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.”


THE ASTROS continue their West Coast swing while the Rockets may have to wait some time before making a selection in this year’s NBA Draft.

Today, Wednesday: Mike Fiers takes the mound for Houston when the Astros face Oakland Athletics in the third of a four-game series beginning at 9:05pm. Fiers is 4-2 with an ERA of 4.00 and lost his previous start this past Thursday against Boston Red Sox despite allowing just one run over seven innings of work. Oakland counters with Sean Manaea, who has a 6-3 record with a 4.01 ERA. Manaea received a no-decision in his previous start against New York Yankees when he gave up five runs in his six innings on the mound. The game will be televised live on Root Sports.
Tomorrow, Thursday: A busy day for Houston sports fans begins at 2:35pm when David Paulino gets the call for the Astros in the conclusion of their four-game set against the A’s. Paulino is 1-0 with a 5.03 ERA and will be making just the fifth appearance in his brief big league career. He earned his first win by holding the Red Sox to three hits and an earned run in six frames this past Friday. The hometown A’s will pitch Jesse Hahn, who has a 3-4 record and 3.56 ERA this season. Hahn has won his last two starts, the most recent coming this past Friday against the Yankees.
The NBA holds its annual college draft starting at 6:00pm, but Rockets fans shouldn’t be in a rush to find out who the team selects. Houston traded its first round pick to Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for guard Lou Williams during February’s trade deadline and will have to wait until the 43rd overall pick to select a player. The team also has a second pick in the second round (45th overall). However, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has been known to pull out a draft night surprise or two, making it all the more intriguing for Houston fans to view the action, which will be televised live on ESPN.
Friday: The Astros visit Seattle for the opener of a three-game set against the Mariners beginning at 9:10pm. Joe Musgrove, who is 4-6 with a 5.09 ERA, takes the mound for Houston and will be opposed by M’s ace Felix Hernandez, who is expected to come off the disabled list and make his first start since April 25. Hernandez had a 2-2 record with a 4.73 ERA before being shelved with a shoulder injury. The game will be televised live on Root Sports.
Saturday: The city of Texas City will hold a Kid Fish event at Carver Park from 9:00am to noon. The event will provide an opportunity to introduce kids to the fun of fishing while also showing the bond that comes with fishing with family. Registration will begin at 8:00am. For more information, contact the department of Recreation and Tourism at 409-643-5990 or go online to Lance McCullers is slated to make his return from the disabled list and start for the Astros against the Mariners starting at 9:10pm. McCullers, 6-1 with a 2.58 ERA, has not pitched since June 8 and was put on the DL with lower back issues. Whoever the Astros do put on the mound will face Christian Bergman, who is 4-4 with an ERA of 5.44.

FROM THE time he stepped on the campus of Southern Methodist University, Terry Keys III knew this home, yet it wasn’t until he saw the athletic weight room that convinced the Dickinson high school defensive back that being a Mustang would feel just as great as being a Gator.
“No question, this is where I want to be for the next four years,” said Keys, who recently committed to play at SMU after completing his senior season with Dickinson. “It was a really beautiful campus and the coaching staff is great. All in all, I felt that SMU was where I wanted to go to school and play football, so it was an easy decision once I was offered.”
For Keys, committing to SMU is the biggest step in what has been a long road he and his father have navigated since a then four-year-old Keys told his dad that he wanted to play college football at the FBS level. The sacrifice and work has led Keys to being an important part of Gators coach John Snelson’s defense, which has become one of the toughest in the Houston area and being named second team all-district 24-6a this past season.
“I reflect on all the days he was putting in his work and making the sacrifices necessary to succeed,” said Keys’ father. “He’s truly put in the work to make this happen and it makes me thrilled to see that paying off.”
Keys chose SMU over Air Force, Army, Navy and Southeastern Louisiana and has made it clear that he is firmly committed to the Mustangs.
“That’s it. I’m done with searching,” he said. “Part of the reason why I made my commitment early is that I wanted to be focused on helping my team win every Friday night. Sometimes, there are players who get caught up in the recruiting process and tend to lose focus. I didn’t want to be one of those guys.”




With recruiting out the way, Keys is more excited about the prospects this season for Dickinson, who is bidding for their fourth straight season of at least ten wins. The Gators are also looking to go beyond last year’s success when they finished 10-2 and lost to North Shore in the 6a, Region III, Division I area round.
“Spring ball was amazing,” he said. “We had great competition each day and it helped grow the bond we have as a team. I think that if we can continue to keep building that bond and focus on the little things, the bigger things will eventually come for us.”

One aspect that Keys feels will help him on his road to SMU is the continued work with teammate Montel Parker, the senior wide receiver who has committed to Texas A&M. “It’s great to work with him because he helps push me every down,” said Keys. “He’s the type of receiver I know I’ll see in college, and I know that this will benefit me.”  Keys added that he would like to add 15-20 pounds during the season in order to be ready to play at SMU next fall.
On this Father’s Day weekend, the path that led to a dream realized has made both appreciate things both on and off the field.
“This has made our relationship stronger,” said Keys’ father. “This has been very special to watch this process become a reality.”

Our weekly guide to action at favored angling spots by Brandon C. Williams

No reason to doubt about abundance of trout.

THE WEATHER has been conducive for another run on trout for local anglers and is strongest at Bolivar and Trinity Bay. Those closer to Galveston can hit either end of the bay along with Texas City, where trout is abundant throughout the dike.

North Sabine: Trout are fair to good under birds and pods of shad on soft plastics. Trout are good in the river on live shad and Gulps.
South Sabine: Trout are fair to good under birds and pods of shad. Trout are good at the jetty on live bait and topwaters when the water clears. Redfish are good in the marsh and under birds.
Bolivar: Trout are good on the south shoreline on topwaters and soft plastics. Black drum, sand trout and redfish are good at Rollover Pass. Trout are good at Rollover Pass in the evening on the outgoing tide.
Trinity Bay: Trout are good for while working deep shell around the wells on MirrOlures Lil’ Johns and Bass Assassins. Redfish are good on live bait around the reefs and in the marsh.
East Galveston Bay: Trout are good for drifters working deep shell on live bait and glow plastics. Trout are good on the south shoreline on She Dogs and Corkies.
West Galveston Bay: Trout, sheepshead, redfish and black drum are good at the jetty on shrimp and crabs. Trout are good on MirrOlures and live shrimp at San Luis Pass. Offshore is good for red snapper and kingfish in state waters.
Texas City: Trout are fair to good on April Fool’s Reef on live shrimp and croakers. Trout are good in the ship channel on live bait and plastics.
Freeport: Trout are good in the surf and at the jetty on live shrimp and croakers. Sand trout and sheepshead are good on live shrimp on the reefs in Christmas Bay.
East Matagorda Bay: Trout are good for drifters on live shrimp over humps and scattered shell when the winds allows. Redfish are fair to good on the edge of the Intracoastal on crabs and mullet. Sand trout are good over deep reefs on shrimp.
West Matagorda Bay: Trout are good on sand and grass humps on soft plastics and topwaters. Redfish are good on Gulps and live shrimp in Oyster Lake and Crab Lake.
Port O’connor: Trout and redfish are fair to good on topwaters and live bait over sand, grass and shell in San Antonio Bay. Trout and redfish are fair for drifters working the back lakes with live shrimp.