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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, April 17, 2006

Eagles get 2nd, 3rd at district; relay given reprieve for regionals

The Pecos Eagle girls’ hopes for a District 2-3A championship went clanging to the surface of the Panther Stadium track in Fort Stockton Thursday afternoon. But thanks to the lack of teams in the district this year, the Eagles’ 800-meter relay team didn’t have to pay the ultimate price, and will get a chance to run again next weekend in Odessa.

A botched handoff on the second exchange of the 800 meter relay cost Pecos the lead at the halfway point of that race, and the team was at one point disqualified after Bianca Baeza rolled the baton while on the ground to Brittany Palomino, a violation of the rules. But with only four schools in District 2-3A, and with Presidio not fielding an 800 meter relay team, coach Donna Gent said the district administrators allowed the Eagles to place third in the race, in order to fill the final berth in that event for the Region I-3A meet at Ratliff Stadium on April 27-28. “They let us have third, so we could advance,” Gent said. Pecos was also given the 12 points for third, after it was determined that wouldn’t affect the final team standings. Monahans, which ended up winning the 800-meter relay, also won the team title by 19 points over Pecos, 242-223. The Lobos also took the 2-3A boys’ title with 267 points to 216 for Fort Stockton, with Pecos third at 83 points.

“Apparently Brittany took off too soon and Bianca came in strong and thought she could get the baton to her. She tried to reach, overextended and fell,” Gent said. “Do I feel like we had the better relay team? I do, and I appreciate the district committee allowing us to go to regionals, and I think at regionals it will be a whole different outcome.” The girls already had qualified six different people in 10 spots for regional during field events and the 3200-meter run on Tuesday. On Thursday they earned 11 more regional spots, adding seven more members of the team, including freshman Allyson Salcido, who won first in both the 100-meter low hurdles and the 300-meter intermediate hurdles.

“She had a 50.4 time (in the 300) in a strong headwind, so it was amazing to have that time, with that wind,” Gent said of Salcido. She also took the 100 with a 17.06 time, while another freshman, Olivia Castilleja, was third with a 19.09 time, and later placed fourth in the 300 meter hurdles.

The two others to qualify for regionals in individual events on Thursday who hadn’t done so on Tuesday were Kathryn Lamka, who finished second in the 1600 meter run, and Brittany Quintana, who was third in the 400 meter dash. “Kathryn ran the fastest time she’s had all year (6:04.98), which was also in the wind,” Gent said. She placed 1 1/2 seconds in back on Monahans’ Michelle Azujae.

Also qualifying as members of the relay teams were Michelle Contreras, Cheyenne Carrasco and Jennifer Palomino, who along with Brittany Palomino placed second in the 400 meter relay with a 53.48 time. Carrasco and Jasmine Rayos were the other members of the 800 meter relay team, while Salcido, Quintana, Baeza and Rayos made up the 1600 meter relay team that took first with a 4:24.40 time.

“We dominated in the 1600, but it wasn’t our fastest time. We were so far ahead, I think our last two legs slacked off a bit,” Gent said.

Rayos earlier had picked up her second gold medal of the meet, winning the 200 meter dash with a 28.40 time, while Brittany Palomino qualified by finishing third, with a 29.08 time. Before that, Palomino had placed second to Monahans’ Jordan Latham in the 100 meter dash, with a 13.34 time, while Baeza also earned a regional berth by finishing third, with a 13.50 time.

The 800 meter run was the only event Pecos didn’t have at least one regional qualifier. The Eagles’ other points came from a fourth place finish by Lisa White in the 400 meter dash; a fourth in the 1600 by Heather Lamka, who qualified for regionals in the 3200 meters on Tuesday; a fifth by Ashley Ornelas in the 100 meter hurdles; a sixth by Jenny Palomino in the 100 meter dash; and a sixth by Ornelas in the 300 meter hurdles.

On Tuesday, Rayos had won the triple jump, with Brittany Palomino and Baeza also qualifying with second and third place finishes there and behind Latham in the long jump; Chantel Mazone qualified with wins in both the discus and shot put and Gabby Garcia earned regional berths with third place finishes in the high jump and long jump.

“I was extremely pleased with how our kids performed, and with our JV team. We only have five girls there and finished with 116 points. That was just six points behind Monahans, and they had a full team.”

The boys picked up one individual regional berth on Thursday to go with the two they earned two days earlier from Robert Herrera, second in the discus, and Elias Valenzuela, third in the pole vault. Larry Johnson placed third in the 400-meter dash with a 50.63 time, just behind Fort Stockton’s Adrian Navarez (50.01) and Sam Franklin (50.19).

“Our boys performed about as well as we expected,” coach Robbie Ortega said. “In the 400, that’s the first time Larry’s ran that well. He’s real confident he can run well at the regionals, and if we can work on our handoffs in the 4-by-100, I think we’ve got a chance of qualifying in the finals at regionals.”

Matthew Florez took fourth in the race, while the other individual points came from a fifth by German Rodriguez in the 800 meter run; a fifth by Jesse Juarez and a sixth by Gus Mendoza in the 1600 meters; and a sixth by Hector Ramirez in the 300 meter high hurdles. On Tuesday, Mendoza had placed fifth and Juarez sixth in the 3200 meters, while Herrera also had taken fourth in the shot put. The Eagles went into the meet on Thursday assured of going to regionals in all three relays, as long as they finished the race, since Presidio didn’t field teams. But Ortega said they ran their best time of the season in the 400 meter dash (44.93) with Johnson, Jonathan Dominguez, Drake Bradley and Vincent Palomino to place behind Monahans while getting second with Johnson, Valenzuela, Florez and Lucas Macha in the 1600 meter relay (3:44.00) behind Fort Stockton.

Macha, Dominguez, Bradley and Palomino placed third in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:59.67, for the Eagles’ other regional berth. “The wind was pretty strong by that time, and we didn’t run as well as we could,” Ortega said.” Ortega said Pecos’ boys would be going to a regional qualifiers meet, starting at 4:30 p.m. on Friday in Iraan. However, with half of her regional qualifiers due to play softball in Presidio on Friday, Gent said Pecos’ girls would skip the regional qualifiers meet.

Eagles blow past Loboes, Panthers to win 2-3A title

The home course provided a little advantage on Friday for the Pecos Eagle girls’ golf team on Friday, but not enough for the Eagles to earn a team berth at the Region I-3A golf tournament. But the Pecos Eagle boys took advantage of playing at home to overcome 45 mph winds to stage a major comeback in the final round of the 54-hole District 2-3A tourney. Pecos’ boys, who came in 11 strokes behind Monahans and 20 shots in back of district-leading Fort Stockton, were able to post a 336 team score under the windy conditions, and made up 14 shots on Monahans and 30 strokes on Fort Stockton to win their first district title since 2002 and earn their first trip in four years to the Region I-3A Tournament. “Regardless of the weather conditions, that was amazing what they did,” said boys coach Pat Gent. “To overcome third place, 20 shots out of first and 11 shots out of second is something special.”

Drake Bradley, who went in with a four shot lead in the medalist race, shot a 78 despite the high winds to finish with a 231 score, winning the title by 17 shots over Monahans’ Ethan Ezell. Joseph Tarin’s 87 score was only fourth-best on the day for Pecos, but it still allowed him to move into a tie for third in the medalist race with Fort Stockton’s Peter Ibarra, with a 252 score.

Heath Armstrong shot an 85 and was two shots behind Tarin, with a 254 score, while Nathan Duke shot an 86 and finished with a 266 total. Pecos’ other ‘A’ team golfer, Richard Dutchover, shot a 99 and finished with a 277 score.

“Our kids knew the job and prepared for it, and took it to them,” Gent said. “It was our day and our course, and we knew how to play in this wind, using their course knowledge skills.”

Monahans, which shot a 354, ended up second with a 1007 score to Pecos’ 1004, while Fort Stockton dropped from first to third with their round of 366, finishing at 1011. Monahans ‘B’ shot a 380 and finished fourth, at 1085. “I checked after the first nine and looked at each individual pairing, and we were so far ahead of them. But we didn’t start coasting, and took it to them,” Gent said.

Pecos was two golfers short of a ‘B’ team score. Mateo Taragno had a final round of 98 and finished with a 297 total, while Lomas Gonzales shot a 109 and finished with a 305 score.

Pecos’ girls, who needed to make up three shots on Monahans ‘B’ going into the final round of play, could only make up two strokes on the Loboes, who will send both their ‘A’ and ‘B’ squads to the regional tournament next week. But senior Eleanor Mason was able to move up to fourth in the individual standings, earning her a spot at next week’s I-3A tournament.

“Eleanor’s going to regionals, so we’ll go on down the road and see what we can do,” said Eagles’ coach Tina Doan, who had four golfers back from last year’s team that placed fourth at the Class 3A state tournament.

Pecos shot a 363 to finish with a 1086 score, while Monahans ‘B’ finished with a 1085 total after a round of 361. The Loboes’ ‘A’ team had a final round of 342 and won first with a 1005 total for the 54-hole tournament. Mason shot a 91 in the final round, and her 259 total tied her with Monahans’ Shelbye Hill for fourth. Carolina Briones had the low round of the day for Pecos, an 88, and finished with a 269 score, while Rica Pino shot a 93 and finished with a 281, Stephanie Galindo shot a 97 and finished at 277 and Kayla Natividad shot a 101 and finished with a 299 score.

“We were about even coming through 9. We just didn’t come back hard enough,” Doan said. “The weather conditions hurt us, but we knew who we had to beat. Some of the girls did the job, some didn’t take care of business, and when you don’t take care of business, you get beat.” Pecos also had three other golfers competing, one short of the minimum for a ‘B’ team score. Ari Alligood shot a 94 on Friday and finished at 308, as did Samantha Sparkman, after a round of 106. Katrina Hinojos also shot a 106, and finished with a 322 overall score.

Monahans’ Paige Shaw had the low round of the day, an 83, and won the tournament with a 247 score, three shots ahead of teammate Jordan Jernigan, who shot an 85. The Loboes’ Kelsey Kilcrease took third, with a 258 score after a final round of 88.

Gent said the Region I-3A Tournament would be held at the Nueva Vista Golf Course in Midland on April 24-25, with the top two teams advancing to the Class 3A state tournament next month in Austin.

Pecos falls to Stockton, 6-5, rallies for win over Fabens

For the third time in as many games, wind was a big problem for the Pecos Eagles and Fort Stockton Panthers. But the Eagles did more damage to themselves in the fourth inning of Friday night’s game in Fort Stockton than the wind did, and the result was the first district road loss for the Eagles this season.

The Panthers scored four times thanks to four hits and four errors in the fourth inning, which allowed them to stay ahead when the Eagles used four hits, three walks and an error to match those runs and get to within 6-5. But that’s where the score stayed, as Billy Bradshaw pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in relief of Bryant Gonzales in the sixth, allowing Fort Stockton to take a one-game lead on Pecos in the District 2-3A standings.

The Eagles were able to come back from an early 3-0 deficit on Saturday and end a negative streak, as the earned their first home victory in a year, beating Fabens in a non-district contest by a 14-4 score.

“We didn’t start hitting until the fourth or fifth inning,” coach Eric Garcia said of Friday’s loss. “We made a lot of mistakes in that inning, and that’s what cost us the game.”

Fort Stockton scored twice in the first inning off Geno Leos in the first, when Jeremy Martinez doubled down the left field line, Omar Calderon tripled to right-center and Bradshaw followed with a sacrifice fly to center. Pecos got half of that back in the second when Isaiah Rayos got a ball up into the wind blowing out towards right field off Gonzales, and it helped carry it over the fence just inside the foul pole to make it a 2-1 game.

That’s the way it stayed until the fourth, when Fort Stockton sent 10 batters to the plate and scored four times for a 6-1 lead.

Another triple to right-center, this one by Zack Rodriguez, followed a leadoff single by Alan Mendez and made it 3-1. Rene Corral followed, and singled home Rodriguez, them went to second on the first of a series of Pecos mistakes, as Vincent Palomino’s throw behind the runner got past catcher Chris Garnto near second base. That allowed him to go to third on Julian Fierro’s ground out to second baseman John Paul Salcido, and score on a single by Calderon, after Leos fanned Martinez for the second out of the inning.

Calderon then went to second when Salcido’s throw back to the mound got by Leos, and he then went on third on a balk, as the Eagle pitcher lost track of the runner and stepped off the mound as he was stealing third. That allowed him to score what turned out to be the winning run when Jose Chavez couldn‘t cleanly field Gonzalez‘s slow roller. It was the fourth of the inning for Pecos, and the Eagles would make another, when Leos threw to third instead of first on M.J. Salmon’s comebacker to the mound, which loaded the bases. But Leos was able to get Mendez to ground to Salcido for the force at second on Salmon, to end the inning.

Down by five, Pecos would get back to within one in their next at-bat, thanks to a Fort Stockton error and some control problems by Gonzalez.

He allowed a leadoff infield single to Leos, a one out walk to Palomino and a hit by Reyes, and then, after getting Salcido for the second out, walked Chavez for force home a run. Kenny Rayos followed with a two-run single to make it 6-4, and Chavez would score when Salmon couldn’t come up with Isaiah Rayos’ win-blown pop up behind first base. However, Kenny Rayos only made it to second on the play, which kept him from scoring on an infield single by Garnto.

Gonzalez then struck out Leos to end the inning, and Pecos would miss another chance to tie in the sixth, after Rocky Lozoya reached on an infield hit and Palomino walked to open the inning. Gonzalez was replaced on the mound by Bradshaw, and he got Reyes to line out to left field, with Lozoya barely beating the throw back to second from outfielder Adrian Leyva. But he didn’t fare as well on the next play, when Salcido lined the ball to Gonzalez, now at shortstop, and he doubled Lozoya off second to end the inning.

Pecos would get the tying run on with one out in the seventh, as Kenny Rayos reached on an error by Martinez at second base. But Martinez then forced him at second on an Isaiah Rayos grounder, and Garnto grounded out to Bradshaw, to end the game.

Saturday’s game started even worse for the Eagles as Friday’s game did. Isaiah Rayos walked Enrique Nunez, gave up a single to Carlos Garcia, and then saw Travis Garay hit an inside the park home run on a deep fly to center that was misjudged by Lozoya. “He came up instead of going back and the ball got over his head,” Garcia said. “Other than that, Isaiah pitched pretty well.”

The game was a homecoming for former Eagles’ head coach Elias Payan, who got a good four innings of work out of pitcher Albert Villalobos.

“Coach Payan had a little trick. He threw a freshman kid who was about 95 pounds who threw 50 miles per hour,” Garcia said. “We were a little ahead of him early, but we finally caught up in the fifth inning.”

Pecos actually scored four times in the first, but were helped by a two-run error by Carlos Garcia at third on a Jose Chavez grounder, after Reyes singled and stole second and Salcido reached on a passed ball third strike by catcher Ben Moya. Chavez and courtesy runner Lucas Chavez would then score after a walk to Isaiah Rayos, when he threw past third trying for Jose Chavez in a rundown, on a grounder by Garnto.

Mark Miller would tie the game in the second for Fabens, singling home Eddie Cerna after a leadoff walk. The Eagles would regain the lead in the third on an RBI single by Garnto, who would also drive in the sixth run with another single, part of a seven-run fifth for the Eagles.

Garnto’s hit came after a one-out double by Isaiah Rayos. Then with two away, Villalobos hit Lozoya and walked Palomino, before Reyes delivered a two-run single to center. Salcido followed with an RBI single to right, and two more runs scored when Freddy Vega misplayed Jose Chavez’s fly ball to right into a three-base error. He than scored on Kenny Rayos’ single to right off new pitcher Steven Estrada. He would get out of the inning after that, but Pecos would end the game under the 10-run rule in the sixth, on RBI hits by Reyes and Salcido.

The loss left Pecos with a 3-4 record in district play, while the split of their weekend games puts them at 9-8-2 going into their final District 2-3A road game, on Friday at Presidio. The Blue Devils dropped an 8-2 game to Monahans on Saturday.

Garcia said Palomino, who no-hit Presidio back on March 27, would start Friday’s game. Thanks to the current 2-3A standings and the district’s tiebreaker rule with the three-round schedule, Pecos can clinch a playoff spot with a win at Presidio. However, Garcia said the Eagles would be eliminated from the playoff race with a loss and a win by Monahans over Fort Stockton on Friday.

Eagles blank Prowlers in second place battle

The Pecos Eagles softball team held onto the ball when they needed to on Friday, and held onto their home field advantage against the Fort Stockton Prowlers, in a game that likely decided second place in the District 2-3A standings.

The Eagles had a strong game on defense in the outfield, which negated some mistakes on the infield and allowed Amalie Herrera to get her second shutout in district play, a 3-0 victory over Fort Stockton. Leftfielder Cassandra Terrazas came up with a couple of key catches with runners in scoring position, and drove in the first run of the game with a two-out single in the second, before Pecos added two more runs in the third over Cecelia Molinar, to avenge a 4-2 win by Molinar and the Prowlers in Fort Stockton 10 days earlier.

“We were a little shaky on the infield, but Cassandra Terrazas tore I up in the outfield. She had a great game,” said Eagles’ coach Tammy Walls.

Terrazas had a sliding catch of a one-out line drive by Molinar in the fifth inning, after Soli Hernandez had doubled to left-centerfield, and was able to haul in a two-out fly ball by Alyssa Baiza in the fifth, after back-to-back errors by shortstop Diana Parada had put runners on second and third.

“It was hard to see in the wind, and the sun was bad,” said Terrazas, though the wind helped the Eagle senior at bat in the second inning.

Pecos got their first run when Gabby Garcia doubled down the line in left with one out in the second. She went to third on Kristen Ikeler’s ground out to second base, and scored when Terrazas blooped a single in front of right fielder Maribel Silvas, as the strong westerly winds blew the ball towards center field.

The Eagles had wasted a leadoff single by Jenny Palomino in the first inning, but in the third Jasmine Rayos opened with a single, and after she was forced at second by Palomino, Brittany Palomino followed with a single to left, and Parada then just missed a three-run homer, singling off the fence in center to score Jenny Palomino. Herrera then followed with another single to left, scoring Brittany Palomino to put Pecos ahead, 3-0. It was the seventh hit of the game for Pecos, and also turned out to be their last. Molinar got Claire Weinacht and Garcia to retire the side, and would allow just one base runner over the next three innings, when Parada’s two-out fly in the fifth was misjudged by Jesenia Venegas for a two-base error. But the Panthers weren’t able to break through against Herrera, despite hitting the ball hard in the middle innings.

“We started swinging at bad pitches and got a little anxious,“ Walls said. “We were swinging at pitches out of the strike zone, so we weren’t able to drive the ball.“

The Eagles’ infield defense made five errors in the game, but only one came with less than two outs. But after that one, by Parada on Heather Garvin’s grounder after a Jodi Alvarado single off the centerfield fence in the fourth, Pecos’ infield came through, as Garcia forced Garvin at second on a Venegas shot to second base, and Ikeler than forced Venegas on a Baiza grounder to third, to end the inning.

“Amalie pitched a good game, considering she was pitching against the wind,” Walls said. “She got hit a little bit for a couple of innings. They were hitting her outside pitches to left field, and she was getting some of them up, but overall she controlled the outside of the plate the whole game.”

After her problems in the middle innings, Herrera would come back to retire Fort Stockton in order in the top of the seventh, ending the game with a Molinar grounder to Rayos at first. She ended up with a two-hitter, though thanks to the errors, the Prowlers also ended up leaving seven runners on base.

The win left both Pecos and Fort Stockton with 4-4 records in district, and the Eagles improved to 18-8-2 on the season going into their final regular season game, this Friday in Presidio. The Prowlers close their regular season against Monahans, 22-0 winners over Presidio on Friday. Fort Stockton could still win second with a win over the Loboes and a loss by the Eagles to the Blue Devils, but Walls said if the Eagles win or the Prowlers lose, Pecos will play Tornillo in the bi-district round of the Class 3A playoffs sometime between April 24-26, at a site to be determined.

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