Relief pair wins Astros' basketball contest

Chapman's game-winning shot sends players into frenzy during club bonding activity

Relief pair wins Astros' basketball contest

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The celebration didn't quite rival the one the Astros enjoyed when they beat the Yankees in the American League Wild Card Game last year, but reliever Kevin Chapman's long shot to win the team's annual spring basketball shooting contest sent his teammates into a frenzy.

Chapman and fellow relief pitcher Jake Buchanan won the contest when Chapman knocked down a 20-foot jumper to beat teammates Tyler Heineman and Brad Peacock in the finals. With Dallas Keuchel intermittently sounding an air horn, George Springer wearing a Texans helmet and Carlos Correa in a James Harden Houston Rockets jersey, the Astros had some fun Sunday morning before hitting the field.

"It's a great break in the action for everybody," manager A.J. Hinch said. "It's perfect on a Sunday home game after a long road trip, and the guys get into it. Sometimes you can't map it out any better than a couple of buzzer beaters."

Hinch has the players participate in bonding activities throughout the spring, and the basketball shooting tournament was the culmination. Last year, relief pitchers also won it when Luke Gregerson and Joe Thatcher took home the crown.

"Everybody has a good time with that," Hinch said. "It's all about camaraderie and enjoying the length of the spring. That sort of caps some of the things we do behind the scenes to introduce everyone. Everyone wants to compete, and March Madness is around the corner."

Correa, who earlier this season met NBA Most Valuable Player Steph Curry, showed off some impressive skills as well, banking in several shots before his team was eliminated.

"He's probably good at everything," Hinch said. "Breaking out the Harden jersey gave him a little bit of an advantage. He enjoys the backboard. I don't think Harden uses the backboard as much as Correa. Very fundamental, but he does a lot of things fundamental."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.