On Top Of the World

Benitez thrives in first year at North Shore after full circle journey

The philosophy that Benitez has brought back to North Shore has worked. Via VYPE

Originally Appeared on Vype

HOUSTON – Life is a journey and sometimes just because you leave a place doesn't mean you will never return.

Sam Benitez's coaching journey kind of played out that way as it took him away from North Shore after the 2012-2013 season. Benitez, who had served as an assistant coach under David Green for six seasons, took the top job at Cypress Springs.

When North Shore needed its next head coach Benitez made his return to the East Side.

"It's been great, I feel like it is coming full circle," Benitez said. "I left to have an opportunity to be a head coach and build a foundation as far as a philosophy as a coach. To be able to come back and put that philosophy to the test and seeing we can be successful is great."

The philosophy that Benitez has brought back to North Shore has worked.

It has worked really well.

In his inaugural season as the Mustangs' head coach, North Shore is 23-2 and ranked No. 5 in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Weekly Poll after climbing as high as No. 1 in Texas in the past few weeks.

"I feel like we have a good group of kids that have a chance to be pretty successful," Benitez said. "They bought into what we're preaching and put in a lot of time and effort and we were able to do some things to get off to a pretty hot start."

North Shore rattled off a 19-game winning streak already this year, not losing a game between November 20 and January 15.

"I think we're still a work in progress," Benitez said. "We definitely have some pieces and we've definitely been successful. It just goes to show you can get beat any night. With that in mind we take it with a grain of salt, get back to practice, work on some things that we need to improve on."


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The losing streak continues

Mariners get walk-off win over short-staffed Astros

Alex De Goti had an impressive debut. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

After a brutal homestand capped off by losing five players to the IL for health and safety protocols, the once 5-1 Astros brought their now 6-6 record to T-Mobile park in Seattle to try and right the ship. They'd have to do it with new and young players in the lineup using the "next man up" mentality to get some wins against the first-place Mariners.

Though the young bats would work themselves into a lead most of the night, Houston's bullpen wouldn't be able to hold the Mariners down, with Seattle ultimately walking things off in the ninth.

Final Score: Mariners 6, Astros 5

Astros' Record: 6-7, fourth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Anthony Misiewicz (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (0-1)

After a quiet start, Houston gets three in the fifth

After cruising through the Astros through the first four innings, allowing only a walk over that span, Houston was able to put up a big inning against Yusei Kikuchi in the top of the fifth. Carlos Correa notched the first hit of the night, followed by a walk by Taylor Jones to put two on base.



That brought Alex De Goti, making his major-league debut, to the plate and, in his second career at-bat, would get his first hit and RBI, bringing in Correa from second on a single. A second run would come on the same play on a throwing error, then Chaz McCormick made it a three-run inning with an RBI-double, putting Houston out front 3-0.

Urquidy comes an out shy of a quality start

Meanwhile, Jose Urquidy was doing well through five innings. On track for a much-needed quality start, the Mariners would tag him in the bottom of the sixth, getting three-straight hits to bring in two runs to lead off the frame and leaving a runner on second base with no outs.

Urquidy would rebound to get the next two batters on strikeouts, but at 90 pitches and with a left-handed hitter up next, Dusty Baker would bring in lefty Brooks Raley to try and get out of the inning with the one-run lead intact. Raley would do his job, putting Uruidy's line final: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 90 P.

Teams trade two-run seventh innings

The young bats for Houston struck again in the top of the seventh, with Jones and De Goti leading it off with back-to-back singles before Jason Castro would load the bases with a walk. With two outs, Aledmys Diaz would push the lead back to three with a two-RBI single, making it 5-2.

With Raley out after facing his one batter, next out of Houston's bullpen was Bryan Abreu to help maintain Houston's lead. Instead, he would give up two runs on two hits and a walk while getting just two outs before Baker moved on to Blake Taylor, who would get the last out of the seventh with Houston hanging on to a one-run lead at 5-4.

Mariners get the walk-off win

Taylor remained in the game in the bottom of the eighth, and after getting an out, would allow a game-tying solo home run to Evan White before injuring himself trying to field an infield single. Ryne Stanek entered and finished off the eighth, sending the tie game to the ninth.

After Houston came up empty in the top half, Stanek remained in the game in the bottom of the ninth, attempting to force extras. Back-to-back walks ended Stanek's night, with the Astros hoping Ryan Pressly could bail them out. He couldn't, though, giving up the walk-off hit as the Mariners would take the opener, 6-5.

Up Next: Game two of this three-game set will start an hour earlier on Saturday, with first pitch at 8:10 PM Central. Zack Greinke (1-1, 4.08 ERA) will try to rebound from a poor start his last time out for the Astros, while the Mariners will hand the ball to Chris Flexen (1-0, 4.50 ERA).

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