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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, March 28, 2008

Eagle golf teams struggle in district openers

The Pecos Eagle boys and girls golf teams both find themselves needing good rounds this coming Monday playing at home to have a chance ad advancing to regional play, following the opening round of the District 2-3A Tournament on Wednesday in Fort Stockton.

Pecos’ girls are in third and the boys are fourth following the opening 18 holes of play at Desert Pines in Fort Stockton. The girls shot a 383 and are four shots in back of Monahans ‘B’ for the second place regional tournament berth, while the boys shot a 353 and are 15 shots behind both Monahans ‘B’ and Fort Stockton for the No. 2 spot.

The top two teams in each tournament advance to Region I-3A competition in Midland-Odessa in late April. Pecos has sent at least one team to regionals every year since 1999.

Monahans ‘A’ leads on the boys’ side by 11 strokes, after an opening round of 327, while the Loboes are far ahead on the girls’ side, after shooting a 321 on Wednesday. Round two of the tournament is at the Reeves County Golf Course this coming Monday, and the final round of the 54-hole tourney is set for April 8 in Monahans.

Tatum Windham and Rica Pino were the only Eagles to break 100 on the girls’ side on Wednesday, shooting 90 and 92 respectively. “Tatum’s sitting in sixth place right now and Rica’s in eighth, so even if we don’t go as a team they have a shot at going individually,” said coach Tina Doan.

The Eagles’ other scores were a 100 by Rina Pino, a 101 by Kayla Natividad and a 108 by Samantha Sparkman. Pecos’ other two golfers, Cynthia Ramirez and Heather Matta, both shot 113s.

“I told them Rica and Tatum are holding up their legs, now the others need to jump up and start doing their part.”

Boys’ coach Gaylon Doan said over half his players have been splitting their time between school agriculture events and golf, which is a problem. “They won’t be back until about midnight on Saturday, so they’ll only have Sunday to work out on their own, because I can’t help them,” he said.

“We just still making the same mistakes we’ve made all year long. Instead of trying to stay out of trouble, they get into trouble and then get frustrated,” he said.

Nathan Duke had the best round for Pecos, shooting an 83 and tying for fifth in the medalist race. Heath Armstrong was next with an 85, and is tied for seventh overall, while Richard Dutchover shot a 90, Coe Duke had a 95 and Mateo Tarango shot a 106 for the other ‘A’ team scores.

The ‘B’ team shot a 444 and are in fifth place. They were led by Sammy Sandoval’s 99, and was followed by Josh Elliott at 104, Manuel Villaneuva at 119, and John Tarin, with a 122. Doan said the boys will tee off for their round on Monday between 9 and 9:30 a.m., while the girls’ second round will get underway about noontime.

“They should be able to manage the course, since they know it,” he said, adding he might shuffle his ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams slightly before the second round starts.

Track teams in Kermit for final pre-district meet

The Pecos Eagle track teams will both have most of their people for the first time this season, in the final track meet before District 2-3A competition, on Saturday at the Permian Basin Relays in Kermit.

Field events are scheduled to start at 9 a.m. at Walton Field, with the finals of the 3200 meter run at 10 a.m. and the running preliminaries at 11:30 a.m. Running finals are set to start one hour following the end of preliminaries, which is expected to be between 2:30 and 3 p.m.

Both Eagle teams were shorthanded two weeks ago at the Golden Tornado relays in Lamesa, but both coaches Donna Gent and Derek Price said they would be almost at full strength for Saturday’s meet, which will take place nine days before the District 2-3A meet, on April 7 in Fort Stockton.

Gent said she would make a couple of changes for Saturday’s meet. “I’m changing up the sprint relay this week so Jasmine Rayos and Brittany Quintana can run the open quarter (400-meter dash). I’m not sure who’s going to run the quarter along with Brittany Palomino and Diana Parada.

“I’m going to stack the 800 relay to see if we can run a sub-1:50 time,” Gent said. Parada, Rayos and Quintana would be on the relay, and she said either Dakota Long or Palomino would make up the final leg, depending on whether or not Long is available for Saturday’s meet.

“This will be pretty close to what we do at district, so hopefully it will give me an idea of where we are,” she said.

Price said he hoped everyone but Isaiah Patino would be available on Saturday. “Robert Herrera is a maybe,” he added, after the sophomore was hit by a discus and broke his nose prior to the Lamesa meet.

“I’ve got him entered, but it will just be his decision whether or not he’ll throw. He’ll know how he feels,” the Eagles’ coach said.

Eagles slip past Panthers on Palomino’s no-hitter

The Pecos Eagles went into their District 2-3A opener in Fort Stockton on Tuesday night owners of a lot of close wins already in the 2008 baseball season.

But they didn’t own a shutout until Tuesday – let alone a no-hitter – when pitcher Vincent Palomino came up with them just at the right time for the Eagles.

The senior started off district with a no-hitter for the second year in a row, winning a pitcher’s duel over Fort Stockton’s Sergio Corral. He also had an RBI sacrifice fly in Pecos’ two-run third inning, which stood up the rest of the way, including through the bottom of the seventh, when the Panthers got the tying runs to second and third with one away before Palomino was able to secure a 2-0 victory.

“Vincent pitched a great game. He had a no-hitter with 16 strikeouts and only two base on balls,” Garcia said. “We had one error behind him, and that and the walks were the only baserunners of the night.”

Ten of Pecos’ 17 games going into district play had been decided by two runs or less, including two extra-innings wins and a 7-2-1 record overall in those games. So Tuesday’s game wasn’t much different for the Eagles, who managed just a leadoff walk by J.R. Lujan in the first two innings against Corral, before breaking through in the third.

Another leadoff walk, this one to Tony Reyes, starting things off for Pecos. He was then sacrificed to second by Isaiah Patino, and Lucas Chavez then reached when Corral bobbled his grounder and Rene Corral dropped the throw to first base. That moved pinch-runner Eli Valenzuela to third, and after Chavez stole second, Palomino followed with a sacrifice fly to centerfield to score Valenzuela, and Timo Reyes then lined a two-out single to leftfield, which turned out to be the only hit of the game, scoring Chavez for a 2-0 lead.

“We didn’t hit the ball very well at all,” said Garcia. “I think both of our runs were unearned, so we struggled with the bats. We have to get those going before we face Presidio on Friday.” Chavez reached base twice in the game, both times after being called back to home plate after being hit by Corral pitches. He was hit by Corral prior to reaching base in the third, and was left stranded in the fifth inning reaching on a passed ball third strike after being hit in the back by the Panthers’ pitcher. The calls, combined with reversing a ‘safe’ call on Patino in the third, left Garcia unhappy.

“At one point he overturned the call of the other umpire, and you’re not supposed to show up the other ump,” Garcia said. “Then Lucas got hit by pitches twice and both times he said he didn’t attempt to get out of the way.”

Fort Stockton threatened in their half of the third without benefit of a hit, when M.J. Gonzales reached second on a passed ball third strike and throwing error by Lujan. Gonzales was Palomino’s eighth strikeout in his first nine batters, and after walking Julio Martinez, he got his ninth, fanning Adrian Olivas to end the inning.

Olivas was the first of 11 straight batters Palomino retired, which took him through getting Sergio Corral on a foul pop out to Patino to start the seventh inning. Allen Mendez walked on a 3-2 pitch, and after stealing second, went to third when Patino couldn’t come up with Jeremy Martinez’s grounder to first. He then stole second to put the tying runs in scoring position, but Palomino came back to strike out Zach Rodriguez, then got pinch-hitter Justin Ramirez to fly out to Timo Reyes in left field to end the game.

The win improved Pecos’ record to 13-4-1 on the season going into their district home opener on Friday against Presidio. The Blue Devils started off 2-3A play with an 11-3 win on Tuesday over Monahans, and come into the game with a 5-6-1 record.

Pecos used Palomino’s no-hitter last season in the Eagles’ district road opener to defeat Presidio. For Friday, Garcia said, “I’ll probably look at Isaiah Vela pitching or Timo. I’m leaning towards Isaiah (3-0), and then bringing in Gerald (Saenz) or Timo if we need to.”

Pecos girls have easy time beating Presidio, 17-1

The Pecos Eagles softball team didn’t have to do that much to pick up a win on Tuesday afternoon at home against the Presidio Blue Devils, but will have a much tougher challenge on Friday, when they travel to Monahans for a 5 p.m. game against the Loboes.

The Eagles improved their district record to 2-1 and improved to 10-11 on the season with a 17-1 victory over Presidio, a game ended in the fifth inning under the 10-run rule. Juniors Gabby Garcia and Brittany Palomino combined on a no-hitter, with the Blue Devils getting their lone run in the fourth inning following a walk and a throwing error.

“They reminded me of the way we looked in our first season,” said Eagles’ coach Tammy Walls, whose team endured a series of 10-run rule losses while winning only once during their inaugural season a decade ago. “It’s hard to stay focused, and you have to battle through games like this.”

Presidio has struggled since taking up softball, and was routed in all three games last season against Pecos. But offensively, the Blue Devils appeared to have taken a step backwards from a year ago, and Walls noted that in three innings against Garcia, “They didn’t even touch the ball.”

Garcia faced 10 batters and had seven strikeouts in three innings, with the other two outs coming when Parada threw out Roxy Hernandez and Lizet Villaneuva on attempted steals following walks in the first and third innings.

Control problems suffered by Presidio pitchers Cynthia Corrales and Asilla Gonzales meant the Eagles needed few hits to score their runs. In the first inning, Corrales hit Palomino, Jayme Galindo and Marlene Salgado, while walking two other batters. Ally Salcido had an infield hit and Diana Parada a two-run double in the four-run inning.

In the second, errors by shortstop Jhenny Fernandez on a Parada grounder and left fielder Andrea Peres on a Garcia fly ball set up another four-run inning. Salcido, who led off with a walk, scored on the first error, while both Parada and Garcia would score on a fielder’s choice grounder by Galindo.

In the third, it was a leadoff error by Diana Carrasco on a Salcido grounder that got things going. Parada followed with a single and then Corrales walked Garcia and Aileen Rayos to force home a run. Another fielder’s choice grounder by Galindo scored Parada, and Garcia came in when Ada Porras threw past first trying for a double play. After a single by Kristen Ikeler, Carrasco walked four straight hitters to score two more runs. She was then replaced by Gonzales, who would allow two more runs to score before getting three outs, one coming on a line drive by Parada that hit Salgado leading off third base.

In the top of the fourth, Palomino swapped places with Garcia, moving in from shortstop to pitch for the first time this season. She would allow a leadoff walk to Jhabby Fernandez and the first batted ball of the game by Presidio, a fielder’s choice grounder to second by Jhenny Fernandez. Salgado threw out her sister at second, but Fernandez would then steal second on a Carrasco strike out, go to third on a passed ball and score when Parada’s throw to third got past Ikeler.

Parada would then throw out Peres trying to steal after a walk, and Palomino then retired the side in order in the fifth to end the game.

By the final two innings, Walls was using a softball rule about leading off a base too early to get some of her base runners called out, in order to speed up the game, which took just under two hours to play five innings.

“We were trying to stress paying attention because that’s the kind of game where you lose focus and get hurt, or pick up bad fundamentals. So I was pulling them off the bag so we wouldn’t get someone hurt,” Walls said.

Presidio dropped to 0-2 in district with one game still pending against Monahans, after it was called off last week. The Loboes and Eagles opened 2-3A play on Feb. 14 in Pecos, with Monahans using a nine-run second inning to jump out to a 12-4 lead, then scored three times in the seventh after Pecos had rallied to within a run and won by a 15-11 final score.

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