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Monday, August 2, 1999

Curfew KOs Eagles' early practice

PECOS, Aug. 2, 1999 -- The Pecos Eagles' plans to open their 1999 preseason football practice as early as possible has run afoul of the law ... in this case the Town of Pecos City's curfew law.

"We can't do it, because it's against the curfew law," said head coach Gary Grubbs about the original plan to begin workouts at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, the earliest time allowed under the University Interscholastic League's rules.

Pecos' curfew law requires juveniles not accompanied by an adult to be at home by 10 p.m. on weeknights and 11 p.m. on weekends. The Eagles had planned a 90 minute workout under the Eagle Stadium lights, which would have ended at 1:30 a.m.

Instead, Grubbs said "We'll start at 6 p.m. Wednesday and go until about 9:30 p.m.," with two-a-days, which had been held from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in recent years.

Work in continuing on the new track at Eagle Stadium, as metal curb supports are to be put in place over the next several days. School workers have also installed new irrigation pip over the summer at the high school baseball field, which will not be used for practice this year, and Grubbs said work also has been done on the football practice field on the southwest side of the stadium.

"We've got a new field out there, and it's got grass on it too," said Grubbs, referring to the numerous bald spots and low spots on the field in the past. "We owe that field to Mr. (Jim) Riley and Mr. (Larry) Windham. Mr. Riley got it lined up for us and started in the right direction, and Mr. Windham sold the supplies to us at wholesale."

Assistant coach Elias Payan said the varsity and junior varsity players will work out on the practice field, while the freshmen will start practice over at the Crockett Middle School Field a block away.

He said about 60 freshmen have signed up to play this season, and because of the large number, "We'll have about eight freshmen on the JV." Grubbs said earlier he was hoping to see about 70 varsity and JV players at practice, which would be way up from five years ago, when only 54 players on freshmen through varsity level made it out to the first day of workouts.

Rodriguez rips Royals, Rangers roll, 12-5

ARLINGTON, Texas, Aug. 2, 1999 (AP) Ivan Rodriguez is glad he listened to the Texas Rangers' advice.

The All-Star catcher was told he would be mentally fresher down the stretch of the regular season if he played winter ball in Puerto Rico. Rodriguez, who loves playing at home in front of family and friends during the off-season, complied, and now he's reaping the benefits.

Rodriguez had a career-high five hits and drove in four runs as the Rangers beat the Kansas City Royals 12-5 Sunday night.

"In the past I did get a little tired late in the season," said Rodriguez. "Now I feel the opposite. I feel strong and happy."

Rodriguez hit a two-run homer and a two-run single during Texas' eight-run third and the Rangers went on to their 12th victory in their last 14 games. In his last four games, Rodriguez is 13-for-19 with nine RBIs.

"My bat is quicker," Rodriguez said. "Tonight feels great. But the bottom line is I just want to help my team win."

Since the All-Star break, Rodriguez has hit safely in 14 of 15 games, going 33-for-70 (.471) over that span to raise his average from .295 to .328.

"He's a great talent, but the main thing is he loves to play the game," Rangers manager Johnny Oates said. "I had five hits in the minors once, but I don't think I had five hits in a week in the majors. He hits good pitches, he hits bad pitches, he has great hand-eye coordination. He's just being Pudge."

Aaron Sele (11-6) got enough support to win his fourth straight decision. Sele allowed five runs and eight hits in eight innings. He struck out seven and walked one.

Sele struggled through the middle innings, but retired the last seven batters he faced.

"I keep going back out there until they tell me I'm done," Sele said. "You've got to tip your cap to our hitters."

Ruben Mateo's double in the second gave Texas a 1-0 lead, but Kansas City tied it in the third on Johnny Damon's RBI groundout.

Texas broke the game open in the third, knocking out Brian Barber (1-3), who started in place of the traded Kevin Appier.

Rodriguez hit his 19th homer to put the Rangers in front 3-1 and later in the inning, Todd Zeile had a two-run double for a 5-1 lead.

Blake Stein, one of three pitchers acquired for Appier, gave up a sacrifice fly to Lee Stevens, and the inning's sixth run scored on Stein's wild pitch. Rodriguez's two-run single extended Texas' advantage to 9-1.

Royce Clayton's RBI single in the fourth gave the Rangers a 10-1 lead, but Kansas City came back with a four-run fifth, including Rey Sanchez's run-scoring single and Carlos Beltran's three-run homer.

Stevens added a solo homer in the eighth.

The Rangers are 5-1 against the Royals this season, 17-5 vs. the AL Central.

"Eight runs in the third inning is hard to overcome, but we did make a game of it," Royals manager Tony Muser said.

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