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March 12, 2001

Eagles score late victories over Loboes

Staff Writer

PECOS, March 12, 2001 - If all the other innings would turn out the way the last inning did for the Pecos Eagles twice against the Monahans Loboes at this past weekend's West Texas March Classic in Midland, coach Bubba Williams would be a lot happier.

The Eagles stopped a Monahans rally in the seventh inning on Friday with a game-ending double play and won, 7-6. Then on Saturday, when the Loboes scored twice with two outs in the seventh to tie the game, the Eagles came back with four straight hits in the bottom of the eighth inning, two on perfectly placed bunts, and beat Monahans by a 7-6 score in the tournament's seventh place contest at Christensen Stadium

But in-between the Eagles continued to struggle on defense, committing seven errors in Saturday's game against the Loboes, while allowing four unearned runs in the second inning of their Friday afternoon game against the Merkel Badgers, losing that one by a 6-3 margin.

The teams ended up playing Friday-Saturday games for the second time in three weeks after Monahans defeated Alpine in an early Saturday game. The Bucks, who beat Pecos at the rain-shortened Monahans Sandhills Tournament on March 1, will be in Pecos this afternoon, for a 5 p.m. game against the Eagles, who now have made four errors or more in seven of their first nine games.

"I know we're good defensively in the middle, at catcher, shortstop, second base and center field," Williams said. "They just need to go out and play, and they shouldn't put a lot of pressure on themselves because I say they're good."

Barney Rodriguez went the distance, surviving the errors and his own control problems to get the win in his first varsity start of the season. The sophomore walked six and allowed eight hits, while hitting two batters in the seventh, around Porras' game-tying triple.

"He still wasn't throwing as good as he could. His fastball wasn't moving today, but he had a good curveball and stuck it out," Williams said. Rodriguez did get eight strikeouts, mostly on curveballs, to help strand 15 Monahans runners on base.

The Loboes did rally from a 5-2 deficit when Porras tripled past David Elkins down the line in right with two outs in the seventh to tie the game, before the Eagles won in the eighth off reliever Martin Brito. Leadoff batter Rigo Ramirez singled off the glove of a sliding Porras in right field, and Elkins and Richard Rodriguez then laid down bunts _Elkins down the third base line and Rodriguez to the first base side of the mound, both of which went for singles. Alex Garcia then won the game by singling through a drawn-in infield to center field.

"Rigo did a good job of two-strike hitting, David lays down a good bunt and Richard lays down a good bunt and then Alex gets the game-winning hit. That was a team effort that won the ballgame, not an individual one," Williams said.

Meanwhile, Monahans had its own problems on defense, committing five errors that led to all but the last of Pecos' six runs. Shortstop Joey Aguilar made two in the first inning on Richard Rodriguez and Garcia for Pecos' first run, then dropped Freddy Torres' pop-up in the fourth, which led to four runs by Pecos with two outs that chased starter Leslie Eason from the mound.

Richard Rodriguez and Garcia singled with two outs for two of the runs, and then after a third run scored when Chad Eubanks booted Mason Abila's grounder to first, Barney Rodriguez followed with an RBI single to put Pecos up by three.

Monahans had tied the game in the second on Porras' sacrifice fly, after the Eagles missed a chance at a double play when Richard Rodriguez' backhand flip to shortstop sailed over Capi Magana's head. The Loboes went up 2-1 in the fourth off a pair of errors by shortstop Matthew Levario, who came in after Magana was benched for throwing his helmet following a third inning strikeout.

In Friday's win over the Loboes at Greenwood, Magana had a two-run single in the Eagles' three-run first inning, while pitcher Angel Villalobos helped his own cause in the fourth inning, with a three-run home run after Monahans had tied the score at 3-3.

Abila followed with a home run in the top of the sixth after the Loboes cut the lead to 6-5, and then after Monahans pushed a run across in the bottom of the seventh, the Eagles intentionally walked Noah Miles and got Josh Robison to hit to Magana at shortstop, who turned it into a game-ending double play.

Villalobos got the win to even his record at 1-1 on the season, while Richard Rodriguez fell to 0-2 after going 1 2/3 innings Friday afternoon against Merkel. Magana, who took the loss in the tournament opener against Abilene Wylie, came on and allowed one run while striking out 10 Badgers the rest of the way, but the Eagles could managed only solo runs in the third, fourth and seventh innings off pitcher Chris Gohlke.

The 2-2 weekend leaves Pecos with a 4-5 record on the season, going into today's game with Alpine. Abilene Wylie, which beat the Eagles on Thursday by a 15-4 score, beat Greenwood in the tournament title game, 15-5, while Seminole defeated Fort Stockton for third place and Merkel defeated Kermit in the fifth place game.

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