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February 14, 2001

Eagles clawed in Wildcats' den to end season

PECOS, February 14, 2001 - The District 2-4A title may or may not have been on the line, but the Fabens Wildcats were ready to celebrate whatever they earned out of Tuesday's regular season-ending game against the Pecos Eagles.
It was Parent's Night, Senior Night _ they had everybody out there," said Eagles' coach Tino Acosta, after his team was beaten by the Wildcats 105-58 to close out the 2000-2001 season.
Fabens came in having won eight straight games since their district-opening loss to San Elizario, but Acosta said the Wildcats could end up winning that one anyway, because San Elizario may have used an illegal player. That would have given Fabens the district title outright, but just to make sure, the Wildcats outscored the Eagles 24-6 in the opening period, then put in 60 points in the second half.
"It turned into a run-and-gun game. It was almost like they wanted us to score so they could come down and score," said Acosta, whose team had only scored over 50 points once in district before Friday, in last month's 90-55 loss to Fabens.
Rigo Estrada scored 30 points, 10 in the Wildcats' 24-point opening quarter, while Manny Solis led the second half outburst and finished with 33 points, including five 3-pointers in the third period.
"Solis had 26 in the second half and Ezra (Varela) was in his face, but he still made his shots," Acosta said.
Varela, who kept Pecos close to Fabens for three quarters in the teams' January game, finished with 21 points, while Saul Garcia had 18 for the Eagles, who trailed 45-23 at halftime. "This is the same team that pounded Andrews by 30 points, got consolation in the Monahans Sandhills Tournament and got second place in the Lamesa Tournament. They're just a good ballclub," Acosta said.
The win assured Fabens of a first round bye in the Class 4A playoffs, as for now they are 9-1 in district and 22-8 on the season. Pecos, meanwhile, finishes winless in district for the second straight year, but their 4-23 overall mark is still a step up from a winless 1999-2000 season.
"I'm proud of my kids. We fought last night for four quarters and gave a tremendous effort under difficult circumstances," Acosta said. "We accomplished our main goal this year and that was to win some games and to play hard in all of them. This is the first time in four years we have improved our record."

PECOS (58)

Plummer 0 0-2 0; S. Garcia 7 2-2 18; Cervantes 2 1-3 5; Varela 8 3-4 21; Tarin 2 0-0 4; Ortega 3 0-0 8; Mora 0 0-0 0; Vasquez 1 0-0 2; Gomez 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 6-11 58.

FABENS (105)

Solis 12 3-4 33; Ontiveros 1 0-3 3; Juarez 2 0-0 5; Estrada 14 1-1 30; Ihmud 2 1-2 5; Silva 4 1-1 9; DeAnda 0 0-0 0; Loya 2 0-0 4; Favela 5 0-0 10; Tacker 2 0-0 4. Totals 45 6-11 105.

Pecos 6 17 15 18 - 58

Fabens 24 21 30 30 -105

Three-point goals: Pecos 6 (S. Garcia 2, Varela 2, Ortega 2), Fabens 9 (Solis 6, Ontiveros, Juarez, Estrada)

Whomping Cranes

Eagles open softball season by spoiling new program's debut, 26-1

Staff Writer

PECOS, February 14, 2001 - For Pecos Eagles coach Tammy Walls and a few of her players, Tuesday's season opening softball game against the Crane Golden Cranes was a case of, "Been there, done that."
Four years ago, when Pecos' current seniors were freshmen and the Eagles' softball program was brand new, Walls' team found themselves on the wrong side of lopsided scores throughout the 1998 season.
But on Tuesday, it was Eagles' turn to dish it out to the Cranes, who were ahead briefly in their first-ever varsity softball game, before giving up 18 runs in the bottom of the first inning in what turned out to be a 2 ½ inning, 26-1 Pecos victory.
"That was all too familiar," said Walls, who went with senior Alexa Marquez on the mound for two innings and finished with freshman Stephanie Herrera in the third inning. Marquez walked the first batter she faced, Bailey Schul, who then stole second and scored on a throwing error by catcher Rebecca Wein. After that, Marquez retired the final six batters she faced, five by strikeouts.
Herrera struck out her first batter, and then walked Becky Morales before fanning Schul, with the game ending when Morales stepped off first base and was tagged out by Jessica Rodriguez, after beating a pickoff throw from Wein back to the bag.
"We had the one bad throw to second base, but I'm not going to worry too much about it," said Walls. "We didn't hit the ball as well as I would have liked, but their pitchers weren't throwing anything we could hit."
Pecos got 14 walks, seven apiece from starter Adon Villa and reliever Ashley Clark. They did come up with a few hits _ Herrera had a pair of doubles, Wein a double and triple, while Marquez had two singles and Marisela Arenivas had three hits in the game.
Some of those hits were of the bloop variety, though Walls said, "Alexa had a couple of good hits and Stephanie had that one good hit down the line," a ground-rule double in the second inning that would have likely been an inside-the-park grand slam, if the temporary softball fence at Martinez Field extended into foul territory.
Villa allowed only two hits, but lasted only a third of an inning due to the seven walks allowed. Clark, meanwhile, was like a baseball pitcher let go in the expansion draft facing her old team _ the former Pecos student was called for a balk on her first pitch to force home a run, then threw five wild pitches to go along with her eight hits and seven walks allowed.
The game was ended after 2½ innings in order to allow the Eagles and Cranes to get in a little playing time for their junior varsity teams. That game didn't even last an inning before darkness set in, as Crane scored six times in the top of the first inning before Pecos scored 16 times in the bottom of the first, when the game was called with two outs.
Pecos' next game figures to be a lot tougher, a 9 a.m. game on Friday against the Frenship Tigers in the first round of the Andrews Invitational Tournament. Walls said Saturday's junior varsity games against Fort Stockton and Marfa have been canceled, so that she can take more than the 10 varsity players suited up on Tuesday to this weekend's tournament.

Bears survive fouls, get playoff win

PECOS, February 14, 2001 - The Balmorhea Bears won the game on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter. But coach Gary Gallego said what the Bears did in the closing minutes of the third period was just as important in their 48-39 victory over the Sanderson Eagles in the bi-district round of the Class A, Division II girls basketball playoffs.
The Bears lost their narrow lead to the Eagles by the end of the third period, but Gallego said under the circumstances that wasn't a bad thing.
"I had three of my starters out of the lineup for the last three minutes of the third quarter. Celina Rodriguez had four fouls, Julia Garlick had four fouls and my freshman Vanessa Baeza had four fouls," Gallego said. "I had to put in some of my subs, like Joanna Garza and Fabiana Lujan who are mainly for defense.
"They were in there for the last three minutes, and Sanderson had a chance to break the game open, but our bench came through, and in the fourth quarter I was able to put my starters back in," Gallego said. Garlick would foul out with about three minutes left in the game, but Rodriguez made it all the way through and finished with a game-high 20 points.
"The key was that last three minutes when Celina and Julia were on the bench, because they're my best rebounders," the Bears' coach said. "My tallest player was 5-5, but it was a big difference from last week," when the Bears lost their final regular season game by two points to Dell City.
When the Bears' starters returned for the final period, Gallego said Sanderson "went to a man-to-man defense and we ran mostly our spread offense and did real well. We got nothing but layups or foul shots in the fourth quarter," Gallego said.
Terry Hernandez finished with 14 points and opened the game with a 3-point jumper. The teams were tied at 11-1 after one period, and the Bears held a slim 24-22 lead at halftime.
Rodriguez also had 20 rebounds, while Garlick had four points and eight rebounds for the Bears, who won their first bi-district game since 1990 in the first year for the new two-division Class A playoff format.
Gallego said the Bears will now go to Abilene this weekend to face either Ira or Trent in the area round of the Division II playoffs. Meanwhile, Balmorhea's boys will be awaiting the start of their playoffs next week. The Bears, District 9-A champions, will face District 10-A runner-up Marathon in their bi-district round game.

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