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Friday, July 21, 2000

Midland pitcher blanks Pecos LLers

PECOS, July 21, 2000 -- Curveballs were again a problem for the Pecos Little League  All-Stars on Thursday in Shamrock, just as they were a week earlier in  San Angelo. But in that game, they were able to put the ball in play  enough to come away with a victory and the District 4 title.

This time, Midland pitcher David Harp was able to shut the door on any Pecos rallies, while his Northern teammates were the ones to put the ball in play and capitalize on mistakes, as they defeated Pecos by a 7-0 score in the Region I sectional semifinals.

The win moved Midland, the District 3 champions, into Saturday's title game, while Pecos will play tonight to stay alive in the double-elimination tournament against the winner of last night's late game between Dumas and Levelland.

Harp allowed six hits in six innings; three by leadoff batter Cody Hernandez. But he only walked one while striking out 12 Pecos batters in the game. Meanwhile, Pecos pitcher Edward Valencia didn't have a bad game, allowing seven hits on the night, but he walked four batters and hit another, which helped Northern take a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning.

Valencia had walked Justin Whittenberg to open the game, and Josh Groner then singled and wound up on third when the ball went through Carlos Vela's legs for a two base error. Valencia survived leadoff singles by Wes Shumskie and Brandon Williamson in the second and retired six straight batters before Chris Garnto dropped a Jordan Coulon pop up to open the fourth inning.

Shumskie followed with a double and Coulon scored on Williamson's infield single. Pecos then missed a chance at a double play on a Kyle Williams fielder's choice to third, as Garnto's throw got past Isaiah Rayos at second base, and the failed to get an out on a Whittenberg grounder to shortstop, allowing Shumskie to score.

A wild pitch scored Williamson and made it 5-0, and Northern would get their final two runs on a bases loaded walk and a steal of home by Zach Pitts, the lone time Midland was able to steal home in three attempts Thursday.

Harp, meanwhile, struck out the side in the first to offset hits by Hernandez and Eddie Vela, stranded Hernandez on second again in the third inning after a one-out hit, and survived a two-out single by Garnto and a walk to Jonathan Garcia in the fourth, before Northern's five-run outburst.

Tonight's game will be a 7 p.m. start, as will Saturday's championship game. If Pecos is able to win tonight and beat Midland Saturday, the deciding game would take place Sunday afternoon, with the winner advancing to the state tournament in Waco.

Nicklaus' British Open career may be over

AP Sports Writer

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland, July 21, 2000 — Moments after Jack Nicklaus  stood on the Swilken Bridge to bid a probable farewell to the British  Open, Tiger Woods promptly birdied two of his first four holes Friday in  his bid for a career Grand Slam. 

Woods, a shot off the lead after the first round, teed off in perfect conditions at midafternoon, just after Nicklaus got cheers and applause as he finished a 1-over 73 that will miss the cut on a course where he won the Open twice.

"St. Andrews always has a special place in my heart," the 60-year-old Nicklaus said after stopping on the bridge on 18 to dof of major titles, wasted no time in following his opening 67 with a strong start, making a 12-footer on the first hole to get to 6 under for the tournament.

He added a tap-in birdie at the par-4 fourth hole after hitting an iron shot to within a foot of the hole.

With a late tee time, Woods knew what most of his top competitors had done on the sun-kissed day. The early players averaged under par on the Old Course.

Four holes into his second round, he was a shot behind Open newcomer Davi took off his hat and waved it to the crowd, then motioned for his son to join him on the bridge.

Couples, winless in two years and not a factor in recent major championships, made four birdies on the front side and appeared headed for the early lead in the clubhouse until his ball landed in a gaping greenside bunker on No. 16 and he made double bogey.

Van de Velde, meanwhile, shot a 68 and was 5 under heading into the final two rounds as he sought to atone for the triple bogey on the final hole at Carnoustie last year that cost him the Open.

With barely a hint of breeze, and sunshine that made it feel more like Southern California than the edge of the North Sea, players continued their assault at the home of golf, where even 112 deep bunkers didn't disrupt scoring.

"The course was there for the taking," Couples said.

Before hitting a shot Thursday, Els knew he had a tough task ahead.

"You see Tiger 5 under and you haven't even started the round, you know you got your work cut out," Els said.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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