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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas


Friday, April 23, 1999

Eagles seek win to clinch 2-4A title

PECOS, Apr. 23 -- A little help from one of their District
2-4A rivals allowed the Pecos Eagles softball team to clinch
their first-ever district title a week ago, despite a
nightmare game in Clint against the Lions.

But if the Pecos Eagles' baseball team wants to win their
first district title since 1987, they're going to have to do
it themselves on Saturday, when they travel to Clint to face
the Lions in a 2 p.m. CDT game.

A loss by Clint to El Paso Mountain View early in the 2-4A
softball schedule gave Pecos' girls a one-game cushion and
allowed them to survive an 18-7 loss at the hands of the
Lions. But seven games into the district baseball schedule
the Eagles have been the only team to beat Clint, as Joshua
Casillas shut down the Lions back on March 30 by a 5-1 final

Both teams clinched playoff spots on Tuesday, with the
Eagles' 14-4 victory over Mountain View keeping them a game
up on the Lions in the standings, with a 7-0 mark, 15-5-1

"If they beat us we've got to play them again, but if we
beat them it wins the district championship for us because
we'll have beaten them twice," said Eagles' coach Bubba
Williams. "It's a big game for us, and we'd like to have as
many people as possible out there."

Williams said Casillas, 8-1, would start on the mound again
against Clint, while the Lions figure to go with Freddie
Ortiz, 6-2, who lost the game in Pecos last month. John
Gutierrez, who had a three-run homer in Tuesday's victory
over Mountain View, had a two-run shot off Ortiz in the
Eagles' victory.

Williams also got some good news on Wednesday on grades, as
all his players kept their eligibility for the final
six-week grading period, a problem that has plagued Pecos in
the past.

"The kids buckled down and did their work, the teachers
really helped the kids out a lot and the coaches stayed on
them," Williams said. "It was good co-operation between the
teachers and the coaches."

Rangers able to KO Twins despite injury

AP Sports Writer
MINNEAPOLIS -- When Matt Lawton's right shoulder slammed
into the left side of Ivan Rodriguez's face, a rough stretch
seemed about to get a lot worse for the Texas Rangers.

The Rangers had lost four of five heading into Thursday
night's game at Minnesota. Their starting pitching had been
dismal, and their imposing lineup mostly punchless.

Then it looked like they might lose their seven-time
All-Star catcher for a significant amount of time.

But instead of a serious facial injury, Rodriguez was
diagnosed with a slight concussion, and instead of another
loss the Rangers regrouped for a 6-4 victory over the Twins.

Aaron Sele turned in 5 2-3 solid innings, rookie reliever
Jeff Zimmerman extended his career-starting scoreless streak
to 10 innings and four players supplied the power as Texas
avoided a three-game losing streak.

``As long as we keep it at two all year we'll be fine,''
manager Johnny Oates said. ``Aaron threw really well early
in the ball game, the bullpen did the job and we had that
one big inning (eighth), which has been the case for us a
lot this year. That's the type of offense we have. We get
going and we can put a crooked number up there pretty

That's the key for the Rangers: If they get going. Their 8-8
record still is good enough for first place in the AL West,
and they have done it with one of the AL's worst pitching
staffs and 1998 MVP Juan Gonzalez stuck in a deep slump.

Gonzalez, who set a major league record with 36 RBIs last
April, hasn't driven in a run in seven games and hasn't hit
a homer all season after hitting at least 42 each of the
last three years.

It appeared Thursday that they might have lost Rodriguez,
too. But X-rays showed no serious injury. He was diagnosed
with a slight concussion and a bruised left cheekbone and is
listed as day-to-day.

Oates refused to speculate on when Rodriguez might return.

``It was one of those things you hate to see happen, but
that's the way to play the game of baseball,'' said Lawton,
who also left the game with a right shoulder injury.

The Rangers responded quickly to Rodriguez's departure.
Rafael Palmeiro made it 1-0 in the second inning with his
third homer, and Lee Stevens hit his team-leading fifth
leading off the third for a 2-0 lead.

Sele (3-1) allowed only one runner past first through five
innings, then left after allowing one run in the third.
Zimmerman wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam after relieving
Sele with two outs in the sixth, and then the Rangers added
four runs in the eighth on consecutive two-run doubles by
Roberto Kelly and Rusty Greer.

The Twins rallied with three runs in the ninth, including
Torii Hunter's RBI triple, but John Wetteland got the final
out for his fifth save. It wasn't the kind of dominating
performance the Rangers expect, but it was a win and, as far
as Rodriguez was concerned, it came without a significant
long-term loss.

``We've had inconsistency from everywhere,'' Oates said.
``But the good part about it is we've got a lot of time to
get it all ironed out.''

The Twins wasted a strong start by Eric Milton (0-1), who
allowed just three hits through seven-plus innings. Two of
those were homers, and he also allowed four walks as he gave
up four runs.

Losing Lawton, who is hitting .522 in his last six games,
took a lot of the bite out of Minnesota's lineup. But he
expects to be able to play tonight.

``Milton certainly pitched a good game and gave us a chance
to win,'' manager Tom Kelly said. ``We couldn't do anything
offensively to help him.''

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Pecos Enterprise
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