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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Eagles’ offense grounded by Loboes

The Pecos Eagles have won a lot of baseball games with very little offense during the 2008 season. But on Friday night, their offense was just not enough to come up with a win over the Monahans Loboes.

Monahans tied Pecos for first in the District 2-3A standings and earned the tie-breaker over Pecos with their second win in as many tries in district play against the Eagles, beating Pecos by a 5-4 final score at Eagle field.

The loss also was the first at home this season for the Eagles, who were trying to avoid making it two in a row on Monday night when they hosted Fort Stockton, in a game moved up from its originally scheduled Tuesday start.

Pecos has beaten Fort Stockton twice in district despite scoring only four runs combined in both games, and can clinch a playoff spot with a victory over the Panthers. But coach Eric Garcia said the Eagles would have to improve their offense over the final three games of district play.

“We didn’t hit the ball, and we didn’t execute the plays we needed to and Monahans just wanted it more,” Garcia said.

The Loboes had three extra-base hits and several other hard shots on the night, including a home run over the trees in left field by pinch hitter Kendrick Anderson on the first pitch of the sixth inning by Gerald Saenz, who had relieved starter Isaiah Vela in the fourth inning. Meanwhile, the Eagles only hit the ball solidly once all night off Loboes’ pitcher Blake Hughes, a single to center by Chris Sotelo to open the fifth inning. But Sotelo was immediately erased when Hughes caught a popped up bunt by Lucas Chavez and doubled Sotelo off first base.

Along with their solid shots, the Loboes also had a few seeing-eye base hits, including one by Aaron Armendariz to open the game. He would later score on a Steven Valles single to left to give Monahans a quick 1-0 lead, and the Loboes made it 3-0 in the second on two infield hits by Ricky Robeldo and Armendariz around a sacrifice fly to the fence in center by Julian Hernandez and a passed ball third strike by J.R. Lujan that allowed Matt Montoya to reach base and then score.

Pecos’ Timo Reyes matched Armendariz with two hits that just found the right spots on the field, in the Eagles’ two run third and sixth innings.

His first came with two outs in the third after Hughes had walked Tony Reyes and hit Chavez around a sacrifice bunt by Sotelo. The bloop hit behind Hernandez at shortstop scored Tony Reyes, and Sotelo then scored on a double-steal, as Timo Reyes dodged Armendariz to reach second. Hughes then walked Lujan, but got James Garcia to hit into a fielder’s choice grounder to end the inning. Saenz came on for Vela after he walked Armendariz and hit Mark Arroyo with one out in the fourth. He retired Hughes and Valles to end the threat, and survived a two-out double by Ivan Rios in the fifth. But Anderson’s home run made it 4-2, and then the Loboes got what turned out to be the game winning run with two outs, when Palomino dropped Hughes’ hard line drive to right field and Valles followed with an RBI double down the line in left.

“Gerald did an excellent job. He gave up the home run and you could say that was the deciding run, but that wasn’t it. We had a couple of errors there and in the first inning that gave them a couple of runs, but it wasn’t the pitching. We just didn’t hit the ball,” Garcia said.

The Eagles did get those runs back thanks to Hughes in the bottom of the inning, after Reyes again blooped a single over Hernandez’s head into short centerfield. The Loboes pitcher followed by hitting Lujan and Contreras around a ground out by Garcia, then wild pitched Reyes home and saw pinch runner Isaiah Patino score on a passed ball by Valles. Both came with Joseph Ontiveros up at bat, but after the Eagle batter was shaken up when he fouled a 3-2 pitch off his cheek, Hughes came back to strike out Ontiveros, then fanned Tony Reyes to end the inning.

Timo Reyes came on to pitch the seventh and had three strikeouts around a walk, but Hughes the retired Pecos in order in the bottom of the inning to end the game.

“We hit the ball well in Presidio, and we had been swinging good in practice the last two days, so I was hoping that we had solved the hitting problem, but obviously we haven’t,” said Garcia. “I may be one of those things I don’t know if we can fix.”

Garcia said Palomino, 6-2, would start Monday’s game against Fort Stockton. He no-hit the Panthers in the Eagles’ district opener, which Pecos won by a 2-0 score despite getting just one hit off Panthers’ starter Sergio Corral. Both teams did better at the plate on April 4, in the teams’ second meeting, but Pecos still needed a bases-loaded walk by pitcher Francisco Jaquez in the bottom of the seventh inning to come away with a 2-1 victory.

Runners get fast turnaround after district meet

The Pecos Eagle boys track team got in their second meet in a week on Friday, when they traveled to Monahans for a regional qualifiers event following last Monday’s District 2-3A meet in Fort Stockton.

“They competed well,” said coach Derek Price, who took all but a few of his qualifiers. “The mile relay ran a 3:40, which is the fastest time we’ve run all year.”

Price said the 800 meter relay team didn’t run as well as at the district meet, but that they were running on Friday with one alternate from Monday’s meet. Individually, Luis Morales placed sixth in the 200 meter dash, while Omar Media cleared 10 feet in the pole vault, the same as at district.

“German Rodriguez beat all the other 3A kids in the 800,” Price said. “Guys Mendoza in the two-mile beat all but one of the 3A kids. The kid from Snyder beat him.”

He said Brian Navarette in the discus and Matthew Florez in the 400 meter dash were among the other Pecos regional qualifiers to make the trip to Monahans.

Navarette and Jeremiah Soto are scheduled to compete this coming weekend in a regional qualifier’s meet in Iraan. Pecos’ girls also are scheduled to go to that meet. The girls skipped Friday’s meet in Monahans due to a conflict for several of the Eagles’ regional qualifiers with the girls’ softball game against Monahans.

Pecos girls play for second after loss to Monahans

Pecos Eagles coach Tammy Walls was hoping a weekend of rest would be enough to clear up the problems pitcher Gabby Garcia suffered from on Friday, in the Eagles’ final meeting of the regular season against the Monahans Loboes.

Garcia who had one bad inning in each of Pecos’ first two games against Monahans, didn’t make it through the second inning due to control problems on Friday, as walks and hit batters helped the Loboes jump out to a big early lead on the way to a 16-0 win over the Eagles.

The win clinched the District 2-3A softball title for Monahans, but had no effect on the final standings for Pecos. The Eagles, who were already locked into second or third place in the 2-3A standings, were in Fort Stockton Monday afternoon to decide their playoff position, in a 5 p.m. game against the Prowlers.

Pecos won earlier this season in Fort Stockton by a 14-4 score, while the Prowlers took the second meeting in Pecos by a 13-2 margin. The winner will get the No. 2 seed in the district and will face the third place team out of District 1-3A next week in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs.

Control problems have hurt Garcia throughout the season, but the situation got worse for the junior on Friday, when she hit two batters, walked two others and had two wild pitches in Monahans’ five-run first inning.

“It’s definitely a mental game. What’s wrong with Gabby right now is not that she’s not physically capable. It’s that she’s struggling mentally,” Walls said. “There’s not a kid in this high school district who works harder than Gabby Garcia, but sometimes you’ve got to let it go,” she said, after telling Garcia to take off from practicing over the weekend.

Along with Garcia, Pecos’ defense also had its problems in the first inning. Katlin Mitchell doubled after Jayme Galindo dropped her foul pop up near first base, and two runs would later score on an Ashley Nunez soft line drive on the infield that a diving Marlene Salgado couldn’t come up with for the final out of the inning.

Three more walks and another hit batter in the top of the second led Walls to replace Garcia with freshman pitcher Crystal Ramirez. She also has a rough start, as Allyson Ramos greeted her with a two-run single and Nunez followed one batter later with a three run homer to make it a 12-0 game, then settled down to retire nine of the next 12 Monahans hitters she faced.

“Crystal did a pretty good job of throwing strikes,” said Walls. Ramirez would surrender the final four runs to the Loboes in the top of the fifth inning, after a dropped fly ball by centerfielder Ally Salcido with two outs kept the inning alive.

Pecos meanwhile wasn’t having much luck making solid contact against Mitchell. The Eagles, who managed three early runs off the Loboes’ senior in each of the first two games, only had one hit through the first four innings, a third inning single off the fence in right-centerfield by Galindo.

Pecos did get runners into scoring position in the fourth, when Mitchell hit Salicdo and walked Diana Parada, and loaded the bases in the fifth, when Mitchell hit Galindo and walked Brittany Palomino around a single by Ramirez. But both times, the Eagles were unable to score, and Monahans ended the game in the fifth under the 10-run rule.

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