Astros to play Mets in Hous­ton

Split dou­ble­header sched­uled Satur­day, sin­gle game Sun­day.

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - By David Bar­ron Hous­ton Chron­i­cle MORE ON­LINE statesman.com

The Astros will re­turn to Minute Maid Park with a Satur­day dou­ble­header and a Sun­day af­ter­noon game against the Mets, the team an­nounced Wed­nes­day.

Satur­day’s dou­ble­header will fea­ture games at 1:10 p.m. and 7:10 p.m., with the Sun­day game at 1:10 p.m.

Reid Ryan, the Astros’ pres­i­dent of base­ball oper- ations, noted the sup­port of Hous­ton Mayor Sylvester Turner in re­turn­ing base- ball to down­town Hous­ton as soon as pos­si­ble.

“With the co­op­er­a­tion of the mayor’s of­fice, we are go­ing to play base­ball at Minute Maid Park this week- end,” Ryan said. “Along with Mayor Sylvester Turner, we hope that these games can serve as a wel­come dis­trac­tion for our city that is go­ing through a very dif­fi­cult time. We hope that we can put smiles on some faces.”

Turner said the Astros’ re­turn “will pro­vide a much­needed boost for our city. With all of the dif­fi­cul­ties that many of our cit­i­zens are fac­ing, the games will pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity for fam­i­lies to start re­turn­ing to some as­pect of nor­mal life.”

The Astros’ cur­rent three- game se­ries against the Rang- ers is be­ing played in St. Peters­burg, Fla. Had they not been able to ar­range the week­end re­turn to Minute Maid, they were fac­ing a 21-day, 19-game trip.

“We are grate­ful to Mayor Turner, to Ma­jor League Base­ball and to the New York Mets for work­ing with us to make this hap­pen,” Astros owner Jim Crane said. “It will be great to get our team back home to their fam­i­lies and in front of our fans. We be­lieve this will be good for the city as we con­tinue to do our part to as­sist in the hur­ri­cane re­lief ef­forts. “

Fans with tick­ets to Fri­day’s game, which was post- poned, can use those tick- ets for Satur­day’s first game. Fans who are u nable to use their tick­ets for this week­end’s games can call 1-800-ASTROS2 (1-800-2787672) start­ing Thurs­day at 9 a.m.

The Astros also an­nounced they are do­nat­ing 5,000 tick- ets to each of the three games this week­end to the mayor’s of­fice. The tick­ets will be pro­vided to first re­spon­ders, vol­un­teers and to evac- uees cur­rently housed in shel­ters as a re­sult of Hur­ri­cane Har­vey.

The Astros also will be col­lect­ing food at the gates for the Hous­ton Food Bank in di­rect sup­port of the Hur­ri­cane re­lief ef­forts and en­cour­age all fans to bring items that can help those in need.

Also, the 10,000 promo- tional Car­los Cor­rea jer­seys orig­i­nally sched­uled to be given to fans Satur­day will now be do­nated to the fam- ilies at the Ge­orge R. Brown shel­ter. The Astros also will be do­nat­ing the pro­mo­tional T-shirts from Fri­day’s Stro- zone to the GRB shel­ter. Tex­ans a dark­horse can­di­date to win their third state ti­tle.

Wange­mann: Let’s not over­look Lake Travis, the de­fend­ing Class 6A, Divi­sion I champ. In the past two years, the Cava­liers are the only team to play in back-to-back state fi­nals at the Class 6A level. Even with a dras­ti­cally re­vised two-deep, Lake Travis might be mak­ing a road trip to AT&T Sta­dium come De­cem­ber. What’s your can’t-miss game this fall?

Bils: West­lake vs. Van­de­grift, Sept. 29 at Chap­ar­ral Sta­dium. It feels like only a mat­ter of time be­fore the “big two” be­come the “big three,” but that won’t hap­pen un­til the Vipers knock off West­lake or Lake Travis. They came dan­ger­ously close in a 17-10 loss last fall.

Cantu: Maybe this is the year West­lake breaks its 10-game los­ing streak against Lake Travis. Let the hype be­gin for the Oct. 13 matchup.

Jones: Mc­Cal­lum vs. LBJ, Sept. 29 at Nel­son Field. Two of the best de­fenses in Cen­tral Texas will clash for District 25-5A supremacy. Our friends in the desert have set the over/un­der at 24. Your sur­prise team for 2017?

Bils: LBJ. The of­fen­sive core re­mains, as do the de­fen­sive prin­ci­ples in­stilled by head coach An­drew Jack­son. Add the best pound-for-pound foot­ball player in the area — 5-foot-7 se­nior Deon Collins, who weighs 160 pounds — and the Jaguars could make a post­sea­son run in Class 5A.

Cantu: I’m go­ing to keep an eye on Del Valle. Coach Charles Bur­ton’s team is stacked with 14 re­turn­ing starters — seven on each side of the ball — and should be a lock to make the play­offs.

Jones: Hutto. District 19-5A be­longs to Cedar Park, but ex­pect im­pres­sive ju­nior QB Chase Grif­fin and one of the area’s best re­ceiv­ing corps to make the race in­ter­est­ing. Which team is count­ing the days un­til the Univer­sity In­ter­scholas­tic League’s lat­est re­align­ment, which drops in Fe­bru­ary?

Cantu: This would be a good op­por­tu­nity for Pflugerville to drop from Class 6A to Class 5A. Weiss, the new school in town that will play its first var­sity season in 2018, should draw enough stu­dents from Pflugerville to al­low the Pan­thers to fall to 5A.

Jones: Can I pick a county? Cedar Creek, El­gin and Bas­trop were play­off teams when they were aligned with the Austin 5A schools; they’ve been also-rans while part of a District 19-5A head­lined by Cedar Park and Ge­orge­town. Next season, all three of those Bas­trop County schools likely will land in Class 5A, Divi­sion II, which the UIL will pre- set dur­ing its next re­align­ment.

Wange­mann: There are no guar­an­tees, but Hays and Lehman would wel­come a shift to a Class 6A district that in­cluded San Mar­cos and schools in South Austin in place of Lake Travis, West­lake and three schools that are part of the Le­an­der school district. What’s the most tal­ented unit in the area?

Cantu: The Hip­pos are heavy, heavy, heavy at wide re­ceiver. Grif­fin has three tal­ented wide­outs — D J Bap­tist, Jakobe David­son and Cameron For­rest — who com­bined for more than 2,100 yards.

Jones: Round Rock’s back­field. The dy­namic tail­back tan­dem of Mar­quis Brown and Ma­lik Pena com­bined for 1,770 yards and 27 touch­downs a year ago, and they’ll again lead a po­tent Dragons at­tack.

Wange­mann: West­lake’s de­fen­sive line. Last season, Braden Cas­sity and David Neil com­bined for 8½ sacks as the Chap- ar­rals al­lowed 17.2 points per game and ad­vanced to the Class 6A, Divi­sion I state quar­ter­fi­nals.

Who’s the player you’re most look­ing for­ward to watch­ing?

Bils: For the sec­ond year in a row, Van­de­grift’s Jaye­len Gray fought off can­cer to get back on the field. He’s an in­spir­ing pres­ence, no mat­ter which team you’re root­ing for this fall.

Cantu: Sex­ton is en­ter­ing his third season as the start­ing quar­ter­back at Cedar Park. With 22 TD passes as a ju­nior, he should be among the lead­ing passers in Cen­tral Texas this fall.

Jones: Gar­rett Wilson, and I’ll give the same an­swer dur­ing bas­ket­ball season. The dual-sport star for Lake Travis looks like the next great Cava­liers re­ceiver. His ac­ro­bat­ics in the air and phys­i­cal burst after the catch will make him one of the most cov­eted re­ceivers in the coun­try come sign­ing day in 2019. Which team is most likely to em­bark on a sur­pris­ingly long play­off run this fall?

Bils: I’ll jump down to the pri­vate school ranks for this one. Brent­wood Chris­tian made the play­offs last fall in its first year of 11-man foot­ball, and look­ing at their steady de­fense, I’ll take the Bears to win at least one play­off game in 2017.

Cantu: As they play for their home­town that has been torn apart by flood­ing re­sult­ing from Hur­ri­cane Har­vey, look for La Grange’s Leop­ards to make an emo­tional post­sea­son run be­hind run­ning back Jeri­cho Haardt, who might be a break­out star.

Jones: How about Mc­Cal­lum? The Knights have 10 of­fen­sive starters back and one of the best de­fenses in the area. Just as im­por­tant, they’re all but cer­tain to com­pete within Re­gion IV of the Class 5A, Divi­sion II play­off bracket, which will in­clude a pow­er­ful Cor­pus Christi Calallen squad and a host of beat­able teams.

Walker in­her­its a Lib­erty Hill pro­gram that was a con­sis­tent state con­tender un­der Vance. With only seven re­turn­ing starters, the Pan­thers’ new coach will be chal­lenged to keep up that post­sea­son suc­cess this season.

Jones: Cedar Ridge’s Sam Robin­son. He served as the de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor dur­ing the Raiders’ 11-1 season in 2016, and his pro­mo­tion pro­vides con­ti­nu­ity for a thriv­ing pro­gram.

Wange­mann: At Granger High, first-year head coach Wal­ter Brock takes over a pro­gram that’s cel­e­brat­ing two straight play­off berths. The Lions must re­place for­mer QB Wy­att Mes­sex, but Brock knows the work­ings of Class 2A foot­ball. He’s the for­mer of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor at An­son, a 2A, Divi­sion I state quar­ter­fi­nal­ist in 2016. Of the teams that posted three or fewer wins last season, which one’s in the best po­si­tion for a re­bound in 2017?

Bils: Hen­drick­son. A 3-7 record last season was far be­low coach Chip Kil­lian’s stan­dard, so you can bet the Hawks weren’t tak­ing off­sea­son work­outs lightly.

Cantu: I’m con­fi­dent coach John Waugh’s Crock­ett Cougars will bounce back from a 1-9 season. With 13 starters back, this could be one of Crock­ett’s best teams in a decade.

Jones: Hays. Eight starters re­turn on ei­ther side of the ball, and the Rebels should boast one of the best run­ning games in the area with tail­backs Cade Pow­ell and Thai­land May­ber­rey. If noted quar­ter­back guru Neal LaHue — re­mem­ber, he tu­tored a skinny kid named Drew Brees two decades ago as an as­sis­tant at West­lake — de­vel­ops a con­sis­tent passer be­hind cen­ter, Hays will re­turn to the play­offs.

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