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Friday, March 10, 2000

Eagles drop morning contest to Wylie

Staff Writer
PECOS, Mar. 10, 2000 -- The Pecos Eagles’ baseball team lost their 9 a.m. semifinal game today in the March West Texas Classic to the Abilene Wylie Bulldogs by a 4-2 final score. The loss dropped Pecos into a 4:30 p.m. game this afternoon against the loser of today’s late-morning game between Merkel and Seminole.

Pecos’ six game winning streak was ended by Wylie, which scored once in the second inning and added three runs in the fourth, before the Eagles were able to get on the board with two runs in the fifth. Assistant coach Gary Grubbs said Pecos was held to only four hits by two Wyile pitchers, with Pifi Montoya collecting two of those hits, including a two-run, bases loaded single in the fifth inning.

“We stranded eight runners at second base,” Grubbs said. “In the sixth and seventh innings we had runners at second with one out and didn’t get anybody in.”

Josh Casillas, 1-2, allowed seven hits and two earned runs while striking out eight batters in taking the loss. “Josh pitched real well. Their hits were mostly bloops,” Grubbs said. “They had about two hard-hit balls.”

If the Eagles win their game today, they’ll play for third place at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday at Christensen Stadium in Midland. The loser of the game will be eliminated from the tournament. The loss dropped Pecos' record to 6-2 on the season.

On Thursday, the Eagles opened the tournament the same way they started last weekend's Monahans Sandhills Tournament, by taking  advantage of a series of Alpine errors in the first and third innings to score 10 times, on the way to a five-inning, 11-2 win over the Bucks at Christensen Stadium in Midland. Earlier, Wylie won their first round game over Monahans, 6-2.

Every Pecos starter scored at least one run, except for Montoya. As ptcher, he was replaced on the bases by courtesy runner Daniel Terrazas, who scored three times, as the Eagles reached double-digits in runs for the fifth consecutive game.

"We took advantage of what they gave us, even though Pifi didn't pitch one of his better games," said Eagles' coach Bubba Williams. Montoya allowed just the two runs on four hits while improving to 3-0 on the season, but struck out only four Buck batters, after fanning 24 in his two wins over Monahans.

Pecos used 10 Alpine errors a week ago to beat the Bucks by a 15-2 score. This time, Alpine made nine mistakes behind pitchers Leo Navarette and C.P. Carter, beginning with a bad throw past first base by shortstop Cougar McBride, on a one-out grounder by Montoya.

It came after a leadoff walk to Luis Salgado and  Casillas followed with an RBI single, with  Terrazas also scoring when right fielder Wes Miller bobbled the ball. Joey Garcia then singled, and after both runners moved up when McBride dropped Kevin Bates' infield fly, Capi Magana singled to left to score two more runs and make it 4-0.

Alpine turned a double play to avoid trouble in the second inning, but in the third they botched a double play chance on Casillas, after Alex Garcia singled off Navarette's glove and Montoya walked to start the inning. Garcia scored on the play, and Navarette then walked Joey Garcia and hit Bates to score another run.

The Bucks got Magana to hit into a fielder's choice at home plate, but Mason Abila scored Joey Garcia with a ground out, Bates scored on Ricky Herrera's single, and Salgado made it 10-0 with a triple to left-center field.

Alpine finally got on the scoreboard in their half of the third, but lost McBride on the same play, after he walked with two outs, stole second and third, and scored when Abila's throw sailed into left field. McBride turned his ankle running from third to home, and had to leave the game.

After losing his shutout, Montoya lost his no-hitter when Derek Rodriguez singled one batter later. He then struck out Albert Ramos to retire the side, and the Eagles got the run back in the top of the fourth, when Montoya singled, and Casillas then singled home Terrazas after he replaced Montoya and stole second base.

Montoya loaded the bases with one out in the fourth, and then got out of trouble by fanning Miller and Camilo Celaya, who batted for McBride. The Bucks appeared to have kept the game alive in their next at-bat, when Ramos singled home Rodriguez with two away to get Alpine to within nine, but the game was called at the two-hour mark, after play began 30 minutes behind schedule.

Despite the win, Williams said the Eagles would have to do better in order to extend their winning streak today. "We've got to play better tomorrow morning. Right now, we're playing down to the competition's level. We've got to go out there with fire," he said.

Wylie advanced to Saturday's 7 p.m. title game with today's victory, while the winner between Merkel and Seminole still has one more game this evening, at 7 p.m. against Colorado City, which won it's first round game Thursday 13-2 over the host Greenwood Rangers.

Pecos tries again to play 2-4A opener

PECOS, Mar. 10, 2000 -- The Pecos Eagle softball team will try again to play their first District 2-4A game of the season Saturday, but not until they stop to watch a track meet.

The Eagles, whose district opener against El Paso Mountain View on Tuesday was canceled by 70 mph winds and blowing dust, will head to Canutillo to face the Golden Eagles, in a 2 p.m. CST start. However, a couple of players will be leaving Pecos even earlier in the day, in order to compete with the girls track team on the southeast side of El Paso Saturday morning.

"We're going to go by the track meet and cheer for them tomorrow morning, and then hopefully they can go with us to the game," said Eagles' coach Tammy Walls. "If not, we'll just go on without them."

She said first baseman and leadoff hitter Jessica Rodriguez was among those who'll be trying to compete in track Saturday morning before facing Canutillo that afternoon.

The Eagles come into Saturday's game with a 5-4 record, after losing in the finals of the Alpine Tournament last week to Monahans. Walls said a lack of hitting from the middle of her order continues to be a problem for Pecos, though she added, "They looked better in practice this week, but we'll just have to see how they do on Saturday."

Canutillo, meanwhile, is hoping to improve on their last-place finish in district play of a year ago. The Golden Eagles lost at home to Pecos last season by a 28-8 final score, though they were within 10-7 through three innings of play. On Tuesday, they dropped their District 2-4A opener at Clint by an 18-17 final score. Gracie Borjas went 3-for-4 with a double and triple in the losing effort.

Marino reportedly opts for retirement

MIAMI, Mar. 10, 2000 (AP) - Dan Marino will pass on another season and announce his retirement Monday, according to TV and published reports.

The Miami Herald, CNN-SI and two Miami television stations reported that Marino, 38, has decided to reject an offer to play for the Minnesota Vikings. The Herald quoted two sources close to Marino as saying he told friends Thursday night he'll retire after 17 seasons with the Miami Dolphins.

The Dolphins and Marino's agent, Marvin Demoff, said they were unaware that the quarterback had made a decision.

"I have not heard a thing about it," Dolphins president Eddie Jones said. "It's Dan's decision to make. If he has made it, I have no idea."

Minnesota coach Dennis Green, in Tampa for a meeting of the NFL competition committee, didn't return a phone message left at his hotel room. The Vikings wanted Marino to replace Jeff George as their starting quarterback.

Marino is the most prolific passer in NFL history and perhaps the best quarterback never to win a Super Bowl. He apparently decided against remaining with the Dolphins after concluding new coach Dave Wannstedt didn't want him back.

Health was likely a factor as Marino weighed retirement. He was plagued by knee trouble for much of his career and missed five games last season because of a neck injury.

Marino and Jimmy Johnson clashed frequently during the Dolphins' disappointing 1999 season, and the coach publicly criticized the quarterback for poor decisions and costly turnovers.

Their final bid to win a Super Bowl together ended with a 62-7 playoff loss at Jacksonville, the most lopsided defeat in franchise history. Johnson retired the next day.

Marino voided his contract in February and became a free agent. When the Dolphins signed free agent quarterback Jay Fiedler to a three-year, $3.8 million contract, it was apparent Marino had likely played his last game in Miami.

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