RACE FOR THE RING

The Top 5 Private Schools powered by Champion Energy

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Originally Appeared on VYPE

Here is the best of the best in the private school realm.

Kinkaid tops the group hands down. Back-to-back years the Falcons have reigned supreme in SPC 4A, winning yet another crown in 2018. But can they do it again? Episcopal will have something to say about that. In TAPPS, there are a multitude of teams that will make noise again.

Fans should be on the look-out for Baytown Christian, which won the TAPPS 6-man Division III State Championship a year ago and will be one to tangle with again in 2019. The other TAPPS state champion from Houston in 2018 was Katy St. John XXIII and we will see if either of these teams can go back-to-back.

No. 1 Kinkaid Falcons

The job Nathan Larned has done at Kinkaid is impressive. Back-to-back SPC 4A titles and it seems like he has the train rolling. Since 2010, Kinkaid has won six SPC titles, including three in the past four seasons. Heading into 2019, the Falcons will look different with quarterback Zach Daniel (1,660 yards,21 TDs) off to Hawaii and running back Josh Williams (1,238 yards rushing) at LSU. That is a tough duo to replace but look for Jordan Williams to step up. When big brother Josh got hurt during the season, Jordan stepped up big. In the SPC 4A Championship game, Jordan went off for more than 200 yards rushing, a 63-yard touchdown reception, threw a touchdown pass and had an interception. Yes, all in one game. On top of that, in the season opener last year for the Kinkaid basketball team he dropped 33 points. Jordan is a two-sport phenom and is only entering his sophomore year, already with a football offer from Houston and basketball offers from Baylor and Mississippi State. Yes, he is an all-around star. Other names to remember on this team include Matthew Bale, Victor Garza, Jordan Ricks and Duncan Shields. Ricks finished last year with 53 tackles and eight sacks. Garza (490 yards receiving) is a versatile athlete that you will see play receiver, defensive back and return kicks.


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Altuve's homer starting the scoring for Houston on Friday night. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
After a solid showing to take the three of the four-game series in Arlington against the Rangers to start the week, the Astros returned home for three against the Diamondbacks in a weekend series. They would have a slow start to the opener but would ultimately come away victorious.

Final Score (10 innings): Astros 4, Diamondbacks 3

Astros' Record: 87-60, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (3-4)

Losing Pitcher: Tyler Clippard (1-1)

Bielak makes the impromptu start

With Luis Garcia having to move his start ahead by a day on Thursday instead of Friday with Framber Valdez's finger cut, Brandon Bielak made a start for Houston in the opener against Arizona. He didn't go as deep as he probably would have wanted and certainly ventured out of his comfort zone with traffic on the bases.

He loaded the bases in the top of the first, allowing a single and two walks, but was able to strand all three to keep it a scoreless game. He rebounded with a 1-2-3 second, but he dealt with a threat again in the third as back-to-back singles pressured him to start the inning. He would get back-to-back strikeouts, but that's as far as he would go as Houston moved on to Blake Taylor. Taylor got the final out of the third on one pitch, then erased a two-out double in the top of the fourth.

Altuve breaks up the no-no with a go-ahead homer

Brooks Raley took over in the top of the fifth, but in his three batters, he faced allowed a single while getting two outs before Cristian Javier took over to end the frame. Javier allowed the first run of the game in the top of the sixth, a leadoff solo homer to Kole Calhoun to put the Diamondbacks in front 1-0 before he finished the inning.

Madison Bumgarner didn't allow a single hit to the Astros through the first five and two-thirds innings. He allowed a one-out walk in the bottom of the sixth, which proved costly as Jose Altuve would get the first knock of the game for Houston, a two-run go-ahead homer. Phil Maton was the next reliever for the Astros in the top of the seventh, maintaining the new one-run lead by erasing a leadoff single.

Astros get the win in extras

The Diamondbacks tied it up in the top of the eighth against Kendall Graveman, getting a leadoff single followed by a walk, then later an RBI single to knot things up 2-2. Houston stranded a runner in the bottom of the eighth, then brought in Ryan Pressly, who tossed a 1-2-3 top of the ninth to keep the game tied.

Despite getting the winning run in scoring position with a leadoff ground-rule double by Jason Castro to start the bottom of the ninth, they would strand it as the game went to extras. Arizona scored their free runner in the top of the tenth, getting a sac fly to move it to third then going in front on an RBI single.

The Astros matched that and more in the bottom of the inning, moving their runner to third on a lineout to start the frame, followed by an intentional walk to Yordan Alvarez. Jake Meyers tied the game with an RBI single, then after another walk to load the bases, Chas McCormick was hit by a pitch to bring in the winning run, moving the Astros closer to clinching their playoff berth.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will have a start time of 6:10 PM Central on Saturday. Tyler Gilbert (2-2, 3.15 ERA) is expected to make a start for Arizona, while Lance McCullers Jr. (12-4, 3.12 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston.

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