Sports (302)

The Hickory Crawdads' struggling offense delivered one big blast Thursday night in Lakewood, NJ and the 'Dads pitching staff made it hold up, as Andy Ibanez's 2-run homer was the difference in a 2-0 Hickory victory over the BlueClaws at FirstEnergy Park.

The Crawdads entered the game having dropped 11 of their last 14, with the offense producing 2 runs or fewer in 9 of those games. The bats scuffled again Thursday but a 2-run homer by Ibanez in the 4th inning was all the Hickory hurlers needed, as Erik Swanson, Wes Benjamin, and John Werner combined to toss the club's third shutout of the year for a much-needed win.

The victory snaps a 3-game skid for the 'Dads and keeps them 4 games back of first place Hagerstown in the Northern Division race.

The game began with 3 scoreless frames, as Swanson battled Lakewood starter Franklyn Kilome. Kilome actually held the Crawdads hitless over the first three innings before surrendering a leadoff single to Yeyson Yrizarri to start the 4th. Ibanez followed with a line drive, 2-run home run just inside the left field foul pole to give Hickory a 2-0 lead. The homer proved to be controversial, as BlueClaws manager Shawn Williams was ejected arguing that it had gone foul.

Those two runs were all the 'Dads pitchers would need. Swanson (4-1) earned the win with 5 scoreless innings pitched on 3 hits, no walks, and 3 strikeouts. Benjamin followed with 4.2 shutout frames before running into trouble with 2 outs in the 9th when both Wilson Garcia and Deivi Grullon singled to bring the winning run to the plate in the form of South Atlantic League home run leader Jose Pujols. Werner entered the game and tossed a wild pitch to put the tying runs in scoring position before striking out Pujols to end the game and earn his 4th save of the year.

Kilome (1-5) took the loss for Lakewood with 2 runs given up on 4 hits, 5 walks, and 1 strikeout over 5.1 IP.

Ibanez finished the night 1-3 with his team-leading 5th home run of the year, 2 RBI, and a walk. Yrizarri went 1-4 with a run scored, while Eduard Pinto ended the game 2-3 with a walk.

The Crawdads (30-23) will play the BlueClaws (20-33) again Friday night, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 pm.

Justin Aspegren was named Appalachian State University baseball’s interim head coach on Thursday.

Aspegren, who joined Appalachian State’s baseball staff as pitching coach last fall, will lead the program while a national search for a new head coach is conducted. He will also serve as App State’s baseball camp director.

In his first season as the Mountaineers’ pitching coach, Aspegren guided one of the nation’s youngest staffs. Fifty-two of Appalachian’s 54 games were started by true freshmen in 2016. Two of Appalachian State’s true freshman starters —Breydan Gorham (Burlington, N.C./Western Alamance) and Colin Schmid (New Bern, N.C./New Bern) — combined for a 4-2 record, 3.36 ERA, 67 strikeouts, 29 walks and .251 opponents’ batting average over the final two months of the campaign.

Prior to his arrival at App State, Aspegren spent eight seasons as associate head coach and pitching coach at Santa Barbara (Calif.) City College, where he helped establish SBCC as one of the nation’s top junior-college programs. He has also coached in some of the nation’s most prestigious collegiate summer leagues, including stints in the Cape Cod Baseball League (pitching coach, Brewster White Caps - 2009-10), Valley Baseball League (head coach, Haymarket Senators - 2011-12) and California Collegiate League (pitching coach, Santa Barbara Foresters - 2014-15).

Appalachian State offers two camps (Junior Elite — June 27-30; Elite Overnight — July 17-21) and one prospect showcase (August 13) this summer at Beaver Field at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium. For more information and to register online, visit appstatesports.com/baseball.

The second place Hickory Crawdads matched up with the third place Delmarva Shorebirds for a big doubleheader Wednesday night, but the pivotal series turned into a tough night at the park for the 'Dads as they dropped both games with 2-0 and 6-1 losses at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium.

The two clubs were supposed to play a 3-game series, but back-to-back rainouts condensed the matchup to just a single doubleheader. The Crawdads entered the night 2.5 games back of first place Hagerstown in the South Atlantic League Northern Division and a half game ahead of the Shorebirds but the scuffling 'Dads ended the night with two losses to drop to third place, 4 games back of the Suns.

Game 1 was a pitchers' duel between Pedro Payano for Hickory and Cristian Alvarado for Delmarva. The only runs in the contest came in the bottom of the 3rd, when ninth place batter Drew Turbin singled to right to start the frame before coming home to score on an RBI triple by Cedric Mullins. Two outs later, Mullins scored as well on a wild a wild pitch from Payano for a 2-0 Shorebirds lead.

The Crawdads had multiple scoring opportunities throughout the game, especially early, as the club left men in scoring position in each of the first four frames. The 'Dads ended the night outhitting the 'Birds 9-6 but stranding 10 men on base, 7 in scoring position, to end the game with a 2-0 shutout defeat.

Payano (1-2) took the loss for Hickory with 2 runs allowed on 5 hits, 1 walk, and 4 strikeouts over 5 innings pitched, while Alvarado (3-4) earned the win for Delmarva after throwing 5 scoreless innings on 6 hits, 1 walk, and 4 Ks. Shorebirds reliever Garrett Cleavenger (2) picked up the save with 2 shutout innings out of the bullpen.

The nightcap saw the 'Birds jump out to a 3-0 advantage in the 2nd. Alex Murphy started the rally with a leadoff double off of 'Dads starter Jonathan Hernandez, followed two batters later by an RBI, groundball single to center by Steve Laurino. Ricardo Andujar singled one out later before Turbin delivered a 2-RBI double to left for the 3-run Delmarva lead.

The Shorebirds doubled the score two innings later in the 4th, when Austin Anderson laced a solo home run to right and Turbin lined a 2-run, inside-the-park homer to center field for a 6-0 'Dads deficit. The Crawdads scored their first and only run of the night in the top of the 5th when Yeyson Yrizarri doubled with two outs before eventually scoring on a fielding error by Anderson at third base for the final 6-1 score.

Hernandez (5-4) was handed the loss after allowing 6 runs on 6 hits, 2 walks, and 2 strikeouts over 5 IP. 'Birds starter Reid Love (3-3) earned the win with 1 unearned run given up on 6 hits, 1 walk, and 5 strikeouts during his 5.2 innings pitched.

Yrizarri led the Hickory hitters in the twinbill, going 3-3 with a double in game 1 before finishing 1-3 with a double and a run scored in the nightcap. Andy Ibanez also had a good night, going 3-6 combined between the two contests.

The Crawdads (29-23) will now head to Lakewood, NJ for a 3-game series against the BlueClaws. First pitch Thursday night is scheduled for 7:05 pm.

As part of its end-of-year award announcements, the Sun Belt identified the members of Leadership Team, which includes one representative from each member institution. Appalachian State’s representative is women’s cross country/track and field’s Tristin Van Ord (Chapel Hill, N.C./Chapel Hill).

In just three years, Van Ord has already established herself as one of the most academically and athletically accomplished student-athletes in Appalachian State history.

A member of Appalachian State’s women’s cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field teams, Van Ord is a seven-time Sun Belt Conference individual champion. She won four Sun Belt titles in 2015-16 alone, with victories in the 3,000 and 5,000 meters at the indoor conference championships and the 5,000 and 10,000 meters at the league’s outdoor championships. She is also a two-time runner-up at the Sun Belt cross country championships (2014 and 2015).

Thanks to her wins in the 3,000- and 5,000-meter races, she contributed 20 of the 101.5 points that Appalachian State needed to win the 2016 Sun Belt Indoor Track and Field title by just two points. The championship was the first Sun Belt title ever claimed by the Mountaineers.

In the classroom, Van Ord carries a 3.87 cumulative grade point average in one of Appalachian State’s most demanding majors – sustainability development. She also minors in Spanish.

Asheville: 12
Taylorsville: 2

Caldwell County: 6
Hickory: 4

Rutherford County: 7
Burke County: 6

Appalachian State University swept the Sun Belt Conference’s most prestigious individual academic awards on Wednesday when women’s soccer’s Sam Childress (Kernersville, N.C./East Forsyth) and football’s Cody McKinney (Vilas, N.C./Watauga) were named Sun Belt’s Male and Female Postgraduate Scholar-Athletes of the Year, respectively.

The awards include $6,500 apiece for Childress and McKinney to pursue further education. Scholarship funding comes from the Sun Belt Conference’s 2015-16 bowl partners — the R+L Carriers New Orleans, the GoDaddy.com Bowl, the Raycom Camellia Bowl and the AutoNation Cure Bowl.

A key component of Appalachian State’s women’s soccer program over the last four years. Childress scored 25 goals, including 11 game-winners, over 73 matches as a Mountaineer. She made 64 starts during her four-year career, including all 20 games as a senior in 2015.

The forward ranks among the top 10 in App State history in several offensive statistical categories, including career goals (25, t-2nd), career points (54, 6th), and career shots (156, 6th).

In the classroom, Childress maintained a 3.95 cumulative grade point average and was a member of the Appalachian State Chancellor’s list. She graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in appropriate technology. She was awarded a postgraduate scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in environmental management at Duke University.

In addition to being a standout on the field and in the classroom, Childress took part in many community service initiatives, including installing solar projects in Nicaragua and Costa Rica in 2014.

A four-year football student-athlete, McKinney arrived at Appalachian State as a walk-on in 2012 and worked his way into a key role as a special-teams contributor for the Mountaineers.

On the field, McKinney served primarily on Appalachian State’s kickoff-return unit but also made two career tackles as a linebacker. Off the field, he served as one of the emotional and spiritual leaders for a team that won a Sun Belt Conference-record 11 games in 2015.

McKinney graduated from Appalachian State in May with a 3.96 cumulative grade point average in accounting. He earned a perfect 4.0 grade point average six times in his final seven collegiate semesters.

He will continue his education at App State this fall when he begins work towards a master’s degree.

Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Haylea Salamon has been named to the 2015-16 CoSIDA Academic All-District III Team for Women’s Track and Field and Cross Country. CoSIDA is the College Sports Information Directors of America.

Salamon, a sophomore from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, CANADA, carries a 3.94 grade point average while majoring in exercise science.

Salamon is a member of the Lenoir-Rhyne Women’s Track and Field Team and excels in the field events: shot put, discus, hammer, weight throw and javelin.

Salamon is the two-time defending South Atlantic Conference Champion in the women’s discus (2015-16) and was named the SAC Women’s Field Athlete Of The Year twice for her efforts. In addition, Salamon was voted on as the South Atlantic Conference Freshman Of The Year for Women’s Track and Field in 2015.

Salamon earned 2015 NCAA Division II Second-Team All-American honors after finishing 12th in the women’s discus at the national championship meet in Allendale, Mich. Salamon holds the school record in the discus (154’11”) and shot put (38’11”) for outdoor track and field.

To be eligible for Academic All-America® consideration, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.30 on a scale of 4.00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at her current institution and be nominated by her sports information director.

Since the program's beginning in 1952, CoSIDA has bestowed Academic All-America honors on more than 20,000 student-athletes in Divisions I, II, III and NAIA, covering all NCAA championship sports.

2015-16 CoSIDA Academic All-District
Women's Track & Field/Cross Country Teams
NCAA Division II - District 3

Alyssa Johnson, WINGATE, Jr., San Jose, Calif., 4.00, Elementary Education

Valerie Griesche, WINGATE, So., Ingolstadt, Germany, 4.00, Biology

Maia Kuhnen, CLAYTON STATE, Gr., Trier, Germany, 3.90, Psychology and Human Service (Master's)

Haylea Salamon, LENOIR-RHYNE, So., Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, CANADA, 3.94, Exercise Science

Tori Gaul, CARSON-NEWMAN, So., Salisbury, N.C., 4.00, Biology, Health Professions

Rachel Pasko, GEORGIA COLLEGE, Sr., Jefferson, Ga., 3.80, Biology

Nicole Smith, YOUNG HARRIS, Sr., Ball Ground, Ga., 3.87, Education

Johanna Schonecker, QUEENS, Jr., Poecking, Germany, 4.00, Environmental Science

Cheyenne Thompson, MONTEVALLO, Jr., Chelsea, Ala., 4.00, Biochemistry

Darina Drozdova, CLAYTON STATE, Jr., St. Petersburg, Russia, 3.95, Communication and Media Studies

Beginning this weekend and continuing throughout the summer, fans can get an up-close look at Appalachian State University football’s Raycom Media Camellia Bowl championship trophy as it makes its way throughout western North Carolina as part of the Yosef ‘16 season ticket holder referral program.

The Camellia Bowl trophy tour is currently scheduled to make several stops across western N.C. over the next two months, beginning on Thursday at Taste of Avery in Banner Elk.

Fans are encouraged to attend a nearby tour event to take a #Yoselfie with the Camellia Bowl trophy, pick up a 2016 Appalachian State football poster and meet with App State athletics staff members. Mountaineer coaches and student-athletes will also be in attendance at select events.

More stops are expected to be added throughout the summer. Follow the Appalachian State athletics office of promotions and fan engagement on Twitter at @appstpromo for updates.

Thursday, June 2 (AVERY COUNTY)
Taste of Avery, 6-8:30 p.m.
Best Western Lodge — 1615 Tynecastle Hwy, Banner Elk, NC 28604

Friday, June 3 (MITCHELL COUNTY)
• Market on Oak Street, 3-5 p.m.
262 Oak Ave., Spruce Pine, NC 28777

• Spruce Pine Music in the Park, 5:30-7 p.m.
Riverside Park — 305 Tappan St., Spruce Pine, NC 28777

Saturday, June 4 (WATAUGA COUNTY)
• Blowing Rock Shriner’s Parade (“Salute to Our Veterans”), 2 p.m.
Main Street, Blowing Rock

• Blowing Rock Shriner’s Vendor Park, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Blowing Rock City Park

Friday, June 10 (BURKE COUNTY)
• Burke County Square, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Historic Burke County Courthouse — 102 E. Union St., Morganton, NC 28655

• TGIF Burke Summer Concert Series, 5:30 p.m.
Historic Burke County Courthouse — 102 E. Union St., Morganton, NC 28655

Thursday, June 16 (ALLEGHANY COUNTY)
• Alleghany County Rotary Club, 7 a.m.
Alleghany Memorial Hospital Solarium, 233 Doctors St., Sparta, NC 28675

Friday, June 17 (ALEXANDER COUNTY)
• Rocky Face Mountain Park, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
3451 Rocky Face Church Rd., Hiddenite, NC, 28636

• Hiddenite Arts & Heritage Center Summer on the Square, 5:30 p.m.
Alexander County Courthouse Lawn — 29 W. Main Ave., Taylorsville, NC
Rain location: The Center’s Education Complex, 70 Hiddenite Church Road

Monday, July 18 (WILKES COUNTY)
• North Wilkesboro Rotary Club, 6:30 p.m.
Brushy Mountain Smokehouse and Creamery — 201 Wilkesboro Blvd., North Wilkesboro, NC 28659

Friday, July 22 (ALLEGHANY COUNTY)
Blue Ridge Mountain Fair
Crouse Park — 60 Cherry St., Sparta, NC 28675

Asheville: 11
Hickory: 1

Taylorsville: 9
Burke County: 2