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Sports (210)

Caldwell County: 4
Gaston Braves: 3
Caldwell County leads the best of five series 2-1. Game four is Thursday in Gaston County

Haywood County: 8
Hickory: 7
Haywood County leads the best of five series 2-0. Game three is Thursday at Hickory.

Thursday, 16 July 2015 07:27

App's Middleton on Wuerffel Trophy Watch List

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Appalachian State University senior defensive back Doug Middleton (Winston-Salem, N.C./Parkland) is one of only 78 total student-athletes on the official Wuerffel Trophy watch list, as announced on Wednesday.

The Wuerffel Trophy, known as “College Football’s Premier Award for Community Service,” is presented annually by the All Sports Association in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. Named after 1996 Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Danny Wuerffel from the University of Florida, the Wuerffel Trophy is awarded to the FBS player that best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.

Ole Miss’ Deterrian Shackleford won the award in 2014.

Middleton was a first-team all-Sun Belt Conference selection in 2014 after tying for third in the conference in interceptions (4), ranking fourth in passes defended (10) and tying for 24th in total tackles (74). He was the only Sun Belt player with at least four interceptions, 10 passes defended and 70 tackles. Thanks in large part to its free safety’s efforts, Appalachian State finished with the Sun Belt’s No. 1-ranked defense last season (347.5 ypg).


The fifth-year senior spent the summer of 2015 working with campus leaders to lobby the North Carolina Legislature in Raleigh for a new building to house Appalachian State’s Beaver College of Health Sciences.

Middleton is one of eight representatives from the Sun Belt Conference on the Wuerffel Trophy watch list, joining Arkansas State’s Fredi Knighten, Georgia Southern’s Matt Dobson, UL Lafayette’s Evan Tatford, New Mexico State’s Andrew Cunningham, South Alabama’s Aleem Sunanon, Texas State’s Brian Guendling and Troy’s Tommy Blevins.

Semifinalists for the award will be announced on Nov. 3 and finalists will be announced on November 24. Formal announcement of the winner will be on December 8 at the National Football Foundation’s press conference in New York City.

The presentation of the 2015 Wuerffel Trophy will occur at the 47th Annual All Sports Association Awards Banquet on February 12, 2016 in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

Thursday, 16 July 2015 07:26

Big Innings Doom the Hickory Crawdads

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A pair of 4-run innings put the Hickory Crawdads in an 8-0 hole midway through their game Wednesday afternoon, and despite five unanswered tallies to get back in the contest the deficit proved to be too much as the 'Dads fell to the visiting Greensboro Grasshoppers 9-5 at L.P. Frans Stadium.

The 'Hoppers jumped on Crawdads starting pitcher Cody Buckel for four runs on three hits and two walks in the 2nd before doubling their advantage with four more tallies on two hits, two walks, and a passed ball against 'Dads reliever Kelvin Vasquez in the 6th. Facing an 8-0 deficit, the Hickory offense went to work in the bottom of the 6th by scoring two runs on two hits then crept even closer with three runs on three hits and a walk in the 7th for an 8-5 score. That would be as close as the Crawdads would get however, as Greensboro plated one last run in the 9th to finish with the 9-5 score.

The 'Dads offense had several chances early in the game to do damage, with the club loading the bases in both the 1st and 3rd innings while placing two men aboard in the 4th. The opportunities ultimately went unused however, as Hickory left eight men on base over the first four frames while stranding 11 total base runners for the game.

The Crawdads began their rally in the bottom of the 6th when Jose Cardona brought home Rock Shoulders on an RBI double before Carlos Arroyo plated Chuck Moorman with an RBI sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to 8-2. The 'Dads made it 8-5 with three more tallies in the 7th, as Jairo Beras delivered an RBI double, Juremi Profar picked up an RBI sacrifice fly, and Moorman lined an RBI double off the base of the wall in right.

The comeback attempt stalled out there though, as Greensboro reliever Kyle Fischer shutout the 'Dads over the final two innings while his teammates tacked on a tally in the top off the 9th for the final 9-5 score.

Grasshoppers reliever Sam Alvis (3-3) earned the win with two runs allowed on three hits, one walk, and two strikeouts over his two innings out of the bullpen. Buckel (0-4) was handed the loss for Hickory with four runs given up on three hits, three walks, and 4 Ks during four innings pitched.

Luke Tendler led the 'Dads offensive attack by reaching base safely five times with two singles, three walks, and a run scored. Moorman finished the afternoon 2-3 with a double, a walk, and a run scored, while Cardona went 1-3 with a double, an RBI, a walk, and a hit-by-pitch.

The Crawdads (53-35/9-11) and Grasshoppers (35-54/6-14) will wrap up their 3-game series with a rubber match Thursday night scheduled to start at 7:00 pm.

Appalachian State University men’s basketball has finalized its 2015-16 non-conference schedule, head coach Jim Fox announced on Wednesday.

The 11-game non-conference slate includes home games against Charlotte, Furman and Jacksonville, road contests at North Carolina, Texas, Tulane and Hampton, an appearance at “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” New York City’s Madison Square Garden versus Hofstra and a three-game tournament in Nashville.

“Our players have expressed their desire to be challenged by the schedule that we put together,” said Fox. “We have that this year. We will put our program on a national stage playing against some of the country’s best programs in Chapel Hill, Austin, Nashville and, of course, at Madison Square Garden.”

App State opens its 2015-16 schedule in the High Country with back-to-back home games against Jacksonville on Saturday, Nov. 14 and former Southern Conference foe Furman on Tuesday, Nov. 17.

The Mountaineers will then hit the road from Nov. 20 through Dec. 15. The road swing begins Friday, Nov. 20 at Hampton followed by a Sunday afternoon tip-off on Nov. 22 down on the Bayou against Tulane.

Over Thanksgiving Break, the Apps will participate at a tournament in Nashville, Tenn. with games on Thursday, Nov. 26, Friday, Nov. 27 and Sunday, Nov. 29. The opponents have yet to be determined.

App State will then travel to the Big Apple on Sunday, Dec. 6 for a showdown with Hofstra at Madison Square Garden, marking the first-ever appearance for the Black and Gold at MSG.

“Playing at Madison Square Garden will be an incredible experience,” Fox, a Levittown, N.Y. native, said.

Former Appalachian State coach and fellow New Yorker Bobby Cremins added: “I think it’s great that App State is playing at Madison Square Garden. It’s the Mecca of college basketball. The players should have a great New York experience and it will be a great homecoming for Coach Fox. I will always remember the first time that I coached there and it is truly a special feeling for somebody from New York.”

Following their game at The Garden, the Mountaineers will head southwest to Austin, Texas on Sunday, Dec. 15 to take on new head coach Shaka Smart’s Longhorns.The only prior meeting between the programs took place during the 2008-09 season.

In what proves to be the biggest home draw of the non-conference schedule, Appalachian will welcome in new head coach Mark Price and the Charlotte 49ers on Saturday, Dec. 19 to renew the in-state rivalry. App State will be playing the 49ers for the 35th time and for the third consecutive season when the Niners make their way up the mountain.

To close out the non-conference schedule, the Mountaineers will travel to Chapel Hill to face-off against the Tar Heels at the “Dean Dome” on Monday, Dec. 21. App State is 0-5 all-time against the Tar Heels with the last meeting coming in the 2011-12 season in Chapel Hill. UNC came away victorious, 97-82.

The schedule features four teams that played to postseason tournaments last season, including three that earned NCAA Tournament berths – North Carolina, Texas and Hampton. The trio combined to win four NCAA Tournament games, highlighted by UNC advancing to the Elite Eight before falling to eventual national runner-up Wisconsin.

Hofstra earned a berth in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) and fell to Vermont in the first round.

“As always, our goal is to use our non-conference schedule to prepare us for our Sun Belt season,” Fox said. “This schedule will certainly do that. We will be challenged to constantly improve and hopefully be playing our best basketball come March down in New Orleans.”

The announcement of the 11-game non-conference schedule, combined with the previously announced 20-game Sun Belt Conference slate, rounds out Appalachian State’s 2015-16 schedule. To view the 2015-16 men’s basketball schedule in its entirety, visit appstatesports.com.

Ticket information will be forthcoming. Ticket info will be available at appstatesports.com/tickets when finalized.

The Hickory Crawdads kicked off their three game series against the Greensboro Grasshoppers in a big way Tuesday night, as the 'Dads knocked around 14 hits while tying a season-high with 11 runs in an 11-4 win over the 'Hoppers at L.P. Frans Stadium.

All nine Crawdad batters ended the game with at least one hit, while eight players scored a run and five hitters finished with an RBI. Jairo Beras led the assault going 2-4 with a home run and 3 RBI, while Jose Cardona went 2-3 with 2 RBI and 2 runs and Josh Morgan finished 2-4 with 2 RBI and 2 runs. The outpouring of offense back a quality start by Hickory hurler Nick Gardewine, who struck out a season-high 7 batters over his six innings pitched.

The 'Dads attack began with three runs in the 1st inning, followed by a 6-run 4th and two final tallies in the 5th. The opening frame outburst saw Luke Tendler drive in the first run with an RBI sacrifice fly before Beras plated a pair with a 2-out, 2-RBI single for a 3-0 Crawdads lead.

The Grasshoppers got back in the game with one swing of the bat in the 3rd, when KJ Woods lined a 2-run homer to right to cut the score to 3-2. Hickory responded with their biggest inning of the night in the 4th, with the 'Dads pounding out six runs on six hits while sending 10 batters to the plate to stretch the advantage to 9-2. Beras kick started the frame with a leadoff, solo blast to left field for his fourth long ball of the season. Three consecutive singles by Juremi Profar, Rock Shoulders, and Brallan Perez followed to load the bases before an RBI sacrifice fly by Cardona and RBI singles from Carlos Arroyo and Morgan brought in three more runs. Both Arroyo and Morgan would score later in the inning on separate errors to cap off the inning.

Greensboro scored their final run in the top of the 5th before Hickory brought home the night's last two tallies in the bottom of the inning thanks to RBI base knocks by Cardona and Morgan for the game's final 11-4 score.

Gardewine (5-6) earned the win while allowing three runs, two earned, on six hits, two walks, and seven strikeouts over six innings pitched. 'Hoppers starter Enderson Franco (0-1) took the loss after giving up 9 runs, seven earned, on nine hits, two walks, and 2 Ks. Hickory reliever Ricardo Rodriguez picked up his first save of the season after allowing one run over the final three innings.

The Crawdads (53-34/9-10) and Grasshoppers (34-54/5-14) will face off again Wednesday afternoon, with a 12:00 pm first pitch.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015 06:21

App's Blair on Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List

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Appalachian State University senior defensive lineman Ronald Blair (Greensboro, Ga./Greene County) is one of 145 student-athletes on the official watch list for the 46th-annual Rotary Lombardi Award, the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority announced on Tuesday.

Eligibility for the Rotary Lombardi Award is limited to down linemen, end-to-end, either on offense or defense, who set up no farther than 10 yards to the left or right of the ball, or linebackers who set up no farther than five yards deep from the line of scrimmage. The award was establish in 1970, shortly following the death of its namesake, legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi. In addition to performance on the field, a player’s leadership, courage, desire, respect for authority and discipline are criteria for the award.

Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright III was the 2014 honoree.

Blair, a fifth-year senior defensive end, has started all 38 games that he has appeared in over his first four collegiate campaigns. He was the heart and soul of the Sun Belt Conference’s top-ranked defense in 2014, when he ranked among the league’s top 10 in both sacks (six) and tackles for loss (13). His 43 total tackles were 13 more than any other Appalachian State defensive lineman and his seven quarterback hurries were tied for the most by a Mountaineer in a single season since 2011.

He has recorded 150 tackles, 13.5 sacks and 34.5 tackles for loss in his career.

Blair is one of 13 Sun Belt Conference representatives on the Rotary Lombardi Award watch list.

The 46th-annual Rotary Lombardi Award ceremony will be held on Dec. 9 at the Bayou Music Center in Houston. Proceeds from the Rotary Lombardi Awards benefit the American Cancer Society, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Centers/Children’s Cancer Hospital and Texas Children’s Cancer Center.

Gaston Braves: 3
Caldwell County: 2
Series tied 1-1. Game three in Granite Falls Wednesday.

Hickory
Haywood County, ppd. due to rain
Game two to be held Wednesday in Waynesville.

Caldwell County: 4
Gaston Braves: 3, 10 innings
Caldwell County leads the best of five series, 1-0. Game two is Tuesday

Haywood County: 7
Hickory: 5, 13 innings
Haywood County leads the best of five series, 1-0. Game two is Tuesday in Haywood County.

Appalachian State University senior defensive back Doug Middleton (Winston-Salem, N.C./Parkland) is one of only 42 student-athletes on the official watch list for the 30th-annual Jim Thorpe Award, the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame announced on Monday.

Presented annually to college football’s best defensive back, the Jim Thorpe Award is one of the most coveted awards in college football. The award was established in 1986 and is named after history’s greatest all-around athlete, Jim Thorpe. Thorpe excelled as a running back, passer and kicker on the offensive side of the ball, but also stood out as a defensive back. In addition to his legendary performance on the football field, Thorpe played professional baseball and won Olympic gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon.

Louisville’s Gerod Holliman (now a member of the National Football League’s Pittsburgh Steelers) won the prestigious award in 2014.

Middleton was a first-team all-Sun Belt Conference selection in 2014 after tying for third in the conference in interceptions (4), ranking fourth in passes defended (10) and tying for 24th in total tackles (74). He was the only Sun Belt player with at least four interceptions, 10 passes defended and 70 tackles. Thanks in large part to its free safety’s efforts, Appalachian State finished with the Sun Belt’s No. 1-ranked defense last season (347.5 ypg).

The fifth-year senior has played in 37 career games with 20 starts. He can play both free and strong safety.

Middleton is one of only two representatives from the state of North Carolina on the Jim Thorpe Award watch list, joining Duke’s Jeremy Cash. He is one of four Sun Belt Conference players on the list, joining Troy’s Montres Kitchens, UL Monroe’s Mitch Lane and Texas State’s David Mims II.

The winner of the 2015 Jim Thorpe Award will be selected from three finalists and announced on Dec. 10 as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show. The formal presentation of the award will be made at the Jim Thorpe Award Banquet on Feb. 2, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Okla.

The Hickory Crawdads jumped out ahead of the hometown Lakewood BlueClaws Sunday afternoon with a 3-run 1st inning, but the early offense didn't hold up as the 'Claws scored seven of the game's final 8 runs to give the 'Dads a 7-4 loss at FirstEnergy Park.

The Crawdads big opening inning came off of Lakewood starting pitcher and rehabbing major leaguer Jerome Williams, who allowed an RBI double to Jose Trevino and a 2-run home run to Luke Tendler for a 3-0 Hickory lead. The 'Dads advantage wouldn't last the inning however, as the BlueClaws put up four runs on five hits against Crawdads starting pitcher Austin Pettibone for a 4-3 score.

Hickory came back to tie the game in the 2nd thanks to a 2-out, RBI single by Jose Cardona, but the 'Claws had an answer of their own in the 3rd when they re-took the lead at 5-4 on a 2-out, RBI base knock from Cord Sandberg. The score would remain the same until the 8th thanks to solid relief work by Shane McCain for the 'Dads and Will Morris for Lakewood, before the BlueClaws brought across the game's last two tallies in the 8th for the final 7-4 score.

Morris (1-0) earned the win for the 'Claws with five shutout innings out of the bullpen, while Pettibone (1-2) took the loss for the Crawdads after allowing five runs on 8 hits and three strikeouts over 3.1 innings.

Tendler finished the game a perfect 3-3 at the plate including his 8th homer of the year, two RBI, and a hit-by-pitch. Trevino went 1-4 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored, while Cardona ended the contest 2-4 with an RBI, a run scored, and a hit-by-pitch.

The Crawdads (52-34/8-10) will have an off day on Monday before beginning a 7-game home stand on Tuesday, July 14th with first pitch against the Greensboro Grasshoppers scheduled for 7:00 pm.