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 drops the opener

Angels use big sixth inning to take opener from Astros

Houston's offense started hot, then went cold Monday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

With a 2-1 series win under their belt to start this ten-game homestand, the Astros turned the page to a three-game set with the Angels on Monday night. Things started strong for Houston, building an early lead, but it would erode in the middle innings as the Angels would respond with a big sixth inning to take the opener.

Final Score: Angels 5, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 18-17, tied for second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Suarez (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Brandon Bielak (1-2)

Houston Builds an early lead

After a 1-2-3 top of the first by Luis Garcia, Houston would start the scoring in the bottom of the inning. Back-to-back walks set things off, setting up an RBI ground-rule double by Alex Bregman, giving them the 1-0 lead. Kyle Tucker lead the bottom of the second off with a double, then came around to score on an RBI single by Myles Straw, then Michael Brantley made it 3-0 with an RBI double later in the inning.

Los Angeles roars back to take the lead

Los Angeles trimmed the lead to two runs in the top of the fourth with an RBI double, but Houston was able to get that run back on another RBI by Straw in the bottom of the fifth. Things fell apart for Garcia in the top of the sixth, with back-to-back one-out solo homers trimming the lead to one run and ending his night there: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 2 HR, 92 P.

The Angels didn't stop there, getting two more runs to take the lead off of Brandon Bielak, who managed just one out while blowing the lead. Brooks Raley would enter to get the final out of the inning, then tried to keep the deficit at one run when he returned in the top of the seventh. It looked like things might unravel for him, allowing the first two batters to reach base on a walk and single, but he would battle back to strike out the next three straight to strand both.

Angels take the opener

Joe Smith took over in the top of the eighth, still 5-4, but would get two outs while allowing a double in his three batters before Houston moved on to Kent Emanuel, who finished the inning off. After another scoreless inning for Houston's offense, Emanuel remained in the game in the top of the ninth to keep a walk-off chance alive, and he would do so by erasing a walk to send the one-run game to the bottom half. The Astros wouldn't pull off a comeback, though, dropping the opener to Los Angeles.

Up Next: The middle game of this series will be another 7:10 PM Central start on Tuesday night. It shapes up to be an exciting pitching matchup, with Lance McCullers Jr. (2-1, 3.58 ERA) for Houston going up against the two-way star Shohei Ohtani (1-0, 2.41 ERA) for Los Angeles.

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