HARRIS COUNTY - HSA INSIDER

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You didn’t dream it. Yet those images keep popping up in your mind, right?

You hear the bats crack and replay Jose Altuve’s home run followed by another monumental homer from Carlos Correa. The exclamation point from George Springer. Justin Verlander’s fierce focus from the mound, then his cheerleading as he kept peeking around the dugout corner.

Those Houston Astros body-bumping and playing with that infectious joy usually reserved for kids on a sandlot on a summer day. Only this time it was an epic 7-6, 11-inning Game 2 World Series win over the Dodgers. In LA.

Great moments, all. But what about Alex Bregman’s perfect throw home in Game 7 against the Yankees? Those high-flying Altuve-Correa hugs?

Dare you to pick your one favorite Astros moment so far. Tough, right?

Now think about rookie DeShaun Watson working his magic with the Texans’ offense, the incredible chemistry between Chris Paul and James Harden which has the Rockets off to a great start, the playoff excitement from the Dynamo in the playoffs and, well,  just try to come up with the single greatest moment of 2017 in Houston Sports, period. And don’t forget there are still more moments to come.

All that said, this your invitation to start thinking about athletes and moments you would nominate for the inaugural Houston Sports Awards on Feb. 8, 2018.

The Harris County – Houston Sports Authority will be celebrating the best in Houston sports that night with a red-carpet event at the Hilton-Americas. There are 10 categories -- everything from three Athletes of the Year (Pro/Olympian, College and High School) to Moment of the Year and Sportsmanship Award and more -- and you can nominate at www.HoustonSportsAwards.com.

You have until Dec. 1 to submit your choices, so take a look at the categories on the website and start thinking – or submitting -- now.

* * * *

Robin Burke didn’t hesitate.

When the Vice President of Champions Golf Club was scrolling down her Facebook page last month and saw that the United States Golf Association was going to have to postpone its 2017 Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship due to damage to Quail Creek Country Club Naples, Fla., from Hurricane Irma, she shot a friend a message:

“Hey, bring it to Texas. We survived Hurricane Harvey with minimal damage. We’ll host it.”

Within 24 hours, Burke and the USGA were talking about possible dates and the Women’s Mid-Am was on the way to Champions where 132 of the best women amateurs over the age of 25 will tee it up Nov. 11-16. The winner gets a spot in the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open.

It’s a trial run, of sorts, for the storied course, which will host the 2020 U.S. Women’s Open. Champions also held the 1967 Ryder Cup, the 1969 U.S. Open, four TOUR Championships, the Houston Champions International from 1966-1971 and was the site of Ben Hogan’s final round in 1971.

“So here we are,’’ Burke said, “about to pull off something that takes two years to plan in less than two months.’’

Burke, the wife of Hall of Famer Jack Burke, Jr., wouldn’t have it any other way. The 2016 Curtis Cup captain has played in 23 Mid-Ams, advancing to the semifinals first in 1998, when it was held at Champions, then again in 2005 and 2010. This year, she didn’t try to qualify. Looking back, she wishes she had.

Things have fallen into place quickly. Burke was so confident in Champions’ golf course superintendent and team that she knew they would be able to get the layout in championship condition in no time. That done, she turned her attention to finding a chairman and called friend Alli Jarrett, owner of Harold’s Restaurant & Tap Room and former USGA Regional Affairs director.

“She told me she’d have to think about it,’’ Burke said, “She called me back in 20 minutes and said, ‘I can’t stand it, I’m in.’ ‘’

The 2017 field features nine former Mid-Am champs including four-time champ Meghan Stasi.

If you’d like to volunteer, go to

http://www.txga.org/form.php?id=2017-US-Womens-MidAmateur-Volun. Admission to the event is free.

* * * *

The World Corporate Games, where weekend athletes, businesses and corporations from around the world come together to compete on multiple levels for two days in 15 different sports, is coming to Houston November 17-19.

More than 1,000 entrants from nine different countries will compete in everything from badminton to beach volleyball, bowling and dragon boat racing. The event includes a Health & Wellness Expo at the Marriott Marquis and today is the last day to sign up a team for everything but running at www.wcghouston.com. The running deadline has been extended to Nov. 10. The site also has volunteer opportunities.

* * * *

Houston isn’t just one of 32 cities contending for a chance to host matches for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. The nation’s fourth-largest city will also host a meeting with the United Bid Committee Nov. 14-17 with the other 31 cities bidding for potential spots should the U.S.-Canada-Mexico group be chosen to host the 2026 event.

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Houston's magic number stays at 2

Astros drop series finale to Mariners after rough start by Greinke

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

With their magic number at 2 to secure their spot in the 2020 MLB postseason, the Astros returned to T-Mobile Park in Seattle for this three-game series' finale and rubber game. Here are the highlights from the game:

Final Score: Mariners 3, Astros 2.

Record: 28-28, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Nick Margevicius (2-3, 4.57 ERA)

Losing pitcher: Zack Greinke (3-3, 4.03 ERA).

Greinke unable to complete five innings

While the Astros were being held scoreless, the Mariners were putting up runs on Zack Greinke. They took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first with back-to-back singles followed by an RBI-double with one out. Greinke would stop the damage there, then looked to settle in over the next few frames.

He allowed just one baserunner in the second through fourth innings, a one-out single in the bottom of the fourth. Then, in the fifth, the Mariners would knock him out of the game by getting a one-out single that would come around to score on a two-out RBI-double, followed by an RBI-single to extend the lead to 3-0. Greinke faced one more batter, allowing a single before Dusty Baker would take the ball and move to the bullpen. His final line: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 HR, 92 P.

Astros try a late rally, come up short

On the other end, the Astros were unable to break through against Nick Margevicius, getting just one hit and two walks through the first four innings. They had a chance to get on the board in the top of the fifth, starting the inning with back-to-back singles before a walk loaded the bases with one out to turn the lineup over. They'd come up empty, though, with George Springer striking out before a long flyball to center by Jose Altuve to end the inning.

After finishing the fifth for Greinke, Andre Scrubb returned for a scoreless sixth, working around a one-out walk. Still 3-0, Blake Taylor took over on the mound in the bottom of the seventh, erasing a leadoff single and two-out walk to keep Seattle from extending their lead. Houston had another chance to score in the top of the eighth, getting two runners in scoring position, but again would strand them.

Cy Sneed was the next reliever out for the Astros, working around a two-out walk to send the game on to the ninth. The Astros would avoid the shutout, getting a two-RBI single by pinch-hitting Josh Reddick in the top of the ninth to make it a one-run game at 3-2. That's as close as they'd come, though, as the Mariners would eventually get the final out to take the series and keep the Astros' magic number stagnant at 2.


Up Next: There is one series left in the regular season for Houston, and it awaits them in Arlington with a four-game series against the Rangers, who are well eliminated from playoff contention. The first of the four games will start at 7:05 PM Central on Thursday with a pitching matchup of Lance Lynn (6-2, 2.53 ERA) for Texas and Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.33 ERA) for the Astros.

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