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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas


Monday, March 27, 2000

Eagles' bats awaken in victory over Lobos

Staff Writer
PECOS, Mar. 27, 2000 -- Two of the Pecos Eagles' leading hitters from a year ago, who had been struggling at the plate through the first month of the 2000 baseball season, broke out in a big way Friday night, as Pecos came away with an easy win over the El Paso Mountain View Lobos at Eagles field, by a 16-0 final score.

Catcher Mason Abila, who ended last season hitting .400 but was batting just over .200 before Friday, was moved down to the No. 9 spot in the batting order and responded with an RBI single and two run double in his only at-bats of the night.

Josh Casillas' batting average wasn't bad, at .313, but that was still .150 points under his average last season, while the senior had gone homerless after hitting 11 a year ago. That also changed Friday, when he cracked a two-run shot to center field and just missed two other home runs in his other two at-bats.

"Josh and Mason hit the ball. If those two come around we're going to be all right," said Eagles' coach Bubba Williams. "If we can get where we're hitting one through nine in the order, we're going to be tough to beat."

The Eagles' hitting attack overshadowed the pitching of Pifi Montoya and Capi Magana. Montoya improved his record to 4-1 by two-hitting Mountain View over four innings of work, while Magana came on to pitch the fifth inning and struck out the side, ending the game under the 10-run rule.

Williams said Montoya was working on his cut fastball Friday; a pitch Abila said was tough to handle. "It's all over the place. You can't tell where it's going to go," the sophomore said. "I didn't know when I set up whether it was going to go high or drop."

Mountain View pitcher Damian Limas didn't fare as well. He survived the first inning, allowing only a two-out double to Alex Garcia, but Casillas opened the second by doubling off the top of the fence in right field. He went to third on a passed ball and scored on Joey Garcia's bloop single to center.

Garcia was thrown out trying for second base, but Orlando Lara then singled and scored on Abila's two-out single, and in the third inning the Eagles would pile up 12 runs off Limas and reliever Rafael Carrasco.

Limas shouldn't have allowed any runs, but after fanning Luis Salgado, first baseman Israel Chavez dropped Alex Garcia's foul pop up, and Garcia then walked. Montoya then popped one up to center field that nobody caught, but second baseman Edgar Jurado was able to force out Garcia at second.

Casillas then just missed a homer again, with a long fly over Jefferson Street that went just foul, before drawing a walk. A passed ball and wild pitch would allow pinch runner Joey Trujillo, and Casillas would come in when Carlos Gonzales misplayed Joey Garcia's single to left field.

Limas then walked Lara and Ricky Herrera before Abila connected for a two run double. He scored on Kevin Bates' double down the line in right that was misplayed by Carlos Villalobos into an extra base. Salgado and Alex Garcia followed with singles to make it 9-1 and chase Limas, who was replaced on the mound by Carrasco.

Montoya sent his first pitch back up the middle for an RBI single, and after a passed ball scored Salgado, Casillas knocked Carrasco's fifth pitch over the fence in center, just to the right of the 352-foot sign to make it 13-0. Carrasco then dropped a throw while covering first on a Joey Garcia grounder, and new first baseman Julio Riazote did the same on Lara's grounder before the Eagles made it 14-0 when Herrera blooped in a single to center field.

Mountain View finally got out of the inning when Lara was thrown out trying to go from first to third base, but the Eagles would push across two more runs in the fourth, when Alex Garcia's grounder went through the legs of Limas, now playing shortstop, to score Ivan Guebara, and a Magana sacrifice fly brought home Salgado, who singled after Guebara walked.

The win lifted Pecos to 10-3 on the season and 2-0 in District 2-4A play going into Tuesday's 5 p.m. game at Clint, which is also 2-0 in district after winning their second 1-run rule in four days, 18-5 over Fabens.

"They're going to be up for us and we'll be up for them," Williams said. "If they hit our pitcher and we put the ball in play, it will just be whoever plays the best will win."

Pecos gets few hits, lots of runs in win

Staff Writer
PECOS, Mar. 27, 2000 -- Hitting the ball on their home field continues to be a problem for the Pecos Eagles, though you wouldn't know by the run totals in their past two games.

The host Eagles were held hitless by San Elizario pitcher Valerie Soto for 3 2/3 innings Friday afternoon at Martinez Field, but that did the visiting Eagles little good on the scoreboard. Pecos already held a 6-0 lead by the time Valerie Gonzales broke up the no hitter with a two-out triple to left-center field, and the Eagles would collect three more hits after that and score seven times in the fourth, on the way to a 14-2 win.

"We dodged a bullet," said coach Tammy Walls, despite the lopsided score. Walls had to play the game without senior shortstop Katrina Quiroz for disciplinary reasons, which caused defensive problems on the infield in the early innings.

"I had to play without Katrina and then I lost Ashley (Salcido) when she hurt her ankle in the first inning, and then Nicole (Payne) had to go to cheerleading, so I had to make two changes there and two at shortstop.

"We hung in there, and you could never know what will happen," Walls said. "We looked a little flat, but a good team always finds a way to win."

The Eagles couldn't do much with Soto in the early innings _ when they hit the ball fair, it usually was a grounder back to the mound. But Soto couldn't do much with the Eagles if they got on the bases, as a series of Pecos batters went around the bases on walks, errors, wild pitches and passed balls.

Pecos botched a rundown in the first inning, allowing San Elizario's Vanessa Tapia to score after a one-out single, and took a 2-0 lead in the second when Kathy Maldonado booted Talia Reyes' grounder and she came around on April Valencia's single and Elidia Valles' ground out.

But then Soto walked six Pecos batters in the bottom of the second. Combined with two passed balls, a couple of wild pitches and a rare softball balk by Soto, they allowed five of the six Eagles to circle the bases, giving Pecos a three-run lead.

Salcido made it into the third inning despite her bad ankle, but then got a bad elbow to go with it when she was hit with a Soto pitch. Payne then replaced her and scored with two out, when Joan Valadez dropped Soto's throw to first on an Evelyn Galindo grounder.

All of the Eagles' runs in the fourth came with two away. Jessica Rodriguez and Becka Wein scored on Gonzales' triple, and she then came in off another Soto wild pitch. After Payne walked and Reyes booted a Mireya Medrano grounder to second Galindo followed with an RBI single to center.

A walk to pitcher Annette Marquez loaded the bases, and Rodriguez followed with an RBI single. Galindo appeared to be out at home plate trying to score on the play, but interference was called on third baseman Lily Jamar, who ran into Galindo as she rounded the bag. That made it 12-2 and Maldonado then got the Eagles' fourth hit of the day, a two run single to close out the scoring.

Marquez then retired the side in order to collect both her and the Eagles' sixth victory without a loss in district play. San Elizario's second loss in seven days to Pecos loss dropped them to 2-4 in district.

The Eagles will now head to El Paso on Tuesday for their final district road game, against the Mountain View Lobos. Pecos managed just four hits earlier this month at home against Mountain View, but came away with an 8-4 victory.

Pair of eights deal way into NCAA Final Four

AP Sports Writer
SYRACUSE, N.Y., Mar. 27, 2000 -- Maybe now, bubble teams will get more respect.

Usually a precarious place occupied by pretenders instead of contenders, this year's NCAA tournament bubble delivered two teams to the Final Four.

North Carolina and Wisconsin, who were both holding their breath on Selection Sunday, are on their way to the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, a couple of No. 8 seeds who turned out to be much better than that.

Both teams lost 13 games this season, but they've won four straight in the last two weekends, which means a ticket to the wrapup of March Madness.

Once again, they will be underdogs for the national semifinals, Wisconsin going against Michigan State, the last remaining No. 1 seed in the field, and North Carolina facing No. 5 Florida.

At No. 8, Wisconsin and North Carolina are the lowest seeds to reach the Final Four since No. 11 LSU made it in 1986. The last No. 8 to get this far was Villanova, which won the national championship from that spot in 1985.

Wisconsin (22-13) vs. Michigan State (30-7)

This is a Big Ten rematch, the fourth time this season the Badgers and Spartans have played. Michigan State won the first three, and Spartans coach Tom Izzo thinks that could be a problem.

"I don't think it's ever easy to beat a team twice or beat a team three times," Izzo said. "We know it's going to be tough to beat a team four times. They are on a roll and making shots now."

Wisconsin plays hard-nosed, grind-it-out basketball, but that doesn't include a lot of points, especially against the Spartans.

"We haven't figured out a way to score against them yet," coach Dick Bennett said. "Michigan State is one of the premier defensive teams in the country. They're hard to score against."

This is Wisconsin's first Final Four date since 1941. Bennett thinks it won't shake his team. "This is a very level-headed group."

Wisconsin finished sixth in the Big Ten, but has lost just three games since Feb. 2, all of them to conference champion Michigan State, winners of nine straight.

Michigan State depends on the senior leadership of Mateen Cleaves, Charlie Bell and Morris Peterson, and Wisconsin is riding the 3-point shooting of Division II transfer Jon Bryant.

North Carolina (22-13) vs. Florida (28-7)

Florida's young Gators followed their KO of No. 1 Duke to join the Final Four. They are matched up with a North Carolina team back for the 15th time and third in the last four years.

The Tar Heels were on the ropes before the tournament began, struggling with a 7-8 record down the stretch that left them on the edge.

"I think this team is in a class by itself," senior point guard Ed Cota. "It took a while to get used to each other and find a way to win. The teams that I was on in the past, guys knew what it took to win. This team got it done late in the season, but there couldn't be a better time for it."

Seven-foot Brendan Haywood gives North Carolina a presence inside, and Joseph Forte is the first freshman in school history to lead the Tar Heels in scoring. And, yes, that includes a fellow named Michael Jordan.

Under fourth-year coach Billy Donovan, Florida turns games into track meets with a go-go style and a freshman-sophomore dominated.

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