ended up costing us a run,” Garcia said.

“Our kids know if they had beaten Wylie they would be in the championship game, and we could have had another shot at Snyder,” he said. Wylie and Snyder played Saturday night for the tournament title, with the Tigers edging the Bulldogs by a 4-3 final score.

Garcia said in Thursday’s opener, Reyes had problems on the mound in the first inning against Pampa, while the Eagles couldn’t take advantage of their chances against the Harvesters’ Colden Fortenberry.

“Timo walked a couple of people, we made a couple of mistakes and they got some hits in that (first) inning. But after that Timo did a great job,” Garcia said. A double by Pampa’s Brett Powell was the big hit for the Harvesters, while the Eagles did get a number of runners on base despite being two-hit by Fortenberry.

“We had two hits and left 15 runners stranded, and you aren’t going to beat too many people when you do that,” he said. “We also were bothered by the cold. It was in the 20s for that entire game, and our kids just don’t like the cold weather.”

Pampa ended up losing their final three games to Wylie, Borger and Lubbock Christian. Wylie finished unbeaten in the bracket, while Borger was 2-2 and Lubbock Christian ended up with a 1-3 mark.

Before this coming weekend’s Midland Greenwood Tournament, which opens with a 10 a.m. game on Thursday at Christensen Stadium against Amarillo Caprock, the Eagles will play their first game in nearly 20 years against the Carlsbad Cavemen. Pecos traveled to Carlsbad Monday night for a 7 p.m. game against Carlsbad. The Eagles went into the game with an 8-3 record, while the Cavemen just opened their 2008 season this past weekend, but are 4-0 after winning the Artesia Tournament with a victory over Bernalillo, N.M. by a 25-7 final score.

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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321

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