Weekend proves to be disappointing to many sports fans
Whether it was on the local sports scene or a national event, this past weekend provided a downer to many avid fans.
Orange County high school baseball and softball supporters were hit with a triple-whammy as all three schools that entered this weekend with the high hopes of continuing their respective runs toward a possible state championship were dashed.
The Little Cypress-Mauriceville Lady Bears, who won the District 20-4A championship and were ranked as the state’s No. 1 team in Class 4A at one time because of their timely hitting and solid defense, could find neither against Ridge Point, losing by 2-0 scores both Friday and Saturday.
The Lady Bears had a difficult time getting hits with runners on base and also committed some defensive blunders at inopportune times in both 2-0 losses. But they did have a great season.
The Bridge City Cardinals were breezing along with a 4-0 lead over Huffman in their Class 3A Regional baseball quarterfinal match-up when the roof caved in on them in the top of the fifth inning.
The Cards’ ace pitcher Hayden Guidry had only allowed one Falcon hit during the first four innings. But with one out Huffman stroked five straight hits as Guidry and two other Bridge City pitchers struggled to finally retire the side. But when the dust settled, the Cards found themselves on the short end of a 5-4 score, which is the way the game ended.
Bridge City’s bats went dead in the final three innings as they managed only one hit and saw a brilliant season end on one bad inning.
The Orangefield Bobcats took their regional quarterfinal best-of-three series against Silsbee to the rubber game Saturday before losing 6-2 Saturday at Vidor.
The Tigers won the first game 5-1 after scoring all of their runs in the first two innings. But the Bobcats stole a page from Silsbee’s play book in Friday’s second game by scoring four runs in the first inning and hanging on for a 5-3 win over Silsbee to send the series to the deciding game Saturday.
District 21-3A champion Silsbee (29-7) moves on to the regional semifinal round where they will take on always-tough Carthage 7 p.m. tomorrow (Thursday) at Angelina College in Lufkin while the Bobcats’ season ends at 21-11.
And while on the subject of baseball, our impotent Houston Astros made their dejected fans feel a little better by announcing last weekend that Reid Ryan, son of Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan was hired as the team’s new president, replacing controversial George Postolos, who resigned suddenly early last week.
The oldest son of Nolan Ryan says he will take care of the business end of the newest American League team and leave the baseball decisions to general manager Jeff Luhnow.
“I kind of look at what my vision is,” Reid Ryan told the Houston Chronicle last Friday. “It’s one, putting the fans first in everything we do. If we take care of their best interests, they’ll take care of us.
“And we have to take care of the players. We have to make sure that we’re doing everything in our power to be able to develop the best players and to retain the best players we can because it’s all about the best players. If you don’t have good players, it’s tough to be in this business,” he concluded.
Going into the current home stand that began Monday night against the Kansas City Royals, the Astros still were tied with the Miami Marlins as the worst team in the major leagues with identical 12-32 records.
But Houston’s recent losses have been close games, many by one-run, and the starting pitching has made vast improvements. Dumb rookie mistakes are still prevalent, with the latest one Friday night directly turning a certain victory into an embarrassing loss.
Houston was leading Pittsburgh 4-3 when the Pirates loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and Russell Martin hit a popup into short right field.
Reserve second baseman Jake Elmore called for, camped under it and then was plowed down by right fielder Jimmy Paredes and dropped the ball, with two runners scoring and Pittsburgh winning 5-4.
The reason Elmore was even on the roster, is that the Astros called him up from Triple AAA Oklahoma City after regular second baseman Jose Altuve was mowed down by Paredes in right field camping under a short fly ball earlier last week and suffered a possible concussion.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment last weekend was suffered by the nation’s horse racing fans who were hoping that Orb would win the second leg of that elusive Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes.
The oddsmakers certainly believed Orb would win at Pimlico in Baltimore Saturday afternoon by setting his odds to win at 3-to-5, despite the fact that only one horse in more than 50 years has won the Preakness from that No. 1 post position.
Orb got caught in an early jam of horses as Oxbow moved to the head of the pack early, as expected. And while Orb and the rest of the horses were trying to break out of the jam, Oxbow just kept cruising to the finish line as a 15-1 longshot.
Itsmyluckyday, who finished a disappointing 15th in the Kentucky Derby, was second while Mylute, with Rosie Napravnik aboard was third and Orb was a distant fourth.
Oxbow, who finished sixth in the Derby, is trained by 77-year-old Wayne Lukas and ridden by 50-year-old Gary Stevens, who was the oldest jockey to win the Preakness. Lukas became the winningest trainer in Triple Crown races by posting his 14th victory, breaking a tie with the legendary Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons.
Both Orb and Oxbow are expected to run in the Belmont Stakes on June 8.
KWICKIES…The Lamar Cardinal’s swing into action tonight (Wed.) in the first round of the Southland Conference Baseball Tournament at Constellation Field in Sugar Land. The fifth-seeded Redbirds, 15-12 in the SLC and 36-18 for the season, will meet Southeastern Louisiana, the No. 4 seed at 7 p.m. Other first-round games today saw Stephen F. Austin meet Oral Roberts at 9 a.m., Central Arkansas take on Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at noon and McNeese play Sam Houston State at 4 p.m.
Young Keegan Bradley set a course record 60 in Thursday’s opening round of the PGA Byron Nelson Tournament at Irving and held his lead for three rounds before being overtaken by 26-year-old South Korean Sang-Moon Bae early in Sunday’s final round. But Bae blew a four-stroke lead before beating Bradley by two shots to win the $1,208,000 first place money. Bradley, who shot 72 in the final round, pocketed $723,600 for his effort.
The NBA playoffs are down to the final four teams with the second-seeded San Antonio Spurs taking a 1-0 lead over No. 5-seed Memphis with an impressive 105-83 thrashing of the Grizzlies Sunday in the first game of the Western Conference finals. The two teams met again last night (Tues.) in San Antonio. The No. 1-seeded Miami Heat host No. 3 Indiana tonight (Wed.) in the opening round of the Eastern Conference finals.
The Houston Texans began their organized team activities (OTA) Monday as rookie minicamp ended last weekend. The league allows teams to have 10 OTAs each off-season in addition to a veteran minicamp. Offensively, the Texans will be missing right tackle Derek Newton, who is recovering from off-season knee surgery. The defense will be without newly-acquired safety Ed Reed, who is recovering from the arthroscopic hip surgery he had last month to repair a torn labrum, linebacker Brian Cushing, who had surgery to repair a torn ACL in late October and outside linebacker Brooks Reed, who had surgery in January to repair a torn groin.
JUST BETWEEN US…I ventured over to Delta Downs to watch the simulcast of the Preakness Saturday afternoon and ran into Greg Austin, son of Jim Austin who owned the huge car dealership on Interstate 10 in Orange and also was a partner when the location was later called Austin-Lee. Greg is still living in Beaumont and says he’s kept quite busy with his set of twins in the 12th grade at Kelly High School and his other set of twins in the ninth grade at Kelly. The Austins also have a 10-year old. Greg was watching the simulcast with a group of Beaumonters that included Rocky Chase, who used to own The Hofbrau restaurant in Beaumont.