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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, July 13, 2007

Physical forms needed before workouts start

Pecos High School students planning to participate in late summer-fall athletics need to have their physical forms filled out and returned before the start of pre-season workouts in early August if they have not already done so, PHS trainer Joel Birch said.

Practice for fall sports, including football, volleyball, tennis, cross-country track and swimming, will get underway starting on Monday, Aug. 6. No player will be allowed to participate in workouts without a completed physical form signed by a doctor and returned to their coaches. Forms are available either at the Pecos High School field house, or from local doctors.

Regular season play for Pecos’ volleyball team opens at home eight days after the start of preseason workouts, on Aug. 14 against Wink, while the Eagles’ first preseason scrimmage is on Aug. 11 in Monahans. Football scrimmages open with Pecos hosting Seminole on Aug. 18, while cross-country and tennis begin in late August and swimmer starts its season in September.

Junior high workouts for volleyball and football will begin in late August. Seventh and eighth grade players also need to have physical forms filled out and returned to their coaches before beginning workouts.

New LL rule saves Pecos in 9-10’s sectional opener

Sometime, somewhere in the long history of baseball, some team has probably won a game after being 12 runs down with two outs and two strikes in their final at-bat. But chances are it’s never happened before in the way it did for Pecos’ 9-10 year-old Little League All-Stars Wednesday night.That’s because Pecos’ coaches used a new Little League rule this year on pitch counts to catch a sixth inning violation by Midland Northern in the opening game of the Region 1 Sectional Tournament that turned a 14-2 Midland lead into a 1-0 forfeit win by Pecos in Wednesday’s first round game.

The win sent Pecos into an 8 p.m. game Thursday night against El Paso Frank Manning, which had a first round bye in the six-team tournament.

Midland Northern had only one more hit than Pecos when the rule violation stopped the game, with two outs, the bases loaded and two strikes on batter Nathan Martinez. Midland had taken advantage of 11 walks and one hit batter by Pecos’ pitchers, to go along with seven Pecos errors to build their big lead.But all that was wiped out when Pecos coaches Frankie Ramos and Arturo Quintana called time and informed the umpires that Northern starter Blake Caine had exceeded the 75-pitch limit Little League baseball began setting this year for 9-10 year old pitchers, when he threw his first pitch to Fabien Tarin, after getting Cesar Ortega on a fly ball for the second out of the bottom of the sixth inning.

“He went over when he pitched to Fabien. He finished up with 76 pitches when he pitched to Cesar,” Quintana said. “That’s why they tried to change it, but he had already thrown the pitch.”

The rules only allow a pitcher to exceed the 75-pitch limit if it happens while he is pitching to a batter. After getting Ortega, Caine - who started the inning having thrown 65 pitches, which was announced on the public address system at C.J. Kelly Park - delivered one pitch to Tarin, and then was replaced on the mound by shortstop Evan Mata.

He inherited Jay Hinojos on first, after he had singled off Caine with one away, and proceeded to give up an infield hit to Tarin and a single to left by John Zuniga, but then got to within a strike of the victory when time was called due to the protest by Pecos.

“We protested before the game was over because we didn’t want everyone to walk off,” Quintana said. “They thought the pitch counter (official scorer) would tell them when he went over 75 pitches, but the manager is responsible for the pitch count.”

The umpires, official scorer and tournament director conferred about 15 minutes, then called the State Little League Headquarters in Waco to get an official ruling before declaring the game a forfeit.

“I hate to win a game that way, but I guarantee if it had be us who had made that mistake and they caught it, we would have been in the same situation,” Quintana said.

Caine had allowed only three hits over the first five innings, but more importantly, had only one walk and one hit batter during that span. Meanwhile, Hinojos, who started the game for Pecos, struggled with his control through the first two innings, allowing four runs on only two hits.

“We just didn’t play ball. We walked too many people, and made too many errors,” Quintana said. “It looked as if we were too anxious to hit the ball, and we weren’t doing anything, and when Jay was on and throwing strikes, they weren’t hitting him, but when he finally settled down and started throwing strikes, he ran out of pitches and we had to take him out.”

Northern’s Davis Fender, Luke Fender and Justin Fender reached base to open the game on a bunt single, a hit batter and a walk. Hinojos then got two outs, but Davis Fender scored on a wild pitch and Luke Fender came in when Ortega’s throw from the backstop got past Hinojos at home plate.

Pecos made it 2-1 in the bottom of the first on a leadoff triple by Gus Mendoza and a sacrifice fly by Hinojos, but in the second walked Reid Talley and Caine around a single by James House. Talley then beat the throw home on a fielder’s choice grounder by Davis Fender, and House scored on a wild pitch before Hinojos struck out Luke and Justin Fender and Hunter Coleman to retire the side.

He had two more strikeouts and only one walk in the third, and in the bottom of the inning Pecos cut the lead the deficit to 4-2 when Mendoza was hit by a pitch, went to third on a wild pitch and throwing error by catcher Justin Fender and scored on a ground out by Hinojos. But in the fourth Tarin replaced Hinojos on the mound and lasted only two batters, walking Caine and Davis Fender before being replaced by Martinez. Two runs then scored on a Luke Fender ground out and throwing error by J.J. Lerma, and a single by Mata upped Midland’s lead to 7-2.

Things went downhill for Pecos the rest of the way, until the forfeit ruling. Midland scored four more times in the fifth and added three runs in the sixth, while Pecos failed to take advantage of their scoring chance in the bottom of the fourth when the game was still in reach.

Officially, the game goes down in the books as a 1-0 Pecos win. Midland Northern will now face Slaton, 14-0 losers to Lubbock Southwest in their opening round game on Wednesday. That game will be on Friday night, in the elimination round of the tournament.

Quintana said Mendoza would pitch Thursday’s game against El Paso, with the winner of that game advancing to Saturday’s semifinals against Lubbock Southwest or Childress, the District 1 9-10 qualifier. The losers will drop into an elimination round game on Friday night.

Pecos’ other two Section 1 Tournament qualifiers, the 11-12 year old Little Leaguers and the 15-16 year old Big League squad, open their tournaments on Thursday and Saturday.

The 11-12 year olds drew a first round bye, and opened their tournament play with a 6 p.m. game on Thursday night at Lubbock Western against District 1 champion Dumas. A win would put Pecos in the tournament semifinals against either the host Western team, which downed Midland Northern on Wednesday, or Fabens, the District 36 champion. A loss would put the 11-12 year olds in an elimination round game against Western or Fabens on Friday.

The 15-16 year olds only have two other teams in their sectional tournament, Andrews and Perryton, and will have a round-robin tournament on Saturday and Sunday at Floyd Gwin Field on 10th Street and West County Road in Odessa. Pecos will face Andrews at 1 p.m. and Perryton at 4 p.m. Those teams will face each other at 7 p.m., and the top seed will advance into a 6 p.m. title game on Sunday, while the No. 2 and 3 seeds face each other in an elimination game on Sunday at 3 p.m.

All tournament winners will advance to the West Texas State Little League Tournament later this month in Waco.

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