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Friday, April 21, 2000

Garcia's hits help Eagles get past Canutillo

Staff Writer
PECOS, Apr. 21, 2000 -- Apparently nothing is going to be easy for the Pecos Eagles' baseball team for the remainder of the 2000 season. But at least Thursday's win over the Canutillo Golden Eagles was easier than their victory over Canutillo in Pecos last month.

The Eagles, who had to rally twice in their first meeting to beat Canutillo, took the lead in the first inning and never trailed on Thursday, but needed a couple of key hits from Joey Garcia to get some breathing room on the way to an 8-4 victory over the Golden Eagles.

After squandering scoring chances in three of the first four innings against Canutillo's Pete Terrazas, the Eagles put up five runs in the fifth inning, keyed by Garcia's two out, two run single. Then in the seventh inning, after Canutillo cut a 7-1 Pecos lead to 7-4, Garcia gave pitcher Josh Casillas an insurance run with a leadoff home run to left-center field to cap a 3-for-4 afternoon.

"Joey Garcia did a good job today," said Eagles' coach Bubba Williams, whose team improved to 5-3-1 in district play and assured themselves of no worse than a tie for third in the 2-4A standings. "That's what we need for different people to step up and do the job."

Pecos collected 13 hits on the day, but for the first four innings, the Eagles suffered through a series of little mistakes that kept them from breaking things open on Terrazas, while a mental error helped the Golden Eagles get their first run.

Canutillo's left fielder Julian Lopez had problems of his own most of the day as well. He misjudged Mason Abila's fly ball into a double to lead off the game, and Abila then scored on a single to center by Casillas. But Barney Rodriguez was caught overrunning second base when he followed with a double to left-center field, allowing Terrazas to pitch out of the jam.

Lopez had trouble in the second inning as well with a Richard Rodriguez single, after Ivan Guebara led off with a base hit. But Pecos ended up having to settle for a sacrifice fly by Matthew Levario after right fielder Eddie Hita reached up and snared a Jerry Trujillo line drive that appeared headed for extra bases.

In the fourth, Garcia led off with a single but was caught stealing when Richard Rodriguez missed a hit and run sign. He then walked and Trujillo singled, with both runners moving up when Lopez misplayed the ball, but Terrazas came back to get Levario on a grounder to shortstop, ending the inning.

The fifth inning started the same way as the first, with Abila doubling to left field. He was sacrificed to third by Kevin Bates, but after a walk to Casillas, Terrazas struck out Barney Rodriguez. He then went 3-1 on Garcia before throwing a fast ball Garcia sent back out into right field for a two run single and a 4-1 lead. Guebara then singled to center, and after both runners were balked up a base, Richard Rodriguez doubled to left center field to make it a 6-1 game.

Terrazas would balk four times in the inning, the final two allowing Rodriguez to score to put Pecos up by six. But Canutillo would get the tying run to the plate in the sixth inning and it would take a running catch by Trujillo on a Javier Medina fly ball to the fence in left field to get the Eagles out of trouble.

Casillas, who went to a full count on a lot of batters for the second game in a row, hurt himself in the sixth, throwing low to second base on a grounder to the mound by Lopez after a leadoff single by Michael Chavez. He walked Andy Acosta around a strikeout of Joey Rodriguez and an infield fly by Jesse Ramirez, before Carlos Torres cleared the bases with a double to left-center field.

Casillas then hit Terrazas with a pitch to bring up Medina as the tying run. He hit a deep fly to left Trujillo was able to haul in, keeping the Eagles ahead by three and Garcia followed moments later by taking Terrazas over the fence in left-center for his first home run of the season to put Pecos up 8-4.

Canutillo ended up leaving runners stranded in every inning but the third. They got a gift run in the second when Abila lost track of the count and threw down to second base trying to catch Lopez on a ball four to Acosta. The ball went into center field to score Hita, who walked to lead off the inning.

Richard Rodriguez had bailed out Casillas moments earlier, diving behind second to turn an apparent single by Lopez into a force out at second base, and he and Capi Magana would turn a double play in the seventh to help Casillas out, after Hita again walked to lead off the inning.

"Josh threw 135 pitches, most of them from the fourth inning on. He got a lot of 3-2 counts and got a little tired," Williams said. Casillas allowed six hits and walked six while striking out 10, in improving his record to 4-2 on the season.

The Eagles remained tied for second with Fabens, 9-0 winners over El Paso Mountain View on Thursday, going into their Tuesday's semi-doubleheader at home against San Elizario. The teams will complete their suspended game from three weeks ago at 6 p.m., and play their regular starting about 7 p.m.

NBA's first round to start fast, end slowly

AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK, Apr. 21, 2000 -- No two teams have less time to prepare for the playoffs than Pat Riley's team, the Miami Heat, and their opponent, the Detroit Pistons. They have the first tipoff early Saturday afternoon.

That'll be less than 72 hours after the teams ended the regular season, but like everyone else, the Heat and Pistons will find themselves waiting around in the ensuing days.

In a change from past practice, the first round of the NBA playoffs is being spread over 13 days so that games won't compete head-to-head for viewers on TNT and TBS.

For Riley's team and their opponent, the Detroit Pistons, it means a Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday schedule - that's eight days overall - for just the first three games.

"We are subject to the gods of television, but to stretch this out over two weeks is absolutely insane," Riley said Thursday. "It's losing its competitive edge. It's allowing guys to have more preparation. It's allowing people to almost get bored. You've made them wait all year long, 82 games, and now you're going to make them wait two weeks to get through five games?"

If the Miami-Detroit schedule is odd, consider the Lakers-Kings.

Game 1 is Sunday, Game 2 is Thursday, Game 3 is the following Sunday.

Even stranger is the Utah-Seattle series, which features four days off between Game 2 Monday and Game 3 the following Saturday.

"I don't think it's ideal, but that's the way it is," Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "It's for the benefit of TV. Whatever the schedule is, that's how we have to play."

The Phoenix-San Antonio, Seattle-Utah, Detroit-Miami and Philadelphia-Charlotte series begin Saturday, and the other four series - Raptors-Knicks, Timberwolves-Trail Blazers, Kings-Lakers and 76ers-Hornets - start Sunday.

There will be Game 2 doubleheaders Monday through Thursday, and there's only one Game 3 next Friday night - Hornets-76ers.

The downside of the new schedule is a big cut in preparation time before the openers. Teams used to have four or five days to rest weary limbs, break down videotape and study opponents.

Now, they have to get ready quick.

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