Mike Sirignano, a seven-year strength-and-conditioning veteran who has spent the past two years helping lead South Carolina to back-to-back 11-win football seasons, has been named director of strength and conditioning at Appalachian State University.
In his role, Sirignano will work primarily with Appalachian State football while overseeing the strength-and-conditioning programs for all 20 of Appalachian’s varsity sports.
Sirignano comes to Appalachian State from South Carolina, where he served as assistant director of football strength and conditioning since 2012. In addition to his work with the Gamecocks’ football program, which went 22-4 and won two New Year’s Day bowl games in his two seasons at USC, he also directed the school’s men’s and women’s track and field strength programs.
His two years at South Carolina followed a brief stint at Elon, where he was the head of football strength of conditioning in January 2012. During his short time at Elon, he oversaw the strength-and-conditioning programs for the Phoenix’s football, volleyball and men’s and women’s golf teams.
Before he made his way to the Carolinas, Sirignano spent his entire career in his native New England, highlighted by two years as the director of strength and conditioning at Rhode Island (2010-12). He oversaw 500-plus student-athletes and two assistant directors at URI while working primarily with the Rams’ football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, women’s soccer, swimming and men’s track and field programs. He also oversaw the design of Rhode Island’s new $2 million, 8,000-square-foot strength and conditioning facility.
Prior to his time at URI, he served as an assistant strength coach at Northeastern (2009-10) and Bryant (2009).
Outside of the college ranks, Sirignano was the president and director of his own company, Next Level ELITE Training Center, from 2007-09 and served as the defensive coordinator/strength and conditioning coach at Woonsocket (R.I.) H.S. in 2008-09.
The list of notable student-athletes that he has trained includes more than 15 football players that have gone on to play in the National Football League and four track-and-field Olympians.
Sirignano played football at Bridgewater (Mass.) State from 2003-06, where he was a two-time NCAA Division III all-American, three-time all-New England honoree and three-time Eastern College Athletic Conference all-star as a defensive lineman. He served as team captain as a senior and also found time to work as a strength-and-conditioning intern at Holy Cross (2006-07) and offseason strength-and-conditioning consultant and volunteer offensive/defensive line coach at Duxbury (Mass.) H.S. (2006).
A 2007 graduate of Bridgewater State (B.S. — physical edication), Sirignano is married to the former Karolina Bakowska.
Sirignano has already begun his duties at Appalachian State. He replaces Kareem Young, who left Appalachian last month to pursue other professional opportunities.
Hickory at Haywood, ppd., June 16
Gaston Braves: 16
Eric Krupa, president of the South Atlantic League, has announced the rosters for the 55th Annual SAL All-Star Game, scheduled to be played on June 17, 2014, at L.P. Frans Stadium in Hickory, North Carolina, home of the Hickory Crawdads.
For the Northern Division, two teams each placed six players on the roster. The Greensboro Grasshoppers provide starting catcher Chad Wallach, first baseman Felix Munoz and left fielder Carlos Lopez. The Hagerstown Suns provide second baseman Wilmer Difo. The Delmarva Shorebirds contribute five players, including starting pitcher Hunter Harvey, third baseman Drew Dosch and right fielder Mike Yastrzemski. The Lakewood BlueClaws provide four players, including shortstop J.P. Crawford, who received more votes than any other player on either squad, and designated hitter Willians Astudillo. The Hickory Crawdads and West Virginia Power each provide two players, with Hickory's Evan Van Hoosier named as the starter in center field. The Kannapolis Intimidators contribute one player to the Northern Division roster.
Hagerstown manager Patrick Anderson will skipper the Northern Division All-Stars. Anderson is in his first season in the league, and his second year as a manager in the Minor Leagues. Anderson will be assisted by Hickory manager Corey Ragsdale, Hagerstown coach Luis Ordaz and Hagerstown pitching coach Sam Narron. Handling the athletic trainer's duties for the Northern Division will be Hickory's Sean Fields.
For the Southern Division, the Savannah Sand Gnats led the division with seven players, including starting second baseman Jeff McNeil and shortstop Gavin Cecchini. The Charleston RiverDogs and Greenville Drive each provide four players, with Charleston's Mike Ford starting at first base and Aaron Judge in right field. Greenville's Jake Romanski is the starting catcher. Three teams each placed three players on the team. The Asheville Tourists provide starting third baseman Ryan McMahon, center fielder David Dahl and designated hitter Correlle Prime while the Augusta GreenJackets provide starting pitcher Matthew Lujan. The Rome Braves supply left fielder Victor Reyes. The Lexington Legends supply two players to the Southern Division roster.
Savannah skipper Luis Rojas will manage the Southern Division squad for the second consecutive year. Rojas is in his fourth season as a manager, and his ninth overall as a member of the New York Mets organization. Rojas will be joined on the Southern Division coaching staff by Greenville manager Darren Fenster and Greenville pitching coach Paul Abbott. Asheville's Billy Whitehead will serve as the team's athletic trainer.
Both all-star teams will be represented by 26 players, selected by the votes of the team’s managers and coaching staffs, local media and front office executives. L.P. Frans Stadium will be hosting it second SAL All-Star Game. The other time the All-Star Game was held in Hickory was in 1994, when the National League All-Stars defeated the American League All-Stars 9-5. The annual SAL All-Star Game dates to 1960, when the All-Stars defeated the Salisbury club, 6-2, in Newton, NC.
"Once again, the amount of talent that will be showcased in this game will be incredible," said Krupa. “General Manager Mark Seaman and his staff in Hickory have been working for more than a year in order to put together one of the most anticipated events on our baseball calendar."”
A variety of events have been scheduled in Hickory along with the SAL All-Star Game. On Monday, June 16th, there will be a Downtown All-Star Bash "Under the Sails" in downtown Hickory, including a Cornhole Tournament between the All-Star players and fans. On Tuesday, June 17th, there will be an All-Star Luncheon at The Crossing at Hollar Mill where the 2014 SAL Hall of Fame members will be inducted. Luther Beaver, Randy Ingle, George Murphy and Charles Young will be honored as members of the class of 2014. Beginning at 2:30pm in the parking lot at L.P Frans Stadium, the All-Fan Fest will be an opportunity for fans to get autographs from and pictures with the SAL All-Stars. The first pitch of the 2014 All-Star Game is scheduled at 7:00pm. More information can be found on the website of the Hickory Crawdads at www.hickorycrawdads.com.
2014 South Atlantic League All-Stars
Evan Van Hoosier
Yean Carlos Gil
The Hickory Crawdads used two big innings highlighted by two big home runs to mash their way to a 9-6 win over the visiting Charleston RiverDogs Monday night at L.P. Frans Stadium.
The hot-hitting Hickory offense broke open a low scoring affair with three runs in the 5th inning followed by five more tallies in the 6th, with Nomar Mazara's 3-run shot and Joe Jackson's 2-run blast pacing their respective rallies. The big middle innings helped the Crawdads withstand a barrage of homers from the RiverDogs, who hit four total long balls before falling short in their comeback attempt.
The nine run, nine hit display gave the 'Dads their fifth win over the last six games, while also pushing the team to two games over .500 for the first time since April 11th. The Crawdads bats are averaging nearly seven runs per game during that stretch with six total home runs.
The first four frames of the game were played to a 1-1 tie, with the RiverDogs scoring one in the top of the 3rd on a solo homer by Gosuke Katoh before the Crawdads answered with a run in the bottom of the frame on a RBI single by Jackson.
The 'Dogs re-took the lead with a solo long ball by Eduardo De Oleo in the top of the 5th, but Mazara's three-run shot in the bottom half of the inning gave the 'Dads a 4-2 lead they would never give up. Hickory followed up the big 5th frame with their five-run 6th, consisting of 10 total batters, four doubles, three walks, and one home run. Nick Vickerson brought home the first two base runners with a 2-RBI double, before Lewis Brinson doubled him home for the inning's third tally. Jackson capped off the frame with a line drive, 2-run blast to right for a 9-2 'Dads advantage.
The RiverDogs would get a two-run dinger by Aaron Judge in the 8th and a two-run long ball from De Oleo in the 9th to narrow the score to 9-6, before Hickory reliever Felix Carvallo got Michael O'Neill to fly out to center to end the game.
Jackson ended the night 2-5 with a homer and three total RBI, while Mazara went 1-3 with a big fly with three RBI. Vickerson also posted a good game, finishing 2-4 with a double, two RBI, and three runs scored.
All the offense overshadowed one of the best starts of the year by Crawdads pitcher Cole Wiper (4-6), who earned the win after holding Charleston to two runs on three hits over his six innings pitched while striking out a season-high nine batters. RiverDogs starter Brady Lail (7-2) took a rare loss after allowing four runs on four hits during his five innings pitched.
The Crawdads (29-27) and RiverDogs (27-30) will play again Tuesday night in game two of their three game series, with first pitch scheduled for 7:00 pm.
Eight student-athletes represent Appalachian State University football on Phil Steele’s 2014 College Football Preview preseason all-Sun Belt Conference teams, which were announced on Monday.
Senior defensive end Ronald Blair (Greensboro, Ga./Greene County) is Appalachian State’s lone first-team honoree. Sophomore running back Marcus Cox (Dacula, Ga./Dacula) is a second-team selection, senior offensive tackle Kendall Lamm (Charlotte, N.C./Butler) and sophomore punter Bentlee Critcher (South Daytona, Fla./Warner Christian Academy) received third-team accolades and junior wide receiver Tacoi Sumler (Miami, Fla./Christopher Columbus), senior offensive guard Alex Acey (Clay, Ala./Clay-Chalkville), senior defensive end Deuce Robinson (Blythewood, S.C./Blythewood) and sophomore inside linebacker John Law (Atlanta, Ga./Grady) round out the Mountaineers’ honorees on the fourth team.
Appalachian State’s eight honorees are the eight-most in the 11-team Sun Belt, ahead of Georgia State (6), Georgia Southern (3) and New Mexico State (2) and just one less than Troy (9). The 2014 campaign is Appalachian’s first in the Sun Belt and NCAA Division I FBS.
Phil Steele’s 2014 College Football Preview hits newsstands on June 24.
PHIL STEELE’S 2014 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW PRESEASON ALL-SUN BELT TEAMS
APPALACHIAN STATE REPRESENTATIVES
Sr. DE Ronald Blair
So. RB Marcus Cox
Sr. OT Kendall Lamm
So. P Bentlee Critcher
Jr. WR Tacoi Sumler
Sr. OG Alex Acey
Sr. DE Deuce Robinson
So. ILB John Law
SELECTIONS BY SCHOOL
South Alabama — 18
Louisiana-Lafayette — 15
Arkansas State — 13
Louisiana-Monroe — 13
Texas State — 13
Idaho — 12
Troy — 9
Appalachian State — 8
Georgia State — 6
Georgia Southern — 3
New Mexico State — 2
The pairings and the schedules are set for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association state fast-pitch softball championships.
The championships are best-of-three series between the Eastern champion and the Western champion, both of whom won best-of-three regional series. From 1995 to 2011, the top four teams in each classification came to Walnut Creek for a double-elimination tournament.
This will mark the 20th annual fast pitch championships and the 40th year for NCHSAA softball. The Raleigh Sports Consortium and the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau are among the host city sponsors.
CLASS 4-A: FAYETTEVILLE CAPE FEAR (26-1) vs. ALEXANDER CENTRAL (33-0), Field 4
Friday, June 6: Game 1, 7 p.m.
Saturday, June 7: Game 2, 11 a.m.
Saturday, June 7: Game 3, if necessary, 2 p.m.
NORTH CAROLINA HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION
2014 STATE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES—98th ANNUAL
all series best of three games
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT GREENSBORO
CLASS 2-A CHAMPIONSHIP: MIDWAY (25-4) vs. BUNKER HILL (26-5)
Game 1: Friday, June 6, 8 pm
Game 2: Saturday, June 7, 2 pm
Game 3: if necessary, Saturday, June 7 at 8 pm (5 pm if no third game in 4-A)
It may have taken a while to get started, but the surging Hickory Crawdads offense came up big again Sunday night as the 'Dads scored seven runs from the 6th inning on in a 7-2 win over the Greenville Drive at Fluor Field.
The Crawdads began the game with five promising but ultimately empty innings against starting pitcher Daniel McGrath and the Drive, before coming alive with three runs in the 6th, one in the 7th & 8th, and two more in the 9th. The 'Dads finished the game with 12 hits and eight walks, allowing all nine starters to reach safely while eight of the nine had at least one hit.
Nomar Mazara led the late arriving attack with a 3-5 game including a double, RBI, and run scored, while Joe Jackson finished with his third straight multi-hit game going 2-4, with a double, walk, and run scored. Lewis Brinson (2-4, BB, 2 R) also had a multi-hit night, while Travis Demeritte hit a home run for the third straight game to take over sole possession of the South Atlantic League home run lead with 12 on the season.
The 'Dads had no shortage of base runners during the first five frames, but couldn't come through with the big hit. The Crawdads got runners into scoring position in four of the first five innings, but ultimately left eight men on base. During that time, Greenville was able to put together a 2-0 lead thanks to an unearned run in the 2nd and a RBI double by Jantzen Witte in the 3rd.
That lead held until Hickory finally broke through for three runs in the 6th to take a 3-2 advantage, with Evan Van Hoosier delivering a bases loaded, 2-RBI single to tie the game before Janluis Castro scored on an error for the third run.
The 7th inning tally came on a double by Mazara and a RBI sacrifice fly from Ronald Guzman, while the Crawdads run in the 8th was a result of a RBI single by Mazara to score Jackson for a 5-2 Hickory lead. The 'Dads plated their final two runs in the 9th on a two-run homer to left by Demeritte for the final 7-2 score.
The late innings rally made a winner out of Crawdads starting pitcher Tyler Smith (2-1) who held the Drive to two runs, one earned, on three hits over his five innings pitched. Greenville reliever Myles Smith (1-4) took the loss after giving up four runs, three earned, on five hits during his 2.1 innings. Hickory relievers Anyelo Leclerc and Josh McElwee combined to throw four shutout innings from the bullpen with nine strikeouts.
The victory gives the Crawdads (28-27) the series win over the Drive (27-28) while moving the team above .500 for the first time since May 3rd. The 'Dads have either won or tied their last five consecutive series. The Crawdads will now return home for a 7-game home stand, beginning Monday night with a 7:00 pm first pitch against the Charleston RiverDogs.
The Hickory Crawdads continued their recent resurgence with another all-around solid game Saturday night, as the 'Dads defeated the hometown Greenville Drive 7-1 at Fluor Field to move their record back to .500 and secure a winning month of May.
The Crawdads record now stands at 27-27 thanks to a 16-15 month that saw the 'Dads lose 6-straight games before recovering down the stretch. Saturday's win once again featured the good hitting that has been a staple of the Hickory turnaround, with the Crawdads scoring seven runs on eight hits, six walks, and only three team strikeouts.
Second baseman Travis Demeritte led the way going 1-3 with a home run, two RBI, and a walk. Demeritte's 8th inning big fly was his 11th of the year, tying him for the South Atlantic League lead with Asheville's Correlle Prime. Third baseman Nick Vickerson reached base safely four times thanks to a single, two walks, and a hit-by-pitch, while catcher Joe Jackson finished the night 2-4 with a double, a RBI, a walk, and a run scored.
The offensive performance backed a solid effort by 'Dads starting pitcher Kelvin Vasquez, who struck out seven while allowing only one unearned run on six hits over his five innings pitched. Crawdads relievers Ricardo Rodriguez and Cody Kendall were effective out of the bullpen as well, with the duo shutting out the Drive over the final four innings.
The Crawdads jumped out to an early advantage in the 1st, when Vickerson was hit by a pitch and later scored on a double to left from Jackson combined with a fielding error by Greenville left fielder Kendrick Perkins for a 1-0 Hickory lead.
That score lasted until the 6th, when the 'Dads plated two more unearned runs for a 3-0 advantage. Jackson walked with one out before Ryan Cordell followed with an infield single to put two men on base. Jackson would eventually score on an error by Drive shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin while Cordell came home on a RBI sacrifice fly to center from Roanld Guzman.
Following the lone run of the game by the Drive in the bottom of the 6th to make the score 3-1, the Crawdads answered with a run in the 7th, two in the 8th, and one last tally in the 9th for the final 7-1 win. The 7th inning run came on a double by Kellin Deglan, a walk to Evan Van Hoosier, and an eventual double steal that saw Van Hoosier take second while Deglan ran home from third. Demeritte provided the offense in the 8th with his 2-run blast over the monster in left, while a Jackson RBI single in the 9th plated Van Hooiser for the game's final run.
Vasquez (3-1) earned the win for the Crawdads for his solid start, while Greenville starter Teddy Stankiewicz (4-3) took the loss after allowing three unearned runs on four hits over his six innings pitched.
The Crawdads have now won two of the first three games in their series against the Drive (27-27), and will go for the series win in the finale on Sunday at 4:05 pm.
The Hickory Crawdads continually found themselves with runners on base with less than two outs Friday night, but more often than not those situations ended in disappointment as the 'Dads hit into four double plays in their 7-6 loss to the Greenville Drive at Fluor Field.
The double play pandemic proved to be a deciding factor in a tight game that saw the 'Dads and Drive tied or within a run of one another for six of the nine innings. Promising innings suddenly ended with twin killings in the 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 7th, with the Crawdads having the tying run at third in both of the latter frames. Hickory avoided the double play in the 9th when the 'Dads scored one run and placed the tying and go ahead runners on base, but the Crawdads rally stopped short when Nomar Mazara grounded out to end the game.
The contest started with solid pitching from South Carolina natives Akeem Bostick of the Crawdads and Jamie Callahan of the Drive. It wasn't until a 4th inning wild pitch by Bostick allowed Jantzen Witte to score for Greenville that the Drive took a 1-0 lead.
The low scoring, well pitched ballgame quickly unraveled in the 5th however, when both teams struck for five-run half innings. The 'Dads sent 10 men to the plate in their half of the frame, with a two run home run by Travis Demeritte and a wild pitch to score Kellin Deglan plating the first three runs. The Crawdads received a huge break later in the inning when Witte dropped what would have been an inning ending popup with the bases loaded, allowing two more runs to score and giving Hickory a 5-1 lead.
Greenville answered right back with their own 5-run 5th, with the Drive using five hits and a walk to chase Bostick from the game and re-take the lead at 6-5. Greenville pushed their advantage to 7-5 in the 7th, taking advantage of four walks and a RBI sacrifice fly against Crawdads reliever Kevin Pucetas to plate the insurance run.
The 'Dads mounted one last rally in the top of the 9th when Greenville native Joe Jackson plated Ryan Cordell on a RBI single to make the score 7-6 and move Evan Van Hoosier to second as the potential tying run, but Mazara's ground out ended the rally and the game for the Crawdads.
Jackson paced the Hickory hitters with a 3-4 game including a triple and a RBI. Demeritte ended the night 2-4 with his 10th homer of the year, while Vickerson walked three times and scored.
Greenville reliever Raynel Velette (4-0) earned the win with 3.1 scoreless innings pitched, while Bostick (2-3) took the loss after giving up six runs on seven hits over his 4.2 frames on the mound. Drive bullpen arm Mike Adams (3) picked up a save despite allowing a run in the 9th.
The 'Dads (26-27) and Drive (27-26) will meet up again Saturday night at 7:05 in game three of the four game series.