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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, February 22, 2008

Netters host five teams in Pecos tournament

The Pecos Eagles tennis team will host five other area teams on Friday, for their annual Pecos Invitational Tournament, the final one for the Eagles before Region I-3A team competition next week in Lubbock.

Coach Bernadette Ornelas said district rivals Fort Stockton and Monahans, along with Crane, Wink, and Greenwood, will be the teams entered in the tournament, which starts at 8:30 a.m. at the Pecos High School tennis courts.

“I’m going to have my full team there,” said Ornelas, whose team competed in tournaments at Andrews and El Paso Americas the past two weekends. “I think we look kind of strong on the upper part of the bracket, and the lower part of the bracket is coming along as well.”

Ornelas said the tournament will be an all-day event, running through Friday evening.

Pecos’ junior high tennis team also has a tournament this weekend in Monahans.

Pecos hosting Greenwood-Clint playoff game

The Clint Lions and the Greenwood Rangers will play an area round Class 3A boys basketball playoff game on Friday night at the Pecos High School gym, starting at 7 p.m.

Clint advanced to the area round on Tuesday with a 54-50 win over Monahans. The Lions, who will be in the same district as Pecos next season, were the District 1-3A runners-up this season, while Greenwood drew a first round bye after winning the District 3-3A title. The Rangers are 21-10 on the season.

Presidio, the other team out of the Eagles’ current district to play in the bi-district round, advanced to the area round on Tuesday with a 56-53 win over Anthony. They’ll face District 4-3A champ Brownfield at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Odessa College, while District 2-3A champion Fort Stockton takes on Lubbock Cooper, 48-25 winners over Andrews in the bi-district round, at 6:30 p.m. on Friday in Andrews in their area round game.

Crockett hosts season-opening track meet

The Crockett Junior High School track teams will again be getting a one-day head start on Pecos’ high school teams this season, and will again open up their 2008 schedule at home, when they host five other area schools in the West of the Pecos Junior Relays this Friday at Eagle Stadium.

Field events will get underway at 4 p.m. with the eighth grade boys shot put and high jump, the eighth grade girls discus, the seventh grade boys long jump, the seventh grade girls triple jump and the pole vault for both seventh and eighth grade girls. The first running final will be the 24 meters at 4:15 p.m. while the remaining running events will start at 6:30, with the seventh grade girls 400 meter relay.

Along with Pecos, Fort Stockton, Presidio, Midland Christian, Marfa and Sanderson will be the other teams entered in the track meet, the first of six for the junior high teams, who will close out their season on April 4 with the District 2-3A meet also at Eagle Stadium. Their other meets are the Comanche Junior Relays on Feb. 29 in Fort Stockton, the Permian Basin Junior Relays on March 7, the Alpine Junior Relays on March 13 and the Sandhills Junior Relays in Monahans on March 28.

Youth soccer, volleyball sign-ups underway

The Reeves County Community Sports and Recreation Department is signing up boys and girls for spring programs in both soccer and volleyball now through March 14 at the department’s office at the old Pecos High School gym.

The soccer league is open to boys and girls ages 4 1/2 through 9, and has an entry fee of $10 per player. Spring volleyball is for children who currently are in grades 2 through 8, and also has a $10 registration fee. A late registration fee of $25 will be charged for sign-ups after the March 14 deadline.

Parents signing up their children have to provide a birth certificate, and the signatures of both parents must be on the returned registration form. Forms are available, and should be returned to the recreation department office in the old PHS gym. For further information, call the RCCRD office at 447-9776.

PHS track teams shorthanded for Comanche

The season opening track meet for the Pecos Eagles high school teams will find both squads a little shorthanded, when they travel to Fort Stockton on Saturday for the Comanche Relays.

Boys track coach Derek Price said Saturday’s events will start in Fort Stockton with the running preliminaries at 10:30 a.m., with the finals scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. The field events are set for two sections in-between the running preliminaries and finals, at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m.

Coach Donna Gent said this weekend’s softball tournament in Crane would take away some of her runners, while Price said he would be short a few people due to both baseball and swimming this weekend.

“Some JV baseball players won’t go, because they’re short of players for both teams. But of the varsity players, I’ll have Paul Zubeldia and Isaiah Patino going with me, only Vincent (Palomino) will go to baseball,” said Price, who moved up from assistant to head track coach this season, replacing Robbie Ortega.

“I’ve also got some swimmers who’ll be out when they’re done with state,” he said. “The big one is Matthew Florez, who ran the 400, and qualified for regionals in the mile relay.”

Price said he’d have about 25 people at Fort Stockton, 18 back from last year. “Most of those guys were on the JV, but we have Jesse Juarez and German Rodriguez back in the distance events, and I’m moving Hector Ramirez to the 800. He ran the hurdles last year, while I’m moving Paul from the hurdles to the sprints.”

Palomino also was a regional qualifier on the relays for Pecos last season, and will long jump, while the Eagles return sophomore Robert Herrera, a regional qualifier in the discus last season, and Bryan Navarette in that event and the shot put.

Gent said she would have between 27 and 32 out for track this year, including most of last year’s squad that placed second at district, though only about half that many will compete in Fort Stockton.

“As far as this weekend, I think I’ll have 15, depending on if coach (Tammy) Walls pulls up some JVers to go to softball,” she said. “Right now we’re going through timing them. I’ve got a good idea where everybody’s going to be, but we’re going to have to make some adjustments.

The Eagles did graduate several regional qualifiers, including two-time state qualifier Chantel Mazone in the discus and shot put. Among those returning who’ll be at the Comanche Relays are senior Heather Lamka qualified for regionals in the 3200 meters last season and her sister Kathryn earned a regional berth in the 1600; and sophomores Brittany Quintana in the 400 meter dash and Olivia Castilleja in the 100 meter hurdles.

Among the returning regional qualifiers who’ll be in softball on Saturday are juniors Jasmine Rayos, Brittany Palomino, Ally Salcido and Gabby Garcia.

“Jasmine we’re going to move from the open 200 to the open quarter (400), and we’re going to concentrate on getting her to state,” Gent said. “I’ve also got three of my four returning from the mile relay, so we’ll have to find another there.”

Salcido and Quintana are the other returning members of the mile relay, while Salcido had the best finish at regional among the girls returning this season, with an eighth in the 300-meter hurdles.

Gent said Pecos will have at least two other runners in the distance races this season, while looking for runners to fill in spots in the 400-meter relay.

“In the field events, I’ve got Destiny Simmons coming in, who did real well in the eighth grade in the shot and discus, and I also have Vero Tarin. The triple jump will be the same except Ally Salcido will replace Bianca Baeza, and the long jump I’ll also have to find another jumper,” Gent said.

Rayos qualified in the long jump and Palomino in both the long jump and triple jump last season, while Garcia earned regional berths in the high jump and pole vault, where Salcido and Quintana also return.

“The pole vault will be the same, and in the high jump I’ll have Gabby, and I’m going to try and get Olivia to jump,” she said. “I also have a couple of more girls who should be eligible at the six weeks period.”

The Eagles will only have five track meets this season before District 2-3A competition in Fort Stockton on April 7. They’ll be home next Saturday for the West of the Pecos Relays, then will go to the Golden Crane Relays on March 8 in Crane, the Golden Tornado Relays on March 14 in Lamesa and the Permian Basin Relays on March 29 at Kermit. Region I-3A competition will be on April 25-26 at Ratliff Stadium in Odessa.

Pecos stops Crane from walking off with win

Pecos Eagles’ softball pitcher Gabby Garcia had one of those Nolan Ryan-like games Tuesday night.

Early Nolan Ryan.

Like the former Houston Astros and Texas Rangers pitcher, Garcia opened the Eagles’ 2008 season pitching the way Ryan did in his early years, causing more problems for herself than the opposing batters did. The junior tossed a no-hitter and allowed only one ball out of the infield in seven innings against the Crane Golden Cranes, but found herself suddenly trailing Crane by an 8-5 score in the fifth inning, after allowing the visiting Cranes to use a series of walks, hit batters, wild pitches and passed balls to score three times in the third inning and five more times in the top of the fifth.

But the Eagles were able to rally in their next at-bat, regaining the lead by scoring four runs, and then adding an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth to beat Crane by a 10-8 final score.

“A lot of it wasn’t her, but a lot of it was,” said Eagles’ coach Tammy Walls. “She got rattled, and Brittany (Palomino, Pecos’ catcher) got rattled.”

Garcia is the only returning pitcher for Pecos this season, after sharing time with Amalie Herrera last season, while Palomino was making her first start at catcher, moving in from second base due to the knee injury suffered last month by returning catcher Claire Weinacht.

“She struggled a but, but she settled down the last two innings. I knew moving Diana (Parada) to catch would settle her down,” she added. Parada swapped places with Palomino at shortstop for the final two innings, and after an opening walk in the top of the sixth to Abby Rivera, got the next six outs, including a line drive to third by Neisha Garcia that Kristen Ikeler turned into an inning-ending double play.

“I think I know what she’s doing wrong. She’s dropping her head and she’s not looking at the target,” Walls said. “We should be able to correct that, because in the scrimmages, Gabby was totally in control of the plate.”

The walk to Rivera was the last of 11 walks, to go along with two hit batters in the game. She also opened the game with a walk to Rivera, and she made it to third on a throwing error by Ikeler on a Becky Gonzales grounder, but Palomino then picked Rivera off third base and Garcia got the next two outs to strand Gonzales at third.

Pecos then used two errors on an Ali Salcido grounder in the bottom of the first to take a 1-0 lead. Salcido circled the bases on throwing errors by third baseman Morgan Blue and Rivera in right field, and the Eagles then scored four times in the second off pitcher Tawny Degrafenreid.

Ashley Baeza drove in the first run with a bases-loaded single, after walks to Ikeler and Lily Jaramillo around a single by Jayme Galindo. Pecos then scored two runs on passed balls by catcher Stormie Woodfin before Baeza scored when Woodfin’s throw back to the mound after a pitch got past Degrafenreid.

That made it 5-0, but Crane then opened the third by loading the bases with none out, as Garcia hit Kelsey Damron and walked Jocelyn Cunningham and Rivera. Damon scored when Palomino threw past third trying to pick her off, and after Cunningham was thrown out at home on a Gonzales grounder and Neisha Garcia struck out, Gabby Garcia would walk Morgan Blue and Degrafenreid and see Rivera and Gonzales score on a wild pitch and passed ball.

Garcia allowed only one walk in the fourth, but then hit Gonzales to open the fifth inning. She moved to third on two passed balls, and would score on a double steal after a walk to Neisha Garcia. After Gabby Garcia got Blue on the only ball hit out of the infield, a fly to Salcido in center, she walked the next three batters, all of whom would score on three passed balls by Palomino and three more stolen bases, including another steal of home, by Angie Villa, that made it an 8-5 game.

Degrafenreid then got the first two batters in the bottom of the fifth before Parada singled and scored from first when Rivera couldn’t cleanly field Garcia’s single to right field. Ikeler then reached on an infield single, and Garcia would make it 8-7 when she came home on Galindo’s bloop single behind third base.

She went to second on the throw home, and Lily Jaramillo then hit a slow grounder to second than Cunningham couldn’t field cleanly, allowing both runners to score to give Pecos a 9-8 lead. Degrafenreid then got the final out, but allowed the Eagles to score their 10th run with two outs in the sixth, on an infield single by Palomino and a double to left field by Parada.

“I thought we hit the ball pretty good, but overall we didn’t look sharp,” Walls said. “We only had one day of practice as team, and we will certainly work on our problems in the days to come, but we looked very sloppy.”

Tuesday’s game was the first of two games in three days against Crane. They faced Crane at 2 p.m. on Tuesday on the Golden Cranes’ home field in pool round play of the Crane Tournament. Pecos opened play with a 10 a.m. game against Eldorado, and have three more pool round games on Friday, against Marfa at 10 a.m., versus Wall at 12 noon and against Lamesa at 4 p.m.

Saturday’s games will be determined by the pool round seedings, and the tournament will run through the title game Saturday evening.

Late-inning hits help Eagles win opener

The colder the temperature, the hotter the Pecos Eagles’ bats were on Monday night, in their season-opening game against the Greenwood Rangers.

The Eagles, held scoreless by Greenwood’s Colton Wilbur for the first three innings, scored five times with two outs in the fourth, and added five more runs with two away off reliever Eric Baugh in the fifth and sixth innings for a 10-4 victory over the Rangers.

Pecos collected nine of their 11 hits over their final three times at-bat, as temperatures dropped from the high 50s at game time into the mid-40s by the time the nearly three-hour long opener ended.

“I thought we had an excellent game hitting the ball,” said Eagles’ coach Eric Garcia. “One of my concerns coming into the season was our hitting the ball, and they had some trouble getting around on him (Wilbur) the first couple of innings, but then he had some control problems and we were able to take advantage.”

Vincent Palomino allowed two hits and two runs, both unearned, over five innings of work, while Timo Reyes pitched the final two innings for the Eagles, who’ll take on Greenwood’s district rival, Snyder, on Friday night and Pecos’ former and future district foe, Fabens, in their road opener on Saturday afternoon.

Palomino struggled a little in the early innings, while some defensive lapses hurt the Eagles. “He lost a little bit of his control, but what I liked was they never were able to take advantage of it,” Garcia said. “He got into trouble in the first inning, but we had a big double play behind him.”

Palomino got out of trouble in the first inning after Wilbur reached when first baseman Isaiah Patino came off the bag on Tony Reyes’ throw to second when courtesy runner Kyle Williams tried to go from first to third on Baugh’s sacrifice bunt and was thrown out by Patino.

In the second, Palomino pitched himself out of a jam by striking out the side after the Rangers took a 1-0 lead walks to Bryce Williams and Thomas Candelaria, a bad pickoff throw and passed ball by catcher J.R. Lujan and a bunt single by Tyler Legendre, when Williams beat third baseman Isaiah Vela’s throw home.

Wilbur survived a first inning jam after one-out singles by Geno Leos and Gerald Saenz, when he got Timo Reyes to line out to centerfield and struck out Justin Contreras. He then got through the second despite two walks, when catcher Bevan Moody threw out courtesy runner Chris Sotelo trying to steal, and survived walking the bases loaded with two outs in the third, by picking off Contreras to end the inning.

But two more walks, to Tony Reyes and Patino, would cost Wilbur in the fourth. Palomino lined Wilbur’s first pitch after the walk to Patino into center for a game-tying single.

Wilbur then started having control problems throwing to the other bases. He threw past third trying to pick off Patino, giving the Eagles a 2-1 lead, and after another walk, this one to Leos, Saenz made it 3-1 with his second hit of the night.

Wilbur then threw past second base, trying to pick off Leos, and Greenwood coach Rene Barrientes then replaced him on the mound with Baugh, who had control problems of his own. His first pitch sailed past Moody, allowing Leos to score, and Saenz would then come home on a passed ball for a 5-1 lead.

Baugh survived a walk to Reyes and a Contreras single to get out of the inning without any further damage, but gave up two more runs with two outs in the fifth, on a triple by Palomino after a one-out walk to Lucas Chavez, and an RBI single by Leos.

The Eagles scored their final three runs in the sixth after a leadoff single by Contreras and two fielder’s choice outs at second base. Joseph Ontiveros would double past Candelaria in left field to score Sotelo, and he came in on a bloop single by Patino, who would then come in on a double steal with Palomino, after stealing second and going to third on a throwing error by Moody.

Greenwood had picked up their second run off Palomino in the fifth, when Kyle Williams singled, stolen second and with one out, scored when Vela threw past Patino trying to throw out Wilbur on a grounder to third. Bunch then walked after Chavez couldn’t hold onto his foul fly ball in right, but the Eagles got out of trouble when Tony Reyes turned a double play on Dean Smith’s grounder to second.

Pecos’ third double play of the night would bail out Reyes in his first inning on the mound, after two walks, an error and a passed ball got Greenwood their third run with one away. This time, it was Kyle Williams missing a two-strike suicide squeeze bunt attempt, leaving Lujan to tag out runner Jose Parras at home plate to end the inning. The Rangers’ final run would come with one out in the seventh, on singles by Wilbur and Smith around a walk to Baugh. But Reyes would then get Bryce Williams and Candelaria on called third strikes to end the game.

“We made a few mistakes, but the defense overall I thought played pretty sound,” Garcia said. “Timo had some problems getting his curve ball to break, but I haven’t had a chance to work with him much, since he’s only been out from basketball for a week.”

Garcia said he’d probably start Leos against Snyder, in Friday’s 7 p.m. start. The Tigers were ranked fifth in the preseason Class 3A poll, and opened their season on Monday with a 7-3 win over defending Region I-3A champ Abilene Wylie.

Saturday’s game against Fabens will start at 2 p.m. CST. The Eagles and Wildcats, led by former Pecos head coach Elias Payan, will be members of the same district next season, and will face each other at least once more this year, on March 14 at Citibank Ballpark in Midland during the Greenwood Tournament.

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