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Thursday, August 6, 1998

Eagles have large turnout for volleyball

PECOS, Aug. 6 -- Turnout definitely is not a problem for
Pecos Eagles' volleyball coach Becky Granado, as preseason
workouts get underway at the Pecos High School gym.

Granado had more than enough players out for her varsity,
junior varsity and freshmen teams, who began practice on
Tuesday in preparation for their Aug. 18 openers against
Alpine and Odessa High.

"Right now I'm just trying to give everybody a chance to see
what they can do," Granado said. "This afternoon, I'll have
them in a lineup for the first time."

Granado had 14 players dressed up this morning, and would
add sophomore Philonicus Fobbs to the group this afternoon.
She's one of five returning players for Pecos -- along with
seniors Sherrie Mosby, Lindsey Hathorn, Valerie Lara and
Monique Levario -- off last year's team that was 17-12 on
the season and 6-4 in District 4-4A, before losing to El
Paso High in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.

"I've got 12 uniforms, and 12 is just about right," Granado
said. "I don't know yet who they'll be. I'm going to give
everyone a chance."

With 17 other sophomores and 40 freshmen (out of 60 signed
up) at workouts, the Eagles have more girls in volleyball
right now than the boys had out for football on their first
day of practice. "The numbers are good. I have a bunch of
kids who want to participate, and that's good for the
program, we're just going to have trouble getting them all

Granado said she expects to use all five of her returning
players as hitters, with Lara also doing some setting for
the Eagles.

"Sherrie came back from summer much stronger, and I was
happy to see that," she said. "Overall, we're in pretty good
shape. We had some kids go out in the summer and worked to
get into shape."

"Right now, we haven't worked much on hitting. We've been
concentrating on defense and on passing the ball," said

Of the 10 other players working out with the varsity today,
Granado said Amy Chabarria would probably end up as the
Eagles' other setter. "Amy is doing a good job right now.
I'll probably go with her and Shay (Lara), but I'd love to
find another setter."

With the change from District 4-4A to 2-4A this season, the
Eagles will only get to see one of their five new district
rivals in the early going, when Fabens comes to Pecos for
the Cantaloupe Classic on Aug. 28-29. Before then, the
Eagles will compete in the Ector County ISD Tournament,
following their openers against Alpine and Odessa High.

Loaiza still winless, but Rangers get victory

ARLINGTON, Texas, Aug. 6 (AP) -- Esteban Loaiza is winless
in four starts since coming to the Texas Rangers in a July
17 trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Yet nobody on the Rangers is complaining about the work of
the right-hander because Loaiza has pitched well enough to
win three of those starts.

Loaiza received a no-decision despite allowing only two runs
and five hits in eight innings. The Rangers rallied in the
ninth behind Juan Gonzalez and Mike Simms for a 4-3 victory
over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night.

``One of these days, we'll get him some runs,'' Rangers
manager Johnny Oates said. ``But he's being rewarded because
we're winning games. If he keeps pitching like that, we'll
be one step closer to our goal.''

Loaiza pitched his second straight strong game for Texas,
but he has an 0-2 record for the Rangers. Last Friday, he
allowed four hits in a 1-0 complete-game loss at Toronto.

``It was a battle,'' Loaiza said. ``I just wanted to pitch
like I did against them up there. I just didn't have the
luck to get my first win, but I'm throwing the ball well.''

Texas won its fourth straight when Simms lined a pinch-hit
single with one out in the ninth, driving in the winning

Simms had to wait in the on-deck circle for almost five
minutes while the grounds crew worked on the mound at the
request of reliever Randy Myers.

``I asked Royce (teammate Royce Clayton) if it was like
icing the kicker in the NFL,'' Simms said of the delay while
the grounds crew put down a drying compound and raked the
mound after Myers complained to the the umpires. ``I just
tried to stay loose and go up there with a clear mind.''

Gonzalez tied it at 3 with a leadoff homer in the ninth,
driving an inside fastball into the left field seats.
Gonzalez's towering blast off Myers (3-4) raised his major
league leading RBI total to 117. Gonzalez returned to the
lineup on Tuesday after missing six games with a strained

``It was a very exciting way to win a game,'' Gonzalez said.
``It was a very important win for us. That (an inside
fastball) was the pitch I was looking for.''

Myers walked two batters and got an out before Simms got his
fourth pinch hit of the season.

``Depth off the bench has been a key for us all year,''
Oates said.

Myers said the shape of the mound was hindering his

``The mound was like clay and it was really damp,'' Myers
said, although no rain fell during the game and the field
was covered all day. ``I wasn't able to follow through.''

Felipe Crespo's two-out RBI single off John Wetteland in the
top of the ninth gave Toronto a 3-2 lead, but Wetteland
(3-1) got the victory after the Rangers rallied to win.

Toronto's Kelvim Escobar pitched well in his first major
league start, allowing two runs and four hits in seven
innings. During one stretch from the third through the
sixth, Escobar retired 10 in a row.

Cowboys try Lethridge at cornerback position

AP Sports Writer
WICHITA FALLS, Aug. 6 -- Cornerback, by all accounts, is the
toughest position in the NFL to learn.

So what is former Texas Tech quarterback Zebbie Lethridge
doing in Dallas Cowboys training camp trying out for a
conerback job?

``I'm trying to do whatever they ask me to do,'' Lethridge
said. ``I'm playing corner because that's where they want
me. And I'm also going to try to be a big contributor on
special teams.''

What a change for someone who started 44 games in college
and passed for 6,789 yards, second best in Red Raider
history. He ran and passed for 71 touchdowns, more than any
player in school history.

``I've had my ups and downs,'' Lethridge said. ``It has been
tough trying to learn a new position. But I keep coming back
after every bad play. They say that's what you have to do to
be a good cornerback in the NFL.''

The 6-foot, 201-pound Lethridge has caught the eye of
special teams coach Joe Avezzano.

``He's a good athlete and he'll get plenty of chances to
show his stuff in the preseason games,'' Avezzano said.

Secondary coach Don Zimmer said Lethridge ``should do better
as he gets more comfortable with the position. Right now
everything is new to him.''

The highlight for Lethridge was intercepting a Troy Aikman
pass in a drill one day.

``That's the kind of thing that should give me some
confidence,'' Lethridge said.

If Lethridge doesn't make the 53-man roster, he could still
be a candidate for a five-man practice squad the Cowboys
plan to keep this season.

``Kevin Smith and Deion Sanders are giving me tips,''
Lethridge said. ``I appreciate those guys giving me all the
help they can.''

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