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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 12, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas Canyon's GrantSP;«fTS Herald-Zeitung To have your sports event publicized, contact Chris Hoffman at 625-9144, ext. 223, or by e-mail at [email protected] ..... ¡mmm Agreement on sale of Astros nears, McLane The Associated Press HOUSTON — Houston businessman Hm Crane is close to finally owning a baseball team, nearing a deal to purchase the Astros. Owner Drayton McLane said in a phone interview Wednesday that the team has been negotiating with Crane’s group “for several weeks,” but that no contracts have been signed. He sak1 the (teal could be reached next week, but the process coukl take longer. Crane, who founded a Houston-based logistics company in 2008, is the chairman and chief executive officer of Crane Capital, a private equity fund company. He would not comment on the reports of the impending sale, accottling to a spokeswoman at his office at Crane Capital. Before striking it rich in business, (:rane was a pitcher at Central Missouri, a Division II school near Kansas City. But hes struck out on three attempts to buy teams in the last three years. He first approached McLane about buying the Astros in 2008, but McLane turned him down. A year later, he was in the running to buy the Chicago Cubs, but fell short again. ► OUTDOORS rP lexas works to protect state fish Nearly 175,000 Guadalupe bass released into river The Associated Press JUNCTION — Authorities on Wednesday released the final wave of nearly 175,000 Cuadalupe bass into a remote West Texas river, trying to slow decades of genetic mutation caused because the official state fish has been crossbreeding with a bass from Arkansas that was introduced in the 1970s to bolster sport fishing. l iny silver-green and black Guadalupe bass arrived in tanks on a pickup, then were shifted to wire-mesh boxes that were submerged so the fish could get acclimated to the new water. After five minutes, the boxes were turned on their sides and the fish glided out slowly, a nebulous, dark cloud of bass that remained largely stationary to start. "They’re in no hurry,” said Gary Garrett, inland fisheries biologist for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Division. "Letting them acclimate keeps it so there’s’ no panic.” Native only to the Texas Hill Country, the Guadalupe’s ranks have i declined due to interbreeding with the smallmouth bass, which state authorities introduced into the Edwards Plateau region in 1974 so streams would be better stocked for fishermen. “We created the problem,’’ Garrett said. “Back then, it just never crossed their mind that it would be a problem.” The smallmouth bass hails from Arkansas and parts of lexas farther to the northeast than the town of Junction and South Llano State Park, site of the restocking. The river of the same is one of the few that flows northeast toward the Colorado River instead of south. Garrett helped release 18.000 adolescent Guadalupes or “finger-lings,” each between 1.5 and 2 inches long, the last in four weeks of restocking installments that totaled 175.000 bass. The windswept water looks greenish from afar, but up-close it’s clear, the bottom dotted with smooth rocks and lily pads lining the surface. Inside the mesh, the fish swam softly, just enough to stay in place. They all faced the current and fanned out as if in formation. After turning the mesh on its side and shaking out stragglers, Garrett said, "basically a lot of them are thinking now about, ’where’s a good place to eat.”’ 2011 BASEBALL/SOFTBALL PLAYOFFS Smithson Valley's Matt Hilston will be key - in the field and on the mound - for the Rangers as they face Ph°'° Dripping Springs today in the Class 4A area playoffs    "angers,    as    they    face HEY, BATTER, BATTER Several area diamond squads in action today in state playoffs By Chris Hoffman The Herald-Zeitung SPRINi i BRANC11 — Smithson Valley coach (.had Koehl jacked the pitching machine up during practice this week, and for good reason. . The Rangers (29-8) face what Koehl said is the top pitcher we’ve faced all season” in Parker French when they travel to play Dripping Springs at 7:30 p.m. in the opener of a three-game Class 4A area playoff series. “(Parker) throws hard and has been one of the best pitchers in the state since he was a freshman,” Koehl said. But we re going in with a positive attitude against him. We re going up there to win a game. “ We re not going to lay down.” I rench, a right-handed starter, has a fastball that he throws around 92-94 miles per hour with a top speed of 98 that makes him a force that is hard to prepare for. In the summer of 2009, French helped learn USA win a gold medal at the 1BAI- “AA World Youth Championship. But no matter French’s credentials, Koehl said his team is going to stick to its guns. We can’t simulate a pitcher like that in practice,” he said. “What we have to do is get him into long pitch counts and get ahead in the count. We have to be disciplined at the plate. “We’re going to be very' opportunistic and move mnners over. We have to take advantage of every scoring chance we get.” Game 2 is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Smithson Valley, with Game 3, if necessary, to be played at 1 p.m. Saturday at Smithson Valley. New Braunfels'Aymee McMaken Canyon vs. Cedar Park Vista Ridge Canyon has a tough road if it’s going to advance to the next round. T he Cougars (19-15-1), who rallied to beat Medina Valley in three games last weekend, play District 25-4A champion Cedar Park Vista Ridge at 7 p.m. today in the opener of a three-game series. Vista Ridge outscored Austin Johnson 29-2 in the two-game sweep last week, and can put up runs in bunches. Canyon will need to play fundamental baseball and put the ball into play and move runners over when it can. Game 2 is at 7 p.m. Friday at Canyon High School, with Game 3 at 1 p.m. at the Burger Center in Austin on Saturday. SOFTBALL Smithson Valley vs. Dripping Springs A pair of district champions go at it today, when 27-4A champion Smithson Valley travels to play 25-4A champ ■ ARE YOU GOING TO ONE OF TODAY'S PLAYOFF GAMES? Find maps to each field at Dripping Springs. The one-game series begins at 6 p.m. at Lake Travis High School in the Class 4A regional quarterfinals. The Lady Rangers (26-8-1) will look for some payback after losing 6-3 to Dripping Springs at the Smithson Valley Tournament in February. Pitcher Kat Massey has looked solid in the postseason and will try to lead Smithson Valley to the regional semifinals for the first time since its state championship in 2009. Smithson Valley beat Marble Falls in three games, while Brandi Needham struck out eight to lead Dripping Springs (28-2) to a 10-2 rout of Lockhart in a one-game playoff last week. Canyon vs. Cedar Park Vista Ridge The Cougarettes (25-9) face Cedar Park Vista Ridge in a one-game playoff at 7 p.m. today at Austin Westlake. Canyon swept Cedar Park last week to advance. Vista Ridge beat Medina Valley in a three-game series, scoring 25 runs in the final two games, and will give Canyon a huge hurdle in its quest to advance to the state tournament for the third straight season. New Braunfels vs. SA O’Connor New Braunfels (27-8) continues its playoff run at 7 p.m. today when it travels to play San Antonio O’Connor at 7 p.m. at the SAISD Spring Sports Complex in San Antonio. Game 2 is at 7 p.m. Friday, with Game 3 set for noon Saturday, if needed. All the Lady Unicom games will be played at the Spring Sports Complex. Pence doubles in ninth, Astros beat Reds 4-3 HOUSTON (AP) — Hunter Pence hit a tiehreaking double in the ninth inning and the Houston Astros avoided a series sweep with a 4-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday. Mike Leake (3-2) walked J.R. Towles with one out in the ninth before Pence’s full-count hit landed in the corner of right field and sent Towles home. Ihe Astros led 3-1 before the Reds tied it ■ WASHED OUT: Rangers-A's game postponed with consecutive homers by Chris Heisey and Drew Stubbs in the seventh inning. Michael Bourn gave the Astros an early lead with a two-run single in the second. Wandy Rodriguez tied a season high by allowing 10 hits and gave up three runs with four strikeouts in seven innings. He was replaced by Wilton Lopez, who pitched a perfect eighth before Mark Melancon (3-1) in the ninth. Pence doubled with two outs in the seventh inning to extend his hitting streak to 15 games. Heisey's pinch-hit homer off Rodriguez bounced off the inside of the pole in left field and got Cincinnati within 3-2 in the seventh inning. Stubbs followed with his shot to right field that tied at 3-all. SPORTS IN BRIEF The Associated Press JAMES, WADE LEAD HEAT PAST CELTICS MIAMI — Dwyane Wade scored 34 points, LeBron James put Miami up for good with a 3-pointer with 2:10 left and finished with 33, and the Heat scored the final 16 points to top Boston 97-87 on Wednesday night to win their East semifinal series in five games. Chris Bosh finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds for Miami. Ray Allen led the Celtics with 18 points. DURANT, THUNDER EASE PAST GRIZZLIES OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant scored 19 points, reserve Daequan Cook added 18 and the Oklahoma City Thunder followed their triple-overtime triumph with a 99-72 blowout of the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night to take their first series lead in the Western Conference semifinals. The Thunder lead 3-2 heading into Game 6 on Friday night in Memphis. They got there with ease considering what happened two nights earlier. Marc Gasol had 16 points to lead Memphis, which matched its lowest point total from the regular season. The Grizzlies a season-worst 36 percent. EX-NBA PLAYER ROBERT TRAYLOR DIES SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Former NBA and University of Michigan player Robert “Tractor” Traylor has died. He was 34. Police in San Juan, Puerto Rico, said in a statement he was found dead Wednesday on the bedroom floor of his oceanfront apartment. Police and the Bayamon Cowboys basketball team said he had been missing for a few days and apparently died from a heart attack. FIESTA BOWL FINED $1M, STAYS IN BCS WASHINGTON —The Fiesta Bowl will he allowed to remain part of the Bowl Championship Series, though it must pay a $1 million fine for apparent illegal campaign contributions and inappropriate spending. The BCS presidential oversight committee, which made the decision Wednesday, also attached several conditions as it let the Fiesta Bowl remain part of the system for deciding college football’s national champion. The demands include strengthening the Fiesta Bowl’s board and imposing greater supervision of bowl executives so the problems are not repeated. TEXAS1 BARNES GETS $200K RAISE FROM UT REGENTS AUSTIN—Texas coach Rick Barnes has received a $200,000 raise that boosts his pay to $2.4 million each season. The University of Texas System Board of Regents approved the pay hike Wednesday. The motion recognized Barnes for his "commitment, motivation and performance" and the desire to keep him coaching the Longhorns. Barnes will be entering his 14th season at Texas. ;