Making Strides

Moving on Up: Tomball Memorial brings its identity to 6A

Memorial will find out its new district on Feb. 1, 2018 Vype

Originally appeared on Vype.com

After five short years of existence, little brother is making the big jump to Class 6A as community growth and expanded enrollment takes Tomball Memorial to new challenges.

Tomball Memorial makes the move as cross-town rival Tomball stays in Class 5A.

Many wonder if the jump to 6A will hinder the identity of a traditional 5A program that Tomball Memorial has enjoyed since its inception in 2012.

“We knew our great community was growing,” Tomball ISD athletic director Vince Sebo said. “You don’t run from that, you embrace the fact that your community is growing to the point of being a 6A program. We’re not intimidated by that. Our coaches will have our athletes ready to compete.”

Recent history has shown that traditional football powers making the jump from 5A to 6A can be either seamless or difficult.

Friendswood made the jump to the biggest classification in 2014 and culminated records of 8-4 (2014) and 8-5, (2015) with a regional semifinal appearance in the 2015 playoffs.

George Ranch struggled mighty with their move up in 2016 after winning a 5A state title in 2015. Going 6-5 and 6-4 respectively, in their past two seasons at the 6A level.

One item that will not change is the rivalry between Tomball and Tomball Memorial.

The “Tomball Bowl” annually brings out a huge contingent of local fans to witness which team will take home the bragging rights for 364 days.

“We most likely will have the game at the beginning of the season,” Sebo said. “Our community looks forward to these games, so we can expect all sports to continue with this rivalry.”

Until the University Interscholastic League officially announces district alignments in February, only speculation can garner where Tomball Memorial lands.

“I’ve never been right yet on guessing where our schools would end up,” Sebo said. “I would say east, west or south for us. If you’re talking about us heading north, there could be a lot of travel involved.

“Moving us to Cy-Fair could make sense if the UIL decides to make that a split division. We’ve been in Houston ISD before, so those all make sense.”

The move up to 6A should not affect the Wildcats’ football program as coach Sam Parker helped build the Spring Lions into a 6A power during his seven years on the sideline.

Parker accumulated a 20-5 record at Spring his final two seasons, leading the Lions to the 6A regional semifinals in 2015.

Official district alignments will be announced by the UIL February 1, 2018.

This article appears in the January Issue of VYPE Magazine. Pick up your copy at any one of our locations today!

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Houston loses first game to Oakland

A's end losing streak against Astros with late homers

Lance McCullers Jr. went five innings of one-run ball Friday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After maintaining their stronghold against the A's in Thursday's home opener, the Astros had the chance to lock up the three-game series victory against Oakland with a win on Friday night. On the mound, Lance McCullers Jr. hoped to improve upon his first start against this same team, a five-inning one-run outing.

Instead, he would have the same outcome, once again lasting five innings while allowing one run, before a big tie-breaking home run late in the game would push Oakland out of their losing skid against the Astros.

Final Score: A's 6, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-2, tied for first in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Yusmeiro Petit (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Bryan Abreu (1-1)

McCullers Jr. makes it through five

McCullers Jr. looked sharp through the first three innings, allowing just two baserunners, one on a second-inning single, then a walk in the third. Oakland did better against him the second time through their order in the fourth, with Jed Lowrie leading the inning off with a solo home run to put Oakland in front 1-0.

They went on to load the bases with one out on an error and two walks, but McCullers would strand them all. He returned for the fifth, a much cleaner inning where a caught stealing by Martin Maldonado would help him face just three batters. His final line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 88 P.

Oakland gets homer-happy to even the series

McCullers Jr. would leave the game without being eligible for the winning or losing decision, as an RBI-groundout by Kyle Tucker in the fourth would have it tied 1-1. Bryan Abreu was the first out of Houston's bullpen, and he would attempt to eat up multiple innings. He had perfect innings in the sixth and seventh, retiring six A's in order to maintain the stalemate.

Abreu remained in the game in the top of the eighth, allowing a single before getting a strikeout, ending his run as Dusty Baker would bring in left-handed Blake Taylor. Taylor would give up a single against his first batter, then a loud go-ahead three-run home run to Matt Olson to push the A's back in front 4-1. They'd add two more insurance runs off of Joe Smith in the top of the ninth, getting a two-run home run by Mark Canha to extend the lead to 6-1.

Oakland's bullpen would hold on to the newly created lead, allowing just one run on a sac fly by Jose Altuve in the bottom of the ninth, finally ending their losing streak against Houston and setting up the rubber game on Saturday to be for the series victory.

Up Next: This series's finale will be a Saturday afternoon start, with first pitch scheduled for 3:05 PM. For the Astros, Jose Urquidy (0-0, 4.15 ERA) will look to get a win on the board, while Oakland will hand the ball to Frankie Montas (0-1, 23.63 ERA).

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