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Friday, April 10, 1998

Eagles arise from dead to beat Mustangs

Staff Writer
PECOS, Apr. 10 -- The Pecos Eagles put on a double feature
Tuesday at Eagle Field -- "Night of the Living Dead" and
"Stayin' Alive."

With their playoff hopes on the line against the Sweetwater
Mustangs, the Eagles came up with a lifeless performance for
the first 3½ innings of their game Thursday night. The
Mustangs chased Jason Abila from the mound after less than
two innings, while Sweetwater's No. 4 pitcher, Brandon
Phillips, shut out Pecos and was staked to a 4-0 lead.

But a home run by Richard Gutierrez to open the bottom of
the fourth finally got things going, and Pecos was able to
eventually tie the game in the sixth inning off reliever
Jeremy Maxwell, then kept their playoff hopes alive by
scoring a run in the bottom of the eighth innings for a 6-5

"The first four innings, I thought we were in the
graveyard," said Eagles' coach Bubba Williams. "I don't know
what it was, but we were just dead out there, and Jay
(Abila) wasn't into it. I've been looking at him too long,
and I knew he was not into it."

A quartet of sophomores helped the Eagles rally for their
second victory in six District 4-4A games. Joshua Casillas
came on for Abila, and held Sweetwater to just two runs over
the final 6_ innings, while Jeffrey Martinez blooped the
game-tying two-run single with two outs in the sixth inning.

Then in the eighth, after Joseph Contreras led off with a
single off Maxwell, sophomore Luis Salgado saw his sacrifice
bunt turn into a single when second baseman Nick Boil failed
to cover first base. Sweetwater's infielders then were so
focused on fielding Kevin Bates' bunt they made it
unnecessary, as Contreras stole third base left unguarded by
Brandon Hefner.

Given the chance to swing away, Bates came through. The
sophomore bounced one far enough to the right of Boil that
he had no chance to keep Contreras from crossing the plate
with the winning run.

"Our sophomores stepped up and did the job. Jeffrey Martinez
pinch-hit that two-run single, Joshua Casillas came in and
did a heck of a job pitching, Luis Salgado lays down that
bunt and then Kevin puts it in play and get the run home,"
Williams said.

Coach Tony Heredia opted to save his top three pitchers for
next Tuesday's game against Big Spring, and for a while, the
gamble looked great. Phillips got Pecos in order in the
first, and in the second Jason Gomez singled with one out,
and after going to second on a wild pitch, scored when Bates
misplayed Eddie Campos' single to right.

Abila then got the second out before Campos stole third and
scored when catcher Cisco Rodriguez' throw sailed into left
field. Abila then fanned Boil for what should have been the
third out, but he reached base on a passed ball by
Rodriguez. Dominic Solis then singled off Salgado's glove in
short left field, with Boil going all the way to third on
the play.

Casillas replaced Abila on the mound at that point and got
the final out, but not before his first pitch got past
Rodriguez, allowing Boil to score.

The Eagles wasted a lead-off double by Rodriguez in the
bottom of the inning, then fell behind, 4-0, in the third.
Jared Shelton walked, and then Michael Gomez got a
questionable single off the glove of Bates, who appeared to
be in foul territory on the play. He was able to throw out
Shelton at third base, but Gomez would score on Campos' two
out double a short time later.

Phillips' luck held in the third inning, as he got Abila to
line hard to Campos in left to end the inning, after Oscar
Luna had singled and reached third on a passed ball by Zack
Newberry and a wild pitch by Phillips. But in the fourth,
the Eagles got on the board when Richard Gutierrez crushed
one over the trees in right field. Phillips was replaced by
Maxwell after Rodriguez' second straight double, but after
Contreras reached on a fielder's choice play, Jason Aguilar
blooped a single to center to score one run, and Contreras
then stole home as Aguilar was caught in a rundown between
first and second.

Sweetwater got a run back in their next at bat, as Michael
Gomez homered just over the fence in center field. He then
saved a run in the bottom of the inning, leaping to catch
Abila's liner to shortstop, and doubling pinch runner Aaron
Roman off third base to end the inning.

In the sixth the breaks started going Pecos' way after
Campos reached second on a throwing error by Abila, now at
shortstop. He would steal third for the second time, but was
then tagged out at home on a failed suicide squeeze bunt by
Newberry -- the same play Sweetwater used to score their
winning run last month against Pecos.

The Eagles then used the rarest of things for them -- a walk
-- to set up their game-tying rally.

Contreras drew it with one out in the sixth, after Gutierrez
had singled, stole second and moved to third on Rodriguez'
fly out. It was Pecos' first walk in the last 19¶ innings at
home and it cost Sweetwater, as pinch runner Eric Aguilar
moved up when Justin Gee threw home on Salgado's short fly
ball to center, and was able to score when Martinez blooped
a 3-2 pitch into left field.

Casillas then singled, but Maxwell survived by getting John
Gutierrez to fly to right. Casillas then survived a leadoff
walk in the seventh to Campos, who reached third before
pinch hitter Daniel Price bounced out to Abila. In the
bottom of the inning Abila would be left at first after a
one-out walk, and Newberry was stranded at second after
doing the same with two away in the eighth, before the
Eagles' winning rally.

The victory lifted Pecos to 2-4 in district, 10-7 on the
second, while Sweetwater fell to 1-5 and 6-14. The Eagles
still have to win at least three of their final four games
to have a shot at the playoffs, and will try to do that
starting Tuesday in Andrews. The first place Mustangs were
off Thursday, but will host Fort Stockton on Saturday.

Pecos' lead short-lived in 15-5 loss

Staff Writer
PECOS, Apr. 10 -- For one inning Thursday, things went great
for the Pecos Eagles' softball team. But after that, the
Eagles' familiar problems returned, and they remained
winless in District 4-4A play after a 15-5 loss to the San
Angelo Lake View Maidens at Maxey Park.

The Eagles led after one inning, 4-0, before Lake View tied
the game in the second, then scored three times in the
third, twice in the fourth and four more times in the fifth
inning. Pecos, which has yet to get past the fifth inning in
their first district season, had a shot, cutting the lead to
10 with one out in the fifth, but pitcher Michelle Morales
was able to strike out Alexa Marquez and Heather Uptergrove,
ending the game under the 10-run rule.

Katrina Quiroz made coach Tammy Walls' 280-mile trip to Big
Spring and back Thursday afternoon worthwhile in the first
inning. Walls went there to pick up Quiroz and other field
event competitors from the Big Spring Relays, and Quiroz
came up with an inside-the-park home run, which helped the
Eagles get their 4-0 lead.

It came after Gabi Bafidis walked and Nicole Payne singled
to open the inning. Beth Moorhead misplayed the ball into a
two-base error, scoring Bafidis and one out later Payne
scored by beating the throw home on Valerie Gonzales'
fielder's choice grounder. Gonzales then came in on Quiroz'
home run.

Lake View tied the game with four unearned runs with two out
in the second. Two walks and a Moorhead single loaded the
bases when Christa Crisp's grounder to first base was kicked
by Uptergrove for an error. Two runs scored, and then
Kristen Slate scored on a double-steal, before Crisp came in
off Jennifer Anchondo's single.

Four straight singles off pitcher Alexa Marquez to open the
third, a bad pickoff throw by Quiroz at catcher, and
Anchondo's two-run double gave Lake View a 9-3 lead. Pecos
then missed a chance to score in their next at-bat, when
their double steal failed and Gonzales was tagged out at

The lead had grown to 15-4 in the fifth, when Morales
dropped a one out pop up by Ashley Salcido. Singles by
Gonzales and Quiroz followed, scoring Salcido. both moved
into scoring position when catcher Traci Harp misplayed the
throw home, but Morales came back to get the game-ending

Lake View's win lifted them to 2-6 in district, while the
Eagles fall to 0-8 going into the final week of the season.
They'll play on Tuesday at Big Spring, which clinched the
District 4-4A title on Thursday with a 15-0 win over

Couples leads Masters; Tiger, Fuzzy coupled

AP Sports Writer
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Tiger Woods didn't want to play a practice
round at the Masters with Fuzzy Zoeller for fear it would
turn into a circus as he prepared to win a championship.

He may not have a choice today.

Never mind that Fred Couples was the only player who managed
to break 70 on a day when his 3-under-par 69 felt much
lower. Or that the wind was so strong it blew sand out of
the bunkers, made it a chore for players to stand over a
2-foot putt and eliminated all the talk about making Augusta
National ``Tiger-proof.''

Woods and Zoeller -- one remembered for his runaway victory
last year, the other for his racially charged remarks that
followed -- were grouped together at 1-under 71 and all but
certain to be paired today in the second round.

``Just another pairing,'' Woods shrugged.

It wouldn't be finalized until the first round, suspended by
darkness Thursday with 10 players still on the course, is
completed today. Nick Faldo was 1 over, while U.S. Open
champion Ernie Els was 3 over with three to play.

In order to make sure the second round gets in, there will
be threesomes at the Masters for the first time since 1983.
And barring a late charge by David Duval or Shigeki
Maruyama, Woods and Zoeller will be joined by Colin

If that's not a distraction, there's always the wind.

``It was fun to play the old course today,'' said Zoeller,
the 1979 Masters champion, but winless since 1986. `She had
her teeth out.''

That's the Augusta that was missing last year, when Woods
overwhelmed the course and everyone else with a record
18-under 270 to win by 12 strokes.

Based on last year, he's ahead of schedule. He toured the
front nine a year ago in 4-over 40, corrected his swing on
the 10th tee and then shaved off 10 strokes to get back in
the hunt.

``There's no way you could ever have done that today,'' he
said. ``A par on each hole was a great accomplishment.''

Nor did he have to. Sure, he had to save par seven times
from off the green, but Woods managed the wind and the
course with the experience of a Masters champion.

Others weren't so lucky.

Ben Crenshaw, a two-time champion, failed to break 80 for
the fourth time this year in 11 rounds and said after his
83, ``I need an ambulance.'' Tom Watson had a 78, his worst
round at Augusta.

Only nine players in the field of 88 broke par; Duval was at
1 under with three holes left.

``If it had not rained a little bit, I don't think anyone
would have broken par,'' Couples said.

Jose Maria Olazabal got a break when his hard chip to the
17th went into the cup on a hop for birdie that got him to
2-under 70, where he joined Scott Hoch and Paul Stankowski.

Paul Azinger was also at 71 after the only bogey-free round.
Justin Leonard and Davis Love III were among those at 74,
Leonard done in by a double bogey at the 15th and Love by
closing with three straight bogeys.

``I don't mind a little wind on a course that's wide open
and no water,'' Stankowski said. ``But here at Augusta, it's
a real challenge.''

Nowhere was it more of a test that on the first two holes of
the back nine, the toughest of the first round.

``On No. 10, I looked at the leaves and the wind blew them
in every single direction -- 360 degrees,'' Woods said.
``You just had to hang in there and be patient and just
accept pars. It was not a day when guys were going to go

An even greater testament to the wind was at the par-5 15th,
which was the second-easiest hole last year and the
third-hardest on Thursday.

U.S. Amateur champion Matt Kuchar and former Masters
champion Ian Woosnam each came to No. 15 at 2 under and both
left with watery double bogeys. As for Woods, it was the
only par-5 he failed to birdie.

A year ago, he routinely reached it with a driver and a
pitching wedge. This time, he thought about hitting 3-wood,
but then decided to lay up.

``Judging the wind, keeping yourself patient, keeping your
emotions under control -- it was a tough day,'' Woods said.

That may be nothing compared to today.

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