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The Hickory Crawdads received a jolt of offense when Jose Almonte clubbed a 2-run home run in his first at-bat in nearly 3 weeks Monday night, but that would be all the 'Dads bats could muster as Hickory fell to the visiting Greensboro Grasshoppers by a final score of 5-2 at L.P. Frans Stadium.

Almonte rejoined the Crawdads following an 18-day stint on the Extended Spring Training roster and promptly lined a go-ahead, 2-out, 2-run home run to left in his first at-bat in the 2nd inning. That big blast proved to be the last burst of offense for the 'Dads however, as Hickory was held scoreless on a hit, a walk, and hit batter over the remaining 7 innings.

Greensboro jumped on top of the Crawdads with a run in the top of the 2nd, as Roy Morales drew a leadoff walk off of 'Dads starter Pedro Payano before stealing second base and scoring on an RBI double from Justin Twine for a 1-0 Grasshoppers lead. Hickory responded in the bottom of the frame with a leadoff, infield single by Dylan Moore followed two outs later by Almonte's 2-run blast to left to give the Crawdads a 2-1 advantage.

The 'Hoppers quickly tied the score with an unearned tally in the 3rd, when Casey Stolis walked, was sacrificed over to second, and eventually scored on a fielding error by 'Dads third baseman Frandy De La Rosa to deadlock the game at 2-2.

Both starting pitchers settled in from there, with Payano going 6 total innings with 2 runs allowed, 1 earned run, on 4 hits, 3 walks, and 8 strikeouts. Greensboro starter Chris Paddack lasted 4.1 IP with 2 runs given up on 4 hits.

The score remained tied until the 7th, when the Grasshoppers mounted a 2-out rally against Hickory reliever Blake Bass to score 3 runs for a 5-2 lead. Bass began the inning with back-to-back strikeouts before walking Soltis and allowing a single to Anfernee Seymour. The righty reliever looked to be out of the inning when the next batter, Zach Sullivan, hit a ground ball to third, but De La Rosa threw low to first base with the resulting error allowing a run to score and the frame to continue. Two batters later, Morales delivered a 2-RBI single to left to give the 'Hoppers the 5-2 advantage they would go on to win by.

Bass (2-1) took the loss for the Crawdads with 3 unearned runs allowed on 3 hits, 2 walks, and 2 strikeouts in his 1 inning pitched. Grasshoppers' reliever Jeff Kinley (5-2) earned the win after tossing 2.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen.

Almonte finished the game 1-2 with his 5th homer of the season and a hit-by-pitch, while Moore went 1-4 with a run scored.

The Crawdads (32-24) and Grasshoppers (30-27) will play again Tuesday night at 7:00 pm in game two of the 3-game series.

Gaston Braves: 15
Maiden: 5

Rutherford County: 12
Hickory: 5

Taylorsville: 7
Henderson: 2

Lenoir-Rhyne University has elevated Luis Velez to Director of Strength & Conditioning and Assistant Athletic Trainer. Velez, a 2001 graduate of LR, has been an athletic trainer, preceptor and adjunct instructor for Lenoir-Rhyne for the past 11 years.

“I am very excited to have this unique opportunity to serve Lenoir-Rhyne athletics in this capacity,” said Velez. “My goal is to promote injury prevention while enhancing athletic performance. I look forward to working together with our coaches to address the sport-specific fitness needs of their teams. I want to thank (Director of Athletics) Kim Pate and (Associate AD & Head Athletic Trainer) Michael Flicker for their guidance and support in presenting me with this role.”

Velez has worked at Lenoir-Rhyne since the fall of 2005 and served as the primary athletic trainer for several sports including men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s tennis and baseball.

In addition, Velez has taught courses in Lenoir-Rhyne University’s School of Health, Exercise, and Sports Science and directed speed and conditioning academies for Bears’ student-athletes and local youths in the summer.

“We are truly blessed to have someone of Luis’ (Velez) caliber on staff to develop a top-notch strength & conditioning program that will quickly outmatch any others across Division II. Luis brings a tremendous background in strength and conditioning and incredible passion to develop student-athletes to their full performance potential,” said Kim Pate, Lenoir-Rhyne’s Director of Athletics. “He is highly respected by the coaches and student-athletes and was instrumental this past year in developing the men’s basketball team’s strength and conditioning program on their way to a historical NCAA Division II Sweet 16 appearance.”

Prior to Lenoir-Rhyne, Velez worked two years at Florida Tech (2003-05) in Melbourne, Fla., where he served as an Assistant Athletic Trainer.

Velez earned his bachelor’s degree in sports medicine/athletic training before receiving has master’s degree in education with a concentration in health and exercise science from Furman University in 2003.

Pate also touched on a newly-established structure to support a comprehensive sports performance program for Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics:

“I’m pleased to announce the new staffing structure to support a comprehensive strength and conditioning program for all 22 Lenoir-Rhyne intercollegiate athletics teams,” said Pate. “This enhancement is extremely important to support player development, player safety & injury prevention, and ultimately position our teams to perform and compete at the highest level. Our vision is to develop one of the top sports performance programs across DII focused on a holistic and innovative approach to player development.”

Michael Flicker will assume the role of Associate Athletic Director of Sport Performance in addition to his current duties as Head Athletic Trainer at Lenoir-Rhyne. The sports performance program will incorporate all facets of sports performance including nutrition, mental wellness, sport analytics and rest and recovery.

“I’m excited for Kim’s (Pate) development of this sports performance program for Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics,” said Flicker. “I am very pleased Luis (Velez) will be taking on the director of strength and conditioning role in addition to his athletic training duties.”

“We will also look to add two graduate assistant positions to assist Luis (Velez) with strength and conditioning while working with the School of Health, Exercise, and Sports Science to foster a positive relationship in support of student learning opportunities as well as to maximize use of the resources on campus,” said Pate.

Appalachian State University wrestling’s Denzel Dejournette (Winston-Salem, N.C./R.J. Reynolds) and Cary Miller (Greensboro, N.C./Northwest Guilford) competed in the University Freestyle Nationals Tournament over the weekend held at the Louis & Freda Stile Athletic Fieldhouse at the University of Akron. Dejournette represented the Mountaineers with a solid eighth-place finish at the tournament.

Miller and Dejournette were two of 60 student-athletes that took part in the tournament in the 125KG weight division.

Featuring wrestlers from schools such as Purdue, North Carolina, Maryland and Indiana, the 2015-16 SoCon Wrestler of the Year in Dejournette held his own with a 6-2 mark overall while reeling off six-consecutive victories in the consolation bracket and ending up in the seventh-place match. Four of his wins resulted in technical fall and the other two via decision.

For Miller, the grappler won his first round match before ending up in the consolation bracket and earning a triumph as well.

The Mountaineers are coming off a historic season with a SoCon Conference Championship, a SoCon Coach of the Year Award (JohnMark Bentley), SoCon Wrestler of the Year (Dejournette), three conference individual championships and a solid showing at the NCAA Championships at Madison Square Garden.

Hickory: 11
Maiden: 1

Hickory Motor Speedway
Race Results for 6/4/2016

4-Cylinders - Feature
Finish Car No Driver Hometown DQ/DNS/DNF
1 2 Charlie Neill Hickory, NC
2 00G Eddie Gilbert Newton, NC
3 17 Curtis Pardue Hickory, NC
4 11 Robert Trivette Newton, NC
5 6T Rodney Trivette Newton, NC
6 4M Dylan Mundy Concord, NC
7 9 Cody Combs Lenoir, NC
8 59 Donn Wardo Harmony, NC
9 98 Rob Lewis Morganton, NC

4-Cylinders - Qualifying
Finish Car No Driver Hometown DQ/DNS/DNF
1 2 Charlie Neill Hickory, NC
2 17 Curtis Pardue Hickory, NC
3 00G Eddie Gilbert Newton, NC
4 11 Robert Trivette Newton, NC
5 6T Rodney Trivette Newton, NC
6 9 Cody Combs Lenoir, NC
7 4M Dylan Mundy Concord, NC
8 59 Donn Wardo Harmony, NC
9 98 Rob Lewis Morganton, NC DNS

Classic Sportsman Racing - Feature
Finish Car No Driver Hometown DQ/DNS/DNF
1 95G Eddie Gilbert Newton, NC
2 16 Bill Webb Statesville, NC
3 4H Dennis Hinkle Hickory, NC
4 71P Bill Powell Newton, NC
5 6W Robert Webb Harmony, NC
6 90R Gary Rudisill Taylorsville, NC

Classic Sportsman Racing - Qualifying
Finish Car No Driver Hometown DQ/DNS/DNF
1 95G Eddie Gilbert Newton, NC
2 16 Bill Webb Statesville, NC
3 71P Bill Powell Newton, NC
4 6W Robert Webb Harmony, NC
5 4H Dennis Hinkle Hickory, NC
6 90R Gary Rudisill Taylorsville, NC DNS

Late Model - Feature
Finish Car No Driver Hometown DQ/DNS/DNF
1 88B Josh Berry Hendersonville, TN
2 1E Christian Eckes Middletown, NY
3 18P Casey Pierce Lenoir, NC
4 5C Dexter Canipe, Jr. Conover, NC
5 21P Matt Piercy Conover, NC
6 25D Kate Dallenbach Mooresville, NC
7 57C Justin Carroll Concord, NC
8 28B Brandon Setzer Newton, NC
9 17M Ryan Millington Statesville, NC
10 82M Dylan Martin Concord, NC
11 15O Omar Jurado Huntersville, NC
12 27 Travis Byrd Sherrills Ford, NC

Late Model - Qualifying
Finish Car No Driver Hometown DQ/DNS/DNF
1 88B Josh Berry Hendersonville, TN
2 5C Dexter Canipe, Jr. Conover, NC
3 57C Justin Carroll Concord, NC
4 21P Matt Piercy Conover, NC
5 18P Casey Pierce Lenoir, NC
6 28B Brandon Setzer Newton, NC
7 25D Kate Dallenbach Mooresville, NC
8 17M Ryan Millington Statesville, NC
9 1E Christian Eckes Middletown, NY
10 82M Dylan Martin Concord, NC
11 27 Travis Byrd Sherrills Ford, NC
12 15O Omar Jurado Huntersville, NC

Limited Late Model - Feature
Finish Car No Driver Hometown DQ/DNS/DNF
1 18S Evan Swilling Cohutta, GA
2 34 Pat Rachels China Grove, NC
3 10 Ryan Vasconcellos Sherrills Ford, NC
4 29 Mitch Walker Newton, NC
5 51 Jeremy Pelfrey Lenoir, NC
6 13J Mark Johnson Newton, NC
7 11C Dawson Cram Mooresville, NC
8 11 Dillon Houser Hildebran, NC
9 14A Akinori Ogata Mooresville, NC
10 12D Evan Duggins Tobaccoville, NC
11 26 Nicholas Pope Taylorsville, NC
12 32 Brandon Cox Taylorsville, NC
13 3D Dylan Oliver Stanley, NC
14 46 Thad Moffitt Concord, NC
15 88 Karsyn Elledge Mooresville, NC
16 77G Lexi Gay Canton, GA
17 41 Dennis Trivette Newton, NC
18 21 Monty Cox Granite Falls, NC
19 22 Dan Moore Conover, NC
20 19H Blake Humphrey Cornelius, NC

Limited Late Model - Qualifying
Finish Car No Driver Hometown DQ/DNS/DNF
1 18S Evan Swilling Cohutta, GA
2 13J Mark Johnson Newton, NC
3 34 Pat Rachels China Grove, NC
4 11 Dillon Houser Hildebran, NC
5 21 Monty Cox Granite Falls, NC
6 51 Jeremy Pelfrey Lenoir, NC
7 22 Dan Moore Conover, NC
8 10 Ryan Vasconcellos Sherrills Ford, NC
9 12D Evan Duggins Tobaccoville, NC
10 88 Karsyn Elledge Mooresville, NC
11 29 Mitch Walker Newton, NC
12 26 Nicholas Pope Taylorsville, NC
13 3D Dylan Oliver Stanley, NC
14 77G Lexi Gay Canton, GA
15 11C Dawson Cram Mooresville, NC
16 32 Brandon Cox Taylorsville, NC
17 46 Thad Moffitt Concord, NC
18 14A Akinori Ogata Mooresville, NC
19 19H Blake Humphrey Cornelius, NC
20 41 Dennis Trivette Newton, NC

Street Stocks - Feature
Finish Car No Driver Hometown DQ/DNS/DNF
1 9T Kevin Townsend Lenoir, NC
2 3 Kevin Eby Lenior, NC
3 18D Cody DeMarmels Newton, NC
4 64 Marshall Sutton Burnsville, NC
5 32J Jeremy Harrell Newton, NC
6 16 Carroll McKinney Hildebran, NC
7 25 Colby Gibson Arden, NC
8 77P Mark Whitten Hogtown, VA
9 69 Trey Buff Hickory, NC
10 10 Ethan Johnson Hudson, NC

Street Stocks - Qualifying
Finish Car No Driver Hometown DQ/DNS/DNF
1 3 Kevin Eby Lenior, NC
2 9T Kevin Townsend Lenoir, NC
3 32J Jeremy Harrell Newton, NC
4 18D Cody DeMarmels Newton, NC
5 64 Marshall Sutton Burnsville, NC
6 16 Carroll McKinney Hildebran, NC
7 69 Trey Buff Hickory, NC
8 77P Mark Whitten Hogtown, VA
9 10 Ethan Johnson Hudson, NC
10 25 Colby Gibson Arden, NC DQ

The Hickory Crawdads' bats stayed hot for a second straight night Saturday, as the 'Dads offense struck early and often to power Hickory to a 7-2 win and a 3-game series sweep over the Lakewood BlueClaws at FirstEnergy Park.

A Crawdads lineup that produced just 6 total runs in the team's previous 4 games followed up their 8-run, 10-hit performance on Friday with a 7-run, 11-hit outburst on Saturday. The surge was powered with four separate players posting a multi-hit game, led by Andy Ibanez who went 3-4 with 2 home runs, 3 RBI, and 3 runs scored.

The 'Dads bats quickly jumped on BlueClaws' starting pitcher Jose Taveras with 3 runs in the 1st inning for a 3-0 lead out of the gate. Yeyson Yrizarri started the rally when he reached on a one-out fielding error by Lakewood third baseman Jan Hernandez. Ibanez followed with a single to left before Tyler Sanchez was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Dylan Moore, who drove in the first run with an RBI groundout to short. Eduard Pinto then delivered the frame's big blow with a 2-out, 2-RBI double to right to give the Crawdads a 3-run lead.

Ibanez stretched the advantage to 4-0 in the 3rd when he lined a one-out, solo home run to left for his first long ball of the game. Hickory picked up another single tally in the 4th when Ti'Quan Forbes singled to right with one out, moved to second base on a wild pitch, and came home to score on an RBI double to left by Frandy De La Rosa for a 5-0 Hickory lead.

Ibanez put the cherry on top of the big offensive night in the 5th, when the slugging second baseman launched a 2-run bomb inside the left field foul pole for his second big fly of the night and a 7-0 Crawdads advantage.

That was more than enough support for 'Dads starting pitcher Peter Fairbanks, who began the night with only one hit allowed over 5 shutout innings. The 'Claws finally got to the Hickory hurler in the 6th with a single from Carlos Duran, an RBI triple by Emmanuel Marrero, and an RBI base knock from Josh Tobias to make the score 7-2. Fairbanks escaped the inning with a double play however, and turned the ball over to relievers Joe Palumbo and Matt Ball who combined for 3 scoreless frames to finish off the Hickory victory.

Fairbanks (3-2) earned the win for his solid start, while Taveras (2-4) took the loss after allowing 7 runs, 4 earned, on 10 hits, 1 walk, and 5 strikeouts.

Pinto (2-5, 2B, 2 RBI) De La Rosa (2-3, 2B, RBI, BB) and Forbes (2-4, BB, R) joined Ibanez with multi-hit games, while Yrizarri ended the night 1-5 with 2 runs scored.

The Crawdads (32-23) have an off day on Sunday before opening a 3-game series against the Greensboro Grasshoppers Monday at L.P. Frans Stadium.

Hickory: 17
Henderson County: 7

Saturday, 04 June 2016 20:57

Hickory Crawdads Offense Opens Up in 8-3 Win

Written by

The Hickory Crawdads' offense was able to shake off their recent struggles with a breakout inning Friday night, as the 'Dads bats erupted for 7 runs in the 7th inning to power the club to an 8-3 win over the Lakewood BlueClaws at FirstEnergy Park.

The Crawdads entered the 7th on the wrong end of a 3-0 shutout and with only one hit on the night. The game completely changed in the half inning however, with 12 'Dads batters stepping to the plate and producing 7 runs on 7 hits for a 7-3 lead. The offensive explosion tied the Crawdads' biggest inning of the year and produced more runs than the team's last 4 games combined.

The victory gave Hickory back-to-back wins for the first time since May 16th & 17th in Lexington, while also leapfrogged the Crawdads past the Delmarva Shorebirds for 2nd place in the South Atlantic League Northern Division, 4 games back of 1st place Hagerstown.

The game began with the BlueClaws slowly building a 3-0 advantage with single runs in the 1st, 3rd, and 6th innings. The 'Claws got to 'Dads starting pitcher Dillon Tate in the opening inning with a leadoff double by Emmanuel Marrero followed two outs later by an RBI double from Wilson Garcia for a 1-0 Lakewood lead. The BlueClaws doubled the score to 2-0 in the 3rd when Josh Tobias was hit by a pitch with two outs, stole second base, moved to third on a throwing error by catcher Tyler Sanchez, and scored on a wild pitch from Tate.

Lakewood stretched their advantage to 3-0 and chased Tate from the game in the 6th, when Jiandido Tromp connected on a solo home run to left center field with 2 outs.

The Crawdads' decisive 7th inning began with an out, as Sanchez struck out against 'Claws reliever Skylar Hunter. Dylan Moore followed with a single to left and was able to move to third base on a two-base throwing error by Hunter on a pickoff throw. Eduard Pinto got the 'Dads on the board with an RBI single to left to cut the score to 3-1.

Ti'Quan Forbes followed with a walk to put two runners on before Josh Altmann laced an opposite field, 2-RBI triple to right that scored both Pinto and Forbes to tie the game at 3-3. Lakewood brought in right-handed reliever Jacob Waguespack to try to stop the rally, but Yeyson Yrizarri greeted the new hurler by lining the first pitch he saw into right field for an RBI double and a 4-3 Hickory lead.

The surge continued from there, as Eric Jenkins lined an RBI triple to dead center field, Chris Garia roped an RBI single to left, and Andy Ibanez came through with an RBI base knock to center to cap off the monster frame and give the Crawdads a 7-3 advantage.

The 'Dads tacked on one last run in the top of the 9th when Jenkins laced his second triple of the night to right before coming home two batters later on an RBI single to left by Ibanez for the final 8-3 score.

Eight of the 9 Crawdads batters finished the game reaching base safely at least once, while seven hitters recorded a hit and 6 picked up an RBI. Both Ibanez (2-5, 2 RBI) and Altmann (1-4, 3B, 2 RBI, R) finished with multi-RBI games, while Jenkins went 2-5 with 2 triples, 2 runs scored, and an RBI and Garia completed the game 2-4 with a triple, one RBI, a run scored, and two stolen bases.

Hickory reliever Omarlin Lopez (4-1) earned the win with 1.1 scoreless innings out of the bullpen, while Hunter (0-1) took the loss in his SAL debut after giving up 4 runs on 3 hits, 1 walk, and 2 strikeouts.

Tate received a no-decision for his work, as the 'Dads starter went 5.2 innings with 3 runs allowed, 2 earned, on 7 hits, one walk, and 8 Ks.

The Crawdads (31-23) will go for the 3-game sweep over the BlueClaws (20-34) in the series finale Saturday night, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 pm.