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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, May , 2004

Eagles kick Mules out of playoffs

Staff Writer

In the end, a first-year softball team is still a first-year softball team, even in the area round of the Class 3A playoffs.

The Muleshoe Mules had to endure far less problems in their inaugural season of play than the Pecos Eagles did when they began play seven years ago, but on Thursday night in Andrews the Eagles made the Mules look like a first-year team, scoring six times in the first inning on the way to a 13-0 win in the area round of the playoffs.

Stephanie Herrera threw her second no-hitter of the season, striking out 14 of the 16 batters she faced while allowing just one base runner, on a second inning error.

Meanwhile, Muleshoe committed a series of errors and had problems getting to a number of ground balls, which helped give the Eagles a 6-0 advantage before the Mules came to bat.

“I was conscious of that. I tried to remember what that was like when we were in our first year,” said Eagles’ coach Tammy Walls. “I didn’t want to go out there and destroy Muleshoe, so I changed out most of my starters and had Stephanie batting left-handed.” “I was kind of hard to get the kids to play with intensity, but they did all right. The kids were relaxed and not under the kind of pressure they had last week,” when Pecos won an 11-inning, 4-3 decision over Lubbock Cooper in the bi-district round of the playoffs. Muleshoe won District 2-3A this year, which earned them a first-round bye. But the Panhandle district has only three teams, all of them in their first season of varsity play, and even though the Eagles didn’t hit the ball hard off pitcher Denna Cody, they still managed to take control in the first inning.

Brittany Lobstein singled under the glove of shortstop Madison Smith and scored following three Muleshoe errors. Herrera then singled home Lobstein and Jenny Palomino while Jessica Florez scored on an infield hit by Savannah Ewing. Herrera scored on Hillery Hinojos’ base hit to right field and one out later Cassandra Terrazas singled under the glove of third baseman Monica Posadas to score Ewing and Hinojos for a 6-0 lead.

Palomino reached on an infield hit in the second inning, then stole second and scored after Herrera’s fly out, when Posadas couldn’t field the throw to third base. The Eagles then made it 10-0 in the third on a two-run triple by Florez followed by a single from Herrera, who batted left-handed in her final three plate appearances.

Cody would get the Eagles in order in the fourth inning, but in the fifth the Eagles added their final three runs. Lobstein opened with a double and scored on a sacrifice bunt by Vanessa Valeriano, while Katie Lee had a two-run double to score Herrera and Monica Fierro.

Muleshoe’s Ashley Dickson did get as far as third base in the second inning, after Hinojos couldn’t hang onto Herrera’s throw on an infield grounder. She stole second and third, but was stranded as Herrera struck out Smith and Mindy Brantley to retire the side. The only out not recorded by strikeout in the game came in the fourth inning, when Celina Reyna grounded out to Skye Gabaldon at first base. Herrera the struck out the side in the fifth to end the game under the 10-run rule.

“I thought Stephanie pitched a good game. When you’re just starting out, that kind of pitching is overpowering, and she just overpowered them,” said Walls, whose team advanced past the area round of the playoffs for the first time in five tries.

Herrera is now 13-6 on the season, while the Eagles overall are 18-11 and will await the outcome of tonight’s game in Snyder between Monahans and Canyon to find out who they’ll face next week in the Region I-3A quarterfinals.

Because Herrera has to compete in the Class 3A state discus finals next Friday afternoon, Walls said the quarterfinal game would be played on Tuesday, either in Pecos or Monahans if the Loboes win tonight, or in Snyder or Lubbock if Canyon advances to the quarterfinals.

Pecos 6 1 3 0 3 -- 13 13 1

Muleshoe 0 0 0 0 0 -- 0 0 7

Herrera and Lobstein. Cody and Brantley. W - Herrera. L - Cody E - Pecos, Hinojos. Muleshoe, Rasco, Posadas 2, Sexton, Smith, Cody, Dickson. 2B - Pecos, Lobstein, Lee. 3B - Pecos, J. Florez. S - Valeriano. SB - Pecos, Ewing, Hinojos. Muleshoe, Dickson 2. PB - Muleshoe, Brantley.

Errors costly for Pecos in 6-5 loss

Staff Writer

There weren’t many good defensive plays in Thursday night’s game between the Pecos Eagles and Seminole Indians. But the Indians made just enough of them - and got a key call to go their way in the eighth inning - to help Seminole take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three bi-district playoff series.

Matt Castleberry’s line drive hit in the bottom of the eight inning took a big hop over the head of left fielder Eddie Vela, allowing Pete Guerra to score from first base to give the Indians a 6-5 win over the Eagles at Andrews High School. Seminole had used a series of Pecos mistakes to rally from a 3-0 deficit to take a 5-3 lead going into the seventh inning, but a double error by Guerra on Vela’s two-out, two-strike grounder to shortstop allowed Oscar Parada and Jose Reyes to score the tying runs.

The loss means the Eagles will have to win two games today in Monahans to advance to the area round of the Class 3A baseball playoffs. Eagles’ coach Elias Payan said Vela would pitch Game 1, which is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. start. A deciding game, if needed, would begin about 8 p.m.

“We had them down 3-0 and had them on the ropes, but we just missed our opportunities,” said Payan, after the Eagles took advantage of errors in the first and second innings to take the lead.

Pecos went ahead 1-0 in the first when Victor Reyes walked and Parada followed with a single, with Reyes scoring on the error by outfielder Tyson Farmer. In the second, it was a throwing error by Ross Whitfield at third base that opened the door. Robert Nunez singled home Edward Valencia and Jaime Muela singled in Jonathan Garcia, who reached on the error. But Trey Curiel, who started the game on the mound, then got Victor Reyes and Parada to retire the side.

Seminole got a run back in their half of the second, when Nunez fell down trying to throw home on a double-steal attempt, after Drew Phillips was caught in a rundown between first and second.

“I think they took the momentum right there. They had first and third and we got into a situation where we’re just supposed to walk him back to first base,” Payan said. “If we can get him, we get him, but we’re not supposed to end up in a rundown. That was one of the mental aspects of our mistakes.”

Edward Valencia’s throwing error on Curiel’s grounder to short in the third inning was followed by a one-out triple by Guerra down the line in right to make it 3-2. Castleberry then tied the game with a single to right field.

Both teams survived errors at third base in the fourth inning, with the Eagles using a bases-loaded double play started by Jose Reyes on the mound to get out of trouble. But in the fifth Miguel Estrada couldn’t hold onto Michael Martinez’ two out line drive to third, allowing Guerra to score the go-ahead run. In the sixth, two errors by Isaiah Rayos at second base set up Castleberry’s RBI grounder to give Seminole a 5-3 lead.

In-between, Curiel survived a two-out, bases loaded jam in the sixth, helped when Farmer threw out Valencia trying for an extra base after a lead-off single. But in the seventh Parada made it to second when Farmer bobbled his lead-off hit and Reyes followed with a single. Rayos sacrificed them to second, but Curiel then got Valencia to pop out and got two quick strikes on Vela before he hit a sharp grounder to short. Reyes screened the ball from Guerra, who misplayed it, then threw it off a diving Martinez at first, as both runners came home.

Vela would get as far as third base before Guerra replaced Curiel on the mound, but Phillips then saved a run with a diving catch of a Jonathan Garcia line drive to right field. Reyes would then survive hitting the leadoff batter in the bottom of the seventh, and Guerra got out of trouble after hitting Nunez to open the eighth when the umpires gave Seminole a double play on a Parada grounder, ruling Victor Reyes slid past the bag taking out Matt Hawkins before he could throw to first.

Muela then took out Hawkins at second in the bottom of the inning, throwing him out while trying to steal after a leadoff single. But Guerra then blooped a hit down the line in right and Castleberry followed with his hit that bounced over Vela’s head and to the left field fence, allowing Guerra to score.

“I felt we had a pretty bad call at second base with Jose coming up, but that was just one bad call,” Payan said. “We gave them every opportunity to win the ballgame. Mentally we gave them some runs and we made some mistakes on the bases. We were able to scratch back, but we just made too many errors.”

Vela pitched eight days ago in Greenwood, beating the Rangers by a 12-8 final score. Payan after him, the Eagles would go with Valencia, who last pitched in mid-March, in a non-district loss to Greenwood at Andrews.

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