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In the 60th annual Carolinas-Virginias Team Matches, Appalachian State University women’s golfers Hannah Craver (Winston-Salem, N.C./Reagan), Emily Stinson (Charlotte, N.C./Ardrey Kell) and Savanna Wood (Boone, N.C./Watauga) helped the Carolinas team to its seventh-straight victory on Wednesday.

Held on the River Course at River Landing Golf Club in Wallace, N.C., the team match is put on by the Carolinas, Virginia and West Virginia Golf Associations and pits the best golfers from the four states against each other. Selection to the respective teams is by invitation only and qualification is based on Carolina’s Women’s and Senior Women’s player rankings, finish and participation in various events and captain’s picks.

The 24-member Carolinas team is broken down into 14 regular players, eight seniors players (ages 50-plus) and two super senior players (ages 60-plus). Of the 14 regular players, no university was represented by more than two players except Appalachian State with three.

After winning five of 12 opening day matches on day one and seven of 12 on day two, the Carolinas team broke out of the gate on the third day to post a wire-to-wire 25-point victory (84-60) over the Virginias team.

Senior Stinson and junior Wood both finished with shutout victories on day three to get the accompanying three points for their team. Craver, also a junior, came in clutch for the Carolinas on day two, getting wins and the two and a half points in the effort.

Round robin, double elimination:
Game one:
Gaston Braves: 7
Caldwell County: 2

Game two:
Union County: 9
Gastonia: 4

The Hickory Crawdads utilized the big fly and the bullpen against the visiting Lakewood BlueClaws Thursday night, as solo home runs from both Sherman Lacrus and Ti'Quan Forbes supported 5 combined scoreless innings from relievers Joe Palumbo and Garrett Brummett in a 4-3 Hickory victory at L.P. Frans Stadium.

The power surge came from a pair of unlikely sources for the Crawdads, as Lacrus' homer was his first of the season while Forbes' long ball was only his second. The pair of solo shots gave the 'Dads just enough offense for the bullpen, with Palumbo tossing 3.1 scoreless innings before Brummett finished the game with 1.2 shutout frames.

Lakewood took the initial lead on the night, with singles by Damek Tomscha, Wilson Garcia, and Deivi Grullon combining to score a run off of Hickory starter Dillon Tate for a 1-0 score in the first. The 'Dads responded in the bottom of the inning with a double off the top of the wall in left from Josh Altmann, followed immediately by an RBI single by Tyler Sanchez to tie the game at 1-1.

The BlueClaws re-took the advantage the next half inning in the top of the third, with a single by Zach Coppola, a walk from Cornelius Randolph, and an RBI sacrifice fly by Tomscha putting the 'Claws ahead 2-1. Once again The Crawdads responded in the home half of the frame however, when Lacrus lined a solo home run to left off of Lakewood starter Jose Taveras to force a 2-2 tie.

The 'Claws would once again take the lead in the top of the 4th though, this time on a solo homer of their own as Grullon lined a big fly to right for a 3-2 BlueClaws advantage. That score held until the bottom of the fifth, when Frandy De La Rosa singled with two outs and advanced to third base on an ensuing base knock from Dylan Moore. With runners on the corners, Grullon attempted a pickoff throw of Moore at first base, but Garcia could handle the throw at first with the resulting error allowing De La Rosa to score and tie the game at 3-3.

Forbes then delivered the go-ahead blow for the 'Dads in the bottom of the sixth, when he jumped on a first pitch fastball from Lakewood reliever Ismael Cabrera and roped it over the wall in left for a solo home run and a 4-3 Crawdads lead. The bullpen finished the game off from there, with Palumbo putting up scoreless innings in the fifth, sixth, and seventh, before Brummett came in and escaped a bases loaded jam in the eighth and tossed a perfect ninth to close out the 4-3 victory.

Palumbo (6-3) earned the win for the Crawdads with no runs allowed on three hits, two walks, and four strikeouts over 3.1 innings of relief, while Brummett (1) recorded his first professional save following 1.2 scoreless innings on one hit and one strikeout. Cabrera (0-1) was the hard-luck loser for the BlueClaws, as Forbes' solo shot was the only hit he allowed over 2.1 innings out of the pen.

Forbes finished the night 2-3 with a homer and one RBI to lead the 'Dads bats, while Lacrus went 1-3 with his solo long ball. Altmann also reached base multiple times, going 1-3 with a double, a walk, and a run scored.

The Crawdads (10-11/48-43) will now host the West Virginia Power for a 4-game series at L.P. Frans Stadium. First pitch Friday night is scheduled for 7:00 pm.

Kermit Smith, a 15-year head coaching veteran, has been named the 13th head baseball coach at Appalachian State University, director of athletics Doug Gillin announced on Thursday.

Smith, who comes to Appalachian State after seven seasons as the head coach at Lander University in Greenwood, S.C., replaces Billy Jones, whose employment was discontinued in May.

“I am excited to announce Kermit Smith as the next head baseball coach at Appalachian State. I would like to thank the search committee chaired by Jonathan Reeder and Troy Huestess for their work,” said Gillin. “There was a tremendous amount of national interest in this position from coaches at all levels. Kermit has been a head coach for the past 15 years and has a successful track record of developing young men on and off the field. I believe he will be a great fit for our baseball program, athletic department, University and community. I am thrilled to welcome Kermit, Rebecca and their children Maddox, Beckett and Georgia to the Appalachian State family.”

In his seven years at Lander (2009-16), Smith was the winningest coach in program history with an overall 244-134 (.645) record. He took the Bearcats to four Peach Belt Conference (PBC) tournaments and three NCAA tournaments over the past five years. While at Lander, Smith had seven student-athletes sign contracts with Major League Baseball (MLB) affiliates, including a program record, four, in 2016.

The Bearcats have advanced to the NCAA Division II College World Series twice in the last three seasons, including a second time in 2016, finishing the season with a 44-16 record. The Bearcats finished the season ranked No. 3 in the Collegiate Baseball poll, the highest finish in program history and Smith was named ABCA/Diamond Southeast Regional Coach of the Year.

Smith set a program record for wins in a season during the 2014 campaign when the Bearcats finished 52-8 overall and ended the season with a No. 4 ranking in the Collegiate Baseball poll, while garnering the nation’s most prolific offense, leading Division II in home runs and runs scored. The Bearcats won the Southeast Regional and advanced to their first College World Series.

Among the highlights of the 2014 season, the Bearcats finished 27-3 on their home field (Dolny Stadium) and Smith was awarded PBC Coach of the Year and Atlantic Region Coach of the Year, while freshman pitcher Brandon White was named PBC Freshman of the Year.

The Bearcats posted back-to-back 30-win campaigns in 2012 (38 wins) and 2013 (35 wins) for the first time since the 2005-06 seasons. Under Smith in 2012, junior pitcher Chris Thomas won the PBC Pitcher of the Year, becoming the first Bearcat to ever receive a postseason conference award. In addition, Smith’s 38 wins during the 2012 season broke the program record for wins in a season and led the team to its first appearance in the NCAA tournament.

In just his second season at the helm of the Bearcats, Smith won 29 games (most for the program since 2006) and took Lander to the PBC tournament for the first time since the 1998 campaign.

Prior to Smith’s tenure at Lander, he spent eight years as Belmont-Abbey’s head coach and nine overall with the Crusaders. Much like his time at Lander, Smith became the winningest coach in program history on March 5, 2008. While at Belmont Abbey, he claimed two Conference Carolinas regular-season championships, a 2009 tournament championship with a NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Championship and an advancement to the 2009 NCAA Division II College World Series.

Similar to his successes at Lander, Smith led the Crusaders to their first NCAA Division II College World Series in 2009 - finishing the season with a 40-26 record and winning the Carolinas Conference regular-season title and qualified for Regionals with their first-ever conference tournament championship. He was named South Atlantic Region Coach of the Year.

Following a trip to the 2008 NCAA Division II South Atlantic Regional, Smith’s pupil, second baseman Alex Castellanos, was drafted 10th overall in the MLB Amateur Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. Castellanos last appeared in the Major Leagues with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013. He is currently playing for the Colorado Rockies Triple-A affiliate, the Albuquerque Isotopes, after signing a contract during the offseason in December 2015. He has appeared in 17 games with a slashline of .271/.317/.441 and two home runs and eight RBI.

Smith also served as the chair for the Conference Carolinas coaches, while also being the chair for the Belmont Abbey coaches’ council. Smith was an active member of the community and served as the head coach for the Gaston Braves American Legion team from 2002-07, guiding them to a 99-62 record.

Smith graduated from Pfeiffer University in 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sports management and a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration. He played one season at Pfeiffer for former Appalachian State baseball coach and current Duke University baseball head coach, Chris Pollard. Smith also earned a master’s degree in sports management from California University in Pennsylvania in 2007.

He is a native of Arcadia, Fla. and is the son of Sue Ellen and the late George Kilpatrick Smith. Smith and his wife, Rebecca, are the proud parents of two sons, Maddox Kilpatrick and Beckett Thomas, and a daughter, Georgia Grace.

“Rebecca and I are extremely excited about joining the Appalachian State family,” said Smith. “In the short amount of time that I have spent around Doug and his staff, it is clearly evident that they are full of energy and enthusiasm. Our family is also looking forward to getting entrenched in the Boone community. Over the past seven years in Greenwood we have have been supported like family. Coach Jeff May, the athletic department and the community have been there for our family every step of the way. The players that we are leaving behind are so special to us. We love them like family and that is the hardest part of this process. I want nothing but the best for them.”

Smith continued, “Mountaineer baseball provides huge potential for success with their facilities and resources and we will work diligently to make App State an elite program in the Sun Belt and the country. My coaching philosophy shares equal emphasis on recruitment as well as the development of players. The next month will be spent getting to know our current players and determining our necessary steps to achieve our vision for Appalachian State baseball. I am excited to get in the trenches with these guys and hit the ground running.”

A press conference to introduce Coach Smith to the Appalachian State community will be held on Monday, July 18 at 11 a.m. in the Don and Pat Phillips VIP Club Lounge on the fifth floor of the Appalachian Athletics Center (at Kidd Brewer Stadium). The press conference is open to the public and will be streamed live at appstatesports.com.

SMITH’S COACHING CAREER AT A GLANCE
2000-01 — Belmont Abbey College (assistant coach)
2001-07 — American Legion Post 144-266 (head coach)
2001-09 — Belmont Abbey College (head coach — Two Conference Carolinas Titles, NCAA Division II Regional Title, 2009 College World Series)
2009-2016 — Lander University (head coach — PBC Conference Championship, Two NCAA Division II Regional Titles, Two College World Series)
2016- — Appalachian State University (head coach)

HONORS AND AWARDS
2009 — South Atlantic Region Coach of the Year
2014 — South Atlantic Region Coach of the Year and Peach Belt Conference Coach of the Year

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT SMITH
“Kermit Smith is one of the finest men I have ever been associated with in all my years in athletics. He is an excellent baseball coach and I am certain that he will lead Mountaineer baseball to championship level play. You get a chance ever decade or so, if you are lucky, to have on your staff a Kermit Smith. App State has hired a star. From the Bearcat baseball perspective it is a huge loss, but at the same time we are so happy for Coach Smith and his family. Finally, we cannot thank him enough for what he accomplished during his time here leading Bearcat baseball.”
– Jeff May, Vice President and Director of Athletics at Lander University

“As an alumnus of the Appalachian State baseball program, I am excited about Kermit Smith being hired as our next baseball coach. He brings experience, passion and a history of success to the program. He is also a man of high character who will represent the University in a positive manner at all times. I look forward to competing against him on the field while continuing to support his efforts to bring championships to Boone.”
– Rusty Stroupe, Head Baseball Coach at Gardner-Webb University

Thursday, 14 July 2016 23:34

App's Cox Named to Doak Walker Award Watch List

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For the second time in as many weeks, Appalachian State University football running back Marcus Cox (Dacula, Ga./Dacula) was named to a second preseason award watch list on Thursday, this time garnering recognition on the Doak Walker Award Watch List.

Cox was named to the Maxwell Award Watch List just last week.

Cox is one of 80 of the top tailbacks in the country and one of five running backs from the Sun Belt that are on the list. Joining Cox from the SBC is Jordan Chunn (Troy), Matt Breida (Georgia Southern), Larry Rose III (New Mexico State) and Jordan Rose (New Mexico State).

The App State tailback ranked 13th in the nation in rushing yards per game (118.6), 17th in rushing yards (1,423) and 20th in all-purpose yards per game (131.92). Cox was one of the top backs in the Sun Belt, as he ranked third in rushing yards and rushing yards per game. The workhorse eclipsed the century mark in rushing in eight of 12 games, including an impressive 24 carry, 162-yard performance in the Apps’ thrilling 31-29 win over Ohio in the 2015 Camellia Bowl.

App State's rushing offense was the sixth best in the nation averaging 271.5 yards per game and an average of 5.83 yards per rush.

Cox is the only student-athlete in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in his freshman, sophomore and junior seasons. Going into his final year, he is just 717 yards away the all-time rushing record of 4,804 rushing yards, held by Kevin Richardson (2004-07), and Cox needs just one more game of 100 yards to break his tie with John Settle (1983-86) for the most all-time at 23.

Appalachian State University football junior quarterback Taylor Lamb (Calhoun, Ga./Calhoun) landed on the Davey O’ Brien Preseason Watch List on Thursday as one of the top-30 quarterbacks in the nation.

The Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award is presented annually to the nation’s best college quarterback and is the oldest and most prestigious national quarterback award. The Davey O’Brien Award honors candidates who exemplify Davey O’Brien’s enduring character while exhibiting teamwork, sportsmanship and leadership in both academics and athletics.

Lamb, in his second year as the Apps’ signal caller and his first-full season starting behind center, did not disappoint running the offense. App State’s offense ranked first in the Sun Belt and 26th in the nation in total offense (467.3) while their scoring output at 36.7 points per game was a conference best and ranked 23rd in the country. Appalachian scored at least 30 points in 10 of 12 games, 40 points in five contests and a 50-point outing at UL Monroe. The Black and Gold averaged 40 points in their 11 wins in 2015.

His 31 touchdowns passes broke former Mountaineer Armanti Edwards’ single-season record in 2008 when Edwards threw for 30 touchdowns. Lamb was one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the country. His 160.7 passing efficieny rating was the 10th highest in the nation and first in the league. He ranked third in the Sun Belt in passing yards and was fourth in the conference in total offense (2,823 yards). His impressive numbers led to honorable-mention all-Sun Belt recognition.Lamb is the lone student-athlete from the conference to make the list.

To dive into Lamb’s season in more depth, the junior had thrown a touchdown pass in every game while throwing for multiple touchdowns in 10 of 12 contests. Lamb’s touchdown to interception ratio was near 3-to-1 and his 436 yards rushing was fourth on the squad with five rushing touchdowns.

Lamb is the fifth Mountaineer to be named to a preseason watch list so far, as Darian Small (Wuerffel), Marcus Cox (Maxwell), Barrett Burns (John Mackey) and Parker Collins (Outland) all have received preseason recognition.

Coming off an impressive 11-2 campaign in 2015 with a Camellia Bowl win over Ohio (31-29) and setting the record for the most wins in the Sun Belt, the Mountaineers return 17 starters. App State opens up the 2016 season on the road against Tennessee in Knoxville on Thursday, Sept. 1.

Caldwell County: 15
Queen City: 3
Caldwell County wins the series 3-1 and advances to Area IV Final Four

Gaston Braves: 15
Hickory: 2
Hickory loses the series 3-2.

The Hickory Crawdads came up with some 9th inning magic Wednesday afternoon, as the 'Dads scored the game-tying run with 2 outs in the final frame to force extra innings. Hickory's luck ran out in the 11th though, as the visiting Lakewood BlueClaws rallied for 3 runs that the Crawdads couldn't answer resulting in a 6-3 loss at L.P. Frans Stadium.

The 'Dads entered the 9th inning trailing the 'Claws 3-2, and watched as the first two batters were quickly retired. Down to the final out, Ti'Quan Forbes singled to right field then scored all the way from first on a single by Yeyson Yrizarri and an accompanying fielding error by Lakewood right fielder Jose Pujols to tie the game at 3-3. The score remained the same until the 11th, when the BlueClaws got to Hickory reliever Emerson Martinez for 3 runs on 2 hits, including a 2-run homer by Deivi Grullon, to hand the Crawdads a 6-3 loss.

The Crawdads took the initial lead on the afternoon when Josh Almann singled to start the 2nd inning, before eventually coming home on a 2-out, RBI triple from Forbes for a 1-0 score. That lasted until the top of the 4th, when Jose Pujols connected on a 2-out, 2-run home run to right off of Hickory starting pitcher Wes Benjamin to give the 'Claws a 2-1 advantage.

The 'Dads were able to tie the game in the 6th, with a single from Frandy De La Rosa, a two base throwing error by Lakewood reliever Skylar Hunter, and an RBI base knock by Tyler Sanchez combining to make the score 2-2.

The BlueClaws retook the lead on a controversial play in the top of the 7th, when Zach Coppola stepped to the plate with two runners on and two outs and hit a ground ball to second base that should have been the final out of the inning. As De La Rosa moved forward to field the ball however, he was run into by Lakewood baserunner Edgar Cabral, allowing the ball to roll into center field for an RBI single and a 3-2 'Claws lead. Hickory manager Steve Mintz was ejected following the play for arguing with the field umpire Jason Johnson.

The score remained the same until the 9th when the Crawdads rallied to tie the game at 3-3 before ultimately falling 6-3 in extras.

Martinez (0-2) took the loss for the 'Dads after giving up 3 runs on 2 hits and 2 walks in the 11th. BlueClaws reliever Jeff Singer (1-0) earned the win after allowing 1 unearned run on 2 hits and 4 strikeouts over 3 innings of work.

Yrizarri led the 'Dads bats with a 2-4 contest that stretched his hit streak to 6 consecutive games. Forbes also had a multi-hit day, going 2-3 with a triple, one RBI, a walk, and a run scored.

The Crawdads (9-11/47-43) will try to salvage the final game of their 3-game series vs. the BlueClaws (11-9/40-49) Thursday night, with first pitch scheduled for 7:00 pm.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016 22:09

App's Small Named to Wuerffel Trophy Watch List

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Appalachian State University football senior defensive lineman Darian Small (Hampton, Ga./Dutchtown) was tabbed to the Wuerffel Trophy Watch List on Wednesday for his service to the community and his work in the classroom.

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.

Small is one of a Wuerffel Trophy Watch List record 88 student-athletes from across the nation to land on the watch list and one of six student-athletes from the Sun Belt. Joining Small from the SBC are Blaise Taylor (Arkansas State), Keith Rucker (Georgia State), Karmichael Dunbar (UL Lafayette), Felix Romero (Texas State) and John Johnson (Troy).

In four years at App State, Small has worked with various organizations in the community, such as the Total Athlete Sport Complex, where each summer he was part of a program that promoted childhood activity and prevention of childhood obesity. Small is also a vacation bible school volunteer at First Baptist Church.

Among other community service, Small helps provide Christmas dinner for needy families at the CJM Ministry of Hope, while he is a two-time race volunteer in 2015 and 2016 that benefits the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and Girls on the Run.

Small being named to the Wuerffel Trophy Watch List makes it the fourth time this month a Mountaineer has been named to a preseason watch list, as Marcus Cox was named to the Maxwell Award Watch List, Barrett Burns was selected for the John Mackey Award Watch List and most recently Parker Collins landed on the Outland Trophy Watch List.

Coming off an impressive 11-2 campaign in 2015 with a Camellia Bowl win over Ohio (31-29) and setting the record for the most wins in the Sun Belt, the Mountaineers return 17 starters. App State opens up the 2016 season on the road against Tennessee in Knoxville on Thursday, Sept. 1.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016 23:41

Crawdads Lose Opener to Lakewood

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The Hickory Crawdads entered the 9th inning Tuesday night trailing the visiting Lakewood BlueClaws 2-1, before the 'Claws broke things open with 4 runs in the top of the frame. The 'Dads mounted their own rally to score 3 tallies and bring the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the frame, but the comeback stopped there as Hickory fell to Lakewood by the final score of 6-4 at L.P. Frans Stadium.

The final frame began with offense at a premium, with the Crawdads sporting 1 run on 5 hits while the BlueClaws held on to 2 runs on 8 hits. The bats erupted in the 9th however, as the two teams combined for 7 runs on 8 hits. The Hickory surge was sparked by newly named South Atlantic League Player of the Week Eduard Pinto, who singled to start the 9th as part of a 2-4 game that extended his hit streak to 9 games.

The 'Dads jumped out to an early lead in the 1st, when Pinto singled with two outs, Dylan Moore was hit by a pitch, and Josh Altmann delivered an RBI single for a 1-0 lead. The advantage would hold until the 6th, as Crawdads starting pitcher Matt Ball kept Lakewood off the board on 4 hits, 3 walks, and 5 strikeouts over 5 innings pitched.

The BlueClaws got on the board and took the lead in the 6th, with Wilson Garcia picking up an RBI groundout before Jose Pujols came through with an RBI base knock to right against reliever Blake Bass to give Lakewood a 2-1 lead. That would be the score when the 'Claws broke through for 4 runs on 5 hits in the 9th against reliever John Werner. The inning started with a strikeout before Cornelius Randolph doubled and Deivi Grullon connected on a 2-run home run to left. Emmanuel Marrero followed and a single and Zach Coppola walked to set the stage for Josh Tobias, who delivered a 2-RBI single to put Lakewood ahead 6-1.

Down but not out, Pinto kick started the Crawdads rally in the bottom of the 9th with a leadoff single before Moore drove him home on an RBI double. Altmann followed with a walk to bring up Yeyson Yrizarri, who picked up 2 RBI on a single to center. That made the score 6-4 with a runner on second base and nobody out, but that would be as close as the 'Dads would get as BlueClaws reliever Zach Morris came in and retired the next three batters to end the game.

Bass (3-2) took the loss for Hickory after giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and 1 strikeout over 3 innings out of the bullpen. Lakewood starting pitcher Sernathony Dominguez (1-1) earned the win with 1 run allowed on 5 hits, 1 walk, and 3 strikeouts over 6 innings pitched, while Morris (4) recorded the save after escaping the 9th.

Joining Pinto with a big night at the plate was Yrizarri, who extended his own hitting streak to 5 games with a 2-4 evening including 2 RBI and a stolen base. Moore also had a good game going 1-3 with a double, one RBI, and a run scored, while Altmann finished 1-3 with an RBI, a walk, a stolen base, and a run scored.

The Crawdads (9-10/47-42) and BlueClaws (10-9/39-49) will play again Wednesday afternoon at 12:00 pm in game two of their 3-game series.