Falcons to play at Minute Maid Park
The Hargrave Falcons baseball team’s game on Monday, April 24, against Hardin Jefferson will take place at Minute Maid Park, the home of the Houston Astros.
This is the third consecutive season the Falcons will be play one of their games at Minute Maid Park. They beat Aldine-Davis 10-0 there in 2015 and beat Summer Creek 1-0 there in 2016.
Coach Tom DeBerry said the memory of playing at Minute Maid Park will be burnt in the players’ minds for the rest of their lives.
Senior Noah Pendergrass knows he will look out and have flashbacks to all the games that he has watched there since he was a little boy.
The past two years, the Falcons’ game at Minute Maid Park has come early in the season, so they treated it as a scrimmage or exhibition game.
This year, for the first time, the game at Minute Maid Park will be a district game, which could have great importance for the playoff picture.
In the past, DeBerry tried to get everyone an at-bat; each of the seven pitchers on the team pitched an inning. He said this year his main focus is to win the game, so any moves he makes will be toward that end.
Senior Stephen Keller said, while the building is special, what makes playing at Minute Maid Park magical is being able to stand where players like Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, and Lance Berkman have stood.
“There’s no feeling like stepping in the same batter’s box as Carlos Correa,” said junior Jacob Hortch, who has dreamt of playing at Minute Maid Park since he was a little boy.
While DeBerry knows the players will be excited to play at Minute Maid Park, he hopes their nerves don’t get to them.
“We want them to get nervous and excited and then get it out of their system and just play ball,” he said. “It’s still 90 feet from home to first.”
He said that the coaches will talk to the players about what needs to be done to stay calm and play their best, but he admitted that with 14-18-year-old kids, you never know how they are going to react.
Keller has played in both of the team’s previous games at Minute Maid Park. He said that the environment won’t affect the way that he or any of the other players play the game.
“It’s just like playing at a normal field, but it just happens to be the home of the Houston Astros,” he said.
Keller said the first time playing at Minute Maid Park was a dream come true. He feels the same way about going back to play there a third time.
Keller will have a bunch of friends and family members there to watch him.
“It will be here before you know it,” DeBerry said about the game at Minute Maid Park.
He doesn’t think the players will be able to get much sleep the night before.