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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, April 25, 2008

Eagles claim district title with 7-4 win over Loboes

The Pecos Eagles got to a pitcher they couldn’t hit earlier this month and got to a team they hadn’t been able to beat in their first two meeting this season, as the Eagles closed out their 2008 regular season by clinching their first outright district baseball title in six years with a 7-4 victory in Monahans over the Loboes.

The Eagles scored five times in the third inning off starter Blake Hughes, survived control problems by Vincent Palomino that allowed the Loboes to score four times in the bottom of the inning, and then picked up a pair of insurance runs in the sixth to back the relief pitching of Timo Reyes and avenge two earlier district losses to the Loboes by winning the District 2-3A championship.

The victory gives the Eagles a bye in the first round of the playoffs. They’ll now await the winner of the bi-district playoff series between Andrews and either Seminole or Brownfield in an area round playoff the weekend of May 1-3, at a site and time to be determined.

“If we can hit the ball like that and get Vincent going and get Geno (Leos) back, I think we’re going to be a tough out in the playoffs,” said Eagles’ coach Eric Garcia, whose team advanced to the area round of the Class 3A playoffs last season.

Hughes had kept the Eagles making any solid contact on April 11, in Monahans’ 5-4 win in Pecos. His main problem in that game was his own control, which helped the Eagles score three of their four runs. On Tuesday, the junior against fell behind hitters, but this time, after surviving one-out hits in the first and second innings, Hughes failed to last the third inning, when the Eagles sent 10 batters to the plate and scored four of their five runs with two outs.

Lucas Chavez walked with one out to start the rally, and Palomino followed with a single down the left field line. Hughes then walked Reyes on a 3-1 pitch and then hit J.R. Lujan with his next pitch to force home the first run of the game. He then struck out James Garcia on a 3-2 count, but Joseph Ontiveros lined his next pitch into left field for an RBI single, and Isaiah Vela took the pitch after that into center for a two-run single and a 4-0 lead.

Joel Chavez followed with a single to left-center that scored Ontiveros to make it a 5-0 game, and Monahans coach Robert Dixon then replaced Hughes on the mound with Ty Horton. He would get Chris Sotelo to foul out to end the inning, and the Loboes then got back into the game in their half of the third.

Chase Williams started by doubling down the line in left off Palomino, who then walked Ivan Rios and fell down trying to field Fabien Flores’ sacrifice bunt, which loaded the bases. He came back to strike out Aaron Armendariz but then walked Horton to force home a run. Monahans then made it 5-2 on an infield hit by Quincy Titus to shortstop that Vela was able to smother, but couldn’t flip over to Joel Chavez in time to get Horton at second. A wild pitch then scored Flores and walks to Hughes and Steven Valles around a Ricky Robledo strikeout forced home Horton with the fourth run.

Palomino then struck out Williams to end the inning, but was replaced by Reyes after Rios singled and Flores walked to start the fourth inning. He would strike out Armendariz, got Horton to tap out to Lujan and then fanned Titus to keep the Eagles ahead by a run.

“Vincent was fine in the first two innings, then he just ran into some control problems,” said Garcia. “Hats off to Timo. He did an excellent job coming in, and our bats came through really good tonight.”

Meanwhile, Horton retired Pecos in order in the fourth and survived one-out singles by Garcia and Ontiveros in the fifth. But in the sixth, he walked Sotelo to open the inning and then saw him sacrificed to second by Lucas Chavez. Sotelo had to hold at second when Palomino flew out to Titus in centerfield, but Reyes followed with a double off the fence in left-center to score Sotelo and make it a 6-4 game.

“That was a big hit, and I thought it was gone. I had already turned around and was looking at Timo,” Garcia said.

Reyes then moved to third on a passed ball by Valles and was able to score when Lujan beat out Williams’ throw on a slow bouncer to third base. Monahans would get runners on with two outs in both the sixth and seventh innings, off a walk to Kendrick Anderson and a double by Hughes, but the Loboes never got the tying run to the plate, as Reyes got Armendariz to bounce out to Chavez at second to end the sixth, and got Robledo on a bouncer to Garcia at third in the seventh, to end the game.

“We had a chance to jump on them once again, but let them come back with that one bad inning. They put up four runs, and a lot of that we gave them, but I thought we played an excellent game tonight,” the Eagles’ coach said.

The win gave Pecos a 6-3 record in district, and a 19-7-1 overall mark. The district title was the first for Pecos since 2002, their final year as a Class 4A school. Monahans’ loss cost the Loboes a shot at their first district title since 2002, and forced them to sweat out the next 30 minutes, before finding out that Presidio had beaten Fort Stockton by an 11-6 score. A Fort Stockton win would have knocked Monahans out of the playoff on the final day of the season for the second year in a row. Instead, they’ll take on Fabens or Anthony in the bi-district round of the playoffs.

Monahans goes in as the third place team out of District 2-3A. Presidio, the second place team, could face Fabens, Anthony or Tornillo, depending on the outcome of the final games in District 1-3A on Friday.

Garcia said the Eagles would probably play one or two practice games next week against other teams with first round byes, while awaiting the winner of Andrews’ bi-district playoff against Seminole or Brownfield.

Eagles’ regional golf qualifiers fall short of spots

Pecos Eagle golfers Nathan Duke and Rica Pino had a couple of their best rounds of the season on Tuesday, at the Region I-3A Golf Tournament in Midland. But both scores fell short of what was needed to advance to the Class 3A state finals, while the Eagles’ other medalist golfer, Tatum Windham, was unable to lower her scores from District 2-3A competition.

Monahans, which ran away with the district girls’ title, advanced to state along with Andrews on Wednesday, while the Loboes ‘B’ team, which beat out Pecos for the other Region I-3A team berth, finished eighth.

Pino, who played at state two years ago when the Eagles qualified for the Class 3A finals, shot an 86 on Tuesday and an 87 on Wednesday to finish with a 173 score, which was third best among the medalist qualifiers. However, it was 27 strokes in back of tournament winner Samantha Soto of Seminole, who shot a 146 and won a playoff over Candace Brister of Bridgeport.

“Rica did really well. She was pretty confident, but she knew she needed to shoot lower,” said Eagles’ coach Tina Doan. “Nowadays if you don’t shoot 75 or lower, you’re not going to make it to state as an individual.

“She shot two of her low scores of the year. She played well and played hard and never gave up, and that’s all I can ask,” said Doan, who added the senior finished 30th overall. Windham qualified for regionals as a freshman after three straight rounds of 90 in the District 2-3A meet. That’s also the score she shot on Tuesday, but saw that total rise to 94 on Wednesday, for a 184 overall score for 36 holes of play.

“Going to regionals was a real eye-opener,” Doan said. “She competed well and learned a lot, but she still has a lot to learn.

“She’s got the game to get to state, if she keeps after it. Right now we’re going to work on the mental part of the game and on course management. Hopefully she’ll have the incentive to work to be a state qualifier,” she said.

Andrews won the tournament with a 629 score, nine shots in front of Monahans, which shot a 638 to earn the other Class 3A state berth by 17 strokes over Seminole.

On the boys’ side, Duke shot an 82 on Tuesday following an opening round of 87 for a 169 total, 26 shots in back of Levelland’s Tucker Hutto, who won the tournament in a playoff over Trey Bearden of Abilene Wylie.

“He played well Tuesday, and didn’t play very well on Monday,” said coach Gaylon Doan. “He started out well with a birdie on Monday, then got into some problems and had a bogey on the net hole and a double bogey after that.

“But I think he realized it’s going to take a lot of dedication on his part and on the team’s part next year to advance past regionals,” he added. “You can’t shoot in the 80s over there and advance as a medalist or as a team, but for him 82 was a good score on Tuesday.”

Doan said tournament champion Graham had no individual scores above 77 in either round, and won the tournament with a 589 total. Wylie was eight strokes back and earned the second Class 3A state berth by eight shots over Andrews. District champion Monahans was only eight shots behind Graham in the final round on Tuesday, but also had a bad first round and finished 10th overall with a 628 score, while Fort Stockton was 11th with a 649 total.

Seven Eagle swimmers get all-state recognition

Two members of the Pecos Eagles swim team were named to the second team Class 4A All-State Swim team, while five others also received honorable mention, based on results at this year’s Region I-4A and Class 4A swimming and diving championships.

Senior Matthew Florez was named to the second team in the 50-yard freestyle, while sophomore Sammy Sandoval was a second team selection in 1-meter diving, coach Terri Morse said. Florez placed 12th in Austin in the 100-yard freestyle while he was disqualified for a false start in the preliminaries of the 50 free, but earned his second team honor based on his results at the Region I-4A meet, which had earned Florez a Top 8 seeding going into the state meet.

Florez had earned all state honors in the past as a member of the Eagles’ 200-yard medley and 400-yard freestyle relay teams, while it’s the first selection for Sandoval, who placed 11th in the state finals. Sandoval placed second at regionals, qualifying there after Eagle diver Hector Roman, an all-state selection in 2007, was injured in a car accident after winning first at the District 4-4A swim meet in January.

The two other individual honorable mention selections were junior Josh Elliott in the 100-yard backstroke and the 200 individual medley, and freshman Allyson Salcido in the 500-yard freestyle.

Elliott placed 14th in the consolation finals of the 200 medley at Austin, and was 15th in the 100 backstroke. Like Florez, he was a previous all-state selection after qualifying for the Class 4A finals in his freshman and junior years.

Reynolds set a new girls’ regional record in the 500-yard free this past season, and finished 14th in Austin in the event in her first year of high school competition.

The other three honorable mentions were Edward Navarro, Carlos Navarro and Derek Teague, as members of the boys’ 200 medley and 400 freestyle teams. The medley was made up of Elliott, Florez, Teague and Carlos Navarro and placed 16th in the prelims in Austin, before being disqualified in the finals at state, while the 400 free relay team earned honorable mention based on their regional time after failing to qualify for the 4A finals. Florez, Elliott, Teague and Edward Navarro made up that team at regionals.

Track conflict causes softball cutback in softball playoff

Logistics, and the inability to predict the near future, has resulted in the Pecos Eagles’ bi-district softball playoff series against the Clint Lions being cut back from a best two-of-three series, to a one-game playoff, which was held Thursday afternoon in Clint.

Pecos had been scheduled to face Clint at 5 p.m. on Thursday in Game 1 of the series, with Game 2 and, if needed, Game 3 set for Saturday at 3 and 5:30 p.m. in Pecos. But those times could conflict with the running finals for several of the girls at the Region I-3A Track and Field Championships in Odessa.

Shortstop Diana Parada, catcher Carissa Cerna and outfielders Brittany Palomino and Ally Salcido all qualified in individual running events at the District 2-3A meet in Fort Stockton on April 7. Parada and Palomino qualified in the 100-yard dash, Cerna in the 800 meter run and Salicdo in both the 100 and 300 meter hurdles, though she’ll only run in the 300 in the prelims on Friday. All four also are members of Pecos’ regional qualifying relay teams.

Eight out of the 24 qualifiers in each event will advance to Saturday’s finals, which begin at 1:15 p.m. While it’s possible none of the Eagle runners will advance past Friday’s prelims, the uncertainty led to the cancellation of Games 2 and 3. Softball coach Tammy Walls said the option of playing the games later on Saturday was ruled out because Clint has its prom scheduled Saturday night.

Pecos finished third in District 2-3A and Clint second in District 1-3A this season. The winner of Thursday’s game will face District 4-3A champ Levelland next week in the area round of the Class 3A playoffs.

Track teams add competitors for regionals

The Pecos Eagle girls will be looking to send at least one person to Austin for the fourth time in the past five years, while Pecos’ boys will try to break an 11-year drought of state qualifiers this weekend, at the Region I-3A Track and Field Championships at Ratliff Stadium in Odessa.

Field event finals will start at 10 a.m. on Friday, while the first running final will be the 3200 meters, at 1:30 p.m., followed by preliminaries in other running events at 2 p.m. On Saturday, the remaining field event finals will start at 9 a.m., followed by the running finals, which begin with the 400-meter relay at 1:15 p.m.

The Eagles will have a few different competitors entered at the regional meet from the list of those who qualified for regionals in Fort Stockton three weeks ago, when Pecos’ girls placed first and the boys third in the District 2-3A meet. Most of the changes will be on the boys’ side where scratches have added several Eagles who missed out on finishing in the Top 3 at the district meet.

Coach Derek Price said the most extreme example was in the discus, where Pecos’ regional qualifier from a year ago, Robert Herrera, failed to place in the Top 6 after suffering a broken nose in mid-March. He’ll join teammate Jeremiah Soto, who won the event at district, while third place finisher Bryan Navarette was one of four scratches in the event for regionals.

“Bryan dropped out, and the Presidio kid and two Monahans kids also dropped out,” Price said. “Robert will get a chance to throw after getting two more weeks to heal up, so that should be exciting.”

A total of 24 individuals and relay teams will be in Friday’s prelims, with the winners of the three heats plus the next five best times advancing to Saturday’s running finals. Price said, based on the available times of the other regional qualifiers, the boys will have to cut their times to advance to Saturday’s finals.

“If we run like we did at the first of the year in the sprint (400) relay, we’re sitting about 12th or 15th out of 24, so we’re about in the middle,” he said. “German is about 15th in the 800, and those are probably our two highest ones, plus Luis (Morales), who’s about 15th in the 200.”

The Eagles qualified all three relay teams, along with Matthew Florez in the 400-meter dash and Gus Mendoza in the 3200 meter run. Price said along with Herrera, the Eagles’ other additions to the regional meet due to scratches are Alex Dominguez in the 300 meter hurdles, Dillon Garcia in the 100 meter dash and Chris Martinez in the high jump.

The girls are seeded higher overall than the boys in their events, though coach Donna Gent said she’s scratched one winner at district, Ally Salcido, from the 100 meter hurdles, in order to focus on the 300 meter hurdles, where she qualified for finals last year and is seeded about seventh going in, according to the Eagles’ coach.

“We think she has a better chance in the 300, and we don’t want her to get hurt while running in the 100,” Gent said. Salcido will also be a member of the 1600 meter relay team, where the Eagles’ other regional qualifier in the 300, Olivia Castilleja, was added after last week’s qualifier’s meet in Iraan, when the Eagles ran a 4:17 for their best time of the year.

“We’re sitting about seventh in the mile relay,” Gent said. “We’re 22 seconds off the best time in the mile relay, but we’re more than capable of running a 4:04 if all our girls run their hardest.”

Gent said the two other members of that relay team, Jasmine Rayos and Brittany Quintana, are seeded about fourth and fifth in the 400 meter dash, while Brittany Palomino and Diana Parada are about in the same area in the 100 meters. “I think Carissa Cerna is about 12th in the 800,” Gent said, while the 400 meter relay team goes in also seeded in the Top 8. In the field events, Gent said Rayos in the triple jump appears to be the highest seed for Pecos.

“From what we’ve see in the triple jump, Jasmine’s 34-11 is the best so far, unless somebody hasn’t posted,” she said. “In the long jump she’s within the Top 6 and Brittany Palomino could very easily make the finals in the triple jump, if she’ll jump on her mark.”

Gent was also hopeful that Salcido could move up in the pole vault, and said Gabby Garcia was sitting about in the middle of the field in the discus.

Garcia, Palomino, Parada, Salcido and Cerna will all be competing in Odessa on Friday after playing the previous evening 275 miles away in Clint, in Pecos’ Class 3A playoff game against the Lions, though the scheduling problem between track and softball isn’t new. Eagle Stephanie Herrera placed third at state in 2004 after flying into Austin from a softball playoff game in Pecos the previous night.

Herrera qualified for state her senior year, while Chantell Mazone qualified for state in the same event the past two years. Of the softball girls this weekend, Garcia and Parada will be the first to compete, at 10 a.m. on Friday in the finals of the discus and long jump competitions.

Doubles teams fall in openers at I-3A tourney

The Pecos Eagles regional qualifying doubles teams both ended up falling in the opening round of the Region I-3A Tennis tournament on Tuesday at the Ratilff Tennis Center, but coach Bernadette Ornelas is hopeful that the all four players can improve on their results next season.

Dakota Long and Meagan Fuentes, who placed second in the District 2-3A Tournament, were beaten by Fabens’ Alma Munoz and Jennifer Smith, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, while Derrick Barron and Tanner Hardwick, also runners-up at district, lost their opening round match to Argyle’s Daniel Alderson and Andrew Morrison, 6-1, 6-2.

“My girls doubles did really well, even though they lost in the first round,” Ornelas said. “They lost in three sets, but at one point they were up in the third set. They just made some simple next errors.

“For being freshmen playing upperclassmen it moved their confidence level way up,” said Ornelas, who noted that the Eagles would be District 4-3A rivals with the Wildcats next season.

“I believe those two ladies (Smith and Munoz) are juniors, so we’ll see them next year. But Fabens has a number of seniors, and we’re only losing two seniors, Cody Zamarripa and Hope Mora, and we’ll be gaining some good eighth graders.”

Zamarripa was a regional alternate this year, as was the other girls’ doubles team of Doni Marquez and Janette Perea, after they placed third at the District 2-3A meet.

“Our boys team is another young team. Tanner is a freshman and Derrick is a junior, so we’ll be seeing them back next year,” Ornelas said.

She said the two also made some unforced errors at the net in their loss to Alderson and Morrison. “Sometimes when you end up in the regionals you feel kind of jittery, but they got to experience what it’s like now.”

None of the regional qualifiers out of District 2-3A advanced past the quarterfinals. Fort Stockton’s Jorge Sanchez and Monahans’ Michael Derrick won their opening round matches in boys’ singles, but both lost in the quarterfinal round.

Fort Stockton will also be part of the Eagles’ district next season, while Monahans will move to District 3-3A. Clint, Anthony and Tornillo will be the other teams Pecos will face in district team and individual play in 2009.

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