INTRODUCING PITCH 25

Houston soccer legend plans massive EaDo sports bar

Brian Ching is opening a new soccer bar. Courtesy photo

This story originally appeared on CultureMap/Houston.

EaDo is rapidly emerging as Houston's next great drinking and dining destination.

Already home to the Chapman & Kirby, which has become one of Houston's hottest nightclubs based on alcoholic beverage sales, 8th Wonder Brewery, and popular restaurants like Pappa Charlies Barbeque, SeaSide Poke, and Hyunh, the imminent arrival of concepts like Agricole Hospitality's bar/restaurant/pizza shop trio of Miss Carousel, Indianola, and Vinny's plus restaurants like Rodeo Goat and Nancy's Hustle would be enough for EaDo to earn its rising star status, and a new project coming next spring will only enhance that reputation.

Former Dynamo star Brian Ching announced Monday that he's getting into the mix by opening a massive, soccer themed sports bar called Pitch 25 (after the word for a soccer field and the number he wore during his Dynamo career). Located steps away from BBVA Compass Stadium at 904 Hutchins, the 25,000-square foot space will feature both an indoor soccer field and an outdoor beer garden.

“Houston is such a diverse city – people from around the world live here, and there are very few bars to watch soccer matches,” Ching said in a statement. “I’m really excited to create an environment that truly matches the excitement of the soccer experience, and create a nationally-recognized soccer destination as the sport continues to increase in popularity in the U.S.”

While Ching may know soccer — he's the Dynamo's all-time leading scorer and led the team to two MLS Cup championships — he doesn't know food and beverage. To handle that side of the business, he's partnered with The Kirby Group. Owners Andy Aweida and Jeff Barati are the duo behind a number of successful projects, including Wooster's Garden in Midtown, Heights Bier Garten, and the upcoming Holman Draft Hall. 

Pitch 25 aims to raise between $250,000 and $550,000 for its build out via the NextSeed platform. Unlike Kickstarter, NextSeed users earn a return on their money — in this case one-and-a-half times their investment paid out over a four year term — in addition to the usual perks like access to a pre-opening party and swag.

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Zack Greinke earned his 10th win of the season in Sunday's finale agains the Rangers. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

With the first two wins of the series under their belt, the Astros entered Sunday looking to take care of business before heading on the road. Despite the Rangers taking the first lead of the day, the Astros responded on offense and defense to erase the deficit to get the victory.

Final Score: Astros 3, Rangers 1

Astros' Record: 61-39, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Zack Greinke (10-3)

Losing Pitcher: Dennis Santana (0-1)

Greinke, with some help, notches a quality start

Zack Greinke was doing well in the early goings of Sunday's finale. Despite allowing back-to-back singles to start the game, he stranded both runners to finish the top of the first. He followed that by erasing two more runners in the second, starting a stretch of eight straight batters which he would retire to make it through one out in the top of the fifth without allowing a run.

Texas finally added a blemish to his day at that point, getting a solo homer to grab their first lead in weeks. Greinke rebounded from it, sitting down the next two batters to finish the frame, then posted a 1-2-3 sixth. He returned for the top of the seventh, but would end his day with a struggle, loading the bases with no outs on a single, hit batter, and walk. That prompted Dusty Baker to bring in Cristian Javier, who saved Greinke's stat line by getting a strikeout and double play to keep the Rangers from scoring. Greinke's line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 86 P.

Houston grabs the lead

Houston's starter would leave in line for the win, thanks to the work of Cristian Javier, but also some timely offense in the two innings prior. With not much going for them in the first four innings, the Astros tried to take advantage of Chas McCormick being on base in the bottom of the fifth, sending him for a potential hit and run with Abraham Toro swinging.

That turned into two runs, with McCormick able to slow his run as Toro would launch a two-run go-ahead homer to erase the Rangers lead quickly. They extended the lead to two runs in the next inning, with Yordan Alvarez working a walk and then later scoring on an RBI single by Kyle Tucker, making it 3-1.

Astros finish the sweep

After cleaning up the inherited mess in the top of the seventh, Javier remained on the mound in the top of the eighth and made it through a 1-2-3 inning to give him six outs against five batters. With it still a two-run game in the top of the ninth, Ryan Pressly entered for the save opportunity. He notched it, sitting down the Rangers 1-2-3 to finish the sweep, handing Texas their twelfth straight loss.

Up Next: The Astros will head out west for an eight-game road trip starting with a three-game set with the Mariners kicking off at 9:10 PM Central on Monday. In the opener, Luis Garcia (7-5, 2.86 ERA) for Houston is slated to go opposite Darren McCaughan (0-0, 1.80 ERA), who will make his second career appearance and first start for Seattle.

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