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Tuesday, May 27, 1997

Eagles earn four spots on all-district squad

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PECOS, May 27 -- Four members of the Pecos Eagles baseball team were
named to the All-District 4-4A baseball squad, released Saturday night.

Senior outfielder/pitcher Eric Abila, junior outfielder Cisco Rodriguez,
junior pitcher/shortstop Jason Abila and sophomore catcher Mark Abila
were chosen to the squad, in voting by the district's six coaches.

The team was announced following Andrews' 6-4 elimination by Saginaw
Boswell in the Region I-4A semifinals on Saturday. The district's other
two playoff teams, Fort Stockton and San Angelo Lake View, lost in the
first and second round of the playoffs.

The Eagles suffered through one of their most disappointing seasons this
year. Picked to challenge Andrews and Lake View for first, they saw
their district-opening win nullified by a forfeit, then went into a
hitting slump the final six games of 4-4A play, and finished in fourth
place, with a 4-6 record, after a 9-4 start.

Jason Abila had three of Pecos' four wins in 4-4A play, to go along with
his victory in the forfeited game. The junior finished with a 5-4 record
(6-3 with the forfeit) and two saves, a 1.84 earned run average, while
at bat, he hit .427 with five home runs and 25 RBI. It was the second
year in a row he was named to the all-district team.

Rodriguez was Pecos' most consistent hitter during the second half of
district, and finished with a .423 average, with one home run and 19
RBI. It was his first all-district selection.

Eric Abila also earned his first all-district pick. The senior batted
.307 on the season with two home runs and 13 RBI, while leading the team
in stolen bases. He also had several assists while playing right- and
center-field, and held Lake View to one run over five innings as a
pitcher, in his first mound appearance in over a year.

Eagles' coach Bubba Williams said Mark Abila was named to the squad as
`Newcomer of the Year," though that category had to be stretched a
little, since Abila started for the Eagles as a freshman in 1996.

"They wanted him on there because of his defensive ability," Williams
said. Opponents stole only five bases in Pecos' 10 district games, while
Abila picked three runners off base in 4-4A play this season.

Andrews' junior Elton Emiliano and Lake View senior Mark Childress were
the first team catchers, as the Mustangs put all nine of their starters
on the team, while the Chiefs had five players selected.

Andrews was led by Most Valuable player Cody Klein, who led the district
in both pitching and home runs this season. Two other seniors, second
baseman Lance Martin and shortstop Gabe Falcon were also on the team.

Along with Emiliano, the other junior on the team from Andrews was first
baseman Noel Olivas, while sophomores included pitcher P.J. Lewis, third
baseman August Lewis and outfielders Mike Hudgens and Shaud Williams.

Lake View put four seniors on the squad -- Childress, pitcher Sterlin
Gilbert, shortstop Lanze Velez, outfielder Richard Luna, while junior
first baseman Guy Velez was also chosen.

Fort Stockton was represented by senior Bryan Parker as utility infield,
junior Steve Cordero and sophomore Nathan Reeves as pitchers, and
another sophomore, Jonathan Rojas, in the outfield.

Big Spring, which saw its six-year playoff run ended, put two players on
the team, in junior second baseman Wes Mouton and senior pitcher Blake
Hull, while Sweetwater also had two players chosen, sophomore pitcher
Jarod Shelton and junior designated hitter Stephen Weyman.

Andrews' head coach Joe Ray Halsey, whose team won its third straight
district title with a 10-0 record and finished 27-3 overall, was again named Coach of the Year.

Mata gets trio of silvers for Miners at WAC meet

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PECOS, May 27 -- After a three gold-medal performance as a freshman,
former Pecos Eagle track star Willie Mata fared slightly less well as a
sophomore Friday afternoon at the Western Athletic Conference Track and
Field Meet at San Diego, but still came away with three medals going
against tougher competition this time around.

Mata, who won the 400 meter dash and earned two other gold medals as a
member of the 400 and 1600 meter relay teams a year ago, took home a
trio of silver medals this past weekend.

After qualifying fifth in the preliminaries on Thursday, Mata was edged
out by teammate Addis Huyler for the gold medal in the 400 meter finals
on Friday, running a 46.65 to Huyler's 46.50 time. Mata came into the
WAC meet seeded second behind TCU's Johnny Collins, who wound up third
on Friday, with a 47.05 time.

TCU was one of several new WAC schools this year, and the Horned Frogs'
400 and 1600 meter relay squads beat out UTEP for first in the other two
races Mata participated in. TCU took the 400 meter relay with a 39.13
time to UTEP's 39.39, while winning the 1600 meters with a 3:08.06, to
the Miners' 3:08.95.

The other former District 4-4A competitor at the WAC meet, Big Spring's
Drexel Owusu, won the triple jump, with a 51-foot-5½ effort. Owusu is
competing for Rice University.

Despite the second place finishes, UTEP repeated as men's track champion
with a 141 points to 129 for Brigham Young. The Miners relay teams could
compete next week, at the NCAA Track and Field Championships in Indiana, depending on other conference qualifying times.

After golf, Jordan has no stroke against Heat

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MIAMI, May 27 (AP) -- Michael Jordan spent a free afternoon on the golf
course, then showed up for work the next day without his stroke.

But Jordan denied that his favorite hobby was the reason he missed his
first 14 shots Monday in the Chicago Bulls' 87-80 loss to the Miami
Heat. The defeat left the Bulls leading the Eastern Conference final 3-1
going into Game 5 Wednesday at the United Center.

With confident Chicago in command of the series Sunday, Jordan headed
for the Miami links following practice. His score wasn't disclosed, but
he shot 9-for-35 Monday, which led to an obvious question:

Why play 46 holes of golf in 85-degree weather during the playoffs?

``I don't think it had anything to do with the way I played,'' he said.
``I felt fresh. I felt good. I played 45 minutes. I can't say that
bothered my energy level.''

Jordan had 29 points only because he found the range in the fourth
quarter, scoring 18 consecutive Chicago points to lead a furious but
futile comeback from a 21-point deficit.

Tim Hardaway scored 25 points for Miami. Alonzo Mourning, who had
predicted the victory following a 24-point Heat loss in Game 3, added 18
points and 14 rebounds.

Chicago had been 9-0 previously against Miami in the playoffs, winning
by an average margin of 18 points. The Heat improved to 5-0 this year
when faced with elimination.

``It would have been easy to go out,'' coach Pat Riley said. ``As much
as this team has been maligned for not deserving to be here, I know how
hard they've worked. They've been crucified for trying to win, and I
think they felt that a little bit. They deserve the right to dream and
hope like anybody else.''

Now they hope to win Wednesday and return to Miami Arena for Game 6 on

``We're not concerned,'' Jordan said. ``We know we can play better. We
showed in the second half the intensity we can play with and how they
can get rattled. We feel confident that if we play our game as we did in
the second half, we'll be all right.''

If the Jordan who struggled through the first half resurfaces, the Bulls
have a problem. He was 0-for-11 at halftime when Chicago trailed 47-31,
setting a franchise playoff record for the fewest points in a first

Bulls publicists believe it was the first time Jordan ever went through
a half -- regular season or playoffs -- without a field goal. Many of
his shots fell short, suggesting fatigue, and both coaches said the golf
may have taken a toll.

``It looked like he played it today,'' Riley said.

``If that's what was called for, that's his priority,'' Bulls coach Phil
Jackson said. ``It might have cost us, but that's the way it goes this
time of year. Sometimes it's better to do that than to stick your nose
to the grindstone.''

At times Jordan appeared to be shooting a grindstone. His first basket
came with 8:09 left in third quarter to make the score 56-37.

``I knew what the numbers were,'' Jordan said. ``I knew I hadn't made a
basket. I really wasn't helping the situation, but I had a determination
to somehow get involved in this game. ...

``In the first quarter I found myself rushing shots trying to beat the
shot clock. From that point on I found myself pressing, trying to find
my rhythm and missing easy shots.''

Mourning and Dennis Rodman provided an entertaining sideshow throughout
the game, trading barbs and shoves until they wrestled each other to the
floor with 8:14 remaining. Each received a technical foul, giving Rodman
15 in 12 playoff games, including at least one in every game.

Moments later, Jordan finally got hot, sinking six baskets in 5½ minutes
as Miami's lead dwindled to 79-78.

``For a half he shows he's human,'' teammate Steve Kerr said. ``In the
second half he shows he's godly.''

But Jordan missed his final three attempts and the Heat hit six
consecutive free throws down the stretch for the win.

``We felt the
pressure of his greatness coming back,'' Riley said. ``You watch him go
on one of those runs and hope the game ends before he gets them all the
way back and gets the final hoop.''

(Copyright 1997 by The Associated Press)

State and Regional Sports Pages--San Angelo Standard-Times

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