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Friday, July 17, 1998

Defense helps LLers stay alive

Staff Writer
PECOS, July 17 -- The offense was still struggling for the
Pecos Little League All-Stars Thursday night, but the
defense and pitcher Joshua Anchondo were enough to keep
Pecos alive in the District 4 Tournament.

Pecos, 15-0 winners at Crane on Sunday, bounced back from
nearly being no-hit at San Angelo Northern on Wednesday to
down Crane by a 5-2 score at Chano Prieto Field. The win
earned the Little Leaguers another trip to Northern Saturday
night for the tournament finals.

Pecos will need wins both in their 7 p.m. game Saturday and
again on Sunday night to advance to sub-sectional play next
week. Northern, 8-1 winners on Wednesday, needs just one win
to clinch the district title.

Saturday's game will be one of at least two involving Pecos
that night. The Senior League All-Stars will seek a
subsectional berth with a win over San Angelo Western at
Maxey Park, while tonight, Pecos' Junior League and Little
League `B' squads will host Western.

The `B' team needs only a win tonight to reach the
subsectionals, while a loss would force a deciding game
Saturday night. Pecos' Junior Leaguers play their semifinal
game tonight, with the winner moving on to Sunday's finals,
while the loser faces either San Angelo Northern or
Ballinger on Saturday.

All games in Pecos start at 6 p.m., while if the Junior
League has to play on the road Saturday, it would be a 7
p.m. start.

The Little Leaguers started out Thursday as though they
would again reach double digits in runs against Crane,
scoring once in the first inning and four more times in the
third, including Robbie Saldana's two run homer off Alfredo
Franco. Pecos also had two runners thrown out at home in the
inning, but after that, the Little Leaguers wouldn't get a
runner past second base the rest of the night.

"We've got to get on the ball. We've got to start hitting
the ball if we're going to go anywhere," manager Steve Reyes

Tucker wild pitched Victor Reyes home in the first, after he
reached on a Dusty Corley error and went to third on Rig
Ramirez' double. In the third, Saldana's homer scored Zoe
Serrano, who led off with a single, and Reyes then doubled
and scored on Ramirez' single. He would later be tagged out
trying to score on a passed ball, but back-to-back doubles
by Anchondo and Elario Bustamantes would give Pecos a 5-0

Anchondo wasn't overpowering on the mound, getting six
strikeouts to seven for Franco, but was helped out by his
defense most of the night. He started his own double play to
end the second inning, after Crane put two on with one out,
and closed out the game by getting five of the final six
outs on ground balls or infield pop-ups.

Crane did get an unearned run in the bottom of the third off
a single by Ryan Richardson, a passed ball and an error by
Serrano on an Isaac Gutierrez' grounder, while Anchondo had
his biggest problems in the fourth, when Franco and Tony
Taylor opened with consecutive doubles to cut the lead to

Corley then walked, and one out later Anchondo was able to
survive Jacob Maruqez' error at first base on Brandon
Smith's grounder by fanning Jack Caldwell and getting
Richardson to pop out to Bustamantes at third base.

"Our defense was all right. We just need to hit," said Steve
Reyes, who added he plans to start Saldana on the mound
Saturday at Northern. "We'll start off the game with Robbie
and then see what happens."

The Little League `A' and `B' division title games were
always scheduled for one game a night, but since District 4
officials in San Angelo decertified the lights at both
Pecos' Senior League fields as well as at the Chano Prieto
Field, the title games for the 13- and 14-15 year olds will
also be two-day affairs, if necessary.

If Pecos' Junior Leaguers win tonight over San Angelo
Western while the Senior Leaguers lose Saturday, both teams
will play in Pecos at 6 p.m. on Sunday, with the Junior
squads at Maxey Park while the Senior Leaguers play at the
Pecos High School field. If the 13-year-olds needed a
deciding game, it would be played at Maxey Park on Monday
night, at 6 p.m.

Softball girls enter Midland tournament

PECOS, July 17 -- Pecos' first-year girls 8-9 year old
softball All-Star team will play their first out-of-town
tournament tonight, when they compete against other Permian
Basin squads in a three-day tournament at Midland's Ulmer

Pecos' 10-12 and 13-15 year-olds played in tournament
competition last month at Midland, while the youger group
hosted their own area tournanent, won by Fort Stockton, at
Maxey Park. Coach Raul Palomino said Pecos went 1-2 in the
tournament, beating Kermit while losing twice to Monahans.

"They've played a lot more than we have, but the girls did
real good for their first time playing in a tournament,"
Palomino said.

This weekend's tournament will open with pool round play
tonight at Muggs field, just west of downtown Midland. Pecos
will play game at 7:15 and 9:45 p.m., then will begin
bracket play in the double-elimination tournament at 11 a.m.

Palomino said all teams are guarenteed at least five games,
with teams that lose the first two games on Sautrday falling
into the single-elimination consolation bracket. Both
divisions of the tournament will run through Sunday at the
Ulmer Park complex.

Cowboys' top pick faces big challenge

WICHITA FALLS, July 17 (AP) -- Greg Ellis doesn't have
financial pressure anymore. Nobody just handed a $5.4
million check does.

But Ellis, the Dallas Cowboys' top draft pick, has perhaps
more pressure to perform than any rookie picked in the first
round since Bob Lilly and Tony Dorsett.

The Cowboys are counting on the 6-foot-6, 280-pound Ellis to
be a force a defensive end. Immediately.

The former star for the North Carolina Tarheels steps into a
talent-deprived position.

Veteran Tony Tolbert was cut because of his bad knees.
Shante Carver was cut because he couldn't play.

That leaves Kavika Pittman, another high draft choice who
has yet to dominate, and Ellis, to man the ends for the
Cowboys this year.

Ellis understands.

He knows his big boss, owner Jerry Jones, is watching.

``He wants me to get to the quarterback, no matter how I do
it,'' said Ellis, who is extremely quick for a big man.

Don't even try to tell Ellis he could be the next Charles

``I'm not trying to fill anybody's shoes,'' said the
level-headed Ellis. ``I'm kicking them out of the way and
wearing my own shoes.''

Coach Chan Gailey said it doesn't bother him that Ellis is a
raw, undeveloped talent.

``We're going to put him into the position to contend and
play and if he doesn't play good it's not going to be good
for the team,'' Gailey said. ``But if he plays well it will
be real good for this team.''

Defensive coordinator Dave Campo said Ellis could be a good

``He has all the tools,'' Campo said. ``Now, we have to see
how bad he wants it. He has a great attitude. Now, it's down
to work.''

As for as the work part goes, Ellis has already been very
well compensated with his six-year, $11.5 million contract.

Ellis got a heavy indoctrination in his first camp workout
going against All-Pro Larry Allen.

``That's how you improve,'' Ellis said. ``You know where you
stand when you go against the very best.''

Phil's sack makes Jordan pack

AP Sports Writer
LONG GROVE, Ill.,, July 17 -- If Michael Jordan said it
once, he's said it a hundred times: He won't play for any
coach but Phil Jackson.

Think he's bluffing? Go ahead, try him.

With Jackson gone, Jordan is talking like a man who's
already got one foot out the door. He left himself an out
Thursday -- and His Airness has changed his mind before --
but it's a very small one.

``I feel very strong to my decision that I wouldn't play for
anybody other than Phil Jackson,'' Jordan said after playing
in a pro-am golf tournament.

``I feel that way right now,'' he said. ``If you ask me that
in two or three months, that may change. But I don't think
it will. I'm pretty sure that's my decision.''

Though he won't make an official announcement about his
future until the NBA lockout ends, Jordan's remarks were his
strongest yet. But the labor impasse is likely to drag on
for several months, leaving the Bulls plenty of time to find
some way to make Jordan happy.

That's not what this is about, Jordan insisted. He doesn't
want to pick the new coach. He knows chairman Jerry
Reinsdorf can choose whomever he wants.

That doesn't mean Jordan has to play for the guy.

``It is his team,'' Jordan said. ``Whatever choice he makes
doesn't force me to play for his choice. I have choices at
the same time.

``He made a stance on Phil Jackson, and that pretty much
makes my stance,'' he said. ``Some people may interpret it
as Jerry Reinsdorf is forcing me out of the game. I can
either choose to play for that guy he hires or choose not to

Reinsdorf said Wednesday he discussed the coaching
candidates with Jordan before July 1, adding that Jordan
doesn't have veto power. Make no mistake, though, Reinsdorf
knows all too well just how important this decision is to
Jordan's future.

Reinsdorf did not return a call from The Associated Press on

``I think I understand Michael,'' Reinsdorf said Wednesday.
``I would be foolish to hire somebody without feeling
confident that this is somebody that Michael could play

Could and would are two different things, however. Jordan
said he won't play for a college coach or a young coach.
That leaves out Iowa State's Tim Floyd, a buddy of general
manager Jerry Krause and the apparent front-runner to
replace Jackson.

Floyd, whom Jordan derisively referred to as ``Pink'' during
the season, has no NBA coaching experience.

Current NBA assistants Rick Carlisle, Ron Rothstein, Paul
Silas and Scott Skiles also have interviewed for the job.

``I don't know Tim Floyd. I don't have anything against Tim
Floyd,'' Jordan said. ``To do that is like starting out all
over again, and that's what I don't want to do. He may want
to do that. But I don't.''

When it comes down to it, there's really only one guy Jordan
wants: Jackson. Sure, he'd play for former North Carolina
coach Dean Smith, but Smith coaching the Bulls is an even
slimmer possibility than Jackson coming back.

Which puts Jordan right back where he started.

``I've always stuck to my guns. I always said I would not
play without Phil Jackson. I haven't changed that,'' he

Jackson made good on his season-long threat to leave after
the Bulls won their sixth title. Reinsdorf asked Jackson
back for another year, with or without Scottie Pippen. But
Jackson declined, and said he planned to take a year off
from basketball.

``I'm pretty sure they made him an offer,'' Jordan said.
``But you kick a guy out at the beginning of the season and
you offer him a contract at the end of the season, it
doesn't show much loyalty. That's hard to accept. I'm
probably sure I wouldn't accept the contract, either.

``Phil's not holding me hostage,'' Jordan added. ``I'm not
trying to hold Jerry Reinsdorf hostage. Whatever decisions
they make, they make. I don't control them. They make their
own decisions. I make my own decisions. If it doesn't
coincide with each other, so be it.''

As a free agent, Jordan could play for another team, but he
said that's not an option. Even if Jackson comes back a year
from now and coaches somewhere else, Jordan said he wouldn't
play anywhere but Chicago.

And if he does retire, this time it will be for good. Jordan
retired in October 1993, only to come back 17 months later.

This time is different, Jordan said. At 35, he led the Bulls
to their sixth title in eight years, won a 10th scoring
title, a fifth MVP and a sixth NBA Finals MVP title.

He is still at the top of his game, exactly how he's always
wanted to leave.

``I'll be happy either playing or not playing,'' he said.
``I'm not going to be unhappy if I don't play the game of
basketball. I've got enough memories, I've got enough
championships to be happy.''

Weather becomes factor at Open

AP Sports Writer
SOUTHPORT, England, July 17 (AP) -- Now, this is more like
the British Open.

Cold rain, then high winds returned to the coast of the
Irish Sea today and forced play to be suspended at Royal
Birkdale for half an hour in the late afternoon.

As the weather took a turn for the worse, so did the games
of Tiger Woods and many of the first-round leaders, who
faltered on the suddenly testy links.

Woods had dropped four strokes to par and was on the 11th
green when wind moved the ball of playing partner Per-Ulrik
Johansson as he stood over it. A few minutes later, a horn
sounded to suspend play.

When play resumed, Johansson returned the ball to its
original position after conferring with a rules official.

Woods, who began the day with a share of the lead at 5-under
65, dropped back to 1 under after 12 holes. First-round
co-leader John Huston was 6 over for the day and 2 over for
the tournament.

Nick Price, playing with Woods, was 3 over and 1 under for
the tournament.

Japanese PGA Tour player Brian Watts, who played in rain but
fairly light winds, was the surprise leader after a 69 put
him at 3 under at the midway point.

The low round of the day belonged to 17-year-old English
amateur Justin Rose, who shot a 66 and suddenly found
himself in contention at 2-under 138.

Woods quickly gave back his share of the lead, hitting into
a bunker to bogey the first hole and three-putting the
second hole for another bogey. He then missed the green on
the par-4 sixth hole and ended up with yet another bogey and
bogeyed the ninth after hitting a tee shot and slamming his
driver in disgust.

Woods wasn't the only one having problems. John Daly took a
10 on the 18th hole for a 78, while Tom Lehman did even
worse, shooting a 79. Both were virtually certain to miss
the cut.

Defending champion Justin Leonard was at 6 over after two
rounds. If he were to miss the cut, too, the last three Open
champions would all have been eliminated from weekend play.

It was that kind of a day at Birkdale, which was tame a day
earlier when 41 players equaled or broke par in a first
round played in light winds and warm sun.

Fred Couples, after starting the round a stroke behind Woods
and Huston, faltered and needed a birdie on the 18th to
finish 4 over for the day and even for the tournament. Loren
Roberts began the day tied with Couples and finished with a
76, while Davis Love III shot 73.

The leaderboard did contain one surprise. Watts, an American
who plays on the Japanese PGA Tour and has missed the cut in
three of his previous five Opens, shot a 1-under 69 to go
with the 68 he had Thursday.

``I'm really not thinking about winning the golf
tournament,'' Watts said.

Among the early finishers today were Masters champion Mark
O'Meara, who shot a 68 to get to even par, and David Duval,
who had a 71 and was 1 over.

``All day it was hard,'' Duval said. ``I made some good
saves, like everybody is doing. You have to right now.''

The weather forced players and fans to bundle up -- Spaniard
Jose Maria Olazabal wore a wool hat pulled down low over his

The wind cleared away the rain clouds and picked up strength
as the day went on, sending wayward shots into the deep
meadow rye lining the fairways and greens.

The conditions were in stark contrast to the opening round,
when light breezes and warm weather greeted golfers
expecting the normal wind and rain on the northwest coast of

One player who won't have to deal with the tough conditions
is 1995 PGA champion Steve Elkington. The Australian
withdrew from the Open today because of a pinched nerve in
his neck. He shot a 5-over 75 on Thursday.

With Woods and Huston leading the way, Americans dominated
the leaderboard in the opening round.

Players who make their living on the friendly courses of the
PGA Tour were right at home on the smooth fairways and soft
greens, and the scores showed it. Eight tour regulars were
among the top 10 leaders, and the top five players all live
in the United States.

In all, 27 golfers broke par and another 14 matched it on a
course that only days earlier generated predictions of U.S.
Open-type scores.

Those predictions came when the wind was blowing, however,
and only a breeze blew through the bushes and tall meadow
rye Thursday as Woods took his first lead in a major since
winning the 1997 Masters.

The sun even came out by midmorning, about the same time
that Woods was making his run.

Woods, using a putter given to him by buddy O'Meara, broke
out of the putting slump that has bedeviled him in the
majors since his Masters win. He made four birdie putts on
the front nine, and then ran in a curling 35-footer on the
13th hole.

Woods would have had the lead all to himself but couldn't
get up-and-down from just off the 18th green, missing a
5-footer for a bogey 5.

``Hopefully, if he continues to putt well I'll get a
commission on some of his rewards,'' said O'Meara, the
Masters champion who opened with a 72.

Huston didn't have any new clubs, but he had something even
better -- his magnets.

Since January, he has slept on a magnet-laced mattress cover
to try to alleviate bursitis and tendinitis, which forced
him into a deep slump last year and made it painful to play.
It seems to be working.

Huston was 2 under when he ran in a 40-foot eagle putt on 17
and followed it with a spectacular 7-iron out of the rough
to within 3-feet on 18 for a final birdie.

European players are more used to playing in foul weather
than the Americans. Instead of trying to simply survive,
they were forced to try and shoot low scores to keep up in
the opening round.

``The tough thing was to change all your goals,'' said Swede
Jesper Parnevik, who shot a 68 and was three strokes back.
``From thinking about a 71, you had to try and shoot a low

The top five players and eight of the top 10 were all either
Americans or live in the United States, while Britain's top
golfers could not break par. Colin Montgomerie continued his
streak of over-par first rounds in the Open with a 73, while
rising English star Lee Westwood shot 71.

It was the latest of Open woes for Montgomerie, the No. 5
player in the world who has yet to break par in the first
round of an Open and has missed cuts in four of the last

``Hopefully, I can try and make the cut. That's all I'm
interested in right now,'' Montgomerie said.

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