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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Monday, April 26, 2004

Fourth lead holds up as Eagles clinch playoff spot, 9-6

Staff Writer

It took four tries for the Pecos Eagles to finally pull away from the Fort Stockton Panthers on Friday night, as the Eagles used a three-run sixth inning to defeat the Panthers, 9-6 and clinch their sixth straight trip to the playoffs.

Victor Reyes’ one out single scored Miguel Estrada with the go-ahead run. A bad pickoff throw by Esteban Lara and a two-out double by pitcher Jose Reyes then gave the Eagles enough of a cushion to survive any seventh inning threat by Fort Stockton, which had rallied from 4-0, 5-4 and 6-5 deficits in the third, fourth and fifth innings.

“They showed a lot of character in a situation where we were replacing one of our players, and had several in different positions,” said Eagles’ coach Elias Payan. “It was something we weren’t preparing for, but the kids battled back, and on Monday, we’ll have to work on some of those things.”

Pecos was minus Josh Anchondo, out until mid-May due to grades, and as a result, Payan moved Isaiah Rayos from second base to shortstop and put Estrada at second. But by the end of the game Estrada would be at third base, Edward Valencia at short and Rayos back in his normal position at second due to a series of errors by the Eagles.

Two came with two away in the top of the second, but didn’t cost Pecos, as Reyes fanned Erik Diaz, one of 12 strikeouts on the night for the senior. In the bottom of the inning Rayos walked and scored the first run of the game when Eddie Vela tripled to right-center field. Vela then scored on a balk by Lara and Pecos would add two more runs, on a triple by Jaime Muela and a single by Victor Reyes, after Estrada reached base on a passed ball third strike by R.J. Bernal.

But in the third Robert Nunez dropped Danny Villabla’s pop up, Lara walked and then Bernal reached base when Estrada failed to cover first on a sacrifice bunt attempt. One out later Billy Bradshaw cleared the bases with a triple to right-center, and after Jose Reyes hit Alfredo Agredano with a pitch, Bradshaw scored when Reyes overthrew second base after picking off Agredano.

That tied the game, but Reyes would help untie it in the bottom of the third, doubling to lead off the inning and then scoring on Edward Valencia’s sacrifice fly. That lead failed to make it through the next half inning, as Villalba singled with one out and scored on Vic Lujan’s two out base hit. And the game stayed tied only until the bottom of the inning, when Pecos used a walk, two errors by Agredano at shortstop and a sacrifice fly by Oscar Parada to go up, 6-5.

That lead also was short-lived after Reyes hit his fourth batter of the night, Octavio Contreras, with one away. “He made some mental mistakes on the mound a senior shouldn’t be making,” Payan said. “I don’t know if he was thinking too hard out there, but coming from the side(arm) instead of the top and hitting the batter with a two strike count is things you shouldn’t do.”

Agredano - plunked his first two times at bat - didn’t wait for a third chance after Contreras was hit, singling on the first pitch he saw. Contreras would then score when Rayos couldn’t handle Donnie Dominguez’s bouncer to second base. Reyes struck out the next two hitters to get out of trouble, and would finally be helped out by his defense in the top of the sixth, after Pecos failed to score in the fifth inning.

Bernal and Lujan would both single with one away, before Bradshaw hit a soft line drive to Nunez at first, who grabbed it and then stepped on first, to double off Lujan and end the inning.

Lara would hit only one batter in the game, but that started the Eagles’ winning rally. He hit pinch-hitter Chris Garnto to open the sixth, and after Estrada was reinserted into the game walked Muela on four pitches before allowing Victor Reyes’ go-ahead single. Reyes would eventually be tagged out at home on a failed suicide squeeze, but Parada then reached on an infield single and scored on Jose Reyes’ second double of the night. After Pecos’ three-run sixth, Fort Stockton would get Agredano on base off an infield hit with one out in the seventh, but Reyes would then strike out Dominguez and Paul Martinez to end the game.

“We got out of trouble when Robert made the catch and doubled their runner off first. We caught a break and I told the kids ‘now let’s take advantage of it,’ and we came back and got three runs and gave Jose some breathing room,” Payan said.

The win put Pecos at 7-1 in district and kept them tied for first with Presidio, which beat Greenwood on Friday, 5-4. The Eagles are two games up on the Rangers, who they’ll play in Midland on Thursday, in a game moved back two days due to TAKS testing. Win or lose, Pecos will turn around the following night and host Presidio, where a win would give the Eagles the District 4-3A title and a first round bye in the playoffs.

Fort Stockton 0 0 4 1 1 0 0 -- 6 8 3

Pecos 0 4 1 1 0 3 x -- 9 9 5

Lara, Bernal (6) and Bernal, Contreras (6). J. Reyes and Muela. W - J. Reyes. L - Lara. E - Fort Stockton, Agredano 2, Lara. Pecos, Estrada, Muela, Nunez, J. Reyes, Rayos. DP - Fort Stockton 1, Pecos 1. LOB - Fort Stockton 8, Pecos 5. 2B - Pecos, J. Reyes 2. 3B - Fort Stockton, Bradshaw. Pecos, Vela, Muela. SF - Valencia, Parada. SB - Fort Stockton, Villalba, Dominguez, Agredano. Pecos, V. Reyes, J. Reyes, Parada. CS - Fort Stockton, Franco. Pecos, V. Reyes 2. Balk - Fort Stockton, Lara. HBP - Bernal, Agredano 2, Contreras by J. Reyes. Garnto by Lara. PB - Fort Stockton, Bernal.

Herrera gets no-hitter, grand slam in 10-0 win

Staff Writer

The Pecos Eagles’ final home softball game of the season on Friday turns out not to be their final home softball game of the season. But the Eagles still closed out their home district schedule on an up note, with their second 10-0 win of the season over the Kermit Yellowjackets.

Stephanie Herrera tossed a no-hitter and almost hit for the cycle, coming up with a grand-slam home run, the first-ever homer at the new Pecos High School softball field, along with a first inning triple and a sixth inning double that helped end the game under the 10-run rule.

Herrera’s grand slam came on the first pitch from Chelsea Wilhelm and capped a six-run fourth inning that gave Pecos a 9-0 lead. “We had been talking about this in practice. I said could you imagine what it would be like to hit a home run with the bases loaded? The place would go crazy,” said Eagles’ coach Tammy Walls. “I was just glad to be a part of it. It was one of those ‘wow’ moments.”

The home run was a line drive over the fence in left, while she also circled the bases on her first inning triple, which went over the head of right fielder Ashley Garcia, who then overthrew second baseman Denise Valenzuela, allowing Herrera to score. The run came after Jenny Palomino singled and scored on a double steal with Savannah Ewing, who was tagged out at second base.

Pecos took a 3-0 lead in the second off a single by Kelsey Flores, a fielder’s choice by Cassandra Terrazas and an RBI single by Brittany Lobstein. Wilhelm would get through the middle of the Eagles’ lineup in the third inning untouched, but in the fourth a couple of errors set up Herrera’s grand slam.

Vanessa Valeriano reached on the first, by Diana Quiroz at shortstop, and she would later score on a passed ball. Pecos would then load the bases when catcher Sandra Figueroa dropped Palomino’s sacrifice bunt, and made it 5-0 when Quiroz booted Ewing’s grounder for her second error of the inning. Herrera followed on the next pitch with the first over-the-fence home run of the season for the Eagles.

Meanwhile, on the mound Herrera had two strikeouts in each of the first four innings, while retiring the first 12 Kermit hitters she faced. She lost her perfect game in the fifth on her own error, throwing the ball over Hillery Hinojos’ head at first on a tap down the first base line by Quiroz, but would strike out the side after that and add her 12th strikeout in the sixth inning.

Herrera then doubled to left-center field after Katie Lee walked to open the bottom of the sixth. Lee was able to score too end the game under the 10-run rule when Figueroa dropped Quiroz’ throw from shortstop.

The win gave the Eagles a 6-4 record to end District 4-3A play and a 15-11 mark overall. Kermit ends their season with a 3-7 district record. Pecos will play Lubbock Cooper at 7 p.m. on Thursday in the bi-district round of the Class 3A playoffs, but Walls said before that, they’ll host Alpine in a playoff practice game this afternoon at 4 p.m.

“Overall this was the kind of game I wanted to have going into the playoffs,” Walls said. “I hoped we would be able to build some confidence in our batting, and even though we didn’t have much fielding going on, I hoped we would build on that going in, and can do so against Alpine on Monday.”

Kermit 0 0 0 0 0 0 -- 0 0 8

Pecos 2 1 0 6 0 1 -- 10 9 2

C. Wilhelm and Figueroa. S. Herrera and Lobstein. W - S. Herrera. L - C. Wilhelm. E - Kermit, Porras, Garcia, Quiroz 2, Figueroa 2, Glander, C. Wilhelm. Pecos, S. Herrera, Shaw. LOB - Kermit 1, Pecos 6. 2B - Pecos, S. Herrera. 3B - Pecos, S. Herrera. HR - Pecos S. Herrera (1). S - Pecos, Palomino. SB - Pecos, Palomino, Terrazas. CS - Ewing. HBP - Hinojos by C. Wilhelm. PB - Kermit, Figueroa 3.

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