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Wednesday, March 29, 2000

Arnold again carries Lions past Eagles

PECOS, Mar. 29, 2000 -- How did the Pecos Eagles' baseball team do against Clint's Jeremy Arnold on Tuesday? About as good as the football team did back in October, and that wasn't good for the Eagles.

Arnold, who ran for over 200 yards against Pecos last fall, went 4-for-4 Tuesday afternoon, driving in the game's first run off Josh Casillas in the first inning, the tie-breaking run off Pifi Montoya in the fourth inning, and the back-breaking runs in the fifth, as the Lions routed the Eagles by a 10-3 final score to take sole possession of first place in the District 2-4A standings.

Josh Casillas, who had been bothered by a bad elbow, lasted only five batters into the game Tuesday, giving up doubles to Arnold and D.J. Check and a single to Freddy Ortiz. Montoya came on with none out at the bases loaded and managed to get out of the jam, helping himself out with a double play grounder by Patrick Tullius.

Clint would add another run in the second on an RBI single by Arnold, before Pecos rallied in their next two at-bats. They got one run back in the third when Ricky Herrera scored following an Alex Garcia fly out, when the ball bounced past third base and over the fence as Herrera moved up from second to third. They then tied the game in the fifth, scoring twice on singles by Montoya, Mason Abila and Joey Garcia, but missed a chance to add more off Ortiz, who then shut out Pecos the rest of the way.

After cutting the margin to 3-2, the Eagles loaded the bases with one out on an infield hit by Ricky Herrera. Kevin Bates was up next and he hit a shot off the base of the outfield fence. But instead of a grand slam, Bates didn't even get credit for a double, as Garcia slowed down at third and ended up being thrown out at home plate. Ortiz then got Luis Salgado to retire the side, and the Lions responded immediately with three runs in their next at bat.

Arnold drove in what turned out to be the game winner, singling home Josh Duran with one away. Montoya then got D.J. Check for the second out, but Ortiz helped his own cause, blooping a single to left to score two runs for a 6-3 lead.

One inning later Arnold came up with one out and the bases loaded and lined a shot to left that got past Joey Garcia for a error, clearing the bases and giving Clint a 9-3 lead. It came after Lara bobbled a potential double play ball that could have helped Pecos keep the game close.

The loss was the Eagles' first in District 2-4A, after going unbeaten last year, and left them with a 2-1 mark, 10-4 overall. Clint improved to 3-0 and extended their domination over Pecos during the 1999-2000 season. The Lions have yet to lose to the Eagles in any boys team sport this year.

The Eagles will be back home on Friday for a game against Canutillo. The contest was moved up from Saturday at 1 p.m. to a 7 p.m. start Friday due to the West of the Pecos Relays the following day.

Eagles blow late lead, fall to Lobos, 7-6

PECOS, Mar. 29, 2000 -- The Pecos Eagles have lived dangerously often during District 2-4A play this season, and finally got burned Tuesday afternoon by the El Paso Mountain View Lobos.

The Eagles, who got eight runs on four hits earlier this month against Mountain View before holding off a late comeback attempt, got more hits this time against the Lobos. However, they couldn’t hold the lead in the final innings this time around.

The Loboes rallied from a 5-0 deficit, and used a two-out, two run error in the bottom of the seventh to beat the Eagles, 7-6, denying Pecos a chance to clinch a playoff spot.

“We hit the ball better. We had 11 hits but we didn’t make the plays,” said Eagles’ coach Tammy Walls, who added, “I’m disappointed, but it wasn’t that big a shock.

“I told them after the game we didn’t lose it there, we lost it two weeks ago,” Walls said, referring to the team’s lack of intensity in several of their recent district games. “Maybe now they’ll realize they can’t take things for granted, and have to practice hard and play hard to win.”

The Eagles scored two runs in the first inning, two in the third and single runs in the fourth and seventh innings, while Mountain View got all of their runs in the late innings, including two unearned runs in the sixth. Down 6-3, the Lobos then loaded the bases with none out in the seventh before Alexa Marquez got Christina Aguilar and Claudia Sanchez on an RBI ground out an pop out.

But she then walked the next batter and Lucia Gonzales followed with a grounder that shortstop Katrina Quiroz couldn’t handle for a two-run error. Jennifer Barraza then hit a grounder in the hold that Quiroz was unable to make a play on, allowing the winning run to score.

Walls said the Eagles picked up 11 hits, but they were divided among only four of Pecos’ nine batters in the lineup. “Ashley Salcido was 4-for-4 and Jessica Rodriguez was 4-for-4,” she said, while Quiroz had two of the Eagles’ other three hits, including a double off the fence in left field.

She also said the Eagles had to play without third baseman Valerie Gonzales and outfielder Maricela Arenivas, who were late for school Tuesday and were therefore not allowed to make the trip to El Paso.

“I had to make some last minute lineup changes, and that didn’t help,” Walls said. “If we had had Valerie in the lineup, we would have hit the ball better.”

The Eagles are now 6-1 in district play, tied for first with Clint in the standings. Pecos closes out regular season play with three straight home games, beginning Friday at 4 p.m. against the Canutillo Eagles. Walls said the game was moved from 1 p.m. Saturday in order to avoid a conflict with the West of the Pecos Relays.

Cubs get `early' win over Mets

AP Baseball Writer
TOKYO, Mar. 29, 2000 - A sumo wrestler waddled to his seat and Crown Prince Naruhito sat in the Royal Box. Fans snacked on sushi with chopsticks, and some even wore surgical masks.

Mike Hampton made this a truly wild opening day.

Baseball truly turned international today, and the Chicago Cubs took advantage of Hampton's nine walks and used Shane Andrews' two-run home run to beat the New York Mets 5-3 in the first major league game.

A mostly quiet, sellout crowd announced at 55,000 in the Tokyo Dome watched the earliest opener ever and saw Andrews and Mark Grace homer for the Cubs.

Mike Piazza hit a two-run shot for the Mets and was presented with a stuffed doll when he reached home plate.

Sammy Sosa, who visited the U.S. Embassy with Piazza earlier in the day, got the biggest cheers. He delivered a double and single, and walked twice.

Jon Lieber kept in control, pitching seven neat innings and allowing one run and five hits.

After five women in colorful kimonos presented flowers to both teams and the umpires, Hampton started the season by throwing a strike to Eric Young at 7:06 p.m. local time, making it 5:06 a.m. EST in New York and 4:06 a.m. in Chicago and the Liebers' house.

That was about all Hampton got over the plate as he struggled with the mound dirt in his disappointing debut for the Mets.

Traded to New York after going 22-4 for Houston, Hampton lasted only five innings. In addition to his nine walks - one short of the team record set by Mike Torrez in 1983 - he hit a batter and threw a wild pitch.

New baseballs were used, ones bearing the signature of commissioner Bud Selig since the league presidents no longer exist. They did not seem to be the source of Hampton's problem since the Mets infield had no trouble in turning four double plays to back its struggling pitcher.

Lieber wound up with the win and Rick Aguilera got a save, while Hampton took the loss. The Cubs ended a string of three straight losses in openers and beat the Mets for the first time in six tries on opening day. New York played the game under protest, apparently disputing a ninth-inning lineup change by Chicago.

Young, acquired to give the Cubs a leadoff man with speed, led off the game with a walk, stole second and scored when newcomer Damon Buford followed with a single.

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