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Friday, March 14, 2008

Darpolor earns state lifting birth, Hinojos alternate spot

The Pecos Eagle boys powerlifting team qualified one lifter last Saturday for the state finals out of Class 3A and one other lifter as an alternate to state, which will take place on March 29 in Abilene.

Job Darpolor, who came into the meet seeded second at 198 pounds, ended up placing second to Clyde’s Kevil Curtis, while Aza Hinojos earned an alternate’s berth to the state meet with a third place finish in the 114-pound weight class, coach Jeff Green said on Tuesday.

“Aza went up 50 pounds to get into third place and go to state as a alternate,” Green said. He won a tiebreaker for the No. 3 spot with Landon Oelke of Dalhart, as both tied with lifts of 660 pounds. He had a 230-pound squat thrust, a 150-pound bench press and a 280-pound dead lift to earn the No. 3 spot.

Darpolor lifted a combined 1,330 pounds, with a 530-pound squat thrust, a 250-pound bench press and a 550-pound dead lift. He tied Curtis for best lifts in the first and last categories, while Curtis won the division with a 1,470-pound total, thanks to a 390-pound bench press.

It also earned him outstanding lifter honors for the meet in the 181-pounds and up weight classes, while the Eagles’ junior was third, behind Andrews’ John Mirales, who won the 242-pound weight class.

Pecos had several other lifters entered at regional who did not place in the Top 5 in their weight classes. Stephen Apolinar was seventh at 132 pounds, with a combined lift of 835 pounds; Jake Varela was 14th at 198-pounds with a combined lift of 955 pounds; Bryan Navarette was 11th in the 220-pound weight class with a combined 990-pound lift and Alonzo Villalobos was eighth in the 242-pound division, with a combined lift total of 1,080 pounds.

Two other lifters, Nick Granado at 165 pounds and Michael Tarin at 181 pounds, were entered, but did not place.

Darpolor and Hinojos join DeAndrea Bailey in qualifying for the state finals. Bailey earned a spot in the girls’ state finals the previous weekend with a second place finish in the 242-pound and up division.

Levelland won the team title in their own building with 29 points, to 26 for Lubbock Cooper. Pecos’ other district rivals, Fort Stockton and Monahans, placed fifth and eighth with 16 and 13 points, while the Eagles’ eight points put them in 12th place.

Backstop bounce cements Eagles’ win over Cavemen

One of the public address announcements at the start of the 2007 home baseball opener Monday night for the Carlsbad Cavemen was to thank the Mosaic Potash Co. for donating the materials used to build the new concrete backstop for the high school baseball field.

A little over two hours later, Mosaic probably could have gotten a big ‘thank you’ from the Pecos Eagles as well, as the backstop wound up being part of the deciding play of a wild ninth inning, which ended with the Eagles scoring a 2-1 victory over the Cavemen.

Carlsbad’s backstop has yet to be fitted with protective padding, so when Timo Reyes’ curveball got past catcher J.R. Lujan with two outs and a runner on third in the bottom of the ninth, it bounced off the concrete right back at Lujan, who was able to turn and fire the ball to Reyes at home plate for a diving tag on a sliding Chris Rodriguez to end the game.

“That’s a good thing,” Eagles’ coach Eric Garcia said about the lack of pads on the backstop. “We saw it do the same thing earlier on another ball that bounced by J.R.”

The second straight extra-inning win sent Pecos into the first round of the Midland Greenwood Tournament on Thursday morning against Amarillo Caprock. The Eagles were looking for their 10th victory of the season when they faced Caprock in the first of their three pool round games, at 10 a.m. at Christensen Stadium.

Monday’s game-ending play came one pitch after Lujan tagged out R.J. Ybarra as he tried to score on an attempted suicide squeeze bunt by pinch-hitter Josh McCormick, and after Pecos had taken the lead with two outs in the top of the ninth when Reyes stole home as catcher Seth Rodriguez tried to pick Lujan off second base. All that came after Reyes had danced around Carlsbad third baseman Matt Flores, who missed the tag on the Eagle baserunner after he looked to be caught by Rodriguez on an attempted steal. “I really couldn’t tell if the kid got him or not,” said Garcia. “Timo did a good job avoiding him. He probably shouldn’t have gone, but he’s been doing a good job avoiding tags all season, and that ended up letting us score the winning run.”

Reyes had come on in relief of Isaiah Vela, after singles by Ybarra, Chris Rodriguez and Johnathan Rodriguez had loaded the based with one out in the ninth, and his second pitch was too far off the left side of the plate for McCormick to bunt, allowing Lujan to dive back over the right side to get Ybarra.

“I was surprised he (Carlsbad coach Kenny Groves) called a squeeze in that situation, but luckily I had a curveball called and J.R. made the stop, hopped on it quickly and put the tag on him.” Garcia said.

In the top of the ninth Pecos scored without benefit of a hit, when reliever Matt Chavarria hit Reyes on an 0-2 pitch with one out, balked him to second and then hit Lujan with a 1-2 pitch. After Reyes’ steal of third, Chavarria would strike out Justin Contreras as Lujan stole second, and when Seth Rodriguez threw down to second trying to catch Lujan, Reyes broke for home, beating the throw back from Johnathan Rodriguez at shortstop and doing a head-first flip over the leg block by Chris Rodriguez to touch home plate with the go-ahead run.

All of that made a winner out of Vela (2-0), who had missed Saturday’s 5-3 extra inning win over Lubbock Christian due to a sore shoulder.

“Isaiah pitched a great game tonight,” Garcia said. “Carlsbad has a great tradition, but he did a good job getting a lot of strikeouts (five). His curveball was working really well. “His arm was bothering him after he pitched on Friday against Dumas, but I asked him today if he felt like throwing and he said he was OK, though I didn’t expect him to go nine innings,” he added. “I probably shouldn’t have left him in that last inning. That was my call, and I should have taken him out.”

Both Vela and Carlsbad starter Will Mathis had little trouble through the first seven innings of work. Vela allowed only three hits until running into trouble in the ninth, while Mathis allowed just three hits in his seven innings on the mound, striking out eight. He was replaced in the eighth by Chavarria, who struck out the side and finished with five strikeouts while taking the loss.

Lucas Chavez, who had the first of Pecos’ three hits in the opening inning, walked to start the fourth inning, stole second and moved to third before scoring the game’s first run on an infield single by Contreras, when first baseman Andrew Castillo couldn’t handle Chavarria’s throw from deep shortstop.

Carlsbad didn’t get their first hit until the fourth inning, and tied the game in the fifth without benefit of a hit. This time, it was Vela who hit two batters, Duce Ford and Chris Rodriguez, around a sacrifice bunt by Ybarra. Vela got Parker Stevens to pop out to Isaiah Patino at first, but then wild pitched the runners up a base and saw Ford score when Garcia bobbled Seth Rodriguez’s grounder to third, and Patino came off the bag on the throw to first.

Vela survived a one-out single by Flores and a two-out error by Reyes on a Ford grounder in the sixth, and then got Castillo to bounce out to Patino in the bottom of the seventh with Johnathan Rodriguez on third after he singled, stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. Rodriguez had gone deep in the hole to throw out Vela in the top of the inning with two outs and Garcia on second after a walk and wild pitch by Mathis.

“Our hitting is struggling a little,” said Garcia, whose team has won their last two games despite getting just nine hits in the last 17 innings. “Their pitchers were pretty good and the lefty (Mathis) is probably one of the better pitchers we’ve seen, but we’re guessing a lot right now and not going up there being aggressive. But we’ll get that turned around.” “Defensively we looked good tonight. We made a lot of plays out there,” Garcia said, including a running catch by centerfielder Chris Sotelo in the second on a Ford line drive with a runner on second, and a long throw by James Garcia in the third to get Stevens with a runner on second and one away.

The win improved Pecos’ record to 9-3 going into the opening game of the Greenwood Tournament, while Carlsbad dropped to 3-1 on the year. Garcia said Vincent Palomino (3-1) would probably start Thursday’s game against Caprock.

Following Thursday’s opener, the Eagles have two games scheduled for Friday, a 2 p.m. contest against Fabens at Citibank Ballpark and a 4 p.m. game at Greenwood against Anthony. Both will be district rivals of the Eagles next season, and Pecos already owns a 16-6 win over the Wildcats in Fabens last month. Pecos’ Saturday games in the tournament will be determined by their results on Thursday and Friday.

Along with the host Rangers, the other teams in the tournament include another 2009 district rival, Clint, and Big Spring, Iowa Park, Lubbock Cooper, Llano, Canyon, Lamesa, Sweetwater and current District 2-3A rival Presidio.

Pecos misses early chances in 2-0 defeat

The Snyder Tigers didn’t have many hits on Tuesday night, but they made more out of their chances than the Pecos Eagles did with their opportunities, as the Eagles suffered their third straight softball loss, falling to the Tigers by a 2-0 score.

Coach Tammy Walls said Snyder was held to only one hit, but scored once without benefit of a hit in the first inning, before the Tigers used their lone hit to make it a 2-0 game in the bottom of the sixth.

“Gabby (Garcia) had two strikeouts, then she hit the No. 3 batter with an 0-2 count,” Walls said. “She walked their No. 4 batter, and then the next batter singled.”

Walls said a walk, passed ball and an error in left field got Snyder their first run of the game.

“Gabby pitched an excellent game. She had 10 strikeouts, but we didn’t support her,” Walls said, adding that the Eagles had baserunners in four of the first five innings but failed to score.

She said Brittany Palomino had a single in the first inning, Jayme Galindo and Marlene Salgado singled and were left stranded in the second, Kristen Ikeler walked and Diana Parada singled in the third and Ashley Baeza and Aileen Rayos had hits in the fifth without Pecos scoring a run.

The loss dropped the Eagles to 8-10 on the season going into their final pre-district game, against Marfa. Walls said due to Lamesa moving their track meet from Saturday to Friday, the Eagles’ softball game was moved from 5 p.m. on Friday to 10 a.m. on Saturday in order to let several players participate in both events.

The Eagles then open District 2-3A play with back-to-back games on Monday and Tuesday. Pecos hosts Monahans in a 5 p.m. game on Monday, then goes to Fort Stockton for their first 2-3A road contest, also at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

Boys place seventh in last pre-district tournament

The Pecos Eagle boys’ golf team played their final pre-district tournament of the season on Wednesday in Lamesa, while Pecos’ girls were in Lamesa on Thursday, for their final tournament before the start of district play.

“We were right in the middle. There were 14 teams and we finished seventh,” said coach Gaylon Doan, as the Eagles shot a 348 over 18 holes of play. Midland Christian won the tournament with a 316 score, followed by Greenwood at 322 and Seminole at 329.

“We were only six strokes out of fourth place,” Doan said, and Pecos did place one shot ahead of district rival Monahans, which tied for eighth with Lubbock Trinity. Levelland (342), Sweetwater (343) and Big Spring were the other teams to finish ahead of Pecos.

“Nathan Duke was sick, so he did go and I took Sammy Sandoval in his place,” Doan said. “He played as good as he could play for having worked out for one week and shot an 89.”

Sandoval, who missed the early part of the season while advancing to state in diving, had the fourth lowest score for Pecos. Richard Dutchover shot an 85, while Heath Armstrong and Coe Duke both shot 87s. The Eagles’ other golfer, Mateo Tarango, shot a 94.

“We’re still not consistent. We’ll shoot a 48 on the front side and a 41 on the back side. We need to be more serious out there, and right now we’re not,” Doan said.

Pecos’ next tournament will be the opening round of the three-round District 2-3A Tournament, on March 26 in Fort Stockton. Doan said both the varsity and junior varsity teams will play that day, while the Eagle girls will also open district play that day in Fort Stockton, with the first round of their 54-hole tournament.

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