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Three days into the new school year and starting their third week of
pre-season drills, there are a total of 38 players are working out with
the varsity. While that's about average for District 4-4A teams in
recent years, it's the most for Pecos since 1985, when they had 37 on
the varsity, and finished with a 7-3 record.
A 7-3 mark this season would represent a major step up for the Eagles,
after 2-8 and 3-7 marks the past two years. A lack of depth has been one
problem for Pecos during that span, and while Belew had hoped for about
45 players on the varsity this time around, the Eagles do have more
players to work with at each position.
"The main thing right now is we need to get people healthy," Belew said
Wednesday about some workout injuries Pecos had suffered the past few
days. The most serious is the fracture of a small foot bone suffered by
lineman Jake Fowler, though Belew said the bone isn't a major one that
would keep the junior out for an extended period. "He should be out a
couple of weeks," the Eagles' coach added.
Also banged up going into Friday's opening scrimmage are linemen
Anthony Lopez and Eric Barreno and running back Arnulfo Granado.
The Eagles will face Crane, starting between 5 and 5:30 p.m. on Friday
at Eagle Stadium with both the freshman and junior varsity matchups.
"We'll have them both going at the same time," Belew said. "We'll have
one going in from the 50 yard line in one direction and the other going
from the 50 the other way." The varsity matchup will get underway after
the JV and ninth graders finish, about 6:45 p.m.
After two weeks of practice, Belew said he and the rest of the staff
"are getting closer to honing in on our starters," but added nothing
will be final until after the scrimmage against Crane and next week's
scrimmage against Midland Greenwood.
"In the coaching profession it never ceases to amaze me that kids you
don't expect to come through are the ones that do, and some of the ones
you do expect to do well don't," the Eagles' coach said.
High School football fans who want a little more scrimmage action after
Friday night, but don't want to wait for next week, can go out to Eagle
Stadium on Saturday, when the Midland Lee Rebels will be taking on the
El Paso Riverside Rangers.
The Rangers, who the Eagles faced often during the 1970s and 1980s, are
favored to win the District 3-4A title this season, after dropping down
from Class 5A. Lee, meanwhile, is the only Class 5A team in the area
holding two fall scrimmages, since they opted against spring practice.
Belew said the Rebels and Rangers are scheduled to begin about 7 p.m. at
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The heart of the Indians' order came through Tuesday night, accounting
for all of Cleveland's runs in a 10-4 victory over the Texas Rangers.
Jim Thome, the No. 3 hitter, hit his 28th home run. Albert Belle,
batting cleanup, hit his 41st and had a two-run triple. And Manny
Ramirez joined some elite company with his third grand slam this season.
Ramirez drove in five runs for the fourth time in his career, and Belle
drove in three runs to give him a major league leading 118 RBIs.
``It's amazing, isn't it?'' manager Mike Hargrove said. ``They did their
jobs tonight, they really did.''
Ramirez became the fourth Indians player to hit three grand slams in a
season, joining Tris Speaker, Al Rosen and Andre Thornton. Rosen had
four in a season.
``I guess I'm just lucky,'' said Ramirez, who has four grand slams in
his career. ``I've never tried to hit a grand slam.''
Lost in all the offense was the Rangers' errorless streak, which ended
at 15 games, an AL record. The Rangers failed to tie the major league
record of 16, set by the 1992 St. Louis Cardinals.
Texas went 575 chances without an error. The streak ended when Kevin
Elster dropped a throw on force play at second in the fourth inning. It
was Elster's first error in 45 games.
``I think Kevin kind of looked down for the bag, maybe,'' said Mark
McLemore, who made the throw. ``There wasn't much to say. Any other time
somebody makes an error, you don't say anything.''
Thome hit his fourth home run in five days, a two-run shot that put
Cleveland ahead 5-4 in the fifth. Thome, who hit a homer on Saturday and
two on Sunday against Detroit, has eight hits in his last 16 at-bats.
``When you're swinging the bat well, any ball that's in the zone looks
good,'' said Thome, whose 28 homers and 87 RBIs are both career highs.
With Cleveland leading 5-4 in the sixth, Belle was intentionally walked
to load the bases. Jeff Russell came on to face Ramirez, who hit his
26th homer and fourth career grand slam to make it 9-4.
``Russell hung a breaking ball,'' Hargrove said, ``and Manny didn't
leave it there long.''
For the second straight night, one of these explosive teams scored in
double digits. The Rangers won the first game of the series 10-3.
``It's two good ballclubs,'' Oates said, alluding to a possible
postseason showdown. ``Hopefully after the regular season, there might
be more games.''
Juan Gonzalez hit his 36th home run for Texas, a two-run shot in the
fifth that gave the Rangers a 4-3 lead. Gonzalez extended his hitting
streak to 12 games and drove in three runs, giving him 114 RBIs.
Rusty Greer went 4-for-5, including an RBI single in the Rangers'
two-run first. Gonzalez added an RBI groundout in the inning for a 2-0
After a rain delay of 1 hour, 23 minutes, Cleveland took a 3-2 lead in
the bottom of the first. Belle drove in two with his third triple of the
season and Ramirez knocked in Belle with a single.
Albie Lopez (3-4) got the victory despite allowing nine hits in five
innings. Eric Plunk pitched three scoreless innings, and Paul
Assenmacher got three outs in the ninth.
Bobby Witt (12-9) lost for the first time in eight starts, giving up
five runs on six hits and six walks in 4 1-3 innings. Witt won his
previous four starts.
(Copyright 1996 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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State and Regional Sports Pages--San Angelo Standard-Times
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