Astros to play Mets in Houston
Split doubleheader scheduled Saturday, single game Sunday.
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.