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Monday, May 17, 1999

Eagles sweep `Dogs in playoff opener

Staff Writer
BIG SPIRNG, May 17 -- The Pecos Eagles got key contributions from the players they expected to get them from in the opening game of their playoff series against Plainview on Friday. But it was contributions from a couple of players off the bench that lifted the Eagles to a sweep of their best-of-three series on Saturday.

Orlando Lara's two out, two strike pinch-single to left-center field scored Kevin Bates and gave Pecos a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning on Saturday. Then after Oscar Rodriguez' seventh walk of the day cut the lead to 2-1 in the fifth, sophomore Pifi Montoya came on in relief and struck out pinch hitter Jon Musquiz and went on to retire all seven batters he faced to earn his first save of the season and give Rodriguez his eighth victory in nine decisions.

The win, coming after a 10-4 victory in Game 1 on Friday, sent Pecos into the Region I-4A quarterfinals this coming Friday and Saturday, against El Paso Riverside, the District 1-4A runner-up. The Rangers swept District 3-4A champ Pampa out of the playoffs this past weekend, winning by 6-3 and 3-0 scores after sweeping the Eagles' district rival, Fabens, in the bi-district round of play.

"We got contributions from all the kids we put in there. Orlando Lara comes up with a big pinch hit with two strikes on him, and Pifi comes in a strikes out the batter with the bases loaded," Eagles' coach Bubba Williams said.

"Everytime they needed to get a big play they found it," Plainview coach Kendall Walling said. "Pecos was well-prepared for this series.

Walling was especially impressed with the way Montoya finished striking out the side in the sixth, getting Pete Gonzales, the Bulldogs' leading hitter, on a 3-2 off-speed pitch.

"They did a wonderful job spotting the pitches in and out," he said. "Montoya throwing a 3-2 change-up on Gonzales -- that's a pretty high-level change."

"That was a knuckle-change and he can control it," Williams said. "Gonzales was looking fastball all the way, and boom!

"He was on, baby."

Jeff Martinez' two-run homer three batters into Friday's opener set the tone for Game 1, and Joshua Casillas broke the game open in the sixth with his 10th homer of the year, a three-run shot, that helped seal his 10th pitching victory in 11 decisions.

Casillas also broke a scoreless tie in the third inning of Game 2, singling down the line in right with two outs off Brennan Bell to score Mason Abila, who had doubled to the gap in left-center with one out. Lara's single came after right fielder Dominic Bocanegra dropped Kevin Bates' fly ball in short right-center field for a two-base error, one of three on the afternoon for the Bulldogs.

Pecos managed five hits off Bell, 8-5, who struck out seven while absorbing the loss. The Eagles, meanwhile, committed five errors, but were able to escape trouble all but once thanks to Plainview's over-aggressive baseurnning and the two-hit pitching of Rodriguez and Montoya.

The Bulldogs stole six bases on the Eagles in Friday's loss -- three by Gonzales -- and swiped two more on Saturday, but ran themselves out of several scoring chances.

Chance Mcmillan reached third base with none out in the second when Abila dropped his fly ball to left. He then appeared to score on Brandon Bratherton's sacrifice fly center field, but was called out for leaving third base too soon.

In the third Bocanegra reached base when Luis Salgado couldn't field his grounder, but was picked off first by Rodriguez. Gonzales followed with a single and then stole second, but strayed too far off the bag as Martinez bobbled Bell's infield grounder and was caught in a rundown for the final out.

There were no errors or baserunning mistakes in the fourth, but three walks by Rodriguez loaded the bases with one out before the pitcher got Bratherton to ground to Martinez, who forced Jacob Jones at home plate, then got Aaron Longoria to ground into a fielder's choice at second, ending the inning.

The Bulldogs finally scored in the fifth when Rodriguez walked McMillian with the bases loaded, but not before Gonzales again was thrown out on the basepaths. This time, he led off by reaching on an error by Louis Valencia at second, with the ball dribbling to his right and past Salgado behind second base. But Gonzales then tried to outrace Salgado to second, and with a 60-foot disadvantage, was easily tagged out.

That proved costly when Rodriguez walked Abel Cisneros and Jones on 3-2 pitches, around a dropped Tony Armendariz pop up by Martinez. The walk to McMillian then brought Montoya on, and the Bulldogs wouldn't get a ball out of the infield the rest of the way.

Plainview did a little better against Casillas, though their final two runs on Friday game with two outs in the seventh, when Gonzales singled and circled the bases after Oscar Luna missed trying to field the ball on the run and throw home to get Jones trying to score from second base.

The Bulldogs did make a game of it in the third inning, after the Eagles grabbed a 3-0 lead against Armendariz, 7-4. A leadoff single by Carson Taylor and a walk to Jones set up Gonzales' RBI single, and after he and Jones stole second and third base, Bell's ground out to short cut the lead to 3-2.

But the Eagles got those runs right back in the fourth, as Salgado opened with a single and scored when Kevin Bates tripled over Taylor's head in center field. He scored when Cisneros let Ricky Herrera's hard grounder go through his legs for an error.

The first six batters in the Eagles' lineup hit the ball hard off the Armendariz to open the game, with Martinez homering down the line in left after a lead-off single by Luna.

In the third, Luna would score again after a bunt single, when he was sacrificed to second by Mason Abila and came around off errors by Cisneros and Longoria. Martinez would score his second run of the game in the fifth, reaching on a leadoff double and coming home on Mark Abila's single, and both would score again in the sixth, with Martinez singling home Luna who had walked, and Casillas then scoring Martinez and Mason Abila with his homer, a line shot to right field.

"The way we're playing everybody is picking everybody up," Williams said. "Big John (Gutierrez) didn't hit the ball, but Luis Salgado got some hits and Mason hit the ball."

The wins extended the Eagles' winning streak to 15 games, dating back to the final game before the start of District 2-4A play in mid-March. Pecos will try to keep that run going against a Riverside team that has won 12 of its last 14 games, losing only to El Paso Ysleta's Jacob Hernandez.

Hernandez beat Lubbock Estacado on Friday, but the Matadors rallied for a pair of 5-0 wins to oust the District 1-4A champs on Saturday in their area round series. Meanwhile, the Eagles' district rival, Clint, was swept out of the playoffs on Friday by Pampa, losing 12-1 and 12-8 decisions. Pampa and Estacado will play for the right to meet either Andrews or Denton Ryan, while the winner between the Eagles and Rangers will take on either Wichita Falls Rider or Weatherford in the Region I-4A semifinals.

Game 1


ab r h bi ab r h bi
Luna cf 4 3 2 0 Gonzles c 4 1 2 2
Ma.Abila lf 3 1 1 0 Cisnros 3b 3 0 0 0
Valencia 2b 0 0 0 0 Musquiz p 1 0 0 0
Martnz dh 4 3 3 3 Bell 1b 2 0 0 0
Casillas p 4 1 1 3 Armndrz p 3 0 0 0
H.Garcia cr 0 0 0 0 Rankin 3b 1 0 0 0
Gutrrez 1b 4 0 1 0 Lngria 2b 2 0 1 0
Salgado ss 3 1 2 0 Hinjosa 2b 1 0 0 0
Bates rf 3 1 1 1 McMlln ss 2 0 0 0
Mk.Abila c 3 0 1 1 Brthrtn lf 3 0 0 0
Herrera 3b 4 0 0 0 Taylor cf 3 1 1 0
Bcangra rf 0 0 0 0
Jones dh 2 2 0 0

Totals 32 10 12 8 Totals 26 4 4 3

Pecos 2 0 1 2 1 4 0 --10
Plainview 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 -- 4
E -- Gutierrez, Longoria, Cisneros 2, Gonzales,
Luna. DP -- Pecos 1, Plainview 1 LOB -- Pecos 6,
Plainview 4. 2B -- Martinez. 3B -- Bates.
HR -- Martinez, Casillas. S -- Ma. Abila.
SB -- Gonzales 3, Taylor, Jones, Salgado,
Longoria, Ma. Abila. CS -- Mk. Abila.

Casillas W, 10-1 7 4 4 3 4 6

Armendariz L, 7-4 5 11 10 7 3 2
Musquiz 2 0 0 0 1 3
Armendariz pitched to four batters in the sixth.
WP -- Casillas.
T -- 1:58.

Game 2

ab r h bi ab r h bi
Gonzles c 4 0 1 0 Luna cf 3 0 0 0
Cisnros 3b 2 1 0 0 Ma.Abila lf 3 1 1 0
Bell p 4 0 0 0 Martnez 3b 3 0 0 0
Arnmdrz 1b 4 0 1 0 Rdrguez p 0 0 0 0
Hinjosa 2b 0 0 0 0 Montoya p 0 0 0 0
Jones dh 1 0 0 0 Casillas dh 2 0 1 1
McMllan ss 1 0 0 0 H.Garcia pr 0 0 0 0
Taylor cf 1 0 0 0 Gutrrez 1b 3 0 0 0
Musquiz ph 1 0 0 0 Salgado ss 3 0 1 0
Brthrtn lf 3 0 0 0 Bates rf 3 1 1 0
Bcangra rf 2 0 0 0 Mk. Abila c 2 0 0 0
Lngria ph 1 0 0 0 Nunez cr 0 0 0 0
Valencia 2b 2 0 0 0
Lara ph 1 0 1 1

Totals 24 1 2 1 Totals 25 2 5 2

Plainview 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 --10
Pecos 0 0 1 1 0 0 x -- 2
E -- Salgado 2, McMillian, Gonzales,
Ma. Abila, Bocanegra, Valencia,
Martinez. DP -- Plainview 1, Pecos 1.
LOB -- Plainview 9, Pecos 7.
2B -- Ma. Abila. SB -- Gonzales,
Cisneros. CS -- Bocanegra, H. Garcia.

Bell L, 8-4 6 5 2 1 1 7

Rodriguez W, 8-1 4 2/3 2 1 0 7 3
Montoya, Save 1 2 1/3 0 0 0 0 5
HBP-- Mk. Abila by Bell.
WP -- Bell, Rodriguez.
PB -- Mk. Abila, Gonzales.
T -- 2:06.

N.Y. leaves Miami for Atlanta via Houston

AP Basketball Writer
SALT LAKE CITY, May 17 (AP) -- Vlade Divac will be back in Sacramento today, no doubt pondering a 5-foot hook shot that didn't go in and kept the Kings from upsetting the Jazz.

Allan Houston will be flying to Atlanta, still sky-high from the emotional last-second jumper that lifted the Knicks past the Heat.

Grant Hill will be back in Detroit, his resume still listing him as 0-for-career when it comes to winning a playoff series.

The NBA playoffs couldn't have been much better Sunday, with the Jazz, Knicks and Hawks advancing to the second round after winning the deciding Game 5s in their respective first-round series.

Divac missed the final shot of regulation and the Kings quickly folded in overtime, losing 99-92 to the Utah Jazz.

``It was my shot, the one we wanted,'' Divac said. ``It was drawn up for me, and everything was perfect. I just missed it.''

Houston bounced in a running 14-footer with eight-tenths of a second left to give the New York Knicks a 78-77 victory over the Miami Heat.

``I thought I kind of short-armed it at first, but it hung up there,'' Houston said. ``I got a friendly bounce from up above.''

Hill, meanwhile, shot just 10-for-27 from the field and scored just 11 points after tallying 10 of Detroit's first 14 as the Pistons lost 87-75 to the Atlanta Hawks.

``Ultimately, I'd like to win a championship,'' Hill said. ``I'd like to get out of the first round.''

Jazz 99, Kings 92, OT

At Salt Lake City, the best series of the first round had a fantastic finale.

Divac, Sacramento's veteran center, calmly dribbled down the clock, turned and shot a right-handed hook over Karl Malone -- and missed, the ball clanging off the right side of the rim as time expired.

The Jazz began overtime with a 9-2 run and coasted from there.

Malone had 20 points and 12 rebounds to lead Utah, which avoided its earliest playoff exit since 1995 and advanced to the second round for the fourth straight year. Jeff Hornacek added 18 points for the Jazz.

Knicks 78, Heat 77

At Miami, the five-game melodrama had a fittingly frantic finish. New York kept possession with 4.5 seconds to go when Terry Porter nearly stole the ball from Latrell Sprewell but knocked it out of bounds.

Inbounding in front of the Heat bench, Charlie Ward threw the ball to Houston at the top of the circle. Houston dribbled around Dan Majerle, avoided Tim Hardaway and jumped toward the basket, throwing up a one-hander from the corner of the lane that fell through.

Hawks 87, Pistons 75

At Atlanta, Grant Long struck back against his former team with a career playoff-high 26 points. Long rarely played while spending the previous two seasons in Detroit.

Joe Dumars scored three points in the final game of his 14-year career. He left the court to a standing ovation from the Hawks' crowd and hugs from players and coaches on both teams.

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Pecos Enterprise
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