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Monday, April 27, 1998

Eagles walk off with season-ending win

Staff Writer
PECOS, Apr. 26 -- There was nothing on the line but fourth
place Friday night for either the Pecos Eagles or Fort
Stockton Panthers, in their final baseball game of the 1998
season. And for six innings, the game had the feel of a
pre-season scrimmage, with Eagles' coach Bubba Williams
getting all of his players into the game during that time.

But in the seventh, Pecos and Fort Stockton gave the fans
some final excitement, as the Eagles surrendered five runs,
mostly on walks and errors, in the top of the seventh, then
got them right back in the bottom of the inning and won,
8-7, on a two-out bases loaded walk to Lucio Florez.

"Everybody got to play and we still won the game," Williams
said. "We're out of the playoffs and we could have laid down
after we got down 7-2 and we didn't, so that shows me
something that's a little encouraging for next season."

Errors have been a problem for both teams this year, and
were key to most of the runs scored Friday night.

Williams started nine seniors, including pitcher Moses
Martinez, who had his best performance of the year. He
allowed only two hits -- a check swing double down the line
in left and a bunt single -- over four innings, and just one
hard hit ball during that time, a line drive out in the
fourth inning by Gabriel Leyva. But Martinez left with the
score tied at 2-2 thanks to a pair of unearned second inning

Hector Natividad reached third base on Jason Abila's low
throw to first off a grounder to shortstop. It scored Leyva,
who reached on the bloop double with one out, and Natividad
came home on Dustin Lenhart's grounder to second.

Pecos had gotten an earned run in the first off pitcher
Nathan Reeves, despite two Fort Stockton errors in the mix.

Eric Aguilar walked with one out and scored when Michael
Pules misplayed Richard Gutierrez' double into the left
field corner. Leyva then booted Joseph Contreras' grounder
and Cisco Rodriguez singled to load the bases, but Reeves
got out of trouble when Daniel Nanez kicked Steve Harrison's
grounder right to second base, where Levya turned it into an
inning-ending double play.

Pecos tied the game with two outs in the third, when
Gutierrez again singled, and Reeves hit Contreras and
Harrison with pitches around an error by Nanez, who dropped
Leyva's throw to second on Rodriguez' grounder.

Williams put his juniors and sophomores in the game in the
fifth inning, along with senior pitcher Jason Aguilar. He
got through the first two innings quickly, but the control
problems that have plagued Aguilar in his varsity career
came back one last time in the seventh.

He threw nine straight balls to open the inning, walking
Natividad and Lenhart. Scott Caldwell loaded the bases with
a single, and Chris Irigoyen followed with a two-run double
for a 4-2 lead.

After Nanez walked to re-load the bases, Williams replaced
Aguilar with Louis Valencia. He was greeted by an RBI single
by Michael Pacheco before Cordero fouled out to catcher
Oscar Luna. Then came the weird play of the night, as Reeves
hit a fly ball to center that Kevin Bates appeared to drop.

He recovered and was able to get Pacheco in a rundown
between second and third for the second out, as two more
runs scored. But the umpire then ruled Bates had lost the
ball while getting it out of his glove, and Reeves was
called out, ending the inning.

That still left Pecos down by five, but John Gutierrez
opened the bottom of the seventh with a single, and Reeves
then walked Valencia on a 3-2 pitch before being replaced
by Natividad. He proceeded to walk Luis Salgado on a 3-2
pitch and it was Bates' turn to hit a fly ball to center
that was dropped, this time by Cordero. Jeremy Hickman then
threw the ball by second base trying for a force out on

That brought on Cordero, who had beaten Pecos earlier this
month and downed Sweetwater on Tuesday, the day he signed a
baseball scholarship to join Abila at Ranger Junior College
this fall. But Cordero proceeded to wild pitch Valencia
home, and after a walk to Richard Gutierrez, Luna singled to
left field, cutting the lead to 7-6.

Both runners moved into scoring position when Pules' throw
hit a rock in front of home plate and bounced to the
backstop, and after an intentional walk to Rodriguez, a
passed ball by Jonathan Rojas scored Gutierrez to tie the

Cordero then struck out Harrison and John Gutierrez around
an intentional walk to Orlando Lara before throwing three
straight balls to Florez. He then gave Williams one last
thing to get mad about for the season, swinging at Cordero's
3-0 pitch, but after a talk with the Eagles' coach, looked
at ball four for the game-winning walk.

Valencia, 4-2, got the victory he lost a week earlier when
four seventh inning errors by Pecos cost him a 5-2 lead over
Lake View, in an eventual 6-5 victory. The win gave the
Eagles a final record of 4-6 in district play, and 12-9 on
the season. Fort Stockton finished up 3-7 and 9-13.

Pecos trio begins play at regionals

PECOS, Apr. 26 -- Tee off time was 9 a.m. this morning for
Pecos Eagles' golfer Alva Alvarez at the Region I-4A
tournament in San Angelo, while tennis players Mark Marquez
and Jeff Lam had a few more hours to wait before playing
their first round doubles match at the regional tournament.

The three Eagles are the first of a dozen Pecos athletes
competing in San Angelo this week. The Eagles' nine track
qualifiers will be there this Friday and Saturday for their
Region I-4A Tournament.

Alvarez and Fort Stockton's Ashley Davies were able to take
advantage of a new rule this season that allowed the top
half-dozen finishers in district tournament play to advance
to regionals if they were not team members of a regional
qualifier. Alvarez placed fourth in the District 4-4A
tournament, trailing a trio of golfers from district
champion Big Spring. Andrews earned the second regional

Alvarez becomes the first girl from Pecos to advance to
regionals in over two decades, after finishing with a 254
for 54 holes of play at district. She could have a shot at
advancing to the state tournament in Austin, since District
4-4A teams and those from the Panhandle have dominated the
regional tournament in recent years.

The golfers will play 36 holes in San Angelo, today and
Tuesday at Riverside Golf Course.

The path to state figures to be tougher for Lam ad Marquez,
who won a second place playback at the district tournament
over Fort Stockton's Chris Yarbrough and John Wayne Bailey
to earn their first regional berths. Coach Bernadette
Ornelas said the two would face Dumas' Ross Jones and Bo
Ames in their opening round match, at 11 a.m. at Bentwood
Country Club.

Jones and Ames are seeded fourth, and lost a playback for
second place at last year's regional tournament. However,
Ornelas said she was still happy with the tournament

"I looked at the draw, and I think they have a good chance,"
she said. "They've been to a couple of tournaments like that
where they've been unseeded, like in Monahans. They played
the No. 1 seed in the first round and beat them and won the

A win would send Marquez and Lam into a second round match,
at 2 p.m. today. The regional tournament concludes Tuesday
at Bentwood.

Carolina's Jamison to enter NBA draft

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- Antawn Jamison, college
basketball's player of the year, is skipping his senior year
at North Carolina to enter the NBA.

``If I would have stayed, it would have been for selfish
reasons like breaking records,'' he said during a campus
news conference today. ``Once you really think about it,
there's not much more to accomplish, other than maybe
winning a national championship.''

The 6-foot-9 forward, whose team lost to Utah in the NCAA
semifinals, said he reached the decision last Wednesday
after consulting with coach Bill Guthridge and former coach
Dean Smith.

Jamison is the 13th player to declare early for the NBA
draft, joining such players as Mike Bibby of Arizona, Paul
Pierce of Kansas and Robert Traylor of Michigan. Among the
13 are two high school players.

Jamison said a key element in his decision was that he can
graduate after the second session of summer school this
year, ahead of his senior class.

``I am so close to two goals that I want -- the NBA and
graduating,'' he said. ``It was an opportunity I couldn't
pass up.''

In helping Jamison reach his decision, Smith said he
contacted the top 16 teams in the NBA draft. Smith is
confident Jamison will be among the first selections in the
June 24 draft.

``I would be shocked if he wasn't in the top five,'' Smith

Jamison averaged 22.2 points and 10.5 rebounds this season
and joined Michael Jordan as the only Tar Heels player to be
chosen player of the year by the AP.

Jamison also won the John Wooden Award and was selected
player of the year in the Atlantic Coast Conference after
leading the Tar Heels to their second straight conference
championship, a 34-4 record and their fifth Final Four of
the decade.

``You don't replace someone like Antawn,'' Guthridge said.
``You just regroup.''

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