By Brandon C. Williams

DICKINSON high school boys basketball coach Jason Wilson has three more seasons of Tramon Mark. Wilson will also have three more seasons of college scouts clamoring into The Swamp on Tuesdays and Fridays to see one of the nation’s best underclassmen.
Mark was named to’s top 25 boys basketball players for the Class of 2020 this past week, ranking 22nd overall and one of only two players in the state of Texas to make the prestigious list. The incoming sophomore already has an offer from TCU, yet will see his mailbox fill up as more colleges begin to zero in on Mark.
One of the key components to Dickinson’s run to district 24-6a regular season title, Mark finished with 15.1 points per game to go along with 4.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.3 steals per contest. He was named the district’s top newcomer and was named to the 24-6a first team. His freshman success came after being named to the National Youth Basketball League first team and leading McAdams junior high school to consecutive district championships.
Mark’s style of play has been compared to former Houston area youth hoops standout De’Aaron Fox, who was the fifth overall selection of Sacramento Kings in this past Thursday’s NBA draft following a year of playing at University of Kentucky.
He is also among four area players who made the Class of 2020 watch list of, one of the state’s premier basketball scouting sites. Mark was joined on the list by fellow Dickinson teammate Deuce Guidry, while Clear Springs’ Jalen White and La Marque’s Jordan Curry.

By Brandon C. Williams

GALVESTON County’s second prospect in Philadelphia Phillies organization is working his way into the eyes of the franchise’s scouts while also recently earning a promotion.
Friendswood graduate Will Hibbs was moved up to the franchise’s High-A team in Clearwater (Fla.) this past Thursday after dominating hitters in A-ball at Lakewood (Fla.). Hibbs had a 5-1 record with an ERA of 0.98 in 21 appearances for the Blue Claws while recording a save in nine of his ten opportunities.
Hibbs struck out 38 batters in 36.2 innings and limited opposing hitters to an .092 batting average. The move brings the 6-7, 245-pound hurler one step closer to the majors after being drafted by Philadelphia in the 19th round of the 2016 draft. Hibbs, who was a starter in college at Lamar University, was moved to a relief role shortly after being selected and began his transition in short-season ball with Williamsport (PA) Crosscutters, where he had nine saves and a 1.44 ERA in 19 appearances.
Should Hibbs eventually receive the call to the majors, he would be the second Friendswood high school player to do so, joining relief pitcher Scott Williamson, who played nine seasons in the bigs from 1997-2011 with five different teams. Williamson was part of the 2004 Boston Red Sox team that won its first World Series title since 1918.
Meanwhile, Galveston’s Nick Williams continues his push for a potential call-up, as he entered the weekend hitting .275 with 14 homers and 42 RBI for Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Williams, the fourth-rated prospect, will likely be brought up as the Phillies entered the weekend with a 23-48 record that is the worst in the majors.

FISHING FORECAST by Brandon C. Williams

Weather or not, it’s good stretch for fishing

WEST GALVESTON Bay and Texas City are two of the hottest spots for fishing during what will be a wet and humid stretch of weather in the area. The threat of storms on today, Sunday, and Monday may enhance the number of fish running, so those anglers willing to brave out the rain could have a nice payoff.

North Sabine: Redfish are good under rafts of shad on Gulps. Redfish are fair to good at the mouths of bayous draining from the marsh.

South Sabine: Trout are fair at the jetty on live bait and topwaters. Flounder are fair on live bait at the mouths of bayous. Trout and redfish are good under the birds.
Bolivar: Trout are fair on the south shoreline on topwaters and soft plastics. Trout, sand trout and croakers are fair to good at Rollover Pass on live bait.
Trinity Bay: Trout are fair to good over deep shell and well pads on Down South Lures and Lil’ Johns. Trout, redfish and croaker are fair at the spillway on live bait.
East Galveston Bay: Trout are fair to good for drifters working deep shell on limetreuse and plum plastics Gamblers, Down South Lures and Lil’ Johns. Trout are fair on live bait around the Ship Channel.
West Galveston Bay: Sheepshead, redfish and black drum are fair at the jetty on shrimp and crabs. Trout and redfish are fair to good at the mouth of bayous on the outgoing tide on live shrimp. Red snapper and kingfish are good offshore.

Texas City: Trout are fair to good on the reefs and in the channel on live shrimp and croakers. Redfish and sand trout are fair to good in Moses Lake on shrimp. Trout are fair to good at Dollar Reef on live bait.
Freeport: Trout are fair at San Luis Pass on shrimp, MirrOlures and soft plastics. Trout, redfish, sand trout and sheepshead are good on live shrimp on the reefs in Christmas Bay and Chocolate Bay.
East Matagorda Bay: Trout are fair to good for drifters on live shrimp over mid–bay reefs. Redfish are fair in the middle of the bay on live shrimp near slicks.
West Matagorda Bay: Trout are fair on sand and grass on soft plastics, topwaters and live croakers. Redfish are fair in the back reaches of the bay on mud and shell on live shrimp.

ON THE FIELD by Brandon C. Williams

Today, Sunday:  
The Astros conclude a seven-game swing out west when Brad Peacock takes the mound for Houston against Seattle Mariners hurler Angel Miranda beginning at 3:10pm. Peacock enters the game with a 4-1 record and 2.82 ERA after winning his previous start at Oakland A’s this past Monday. Even with the return of pitchers Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers to the rotation, the Astros are expected to keep Peacock as a starter after he began the season in middle relief.
Miranda, 6-3 with a 4.04 ERA, had a solid outing in his last start this past Tuesday by going seven innings and allowing two runs and four hits to Detroit Tigers, but ended with a no-decision. He has been hit hard by the Astros, who have pounded Miranda for 12 hits and six earned runs in 10.2 innings this season.The game will be televised live on Root Sports.

Tomorrow, Monday:
The final Monday evening 7on7 play will be at Stingaree Stadium beginning at 6:00pm as Hitchcock, La Marque, Santa Fe and Texas City finish their series of games. The four programs have played on each Monday this month and while three of the teams will begin preparing for the start of fall practice in August, Hitchcock will continue its plans for next month’s state 7on7 tournament in College Station. The Bulldogs, who are in the Division II field, are one of three local teams that qualified for the event. Clear Brook qualified at last week’s Athlete Training and Health meet in Houston, while Dickinson assured themselves of a trip when they won the Cypress qualifier last weekend. The Gators also qualified for the national 7on7 tournament, which will be held later next month in Frisco.

After enjoying only their third off day this month, the Astros return to action when they host Oakland A’s at 7:10pm. Mike Fiers, who is 5-2 with a 3.81 ERA, gets the call for the American League West leaders, while Oakland counters with Sean Manaea, who will come into the contest with a 6-4 record and an ERA of 4.05. The game will be televised live on Root Sports.

By Brandon C. White

IN A YEAR that has seen two Galveston County natives selected in the NFL Draft, another local athlete is getting closer to finally realizing his dreams.
Philadelphia Phillies outfield prospect  (281) 474-7300, who starred at Galveston Ball, is reportedly being considered for his first taste of the majors after a four-week stretch that saw him hit .323 with 11 homers, 28 runs batted in and a 1.057 OPS between May 17 and June 13. Williams entered the week hitting .277 with 14 homers and 41 RBI to go along with a .513 slugging percentage. While still a phone call away, Phillies general manager Matt Klentak feels that Williams still needs a tad more work before he gets a life-altering buzz on his cell.
“I would tell you that Nick is more ready today than he was a month ago,” Klentak said in an interview with “Nick has been really good for a month. He’s come into his own offensively. But he’s not a finished product. As you have heard me say before, we’d like that when players come up here, they have a decent chance of staying and that’s the thing. There’s some finishing touches for Nick that he’s working on and he knows what he’s working on.”
The biggest barrier Williams faces is improving his plate discipline. In 242 at-bats for the Lehigh Iron Pigs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Phillies, he has struck out 78 times compared to just nine walks. Seeking patience at the plate has been an issue for him since he was drafted in the second round of the 2012 draft by Texas Rangers, who traded Williams to Philadelphia in 2015. He has struck out in nearly 29 percent of his trips to the plate while managing to draw a walk only 3.5 percent of the time.
Philadelphia entered this week with a 22-46 record, the worst in baseball. With the season all but lost, the burning question in the minds of Phillies fans has been when their wealth of prospects will finally get a chance to live up to the hype, more so considering this season was expected to be one of progress. Writer Stephen Gross of the Allentown (PA) Morning Call believes the team needs to part ways with older players like outfielder Michael Saunders in order to make room for the likes of Williams. “There’s no reason not to cut ties with Saunders at this point,” wrote Gross in this past Friday’s edition. “Money is not an object for a team flush with cash that has a payroll ranking in the bottom half of the majors this year. Fans want prospects? Here’s your first opportunity to give them one. Instead of sitting Saunders and giving the bulk of his playing time to a 34-year-old veteran in Daniel Nava, who won’t be part of the future, bring up Nick Williams.”
Klentak will eventually make the decision on calling up Williams at some point in the future, yet feels Williams needs to show the ability to stay consistent than the talented but streaky player he has been in the minors.
I think Nick has been a success story for the last month to six weeks, Klentak said. “He’s been really good.”