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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Feb. 4, 1999

Williams optimistic as practice opens

Practice began on Monday for the Pecos Eagles' 1999 baseball
season, with the Eagles looking to fill a number of spots on
the infield and facing play in a new district against five
unknown teams.

Eagles' coach Bubba Williams has two pitchers and two
infielders back who saw action last year, while also getting
back catcher Mark Abila, who was ineligible to play all of
last season. But Williams still has to await the end of
basketball and swimming before he'll see most of his
outfielders in practice.

"We looked good. There is nothing negative about us,"
Williams said. "We've got good pitching, our infielders are
looking good, the only thing is we have to keep them out
there and eligible."

Defense was Pecos' main problem last season, when they
finished 12-9 but missed the playoffs for the seventh
straight season. The Eagles allowed just under four unearned
runs a game, most of those in the early portion of District
4-4A play.

The Eagles do get back two of their pitchers who finished up
last season in Louis Valencia and Joshua Casillas. Valencia
went 4-2 as a junior last season, with a 2.91 earned run
average, though he was also hurt by errors in several games,
while Casillas was brought up from the junior varsity late
last season and went 2-0 with a 1.50 e.r.a. in 9_ innings of

Along with Abila, who was an all-district pick at catcher as
a sophomore, first baseman/designated hitter John Gutierrez
and shortstop Luis Salgado are the other returning
infielders currently in practice. Gutierrez batted .273 with
four home runs in 55 at-bats last season, while Salgado
played shortstop when Jason Abila pitched and hit .222 in 45

In the outfield, the Eagles' top returning hitter, Oscar
Luna, is still involved in basketball, though he's been out
with an ankle injury for the past 10 days. Luna batted .397
last season and was third on the team in hits with 25. Over
in swimming, junior Kevin Bates and senior Lucio Florez are
preparing for regionals, and won't be available until Feb.
15 at the earliest.

This year, the Eagles are in District 2-4A with five new El
Paso-are teams, only one of whom, Fabens, the Eagles have
played in the past few years. The Eagles will hold their
first scrimmage at home on Monday against Kermit, and begin
regular season play with a doubleheader on Feb. 26 against
Monahans. Their district schedule starts on March 23 with a
home game against Fabens.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.

324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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