PORT ARTHUR —
Brian Sanches wasn’t out of work long, and he got his wish for his next possible pitching location. Or at least an opportunity to get to that location.
The Nederland ex, who was released by the Philadelphia Phillies organization on Tuesday, made a verbal agreement to join the Houston Astros AAA club in Oklahoma City. He’ll join up with the team Sunday in Salt Lake City and hopes to pitch well enough to be in an Astros uniform before the season is over.
“It was a great way to start the day,” Sanches said Thursday enroute to Nederland from Lehigh Valley, Pa. “We had packed up and were getting ready to drive away when the phone rang. We’ll come home and unpack, then I’ll fly to Salt Lake City.”
Though the Astros have the worst record in baseball, and look to be in a lengthy rebuilding mode, Sanches told the Port Arthur News on Wednesday that he was hoping Houston would be the first team to call him. And it was.
“The obvious reason is it’s close to home,” he said. “As many young pitchers and players as they have on their team, it would seem like they could use a veteran. They didn’t make me any promises but it sounds like if I pitch well for Oklahoma City I’ll get a chance with them. Honestly, it’s great news. I’m really excited.”
Sanches has spent the 2012 season going back and forth between the Phillies and their AAA affiliate in Lehigh Valley. He pitched well during his three stints at Lehigh Valley and got a solid endorsement from his manager, Ryne Sandberg.
Sanches, if he gets called up by the Astros, would be the second pitcher from Southeast Texas to pitch for Houston. Xavier Hernandez, who pitched Port Arthur Jefferson to the 1983 5A state championship, did two separate stints for the Astros from 1990-93 and in 1996.
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BEAUMONT — It may be just the second year of the program’s revival, but the Lamar softball team has already established a tradition: Winning the home opener on a walk-off home run.
Casey Cromwell’s three-run blast in the bottom of the seventh inning gave the Lady Cardinals a 6-4 win over Southeastern Louisiana at Ford Park in the first home game of 2014 for Lamar and the Southland Conference opener for both squads.
Lamar, which won its first game last year over UTSA on a walk-off home run by Ashley McDowell, cruised to an 8-1 win over Southeastern Louisiana in Saturday’s nightcap.
“This is why I love playing at home,” Lamar coach Holly Bruder said. “The fans really get us pumped up, and we respond.”
Cromwell hit two home runs in the opener for Lamar (5-9 overall, 2-0 Southland). Beverly Corry also homered for Lamar. Shannon Millman (3-5) was the winning pitcher for the Lady Cardinals in both games, working 1 1-3 innings of scoreless relief in the first game before firing a three-hit gem in the nightcap.
“We got tremendous pitching for both Shannon and Tina (Schulz) today,” Bruder said. “We also got some great defense, and that really helped us.”
Candyce Carter and Jenna Holland homered for Lamar in the second game. Carter had three RBIs in the game, while Holland and Julianne Viator added two RBIs apiece.
Carter closed out the game in spectacular fashion, making a diving grab in center field to turn what looked to be a sure double off the bat of Brittney Tschoepe into the final out of the game.
The two teams wrap up their three-game series with a single contest at 1 p.m. Sunday at Ford Park. All senior citizens 55 and older receive free admission.
“It’s always tough to sweep a team,” Bruder said. “We know Sunday’s game will be tough.”
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