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Friday, April 24, 1998

Seniors set to end year for Eagles

PECOS, Apr. 24 -- It could be senior hitters against a
freshman pitcher tonight, when the Pecos Eagles close out
their 1998 baseball season against the Fort Stockton

The Eagles and Panthers will be playing for fourth place
when they meet at 7:30 p.m., after both teams were
eliminated by Big Spring during the past week from the
District 4-4A playoff race.

The Eagles lost on Tuesday at Big Spring, allowing four
unearned runs in a 4-2 loss to the Steers. Fort Stockton,
meanwhile, closed out their home schedule with a 6-2 victory
over Sweetwater, tying both teams with 3-5 marks in 4-4A

Eagles' coach Bubba Williams said he planned to start nine
seniors tonight, in their final varsity game.

"I'm going to have Moses (Martinez) pitching, Steve Harrison
in right field, Eric Aguilar in center, Gato (Jose
Contreras) in left, Richard (Gutierrez) and Jason (Abila) at
third and shortstop, Aaron Roman at second, Jeremy Thomasson
at first base and Cisco (Rodriguez) catching," Williams said.

Gutierrez, Abila, Contreras and Rodriguez will be in their
regular positions, while Martinez will be making his first
mound appearance since March 31, when he pitched in relief
against San Angelo Lake View. He picked up the win in last
year's season-ending game at Fort Stockton.

Steven Cordero picked up the victory for the Panthers on
Tuesday, and got the win earlier this month, when Fort
Stockton scored six times in the first two innings at Fort
Stockton, on the way to an 8-2 victory over the Eagles.

Tonight, however, the Eagles will probably see either
freshman Manuel Natividad or junior Nathan Reeves on the
mound. Reeves took the loss a week ago in Fort Stockton's
12-11 loss to Big Spring, and allowed seven runs in Pecos'
26-11 non-district win over Fort Stockton at the Monahans
Sandhills Tournament. Natividad came on to get the final out
of the fifth inning for the Panthers that night.

Andrews faces Big Spring and Sweetwater plays San Angelo in
the other 4-4A games tonight. The Chiefs and Steers are tied
for second at 5-3, and would have a playoff early next week
if they remain tied after tonight.

Regional track qualifiers in Wink, Lamesa today

PECOS, Apr. 24 -- The Pecos Eagles' regional track
qualifiers have another week before returning to San Angelo,
but the six girls and three boys who placed first or second
at last Friday's District 4-4A meet are back on the road
this afternoon.

Pecos' boys were headed to Lamesa, for a regional qualifiers
meet at Tornado Stadium, while Pecos' girls will be a little
closer to home, as they'll go to Wink for their qualifier's

Jake Fowler won the discus and shot put while Jeff Brownlee
placed second in those events at district, and Billy
Rodriguez finished second in the 800 and 1600 meter runs at
Bobcat Stadium last week. Today's meet should give them a
chance to look at some of the Panhandle-area Class 4A
qualifiers they'll see at regionals next Friday and Saturday
at Angelo State University.

"We're sitting better in the discus than in the shot,"
Eagles' track coach Mike Ferrell said of his two seniors'
chances of earning state berths. He said there should be one
thrower from the Amarillo area and one from the Fort Worth
area who'll be the main challenge for Fowler and Brownlee
next week.

Rodriguez' chances are best in the 800 meter run, where he
and district champion Jason Sepeda both have among the
fastest times in the region.

The girls have one senior, Marisol Arenivas, in two events,
the 1600 and 3200 meter runs, while discus thrower Penny
Armstrong and 800 meter relay team members Erica Orona,
Annette Marquez, Maricela Arenivas and Shey Lara will also
compete in today's meet at Wink. Arenivas wo both her
events, while Armstrong and the relay team placed second.
Armstrong is also a regional alternate in the high jump.

Rockets fly by Jazz in opener of playoffs

Associated Press Writer
SALT LAKE CITY, Apr. 24 -- If disbelief made a sound, the
Utah Jazz would have heard it from 19,911 people.

``It was an awful feeling,'' Bryon Russell said. ``All those
fans going crazy at first, and then it all just went away.''

Utah's traditionally wild first night of the NBA playoffs
was ruined as the Houston Rockets upset the Jazz 103-90 on
Thursday night in the opening game of their first-round
series. The aging Rockets postponed their farewell tour with
a solid all-around performance.

``Everybody has been counting us out. We feed off that,''
Houston forward Mario Elie said. ``You critics, you guys
ain't never played no basketball in your lives. All we heard
from people here was how we were going to get swept. Well,
we put the broom in the closet tonight.''

The Rockets also had ample help from a tentative, shaky Utah
team that made just three field goals in the third quarter
and shot less than 63 percent from the free-throw line. The
Jazz hadn't lost their playoff home opener since 1989.

``They came onto our floor and beat us and put our backs to
the wall,'' John Stockton said. ``We play the whole season
for homecourt advantage and then ...''

Utah entered the playoffs as the Western Conference's top
seed, and with a 12-game home winning streak and a six-game
winning streak against the Rockets. Houston had only
tradition and a solid core of veterans.

``I felt insulted by the way the so-called experts were
predicting a sweep,'' Houston coach Rudy Tomjanovich said.
``Our guys responded tremendously.''

The pregame fireworks at the Delta Center were the highlight
of the evening for the Jazz, who unveiled their Midwest
Division championship banner amidst ear-shattering applause
and cheering.

``They can do whatever they want beforehand,'' said Charles
Barkley, who overcame a hernia to score 12 points. ``They
still have to play the game.''

Clyde Drexler, playing in the postseason for the final time
in his career as he nears retirement, scored 22 points,
including 15 in the second half. Kevin Willis added 18
points and 14 rebounds for the Rockets, who had six players
score in double figures and hit 10 3-pointers.

The Jazz shot 43.6 percent from the field and played sloppy
defense on Houston's big men. Willis, Barkley and Hakeem
Olajuwon combined for 46 points, 33 rebounds and seven
blocked shots.

Even Stockton and Karl Malone misfired on several exchanges.
Malone led the Jazz with 25 points and 11 rebounds, but the
duo combined for five turnovers and 14-for-32 shooting from
the field.

The series resumes Saturday night, when the Rockets will be
looking to take a 2-0 lead as they try to become just the
second No. 8 seed in playoff history to win a first-round

Houston already has history on its side. Of the 128
best-of-5 series in NBA history, the team winning the first
game has gone on to win the series 83 percent of the time.
In addition, never in franchise history have the Jazz lost
the first game of a series at home and gone on to win.

The Rockets outscored Utah 28-14 in the third quarter and
hit their free throws down the stretch. Utah had an 18-5
fourth-quarter run, but it came far too late and was
sabotaged when Greg Ostertag missed two free throws with the
Jazz down just 90-82 and 5:14 to play.

Willis dominated the Utah frontcourt in the first half with
15 points and 11 rebounds. Barkley added his 12 points off
the bench, including seven crucial points in the fourth
quarter. Olajuwon had 16 points, 13 rebounds and six blocked

The Jazz, who led the NBA in field-goal percentage for the
fourth straight season, hit just 3 of 16 shots in the third
quarter and went without a field goal in the first 7:33 of
the second half.

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