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Tuesday, 26 May 2015 23:05

Hickory Crawdads Defeat Delmarva 9-4

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The Hickory Crawdads followed a familiar formula to record their fourth straight win Tuesday night, as the 'Dads bats recorded double digit hits to support 5.2 scoreless innings of relief by the Hickory bullpen in a 9-4 win over the Delmarva Shorebirds at L.P. Frans Stadium.

A resurgent Crawdads lineup posted more than 10 hits and 8 runs for the fourth consecutive night, and have now plated 37 total runs on 51 combined hits during the team's current winning streak. Leading the pack was shortstop Michael De Leon, who tied career highs in hits and RBIs with a 4-5 game including 3 RBIs and a double. The 'Dads bullpen meanwhile shutdown Delmarva from the middle of the 4th inning on, as Adam Parks and John Fasola combined to strike out 10 batters.

Hickory wasted no time in jumping out to a lead against Shorebirds starter Sebastian Vader, as leadoff hitter Jose Cardona singled, stole second base, and came in on an ensuing RBI single by De Leon for a 1-0 advantage two batters into the night. Vader would exit the game with an injury after the first inning, giving way to reliever Zeke McGranahan who fared no better against the 'Dads. The first three batters of the 2nd reached on walks before Tripp Martin lined an RBI single to left and Cardona drove in a run with an RBI groundout. Two more runners would score on throwing errors in the frame for a 5-0 'Dads lead, while McGranahan would fail to get out of the frame before leaving with an injury of his own.

Delmarva got themselves back in the game in the 4th, scoring four runs, three earned, on four hits, a walk, and a throwing error to cut the score to 5-4. Hickory starter Luis Ortiz breezed through the first four frames of the game but would fail to escape the 4th, with Parks allowing an RBI single before inducing an inning-ending double play to preserve the Crawdads lead.

Parks would go on to toss 3.2 shutout innings, with the right-hander striking out five consecutive batters before finishing with a career high 7 Ks. Parks came back out to start the 8th, but a leadoff walk prompted 'Dads manager Corey Ragsdale to bring in Fasola for a 6-out save. The Shorebirds would eventually load the bases with two outs in the frame, but Fasola struck out the final batter to escape the jam with Hickory still on top.

The Crawdads bats provided the pen with some extra wiggle room in the bottom of the inning, with the club scoring four more runs, three earned, on three hits, a hit batter, a walk, and an error to push the lead to 9-4. Cardona came through again with an RBI single, while De Leon provided the crushing blow with a bases-loaded, 2-RBI double that also plated a third run on a Delmarva throwing error.

Fasola finished the game off from there with a perfect 9th inning to give the 'Dads the victory.

Parks (1-2) earned the win for his stellar relief work, while Fasola remained perfect in save opportunities while notching his league-leading 10th of the year. Vader (2-3) took the loss for Delmarva despite departing after the first inning.

Joining De Leon with a big night at the plate was Cardona who went 2-5 with 2 RBI and 2 runs scored, while Travis Demeritte finished 2-3 with two doubles, a walk, and two runs scored.

The Crawdads (31-14) will go for the 3-game sweep of the Shorebirds (22-23) in the series finale Wednesday afternoon, with first pitch scheduled for 11:00 am.

In their second elimination game at the NJCAA DII World Series, the Catawba Valley Red Hawks took on the Trojans from North Iowa Area Community College, NIACC. Both teams lost in their first round game but won their first elimination game with NIACC beating Madison 11-1 and the Red Hawks beating Lincoln Land 9-8. However it was the offense of the Red Hawks and a great pitching performance that saw the Red Hawks claim their second victory of the World Series 9-0 over NIACC.

The Red Hawks were able to jump on the scoreboard with two runs in the top of the second. Lou Matarazzo started the scoring hitting a sacrifice fly that scored Danny Sullivan. Sullivan reached on a leadoff double and advanced to third on a Brandon Ford bunt. Alex Minton followed up with a single to right field scoring Randal Ortiz who reached on an error.

In the top of the fourth Sullivan, leading off the inning, was able to hit his second homerun of the World Series with a solo shot over the left field fence. The Red Hawks added two more runs, in the three run fourth inning, when Ford who reached on a walk scored on a Minton single and Matarazzo scored on a Skyler Strickland sacrifice fly to deep center.

The Red Hawks tacked on some insurance runs in the top of the seventh when a two out double from Ivan Acuna scores Ty and then three more runs in the top of the ninth when Acuna hit a two out homerun over the left field fence to extend the lead to nine innings.

Right handed pitcher Will Greene threw an outstanding game for the Red Hawks who were facing elimination for the second game in the row. Greene shut down the NIACC offense that scored 11 in their previous game. In Greene’s eight innings of work keeping them off the board only allowing three hits while dishing out seven strikeouts.

The Red Hawks offense was led by Sullivan who had 3 hits and an rbi. Acuna and Minton each added 2 hits while Acuna posted 4 rbi and Minton added 2. Both Sullivan and Acuna hit homeruns in the game.

Offensive lineman Will Corbin (Dunn, N.C./Triton) became the third member of Appalachian State University’s 2014 football squad to join the National Football League ranks on Tuesday when he signed a free-agent contract with the Indianapolis Colts.

Corbin, a 6-6, 305-pounder, saw action in 34 games as a Mountaineer. He arrived at Appalachian State as a defensive lineman but after redshirting in 2010, he switched from defense to offense midway through his redshirt-freshman campaign in 2011. He moved into the starting lineup for the third game of his sophomore season in 2012 and went on to start 20 of the next 21 games at right tackle.

As a senior in 2014, he came off the bench to see action in nine games at guard and tackle and earned a job grade of 78 percent and a technique grade of 84 percent for the season. He was credited with 11 knockdowns in 293 snaps and did not surrender a sack all season.

Corbin graduated from Appalachian State in December 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in graphic arts and imaging technology.

He is the third former Mountaineer to sign an NFL contract as an undrafted free agent in 2015. Offensive lineman Kendall Lamm (Charlotte, N.C./Butler) and defensive back Joel Ross (Damascus, Md./Damascus) agreed to terms with the Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys, respectively, immediately following the conclusion of the 2015 NFL Draft on May 2.

Appalachian State is now represented by 11 former student-athletes currently in the NFL: running back Travaris Cadet (New England Patriots), Corbin, offensive lineman Daniel Kilgore (San Francisco 49ers), Lamm, punter Sam Martin (Detroit Lions), defensive back Demetrius McCray (Jacksonville Jaguars), wide receiver Andrew Peacock (Detroit Lions), wide receiver/defensive back DeAndre Presley (Carolina Panthers), wide receiver Brian Quick (St. Louis Rams), Ross and wide receiver Tony Washington (Jacksonville Jaguars).

Appalachian State University football doled out its spring performance awards during its first team meeting of the summer on Monday evening at the Appalachian Athletics Center.

Under the direction of strength and conditioning coach Mike Sirignano and his staff, Appalachian State football held a six-week competition beginning after the conclusion of spring practice in early March and ending with the close of the spring semester in late April. Ten teams took part in the “Battle for the Belt,” an intrasquad competition that awarded points for success in the weightroom and in the classroom.

Led by senior center Jesse Chapman (Cookeville, Tenn./Cookeville), the “Bomb Squad” won the team competition and the accompanying championship belt. In addition to Chapman, who served as the Bomb Squad captain, other team members included senior long snapper Isaac Edwards (Spruce Pine, N.C./Mitchell County), senior offensive lineman Davante Harris (Blythewood, S.C./Blythewood), junior linebacker Dustin Anderson (Hibriten, N.C./Alexander Central), junior defensive lineman Tyson Fernandez (Fuquay-Varina, N.C./Fuquay-Varina), junior wide receiver Zireycus Letman (Lincolnton, Ga./Lincolnton), sophomore defensive back A.J. Howard (Hamilton, Ga./Harris County), sophomore offensive lineman Beau Nunn (York, S.C./York Comprehensive) and sophomore place kicker Mason Moore (Asheville, N.C./Asheville).

Individually, senior wideout Malachi Jones (Roswell, Ga./Central Gwinnett) and sophomore linebacker Caleb Fuller (Wilmington, N.C./New Hanover) won the Ironeer Awards as the team’s best individual performers, wide receiver Simms McElfresh (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Christian) and sophomore defensive back Latrell Gibbs (Kennesaw, Ga./North Cobb) earned the Ball Hawk Awards for the best skill-position performers, Chapman and senior defensive lineman Ronald Blair (Greensboro, Ga./Greene County) received the Heavy Hitter Awards as the best big-man performers and junior punter/place kicker Bentlee Critcher (South Daytona, Fla./Warner Christian Academy) collected the Sniper Award as the best specialist performer.

Redshirt-freshman linebacker Teh’Ron Fuller (Fort Myers, Fla./South Fort Myers), redshirt-freshman defensive back Junior Sigalo (Lithonia, Ga./Arabia Mountain) and true-freshman place kicker Michael Rubino (Apex, N.C./Middle Creek) were named the most-improved performers.

Appalachian State’s quarterbacks took home the biggest academic honor of the night, as their 3.242 combined grade point average during the spring semester was the highest among the team’s position groups.

Eighty-five football student-athletes returned to campus on Monday for the beginning of Appalachian State’s first summer session and offseason workouts will resume immediately.

The Mountaineers put their six-game winning streak — the fifth-longest in NCAA Division I FBS — on the line in just 102 days when they open the 2015 campaign at home versus Howard. Full- and half-season ticket packages are available now at appstatesports.com/tickets.

In the first elimination game of the NJCAA World Series saw the Red Hawks and Lincoln Land CC have a little bit of everything. With a stat line of 17 runs, 22 hits, 5 homeruns, a grandslam and 6 errors it was a wild pitch in the bottom of the tenth inning that scored Skyler Strickland from third to win the game 9-8 and allow the Red Hawks to continue to battle for a National Championship

Lincoln Land was able to strike first in the top of the second using two one out singles and then a homerun over the left field fence to take the lead 3-0.

The Red Hawks could only muster two hits heading into the fourth, but in the bottom of the fourth the Red Hawks bats woke up for a six run inning. A Lou Matarazzo double to left field scored Brandon Ford, who reached on a one out double. After an Alex Minton walk, Skyler Strickland hits a single to centerfield to score Matarazzo. Leadoff batter Ty Andrus loaded the bases reaching on a bunt single. With two outs, Ivan Acuna took the first pitch over the left field fence for a grand slam to give the Red Hawks a 6-3 lead after four.

Lincoln Land was able to get one run closer in the top of the fifth using back to back one out doubles. Phillip Black was brought in to relieve starting pitcher Byrce Hensley with runners on first and second. Black used a strikeout and groundout to get the Red Hawks out of the inning.

In the top of the seventh Lincoln Land uses a one out walk and a wild pitch to get a runner to third. A deep sacrifice fly to centerfield brings in the runner cutting into the Red Hawks lead, but Aaron Biggerstaff who was brought in at the start of the inning had a strikeout looking to end the inning and maintain the Red Hawks 6-5 lead.

The Red Hawks are able to extend their lead with back to back two out solo homeruns from Danny Sullivan and Randal Ortiz in the bottom of the seventh. However Lincoln Land was able to score on a passed ball after the runner reached on an error. A one out two run homerun to left field tied the score at 8-8.

In the bottom of the tenth Strickland was able to reach on a walk. After a throwing error by the pitcher and an Andrus groundout Strickland reached third with 1 out. Lee struck out at the next at bat, but a wild pitch allowed Lee to make it to first. On the first pitch to Acuna the pitcher was distracted by Lee running to second and threw the ball high allowing Strickland to score from third for the winning run.

The Red Hawks offense was led by Brandon Ford and Ty Andrus who each had 2 hits. Danny Sullivan and Randal Ortiz each hit a homerun while Ivan Acuna went yard hitting a grandslam.

Taylor Purus who struck out the final batter in the top of the 10th earned the win. The Red Hawks will play the winner of Madison CC and North Iowa Area College, who play tomorrow (5/27) morning at 10:00am, at 4:00pm tomorrow.

Caldwell: 8
Lexington: 3

Cherryville: 11
Taylorsville: 1

The Hickory Crawdads returned home Monday night and brought their resurgent offense with them, as the 'Dads clubbed a season-high 16 hits to propel them to a 10-3, Memorial Day win over the Delmarva Shorebirds at L.P. Frans Stadium.

The victory marked the third straight game for the Crawdads with at least 10 hits and 8 or more runs. Three of the 'Dads hits left the yard, with Jose Cardona, Travis Demeritte, and Marcus Greene all hitting home runs to tie the 'Dads season high in that category as well. All the offense nearly overshadowed another solid pitching performance by the Hickory hurlers, led by starter Ariel Jurado who improved to a perfect 7-0 after tossing six shutout innings with 6 strikeouts.

The Crawdads plated their first two runs of the night in the 3rd inning, with Cardona leading off the frame with a solo homer to left. Luke Tendler drew a walk one out later and eventually scored on a throwing error by Delmarva shortstop Guillermo Salas for a 2-0 Hickory lead.

The advantage swelled to 5-0 in the 5th when the 'Dads scored three more runs, all unearned, on two hits and two more Shorebirds errors. Both miscues came from Delmarva second baseman Ronarsy Ledesma, who dropped two potential double play balls to open the door for the Crawdads. Rock Shoulders took advantage with an RBI sacrifice fly to drive in his first run of the season before Greene lined an RBI double.

Hickory blew the game open with four more runs on five hits in the 6th for a 9-0 lead. Jose Trevino and Eduard Pinto led off the frame with consecutive singles, followed by a 3-run long ball from Demeritte. One out later, Greene went deep with a big fly of his own.

The Shorebirds got on the board with a 2-out, 3-run homer by Conor Bierfeldt in the 8th, before the 'Dads plated the final run of the night in the bottom of the frame with an RBI fielder's choice groundout by Shoulders for the 10-3 score.

Jurado earned the win for Hickory while Delmarva starter Matthew Grimes (3-2) took the loss after allowing five runs, one earned, on nine hits over five innings pitched.

Cardona led the Crawdads offense with a 4-5 game including a home run and a double. Demeritte finished 3-5 with a homer, 3 RBI, and two runs scored, while Pinto went 3-5 with a run scored.

The win makes the Crawdads (30-14) the first team in the South Atlantic League to reach 30 wins. The 'Dads will face off again with the Shorebirds (22-22) in game two of the three-game series Tuesday night at 6:00 pm.

Monday, 25 May 2015 23:20

Lenoir-Rhyne Women's Golf Signs Three

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The Lenoir-Rhyne University Women’s Golf Team and Head Coach Elliott Gealy have announced the addition of three players for the 2015-16 season.

The Bears signed Chelsea Mansel, Natalie Kratts and Abby Hartsell for next year.

“The Lenoir-Rhyne Women’s Golf Program will make a strong transition in the Fall of 2015,” said Gealy. “These three young ladies are great competitors and outstanding players that will help lead to success on and off the golf course. I look forward to the future and what is in store for our young team.”

Mansel (Greer, S.C.) earned all-region honors and participated in the state championship while playing for Riverside High School. Mansel also served as Team Captain for the past three years while having the lowest stroke average. An outstanding student as well, Mansel holds a 3.94 grade point average and plans to major in biology.

“Chelsea (Mansel) will bring a level of competitiveness and focus that is needed on our team,” added Mansel. “I look forward to helping her develop her game and become a leader on our team.”

Kratts (Knoxville, Tenn.) earned Team MVP honors at Karns High School and has qualified for the regionals all four years as a prep golfer. During her senior season, Kratts finished second at the District Tournament. An outstanding student, Kratts will graduate as valedictorian.

“Natalie (Kratts) will provide a shot of adrenaline to our program next fall,” said Gealy. “She has an infectious attitude and will prove to be a valuable asset toward the culture change in the future.”

Hartsell’s (Taylorsville, N.C.) accolades at Alexander Central High School includes all-state (three years), all-conference (four years), Team MVP (three years) and league player-of-the-year (three years) honors. In addition, Hartsell won the regional championship in 2012 and 2014 and finished as one of the top players in the state all four years in high school.

“Abby (Hartsell) is a very solid golfer and will have an immediate impact on Lenoir-Rhyne University Women’s Golf,” said Gealy. “She will be a lot of fun to watch over the next four years.”

Asheville: 7
Taylorsville: 3

Haywood: 5
Caldwell: 1 (Gm. 1)

Caldwell: 7
Haywood: 4

Cherryville: 8
Burke County: 2

Appalachian State University women’s basketball has added four players to the 2015-16 roster, in addition to the one incoming freshman they signed earlier this year.

Amber Driver (Houston, Texas/Tyler Junior College), Jasmine Ogunjimi (Chicago, Ill./Hutchinson CC), Cydni Cole (Glen Burnie, Md./George Mason) and Qierra Murray (Owings Mills, Md./George Mason) will join true freshman Kaila Craven as App State’s 2015-16 recruiting class.

“We are extremely excited about Amber, Jasmine, Cyd and Q joining our Appalachian State women’s basketball family,” said head coach Angel Elderkin. “We feel that both Amber and Jasmine will not only compliment our current roster but they will also contribute to our program immediately. Although Cyd and Q can not compete for us next year it is our expectation that they will bring a competitive and energetic spirit to practice everyday and utilize this year to get familiar with our system. As a coaching staff we couldn’t be more excited about our first recruiting class at Appalachian State.”

Amber Driver • 5-9 • Guard • Houston, Texas • Dekaney/Tyler Junior College

Amber Driver joins the Mountaineers after spending two years at Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas. Driver started her playing career at Dekaney High School where she helped the team to the finals of the state championships during her junior season. Driver was the team’s top rebounder as a senior. She went on to play under Trina Jones at Tyler JC and led the team to the regional finals this past season.

Elderkin’s Comments: “Amber is a terrific athlete that is going to be able to play multiple positions for us. She has an infectious spirit and is going to be a tremendous asset not only on the basketball court but in our community.”

Jasmine Ogunjimi • 5-7 • Point Guard • Chicago, Ill. • Whitney Young/Hutchinson Community College

Jasmine Ogunjimi arrives in Boone after lettering all four years at Whitney Young Magnet. Ogunjimi was named a CPS all-star during her senior campaign before moving on to Hutchinson CC, where she spent this past season. Ogunjimi helped lead her team to a number one ranking in the country as the Blue Dragons competed in the 2015 NJCAA national tournament championship game.

Elderkin’s Comments: “Jasmine is the perfect guard for our system. She is explosive on the offensive end and a terrific defender. She is a tireless worker both on the court and in the classroom and we are excited to have her in Boone.”

Cydni Cole • 5-5 • Point Guard • Glen Burnie, Md. • Indian Creek/George Mason

Cydni Cole will join the 2015-16 squad after lettering all four years at Indian Creek High School in Crownsville, Md. Cole gathered all-county second-team honors as a sophomore, before being named all-metro second team and all-country first-team during her senior campaign. Cole averaged 24.2 points and 12.3 rebounds as a senior and earned most valuable player recognition at the Elite Showcase Basketball Classic in 2014. At George Mason Cole saw action in 28 games, averaging 11 minutes per game this past season. She scored a career high of ten points while grabbing five rebounds against Morehead State on Nov. 16.

Elderkin’s Comments: “Cydni Cole is a terrific point guard with a tremendous basketball IQ. We are excited about the level of toughness that she will bring to our program.”

Qierra Murray • 5-9 • Guard • Owings Mills, Md. • Milford Mill Academy/George Mason

Murray will attend Appalachian after spending her freshman season at George Mason with fellow future Mountaineer, Cydni Cole. Murray prepped at Milford Mill Academy where she was named offensive player of the year as a senior and led her team to a state championship in 2014. Murray totaled 1,487 points during her high school career. She saw action in 29 contests, while starting 13 of them this past season at George Mason. Cole ranked second on the team in assists, recording 44, and tied for second in steals with 28 on the year. She scored a career high of 12 points against VCU on Feb. 14.

Elderkin’s Comments: “Qierra Murray is an explosive guard who is going to flourish in our transition game. She has an excellent mid-range game and will provide the depth we need on the perimeter to compete in the Sun Belt Conference.”

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