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Wednesday, 15 June 2016 06:47

Hickory Crawdads Edged Out by Greenville Drive

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The Hickory Crawdads locked up with the Greenville Drive in a long shootout Tuesday night that was made even longer by a rain delay of more than an hour in the 1st inning. The 'Dads bats did their best to slug the team to victory with 8 runs on 15 hits including 2 home runs, but it wasn't enough as Hickory fell to the Drive in a 9-8 loss at Fluor Field.

The Crawdads burst out of the gates with 5 runs on 6 hits in the 1st inning, tying the club's biggest opening frame of the year. The Drive responded with 2 quick runs in the bottom of the first before a lightning storm delayed the contest by an hour and 5 minutes. When play resumed, Greenville picked up where they left off with 2 more tallies to make the score 5-4 and set the tone for the rest of the night.

The 'Dads kept the offense churning with single runs in the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th innings but each time the team scored the Drive answered back, with the home team plating 2 runs in the 3rd, 1 in the 5th, and 2 more in the 7th to take their first lead of the game at 9-8. Hickory significantly out-hit their southern opponent 15-9, but the Crawdads also issued a season-worst 12 walks resulting in just the third loss this year where the 'Dads finished with more hits than their opponent.

The opening frame could not have started much better for the Crawdads, as the road team sent all 9 batters to the plate and jumped out to a 5-0 lead. Eric Jenkins, Dylan Moore, Josh Altmann and Tyler Sanchez all laced singles to start the inning and put up a pair of quick tallies. They were followed by a one-out, RBI double from Ricky Valencia and a 2-out, RBI double by Jose Almonte to put the 'Dads up by 5.

Greenville wasted no time in answering the offensive challenge in the bottom of the 1st, with a leadoff single from Luis Alejandro Basabe and a 2-run home run to right by Mitchell Gunsolus to cut the score to 5-2. Hickory All-Star pitcher Erik Swanson then issued consecutive walks to Josh Ockimey and Kyri Washington before recording his first out of the game on a fly out to right by Tyler Spoon. Unfortunately Swanson wouldn't be given a chance to build off of that out, as a lightning storm forced the game to be postponed for more than an hour. When play resumed Swanson was lifted for reliever Matt Ball, who allowed 2 inherited runners to score on a walk, a sacrifice fly, and a throwing error by Valencia behind the plate that whittled the Hickory lead to 5-4.

The 'Dads bats came right back with a run in the 2nd when Jenkins singled to right, moved to second on a walk by Moore, and eventually scored on a throwing error by Basabe at second base for a 6-4 score. Hickory pushed the advantage to 7-4 in the 3rd when Almonte launched a solo home run over the 40-foot green monster in left field for his team-leading 7th long ball of the year.

Once again the Drive answered the bell however, this time with a 2-RBI double by Trenton Kemp in the bottom of the 3rd for a 7-6 score. The Crawdads picked up one last tally in the top of the 5th when Moore crushed a solo homer to left-center field for his second homer of the road trip and an 8-6 'Dads lead. Greenville had another quick response in the home half though, with a 2-out, RBI single to left by Basabe off of Hickory reliever Adam Choplick to cut the lead to 8-7.

Hickory held that lead until the 7th, when the Drive used 4 walks and an infield, RBI single off of Crawdads reliever Joe Palumbo to force their first tie and ultimately lead of the night at 9-8. The 'Dads bats picked up three more hits over the final two innings in an attempt to rally, but couldn't bring in another run resulting in the loss.

Six Crawdads hitters finished with a multi-hit game as the team tied their season-high with 15 hits. Moore led the charge going 2-3 with a home run, 2 walks, and 2 runs scored, while Almonte finished 2-5 with a homer, a double, and 2 RBI. Jenkins (2-5, BB, 2 R), Altmann (2-4, RBI, R, HBP), Sanchez (2-5, RBI, R, SB), and Valencia (2-4, 2B, RBI, R, BB) all posted multi-hit nights as well.

Palumbo (4-3) took the loss for Hickory after walking a season-high 5 batters and allowing 2 runs on 1 hit and 3 strikeouts over 1.1 innings pitched. Greenville reliever Jeffry Fernandez (2-2) earned the win with 1 run given up on 3 hits, 2 walks, and 3 Ks over 4 IP, while teammate Victor Diaz (2) recorded the save with 2 scoreless innings to end the game.

The Crawdads (37-27) will try to salvage the final game against the Drive (34-30) Wednesday night, with first pitched scheduled for 7:05 pm.

Both bodies of the North Carolina General Assembly honored Appalachian State University football for its historic 2015 football season on Tuesday in Raleigh.

Senator Deanna Ballard submitted a senatorial statement congratulating the Mountaineers for their 11-2 campaign in 2015, which was capped by a last-second 31-29 victory over Ohio in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl. Ballard and Representative Jonathan Jordan read the statement on the floor of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The senatorial statement not only congratulated Appalachian State for owning the best record of any NCAA Division I FBS program in North Carolina last season but also lauded the program’s success in the classroom, headlined by linebacker Cody McKinney (Vilas, N.C./Watauga) earning one of the Sun Belt Conference’s two most prestigious individual academic honors as the 2015-16 Sun Belt Male Postgraduate Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Appalachian State football is no stranger to the North Carolina General Assembly. The Mountaineers were also honored by the N.C. Senate and House of Representatives following each of their three NCAA Division I-AA/FCS national championships from 2005-07.

A SENATORIAL STATEMENT
CONGRATULATING APPALACHIAN STATE UNIVERSITY’S FOOTBALL TEAM ON ITS OUTSTANDING 2015 SEASON

WHEREAS, in 2014, Appalachian State University (ASU) moved from the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), where it won three consecutive national titles and 18 conference championships, to the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) as a member of the Sun Belt Conference; and

WHEREAS, ASU finished the 2015 season with an 11-2 record, the best overall record of any North Carolina FBS team; and

WHEREAS, ASU became the first team to win 11 games in its first season as a bowl-eligible member of FBS and the first team in Sun Belt Conference history to win 11 games in a season; and

WHEREAS, ASU became the first team to win a bowl game in its first season as a bowl-eligible FBS member, defeating Ohio University 31-29 in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl on December 19, 2015; and

WHEREAS, only eight of 128 FBS teams had more overall wins than Appalachian State University, which finished 33rd overall in the final 2015 Associated Press poll; and

WHEREAS, ASU football represents a commitment to athletic and academic excellence, producing 13 all-Sun Belt Conference honorees, including Sun Belt Defensive Student-Athlete of the Year Ronald Blair, a fifth round 2016 NFL Draft pick by the San Francisco 49ers, and senior linebacker Cody McKinney who earned the Sun Belt Conference’s highest individual academic honor for a male student-athlete, the Sun Belt Male Postgraduate Scholar-Athlete of the Year;

NOW, THEREFORE, the student-athletes and coaches of Appalachian State University’s football team should be congratulated on an outstanding 2015 season.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned certifies that the foregoing statement was read in the Senate and placed upon the Journal on the 14th day of June, 2016.

Submitted by Senator Deanna Ballard

Recent Appalachian State University men’s basketball alumnus, Frank Eaves (Greensboro, N.C./Page), will participate in a pre-NBA Draft workout with the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday, June 15 at 10:30 a.m. The workouts will take place on the Hornets practice court at the Novant Health Training Center at Time Warner Cable Arena.

Eaves will be one of five players to participate on Wednesday – joined by Matt Costello (Michigan State), Marshall Plumlee (Duke), Angel Rodriguez (Miami (Fla.)) and Wayne Selden Jr. (Kansas).

Last season was a breakout season for Eaves who led the Mountaineers in scoring (18.7 ppg) and ranked third in the Sun Belt Conference in scoring this season after leading the conference for the majority of the year. During his senior campaign, Eaves netted 30+ points on five different occasions, including a career-high 38-point performance at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 6 in an 86-80 loss to Hofstra - tied for 12th on Appalachian’s single-game scoring list. The total tied for second at The Garden this season by a professional or collegiate player with Aaron Afflalo of the New York Knicks. The Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant holds the top spot with a 44-point outing.

On Jan. 23 against Georgia State, Eaves became just the 31st player in Appalachian State men’s basketball program history to eclipse 1,000 career points. Eaves finished his career with 1,211 points - good for 23rd all-time. He also finished with 579 points in his senior season, which makes him just the 20th played to eclipse 500 points in a season and his total ranks him seventh in the program record book.

Late in the season, Eaves nearly topped his performance at Madison Square Garden with 37 points in a heartbreaking 101-100 loss to Georgia Southern on Jan. 25. The 37 points tied a Holmes Center record for points scored by an App State player and he also tied the Holmes Center record for threes made in a game with nine.

He finished the 2015-16 season in the top-100 in the NCAA rankings in points per game (59th), three-point field goals per game (64th - 2.7), three-point percentage (73rd - 38.4), total points (49th - 579), three-point attempts (53rd - 216), total threes made (51st - 83), total field goal attempts (39th) - 446), free throws made (44th - 156) and free throw attempts (65th - 191).

The Hickory Crawdads and Greenville Drive battled back-and-forth Monday night with three lead changes and a tie over the first 3 innings, before a solo home run by Kyri Washington severed the deadlock and held up for the remainder of the game for a 4-3 'Dads defeat at Fluor Field.

The Crawdads and Drive both jumped on the opposing starting pitchers early, with Hickory scoring 3 runs on 5 hits over the first 3 innings while Greenville countered with 3 runs on 4 hits over the same time frame. In a game in which both bullpens held steadfast, the difference in the contest came down to 'Dads starter Jonathan Hernandez staying for the 6th inning where his first pitch was crushed over the green monster in left field by Washington for the night's decisive tally.

The 'Dads took the game's initial lead in the top of the 1st, when Dylan Moore reached on a one-out walk, stole second base, and scored on a 2-out, RBI single to left by Tyler Sanchez. The Drive quickly responded in the bottom of the inning with a leadoff single by Chad De La Guerra, a one-out, RBI double off the left-center field fence from Josh Ockimey, and an RBI base knock by Washington for a 2-1 Greenville advantage.

Following a scoreless 2nd frame, Hickory struck for 2 runs on 4 hits in the top of the 3rd to re-take the lead at 3-2. Frandy De La Rosa and Eric Jenkins kick started the rally with consecutive singles to open the inning before Josh Altmann delivered a one-out, RBI single off the glove of Drive third baseman Michael Chavis. One out later, Ricky Valencia drove in the frame's second tally with an RBI base knock to center to put the Crawdads on top by a run.

The advantage was quickly wiped away by Greenville in the home half of the frame however, as Hernandez issued three straight walks before Washington came through with an RBI single to right. The 'Dads were able to escape the frame with the score tied at 3-3 when Tate Matheny ground into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.

The tie game held until the 6th, when Washington launched the first pitch of the inning to left for a solo home run and a 4-3 Drive lead. The Crawdads threatened to tie the score in both the 7th and 8th innings, but both times the Greenville bullpen held and the 'Dads left the tying runner in scoring position for the final 4-3 Hickory loss.

Drive reliever Jake Cosart (2-1) earned the win with two scoreless innings pitched on no hits, 2 walks, and 3 strikeouts, while teammate Adam Lau (2) earned the save with scoreless frames in the 8th and 9th to close out the game. Hernandez (6-5) took the loss for the Crawdads after allowing 4 runs on 7 hits, 3 walks, and 2 Ks over 5 IP.

Sanchez paced the 'Dads bats with a 2-4 game including a double and an RBI, while Valencia finished 1-3 with an RBI and a walk. Both Moore and De La Rosa went 1-3 with a walk and a run scored.

The loss snaps the Crawdads (37-26) 4-game win streak and 7-game road win streak. Hickory remains 2.5 games back of first place Hagerstown in the South Atlantic League Northern Division with 7 games remaining in the first half. The 'Dads and Drive (33-30) will play again Tuesday night at 7:05 pm in game 2 of their 3-game series.

Lenoir-Rhyne’s Matthew De La Rosa was drafted by Major League Baseball’s Baltimore Orioles this past weekend in the 2016 draft. De La Rosa was drafted in the 28th round as pick No. 841.

De La Rosa, a senior shortstop from Austin, Texas, is the fifth player in Lenoir-Rhyne history to be drafted. Ivan Vieitez was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers last summer. Both Steve Davis and Michael Tidwell were selected by the Chicago Cubs in 1991 while Craig Corbett was the first-ever Bears’ player drafted (Montreal Expos in 1981). Corbett is a 2014 Lenoir-Rhyne Sports Hall Of Fame inductee.

De La Rosa is a two-time All-South Atlantic Conference Second-Team honoree (2015 and 2016) and set a school single-season record with 61 runs batted in this past spring in addition to a .357 batting average and a team-leading 10 home runs, 112 total bases and a .605 slugging percentage. For his career, De La Rosa batted .309 with 108 runs scored, 34 doubles, two triples, 18 home runs, 112 runs batted in and a .489 slugging percentage in three seasons with the Bears.

On the mound, De La Rosa also tallied a pair of saves this year in relief. De La Rosa led the Bears to a 33-18 mark in 2016 – the second-most wins in school history – and a berth in the South Atlantic Conference Baseball Championship for the first time in seven years.

Catawba Valley Community College Red Hawks baseball team saw the programs first draft pick selected this weekend in the 33rd round, when Bryson Bowman (South Caldwell HS) was selected by the New York Yankees.

Bowman had an outstanding career with the Red Hawks leading them to 2 regular season league titles. Bowman sits second in program history with RBI (78) and stolen bases (27). Bowman had a career .350 batting average with the Red Hawks with 28 extra base hits including 9 homeruns. Bowman was a First Team All- Region in 2013 and 2014. Bowman was also selected to the All-Region Defensive Team in 2013 and was named an NJCAA All American in 2014.

Upon leaving CVCC, Bowman earned a scholarship at Western Carolina. In his first season, Bowman left his mark helping the Catamounts to the Southern Conference (SoCon) Tournament title, and to an NCAA regional appearance. Bowman hit .326 with 35 extra base hits including 13 doubles, three triples, and 19 home runs which ranked him third in the SoCon and in the top 10 of NCAA DI baseball. Bowman was a second team All-Southern Conference selection by both the league’s head coaches and voting media, and was named SoCon Player of the Week in late March.

Bryson Bowman still has the option to return to Western Carolina for his redshirt senior season in 2017.

Monday, 13 June 2016 11:03

CVCC's Andrus Named to All-American Team

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The National Junior College Athletic Association has announced the Division 2 All-America Team. For the fifth straight season, Catawba Valley Community College has a representative on the team.

Ty Andrus, an outfielder from Winston-Salem, was selected to the NJCAA Division 2 All-American second team. Andrus had a .438 batting average this season with 60 runs scored, 41 RBI and 32 stolen bases. Andrus is the all time career leader in stolen bases at CVCC. He also added 14 doubles and six triples on the season and was named the Region X Player of the Year, the first time a CVCC baseball player has earned that honor. He was named to all-region first team and the all-region defensive team as well.

Andrus lead the region with 81 hits, was second in the region with his .438 batting average, fifth in the region with a .498 on base percentage, and he was perfect in the outfield logging a perfect fielding percentage on 90 total chances, logging 87 putouts and 3 assists.

Andrus, a sophomore this season for CVCC, has committed to play at Wingate next season.

Sunday, 12 June 2016 23:18

Hickory Crawdads Wrap Up Sweep of Kannapolis

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The Hickory Crawdads finished off a 4-game sweep of the Kannapolis Intimidators with the first lopsided victory of the series Sunday evening, as the 'Dads jumped out to an early lead and ran away with an 8-1 win at Intimidators Stadium.

After taking the first three games in Kannapolis by scores on 1-0, 2-1, and 7-5, the Crawdads scored 4 runs in the 2nd inning, 1 in the 3rd & 6th, and 2 in the 7th to cruise to a 7-run victory. All 9 Hickory hitters reached base safely at least once in the route, with three batters finishing with a multi-hit game.

The win stretches the 'Dads season-best road winning streak to 7 straight games, while also keeping the club within 2.5 games of 1st place Hagerstown in the first half Northern Division race with 8 games remaining before the All-Star break.

The Crawdads attempted to take any sort of drama from the game early, as the 'Dads struck for 4 runs on 4 hits and two errors in the 2nd inning. Tyler Sanchez led off the frame by reaching on a fielding error by Kannapolis shortstop Johan Cruz before scoring one batter later on an RBI double to left from Chuck Moorman. Following a strikeout by Connor McKay, Ti'Quan Forbes delivered an RBI single to right to plate the frame's second run. Jose Almonte followed with a groundball single to center and a steal of second base that also saw Intimidators catcher Seby Zavala throw the ball into center field for an error that allowed Forbes to score. Frandy De La Rosa capped off the big inning with an RBI base knock to left to put Hickory ahead 4-0.

The 'Dads stretched their lead to 5-0 one inning later on a solo home run over the right field fence by Dylan Moore. The long ball was the third of the season for Moore, his first since April 11.

Kannapolis got on the board with their lone run against Crawdads starter Pedro Payano in the 4th, as the Intimidators got a bases loaded, 2-out, RBI single from Tyler Sullivan to cut the score to 5-1. Payano was able to minimize the damage and escape the frame with a strikeout of Grant Massey before collecting two more Ks in a scoreless 5th to end his outing.

Hickory kept the offense rolling with another run in the 6th on walks by both Sanchez and McKay followed by an RBI groundout from Forbes, before the 'Dads plated their last two tallies on a 2-RBI double by Josh Altmann in the 7th for the final 8-1 lead the club would win by.

Payano (2-2) earned the win for Hickory, as the All-Star right-hander worked around early command issues to go 5 strong innings with 1 run allowed on 7 hits, 3 walks, and 6 strikeouts. Relievers Omarlin Lopez (3 IP, 4 Ks) and Jeffrey Springs (1 IP, 2 Ks) combined to shutout the Intimidators over the final 4 innings. Kannapolis starter Luis Martinez (1-6) took the loss after giving up 5 runs, 4 earned, on 7 hits and 4 strikeouts over 4 IP.

De La Rosa led the 'Dads bats with a 3-4 game including an RBI and a run scored, while Forbes finished 2-4 with 2 RBI and a run scored. Almonte also posted a multi-hit game going 2-4 with a double and a run scored, while Altmann ended the night 1-5 with a double and 2 RBI.

The Crawdads (37-25) will now head to Greenville for a 3-game series against the Drive. First pitch Monday night is scheduled for 7:05 pm.

Taylorsville: 5, 10
Haywood: 4, 17

Two nights of quick, low-scoring games gave way to a wild and unpredictable contest between the Hickory Crawdads and Kannapolis Intimidators Saturday night, with the 'Dads ultimately emerging victorious with a 7-5 win at Intimidators Stadium.

The Crawdads and Intimidators had combined for only 4 runs on 15 hits and 1 error in the 'Dads wins in the first two games of the series. Game 3 however saw the two clubs total 12 runs on 24 hits and 5 errors in Hickory's 7-5 victory. The win saw the Crawdads overcome a 3-1 deficit with 6 unanswered runs before clinging to a 2-run lead as the Intimidators scored once in the bottom of the 9th before John Werner struck out Antonio Rodriguez to end the game.

The win also drew the 'Dads to within 2.5 games of 1st place Hagerstown in the Northern Division race, with 9 games remaining in the first half of the season.

The night began much like the previous two evenings in Kannapolis, with both starting pitchers looking strong early. Kannapolis jumped out to a quick lead in the 1st with consecutive singles by Grant Massey and Landon Lassiter followed by an RBI double from Johan Cruz off of Hickory starting pitcher Wes Benjamin for a 1-0 score. The Crawdads responded in the top of the 3rd, when Jose Almonte doubled off the wall in center and scored one out later on an RBI sacrifice fly to center by Eric Jenkins to tie the game at 1-1.

The contest remained tied until the 5th, when Lassiter drew a 2-out walk from Benjamin prior to a 2-run home run to left by Cruz that put the Intimidators back on top 3-1. Hickory went to work on the deficit in the 6th, as Carlos Arroyo singled, Ricky Valencia walked, and Ti'Quan Forbes delivered a 2-out, RBI double down the right field line to cut the score to 3-2.

The Crawdads came back the next inning with 2 unearned runs on four hits and two errors to take a 4-3 lead. Yeyson Yrizarri led off the fame with a single to left before Jenkins laid down a bunt base knock to put the first two runners on. Josh Altmann followed with a chopping infield single that should have loaded the bases, but Yrizarri was caught off the bag and third and tagged out for the first out of the frame. Yrizarri had to be helped off the field after the play with an apparent injury.

Undeterred, Arroyo followed with a hard ground ball to first that got past Kannapolis first baseman Cody Daily for a 2-run error to give the 'Dads a 1-run advantage.

Hickory pushed their lead to 4 runs in the 8th, when they struck for 3 tallies on 5 hits for a 7-3 score. Connor McKay led off the frame with an infield single before Almonte reached on a one-out, base knock to left and Chuck Moorman got to first on an infield base knock to load the bases. Jenkins followed with a 2-RBI double over Lassiter's head in left to plate the first two runs. One batter later, Altmann hit an RBI, groundball single to right to bring home the Crawdads' final run of the night.

The Intimidators refused to go down quietly however, as they reached current Hickory and former Kannapolis reliever Matt Ball for a run on three singles in the 8th to cut the score to 7-4.

They kept their foot on the gas in the 9th, with a leadoff single from Massey prior to a fielding error by 'Dads shortstop Dylan Moore to put the first two runners aboard. Following a strikeout of Cruz, Ball walked Seby Zavala to load the bases with only one out. Crawdads manager Steve Mintz responded by bringing in Werner from the bullpen, but the Intimidators picked up a run on an RBI groundout by Danny Mendick to make the score 7-5 with runners on the corners and two out.

Rodriguez then stepped to the plate as the potential winning run for Kannapolis, but Werner got the DH to strikeout swinging to end the game with a Hickory victory.

'Dads reliever Adam Choplick (2-0) earned the win with two scoreless innings pitched including 2 walks and 4 strikeouts, while Werner (6) picked up the save after recording the final two outs. Kannapolis bullpen arm Yelmison Peralta (0-3) took the loss with 2 unearned runs allowed on 3 hits over 1.1 innings of relief.

Altmann led the Crawdads offensive attack, finishing with a season-high 4 hits in 5 at-bats including a double, an RBI, and a run scored. Jenkins ended the game 2-4 with a double, 3 RBI, and a run scored, while Almonte went 2-3 with a double, 2 runs scored, and a walk.

The Crawdads (36-25) will go for the 4-game sweep of the Intimidators (23-39) Sunday night, with first pitch scheduled for 5:05 pm.