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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, February 15, 2008

Netters open spring tournament play in Andrews

The Pecos Eagles tennis team picked up a couple of match wins, though no division titles this past weekend, in tournament play at Andrews.

Pecos’ best finish in any of the five divisions was a seventh place, along with one loss in the consolation semifinals against a field that featured the host Mustangs, district rivals Monahans and Fort Stockton and several other area Class 3A schools.

“The kids did fairly well, but we still have some things we need to work out,” said Eagles’ coach Bernadette Ornelas. “One thing we’re trying to adjust to is the wind. We’re trying to work with the weather as well.”

The highest finishes for Pecos came in mixed doubles, where .Joe Gabladon and Mareen Maneje won their opening match over Blalock and Tandy of Lubbock Trinity, 9-7, before losing to eventual division champs Richardson and Payton of Andrews, 8-1. They then lost in a fifth place semifinal match and ended up in the seventh place match against teammate Megan Lopez, who was paired with Monahans’ Tim Forbush. They won their first match over Trinity’s Gregory and Keith, 9-8, then lost to Macias and Macias of Greenwood, 6-4, before also falling in a fifth place semifinal.

In boys’ singles, Cody Zamarripa advanced to the consolation finals before losing to Aric Martino of Andrews, 6-0, 6-1. Zamarripa lost to Monahans’ Damien Nichols in his opening match, then defeated Andrews’ Kyler Page, 6-1, 6-4; and Maverick Ramirez of Greenwood, 6-4, 6-4, in the consolation quarterfinals and semifinals. Pecos’ other boys’ singles player, Elias Alvarado, lost his opener to Lubbock Trinity’s David Hines, 6-0, 6-0; then fell to Christian Mendez of Andrews, 6-2, 6-4.

In girls’ doubles, Dakota Long and Janette Perea ended up eighth. They won their opener over Crawford and Spurell of Greenwood, and then were beaten by Riddle and Womack of Big Spring, Subia and Young of Fort Stockton and Truitt and Barron of Greenwood. They were the lone girls’ doubles team for Pecos.

Also placing eighth in her division was Jessica Munoz, who defeated teammate Amanda Renteria in her first round match, 6-1, 6-2, then lost to Trinity’s Sykler Strait, 6-4, 6-1; and Lamesa’s Morgan Evans, 6-4, 6-1; before falling in the seventh place match to Emilee Trevino of Andrews, 6-2, 6-0. Renteria won her consolation quarterfinal match over Fort Stockton’s Brandi Bagrich, 6-0, 6-2; then lost to Andrews’ Lindsey Hoffnan, 6-0, 6-0.

In boys’ doubles, Eric Galindo and Juan Carlos Munoz placed 11th, while Derek Barron and Tanner Hardwick finished 14th. Galindo and Munoz lost their opener to Sanchez and Barkson of Fort Stockton, 9-7; then lost to Trinity’s Payne and Franco, 8-0, before winning the 11th place match by default. Barron and Hardwick lost their opener to Steinhauer and Shah, 8-0; then fell to Brode and Bowles of Big Spring before losing to McClemore and Geris of Greenwood, 9-7.

Ornelas said the Eagles would have another tournament this weekend, in El Paso at Montwood High School. “It’s a 16-team tournament, and the players are going to be playing at least five matches, so it’s going to be a lot of court time,” she said.

Eagles end season with late scoring drought

Putting together four quarters of basketball on offense was a season-long problem for the Pecos Eagles boys basketball team, and it was the way they ended their 2007-08 season on Tuesday night against the Monahans Loboes.

The Eagles and Loboes had a high-scoring first half, combining for 39 points in the opening period and ending with a 55-foot shot by J.R. Lujan that allowed Pecos to go in at halftime with a 35-34 lead.

The Loboes would rally in the third period and went into the final quarter with a three-point lead, which widened steadily when the Eagles went the first 6:45 of the quarter without a basket, and ended up on the short end of a 65-50 final score.

“I don’t think we ran out of gas. I think we just got impatient. We started forcing up some shots,” said Eagles’ coach Sammy Soliz.

Lujan had 20 of his 23 points in the opening half, and Soliz said, “I think he was just pressing at the end when he saw the score. I think as a team we got a little frustrated and were a little over-anxious.”

Loboes’ coach Thomas Clay used a two-unit system against Pecos for most of the night, and the extra bodies, combined with Pecos’ foul problems, helped the Loboes pull away in the final period.

“Paul (Zubeldia) got into foul trouble early in the third quarter, and that really hurt us,” said Soliz. “German (Rodriguez) stepped in and played well in the third quarter. He’ll box out people when he’s supposed to, but he’s got a lot smaller body than some of the ones he’s asked to defend.”

The teams traded leads six times in the first quarter. Monahans took a quick lead on a Tyson Chandler lay-up off the opening tip, but a 3-pointer by Luis Morales would later give the Eagles a 5-3 lead. Pecos’ biggest lead of the quarter would be at 16-12, after a lay-up by Lujan on a three-point play, when the Eagles were able to rebound his missed foul shot and then saw Monahans’ Rex Rose accidentally tip a missed shot into his own basket.

But Rose would come back to find Trevor Owens for a lay-up, then scored off a steal and hit two foul shots to give the Loboes an 18-16 lead. And Monahans would also end up doing a lot better at the other end of the court on rebounds, taking a 20-19 lead as the period ended on another Chandler lay-up, following three other misses by Monahans on offensive rebounds.

Lujan’s 55-footer as time expired in the second period capped a 13-point period for the senior in his final game for Pecos. He had two baskets around a pair of free throws earlier in the period to turn a 25-21 Monahans lead into a 27-25 advantage for the Eagles, then re-tied the game in the final minute with a foul shot at 32-all. Another rebound lay-up, this one by Owens with four seconds left in the half, gave the Loboes back the lead before Lujan hit from behind the right side of the center jump circle.

That turned out to be Pecos’ last lead. Tanner Owens two foul shots a minute into the third period put Monahans on top, and the Eagles then saw both Paul Zubeldia and Chris Sotelo pick up their fourth fouls. The Eagles were able to stay close to the Loboes, who led at one point in the period by six, as Timo Reyes and Bradley Woods hit baskets in the closing minutes.

Brandon Jaquez ended the quarter with a lane jumper for a 48-45 lead, and Quincy Titus opened the final period by hitting a lay-up off a rebound, then connected from three-point range for a 52-45 Monahans lead. Chandler would add two foul shots to widen the gap to nine, which is where it stood when Pecos finally got its first points of the period with 3:43 remaining, on a foul shot by Zubeldia. But Trevor Owens then scored off another rebound and was fouled by Lujan. His foul shot upped the lead to 10, and the Eagles would be down by 12 before they finally got their first and only field goal of the quarter, a jumper by Zubeldia with 1:25 to play.

The loss ended Pecos’ season with a 5-21 record, 0-6 in District 2-3A play, after the Eagles had started 4-5 in their first three weeks of the season. Monahans’ win, coupled with Fort Stockton’s 62-47 win over Presidio, leaves the Loboes and Blue Devils facing a playoff game on Friday night in Alpine for second place behind the Panthers in the 2-3A standings. The winner will face Clint in the bi-district round of the Class 3A playoffs, while the loser will take on Anthony this Monday or Tuesday.

The Eagles will be paired next season with both Clint and Anthony, along with Fort Stockton, Fabens and Tornillo, as part of the new District 4-3A, and will have to replace Lujan, Sotelo and Woods on their varsity roster.

“I thought we had some good leadership with the seniors this year. I’m very, very pround of J.R., Chris and the way they played, and with Bradley coming in at the middle of the season,” Soliz said.

“Overall, I was very pleased with the kids’ effort, not only in this game, but for the whole season.”

Powerlifters earn two titles at Kermit meet

Pecos Eagle powerlifters picked up two individual titles for the third meet in a row this past Saturday at Kermit, in their next-to-last competition before regionals.

Job Darpolar won his weight class for the second straight meet and was named Outstanding Lifter for the 198-pound and up divisions, according to head coach Jeff Green. Darpolar had a combined 1,380 pounds on his dead lift, squat thrust and bench press to earn top honors based on weight class and total pounds lifted.

The Eagles’ other first place finisher was Katherine Ramirez, who won the girls’ 198-pound weight class, with a combined 690-pound total on her three lifts. Deandrea Bailey, who had won the girls’ 220-and-up weight class in Pecos’ first two meets, placed second in that division this time, with a combined 765 pounds for her three lifts.

“We were up overall in our totals, but the competition was a little stiffer with Permian and the other (5A) schools there, so we didn’t do as well in the team standings, but we had some good individual efforts,” Green said.

“Joseph already has qualified for regionals, while the girls are still up on the air, but we should have a couple qualify, along with a couple of more boys.”

The other results for Pecos on the girls side included a fourth by Ashley Ornelas in the 114-pound weight class, with a 560 total; A sixth by Kary Rodriguez in the 132-pound weight class, with a 550 total; a third by Makayla Hernandez at 198 pounds, with a combined 540-pound total, and fourth, fifth and sixth by Krystle Ramirez, Mayra Moreno and Doni Marquez at 165 pounds, with lifts of 540, 525 and 490 pounds respectively.

The boys picked up a second from Aza Hinojos at 114 points, with a combined 605-pound total on his three lifts; a sixth by Kevin Herrera at 148 pounds, with a combined 805-pound total; a 10th by Robert Herrera in the 181-pound division ,with a combined 885-pound total, a 10th by Jake Varela at 198 pounds, with a 940-pound combined total; and a fourth and seventh in the 242-pound weight class by Alonzo Villalobos and Travis Gomez, with totals of 1,070 and 920 pounds.

Pecos’ final regular season meet will be on Feb. 23 at Big Lake. Green said the girls’ regional will be the following Saturday in Clyde, while the boys’ regional will be in Levelland on March 8.

Pitching looks good for Eagles in scrimmage

The pitching is ahead of the hitting for the Pecos Eagles baseball team, going into this weekend’s pre-season events and Monday’s 2008 regular season opener against the Greenwood Rangers.

The Eagles host the Rangers at 7 p.m. on Monday to start off the 2008 season, after two events planned for this weekend – a home-run derby that was scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday, and an alumni game, which is set for 5 p.m. on Saturday at the Pecos High School baseball field.

Pecos traveled to Kermit this past Monday to scrimmage the Yellowjackets, and coach Eric Garcia said the Eagles came away with a 5-0 victory.

“The pitching looked extremely good. We didn’t allow a hit through five innings with three different pitchers,” Garcia said.

The Eagles No. 1 pitcher from last season, Vincent Palomino, faced seven batters in two innings, striking out six and allowing one walk. Garcia said Gerald Saenz then came on and struck out four while walking two in two innings, and Isaiah Vela had three strikeouts and no walks in two innings of work.

“The only bad thing is we didn’t get to look at the defense a whole lot,” the Eagles’ coach added.

Wednesday was the first day Pecos has had their players out from basketball, which Garcia said includes starting outfielder/pitcher Timo Reyes and starting catcher J.R. Lujan. He added that Pecos will get their other returning pitcher from a year ago, Geno Leos, back off the ineligible list on Friday.

While the pitching looks good for Pecos, the Eagles have some questions on offense. They lost one of their top returning hitters, Jose Chavez, for the season due to disciplinary reasons, leaving Reyes, Leos and Palomino as the only returning starters from last year’s 12-12-2 team that advanced to the area round of the Class 3A playoffs.

“Our offense struggled for three innings (Monday). In the later innings we managed to get some hits and manufactured some runs, so it was a good first scrimmage for us,” Garcia said.

Along with Reyes and Lujan, Garcia said Pecos also got Chris Sotelo off the varsity basketball team on Wednesday. He’ll play in the outfield for Pecos, while Garcia said the Eagles will have a few varsity reserve players back from last season. “James Garcia played a few games in district, as well as Justin Contreras. But pretty much everybody else is new,” the Eagles coach said.

Pecos has three games scheduled for next week. After opening against Greenwood, the Eagles have a Friday home game against Snyder followed by a Saturday afternoon game in Fabens. “Snyder is predicted to win this region, so that will be a good measuring stick for us early on,” Garcia said.

Pecos then hosts Kermit on Feb. 26, and then begins a string of a dozen straight games on the road, beginning with the Monahans Sandhills Tournament on Feb. 28 and running through Pecos’ District 2-3A opener, in Fort Stockton against the defending district champion Panthers on March 25.

In-between, Pecos will go to Snyder and Greenwood for tournaments on March 6-8 and March 13-15, along with road games on March 4 in Sweetwater and March 10 at Carlsbad. It will be the first games between the Eagles and Cavemen in baseball in nearly 20 years, while Pecos will be back in the Sandhills Tournament for the first time in three years.

The Eagles will get to play five of their nine district games at home this season, starting with a March 28 game against Presidio. Pecos will play the Panthers and Blue Devils twice at home and once on the road, while facing Monahans twice on the Loboes’ home field, including their final regular season game on April 22.

Pecos facing ex-district rival to open playoffs

The Pecos Eagle girls basketball team has ended two of their past three seasons against the Seminole Maidens. On Friday night, they’ll try to be the ones that end Seminole’s basketball season, when the teams meet in the area round of the Class 3A playoffs.

Pecos and Seminole will face each other at 6:30 p.m. at Crane High School, with the winner going on to face the winner of the area round match-up between Fabens and Lubbock Cooper. It’s the first meeting between the teams since the final game of the 2005-06 regular season, when Seminole closed out their second straight undefeated district year with a 65-32 win over the Eagles.

Only one player on each team remains from the 2005-06 squads, junior Gabby Garcia for the Eagles and senior Courtney Layton for the Maidens. The 6-foot-1 Layton was part of a Seminole front line that averaged 6-foot-2 and dominated Pecos up front over the two seasons both were members of District 4-3A, but on Monday night, she suffered a knee injury late in the Maidens’ 55-29 win over Greenwood in the bi-district round of the playoffs.

“Their coach (Dickie Faught) said she strained her knee, but she would play,” said Eagles’ coach Donna Gent. “If she plays she’ll be a factor because of her size, but even if she doesn’t they’ve got a couple of other girls who are pretty tough.”

“They drive the baseline well and they have a decent press, and they have a little sophomore who was pretty amazing,” the Eagles’ coach added. Sophomore Kelsey Hughes, Seminole’s other post, put in 20 against Greenwood on Monday, a team the Eagles had trouble scoring inside against in two January losses. But Gent said, “Greenwood just didn’t play a very good game. That’s the worst I’ve ever seen them look, and I feel like as long as we’re breaking out and are able to handle the ball, we’ll be able to do well against Seminole.”

The Maidens come in with only a 17-15 record, while Pecos is 13-12 after winning their first outright district title in 38 years and edging Buena Vista by a 52-51 score in a pre-playoff practice game last Friday. Garcia led the Eagles with 21 points, while Pecos was forced to deal with a shorter, quicker team for one of the few times this season.

Seminole figures to present Pecos with the opposite problem. “They’re big, but I think we’re quicker than they are, and we should be able to handle their press,” Gent said. She added that senior guard Diana Parada, who was bothered by the flu last Friday, is feeling better, which should help the Eagles against the Maidens’ press.

This is the second year in a row the Eagles have advanced to the area round of the playoffs. They defeated Tornillo in the bi-district round last season before falling to District 3-3A champion Snyder in the area round. Seminole finished third in District 4-3A this season, after winning the district title a year ago and beating Monahans in the area round of the playoffs.

Monahans, the District 2-3A runner-up behind Pecos, advanced to the area round on Monday with a 58-46 win over Tornillo and will take on 3-3A champ Lamesa in their area round game on Friday at Greenwood. Seminole’s district was won by Lubbock Cooper, which will face Fabens, after the Wildcats eliminated Presidio, 72-54, in a bi-district game played in Pecos on Monday night. They’ll face Cooper on Friday night in Fort Stockton.

Weather may cause problems with Eagles’ softball openers

Before the Pecos Eagle girls’ basketball team was scheduled to face the Seminole Maidens this weekend, the Eagles’ softball team was scheduled to take on Seminole, along with the Kermit Yellowjackets, in their opening games of the 2008 season.

However, the weather conditions forecast for Friday and Saturday mean that the Eagles are more likely to get in their Class 3A basketball playoff game Friday night against Seminole than they are their 11 a.m. game on Saturday at the Pecos High School field.

Forecasts call for a 40 percent chance of snow Friday night, and rain and snow possible through noon on Saturday, which could cause problems both for playing the game and for travel by the Maidens and Yellowjackets to Pecos Saturday morning for both varsity and junior varsity games.

If they do manage to get in the games, coach Tammy Walls said she’ll have all her players available, including those who’ll be facing Seminole the night before in the basketball playoffs. However, she said that Kermit, which has its own basketball playoff game set Friday afternoon against Jim Ned, won’t have its basketball players available if the Jackets advance in the Class 2A playoffs.

“Seminole, we’ll play varsity and JV. Kermit will depend on if their basketball team wins on Friday night. If that happens, he’ll only bring his JV,” Walls said. She added that the Eagles will face the Maidens first and the Jackets last on the planned schedule.

Most of the Eagles’ returning players from a year ago are still in basketball, including starting pitcher Gabby Garcia, starting shortstop Diana Parada and starting third baseman Kristen Ikeler.

The Eagles advanced to the area round of the Class 3A playoffs last season before losing to Andrews, after finishing second to Monahans in District 2-3A in 2007. The Eagles will try to end the Loboes’ run of five straight district titles this season, with Garcia taking over from Amalie Herrera as the team’s main pitcher.

Two other starters from a year ago, Jasmine Rayos and Brittany Palomino, will be moving to new positions due to the knee injury suffered by returning catcher Claire Weinacht. Palomino will move from second base to catcher to replace her, while Rayos will take over at second, after playing first base last season.

Another member of the basketball team, Aileen Rayos, is also scheduled to start for the Eagles, in right field, while Walls said Jayme Galindo would replace Jasmine Rayos at first base, Ally Salcido, who started some games for Pecos on the infield last season, will move to centerfield, and Lily Jaramillo will start in left field, with Ashley Baeza serving as Pecos’ flex player/designated hitter.

The Eagles have had a couple of scrimmages so far against Crane, and Walls said Garcia has looked good on the mound, which has created some other questions.

“It’s hard to say how our defense looks because Gabby’s done a great job pitching. We really haven’t had anyone hit her. But I know what we need to work on, so this will be a good chance to see where we stand.”

“The outfield looks solid in practice, but we still have some things to see with our hitting,” Walls said. She added that Salcido and Aileen Rayos have looked good in the scrimmages, but that some of the other Eagles still in basketball have to get more work in at the plate.

If Saturday’s games are cancelled, the Eagles will then open their 2008 season at home next Tuesday against Crane. Pecos will then travel to Crane, for tournament play this coming weekend.

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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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