Doing Work with DJonkins

The Woodlands Piper is soccer elite

Piper will be on her way to Duke in 2019 Vype

The Woodlands High School soccer program has one of the most over-qualified team managers in the country.

Sarah Piper is a national recruit headed to Duke in 2019, but was relegated to carrying bags and balls for the Highlanders.

As a member of the Dynamo-Dash Youth Development Academy, she has agreed to not play at the high school level.

“I had a great experience playing for The Woodlands my sophomore year and we had a great season,” Piper said. “Coach (Dina) Graves allowed me to be the manager this year just so I could be around the program. These are my best friends and are fun to be around. I loved it from the social aspect.”

Piper is an elite athlete and is training for the next stage of her career.

“I love the club training experience,” she said. “I’m pretty serious and focused. That’s how club soccer is. It’s also the entire year, instead of half of it.”

She also played on the national teams, which have traveled to the likes of Italy, England and Australia. This isn’t new to Piper, having a brother who played at Yale and a sister currently playing at Texas A&M.

“My parents never played soccer, but got my older siblings into it when they were young,” she said. “I just fell in love with the sport going to their games, which led to me playing.”

Her hard work and skill made her one of the most coveted 2019 recruits in the country. So why Duke?

“My parents told me to make a list of the Top 25 academic schools and the Top 25 soccer schools in the country, and pick from there,” she said. “Honestly, Duke wasn’t in the Top 25 teams when I committed, but they are making a comeback. Then I went on a visit and fell in love with the campus. It’s just the right fit for me.”

Not to put the cart before the horse, but we had to ask where she sees herself in five to 10 years?

“I want to be the best I can be at Duke,” she said. “If the opportunity to play professionally after my time there, sure I would love to. I think I would like to play in a foreign country to learn a different culture. If not, I think I will go into medicine.”

“Sarah is very similar to her sister, Texas A&M soccer star, Grace Piper, who I also train,” Derrick Jonkins said. “She has a relentless work ethic and is a very smart young lady who knows exactly what she wants. One thing I tell people is that you can’t teach work ethic. It’s something that is instilled in you and it starts at home.

“As long as she keeps working and stays focused, she should easily play professionally some day. I’m just blessed to be able to work with an athlete of her caliber. We discuss almost every week what she wants to focus on. Lately, it’s been getting stronger in the weight room. She can already run like a deer, but now as she adds the power and the strength, she will be unstoppable.”

For more information about Derrick Jonkins and his new facility, go to http://djonkinssports.com/

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Houston loses in San Francisco

Astros drop back-and-forth middle game to Giants to even series

Houston's offense couldn't keep up with the Giants on Saturday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

With the impressive win in the opener to start the series, the Astros entered Saturday's middle game against the Giants with an opportunity to not just secure the series but surpass San Francisco for the best record in the league. They'd have to wait to take that crown, as the Giants would out-slug the Astros to even the series.

Final Score: Giants 8, Astros 6

Astros' Record: 64-41, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jay Jackson (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Blake Taylor (2-3)

Teams trade blows early, Giants chase Greinke out early

The teams traded blows early in this one, with the Giants tagging Zack Greinke with six runs, all on homers. The first was a solo shot in the bottom of the second to start the scoring before hitting one in each inning through the fourth: two-run blasts in the third and fourth, then a go-ahead solo shot in the bottom of the fifth, putting them ahead 6-5 at the time. Greinke would face one more batter, allowing a single to end his lackluster day: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 4 HR, 93 P.

Houston's offense kept things close to try and keep Greinke in a position to win, going up 3-1 in the third on a two-run Aledmys Diaz homer and another coming in on an error. After San Francisco scored four unanswered to make it 5-3, Diaz homered again in the top of the fifth to cut the deficit to one run before Yuli Gurriel would tie it with an RBI double.

Astros stay in it, but Giants even the series by winning the slug-fest

With Greinke exiting with no outs in the fifth, Houston handed the ball to Phil Maton, acquired in the recent Myles Straw trade, to make his debut for his new team. He worked himself into a jam, allowing a single and hitting a batter to load the bases with one out, but was able to get back-to-back strikeouts to strike out the side and strand all three runners, keeping it a one-run game.

That proved pivotal in the top of the sixth, as with two outs, Martin Maldonado would launch a game-tying solo homer, making it 6-6. Blake Taylor took over out of the bullpen in the bottom of the inning but would face just three batters, getting two outs while leaving one on as Dusty Baker moved on to Cristian Javier. Javier would watch the Giants retake the lead, getting back-to-back singles to bring in a run and make it 7-6.

Javier stayed in the game in the bottom of the seventh, allowing a leadoff single but erasing it by striking out the next three batters. Still a 7-6 game in the bottom of the eighth, Yimi Garcia made his Astros debut but did not keep the score there, allowing a leadoff solo homer to make it a two-run game. The 8-6 score would go final as Houston's offense came up empty again in the top of the ninth, setting up a rubber game in the finale.

Up Next: The series finale will get underway at 3:05 PM Central on Sunday in San Francisco. Luis Garcia (7-5, 3.19 ERA) will take the mound for Houston, going opposite Logan Webb (4-3, 3.36 ERA) for the Giants.

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