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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, July 6, 2007

LL teams move within win of district titles

The Pecos Little League All-Star teams in the 9-10, 10-11 and 11-12 year old divisions moved to within a game of their District 37 titles Tuesday and Wednesday night, advancing to the tournament finals with wins over the Fort Stockton, Monahans and Big Bend All-Star squads.

Playing in Fort Stockton, the 9-10 year olds saw the host team rally from a 4-0 deficit to take an 8-5 lead, before Pecos rallied in their final two at-bats to score a 9-8 victory, moving them into a 7 p.m. game on Thursday night against Monahans, which eliminated Fort Stockton on Wednesday. A win there would advance the 9-10 year olds to Section 1 competition, while a loss would force a deciding game on Friday night.

That’s also the schedule for the 11-12 year olds, who took a 4-0 lead on Big Bend, held off a couple of rallies, and then scored six times in the sixth inning for a 10-2 victory. They’ll play Big Bend again, after they defeated Greenwood in Wednesday’s elimination game by a 6-3 score. A Thursday night win would send Pecos to regional, while a loss would force a deciding game at 7 p.m. on Friday at Chano Prieto Field.

Also advancing to the title game were the 10-11 year old Little League All-Stars, which bounced back from a wild loss on Monday to Monahans to defeat Greenwood on Tuesday by a 15-5 score, and then Monahans on Wednesday night, 7-6, to force a deciding game at 7 p.m. on Thursday in Fort Stockton.Pecos’ Senior League All-Stars earned a trip to the Region 1 sectionals on Tuesday night, as they edged Monahans by a 5-4 score in Kermit to capture the 15-16 year old division title for the second straight year. The only Pecos team to see its season end was the Junior League All-Stars, who were eliminated from the 13-14 year old tournament in Alpine with a 16-15 loss Wednesday night to Fort Stockton.

Michael Carrasco held Big Bend to one run over five-plus innings for the 11-12 year olds, with Geronimo Ornelas getting the final six outs for the save. Meanwhile, Pecos scored twice in the first inning and two more times in the third off starter Evan Moore, then touched relievers Joey Navarette and Hervey Brito for the final six runs, after Moore was forced off the mound by the Little League’s new pitch count rule.

“He did what I wanted him to. He gave me four good innings,” said manager Vaughn Garnto of Carrasco, who was just below the 85-pitch limit when he was removed after walking Jeremy Ontiveros to open the fifth inning. Ornelas would then strike out Ian Ybarra before the inning ended on a strange play, as Ontiveros appeared to have scored from second base on a fly out by Moore to right field, when outfielder Jeffrey Trujillo lost track of the number of outs. But Ontiveros was then called out for a head-first slide into home plate, which is against Little League rules.

Pecos had taken a 2-0 lead off Moore when Ornelas singled and Brandon Garnto doubled with one out in the first, and Pony Palomino then hit a fly ball that right fielder Marcus Myers misjudged into a double, scoring both runners. In the third, Sammy Villegas and Zack Johnson opened with doubles and Trujillo had a one-out RBI single to make it 4-0.

Carrasco had a few control problems during the game, moving his pitch count towards the maximum 85 allowed under the new rule. But he made through the first three innings unharmed. But in the fourth he walked Moore and Navarette around a one-out double by Brandon Pratt. Moore then scored on a Brito grounder to short, when Garnto’s throw was slightly up the first base line, but Carrasco came back to strike out Myers and Ian Hansen to end the threat.

Moore was forced off the mound after striking out Johnson to open the sixth. Navarette got Benito Molina to pop out, but he then walked Jared Windham, who scored on a double by Trujillo. Ornelas then doubled to make it 6-1, and Brito replaced Navarette on the mound. He game up back-to-back singles by Garnto and Carrasco to make it 7-1, wild pitched another run home after walking Palomino, and then gave up a two-run single to Villegas for a 10-1 lead.

Alpine got their final run on a Brito ground out, following one out singles by Pratt and Navarette, before Ornelas struck out Abel Silvas to end the game.

Vaughn Garnto said Brandon would start Thursday’s game against Big Bend. He pitched Sunday’s 2-1 win over Monahans, allowing just three hits while striking out 15. Monahans was eliminated on Tuesday night by Greenwood, 8-6, on Brent Stuart’s three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning.

In the 9-10 year olds' win over Fort Stockton on Tuesday, both starting pitchers had to leave after reaching that division’s 75 pitch limit, and both teams staged comebacks against relievers. Pecos, the designated home team in the game, took a 4-0 lead after the first two innings, and was up 4-2 when starter Jay Hinojos had to leave the game. Reliever Fabien Tarin got out of a two-on, one-out jam in the fourth, before Fort Stockton scored six times in the fifth inning off Tarin and John Zuniga.

Pecos almost got out of the inning with a double play, but three errors and RBI hits by Dustin Gonzales and Jay Castro allowed Fort Stockton to score six times with two outs to take an 8-5 lead. But Pecos came back to score twice in their half of the fifth. Doubles by Hinojos and Cesar Ortega scored one run, with Ortega then scoring on a double play.

Fort Stockton reliever Austin Graves gave up Ortega’s double after he came on for starter Michael Garrison, and was able to keep the lead at one run going into the sixth. But the hosts were shut down by Zuniga in the top of the sixth and won in the seventh after loading the bases on singles by John Mark Rodriguez and Chaco Mendoza around a walk to Brandon Gonzales, when J.J. Lerma’s single was misplayed in the outfield for an error, allowing Gonzales to score.

The 10-11 year olds had battled back from a 14-run deficit on Monday night against Monahans to tie the game at 18-all after six innings, only to see Monahans score 11 times in the seventh and then hold on for a 29-20 victory.

That dropped Pecos into a Tuesday night elimination game against Greenwood, which they were able to win under the 10-run rule before jumping out to a big lead on Wednesday in the rematch with Monahans, then holding on for a one-run win. Phillip Ontiveros went six innings to get the win for Pecos, before having to leave due to the pitch count rule.

Eagles short of starters to wrap up 7-on-7 play

Pecos’ 7-on-7 football team wrapped up its June schedule of games last Thursday in Alpine, though several of the Eagle players did not make the trip south, according to varsity football coach Chris Henson.“The varsity was missing several starters. Some of them were at the rodeo,” said Henson, who said Pecos placed third on the night in the varsity division, while the junior varsity finished up 2-1 in their games and the linemen won their challenge, in their lone match-up against Fort Stockton.

Assistant coach Thomas Hughes said the number of regulars on the line was better than at the skill positions for Pecos, though in the 7-on-7 games some of the linemen ended up playing out of position to fill gaps.

“Justin Contreras had three interceptions,” Henson said. “Of course, he’ll be snapping the ball for us at center this season, but it shows how short we were in the secondary.”

On offense, Henson said, “Chris Sotelo started at quarterback for the varsity, because Paul (Zuniga) was on vacation, and that was good for Chris, because he got all the snaps. Luis Morales also did a good job receiving, and caught a lot of passes.”

Henson said of the regular defensive players, Wayne Sparkman had a good night at linebacker for the Eagles.

Preseason workouts for the full Pecos varsity, junior varsity and freshman football teams starts a month from now, with the first preseason scrimmage two weeks later, at home against Seminole.

Henson said Pecos is still looking to fill several coaching positions, including two varsity spots.

“We’re looking for head boys and head girls basketball coaches and two junior high coaches. I’m on the phone right now trying to recruit some people,” he said. “I thought we had a couple, but they’ve pulled out due to family reasons, but we’ll find the best people for the positions.”

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