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Lenoir-Rhyne University's Kevin Baxter placed first in his heat in the preliminaries of the men's 110-meter hurdles Friday at the 2014 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships and advanced to the finals at Grand Valley State Stadium.

Baxter, a sophomore from Columbia, S.C., finished with a 14.15 in the third of three heats. The finals, which features nine competitors, takes place on Saturday at 5:55pm.

Friday, 23 May 2014 22:05

App State Men's Basketball Signs Three

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Appalachian State men’s basketball head coach Jim Fox announced the addition of three players to his squad for the 2014-15 season. All three signees will join the Mountaineers for Fox’s inaugural season after enjoying outstanding prep careers. The group consists of guard Jake Babic (Oakville, Ontario/The Kiski School) and forwards Griffin Kinney (Delaware, Ohio/Fork Union Military Academy) and Milos Kostic (Hammond, Ind./IMG Academy).

“I am excited to add these players to our roster,” said Fox. “They represent a solid foundation for which to build on both on the court and in the classroom. They provide toughness, versatility and skill to our roster. They have been tested at some of the best high schools and prep schools in the country and I am excited to get them here and have them begin working on contributing to the rebuilding of App State basketball."

Jake Babic
6-5 • 183 • Guard
Oakville, Ontario
The Kiski School

Babic comes to Appalachian after an outstanding prep career that saw him . During the 2013-14 season, Babic attended The Kiski School in Saltsburg, Pa. where he averaged 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists per game to earn MVP honors for the Cougars. He played high school ball at St. Ignatius of Loyola in Oakville, Ontario and earned MVP honors as a junior and senior as well as Athlete of the Year accolades. Babic averaged 21 points, eight assists and five rebounds per game in his high school career. He also played AAU ball for the Northern Kings where he averaged 17 points, six assists and five rebounds. A multi-sport athlete, Babic also lettered in volleyball, soccer and badminton in high school and was named as MVP of the volleyball team as a senior.

Griffin Kinney
6-8 • 220 • Forward
Delaware, Ohio
Fork Union Military Academy

Kinney will join the Mountaineers following one year at Fork Union Military Academy where he averaged 15 points and six rebounds per game. He provides Appalachian with an additional inside presence who can also step out and connect from long range. An athletic forward, Kinney also played lacrosse in high school, helping lead Hayes (Ohio) High School to a OHSLA Club Division state title as a senior while scoring seven goals in the state championship match en route to offensive MVP honors.

Milos Kostic
6-8 • 225 • Forward
Hammond, Ind.
IMG Academy

Kostic spent one season at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. following a highly successful high-school career at Bishop Noll (Ind.). In his one year at IMG, the Serbian-born Kostic averaged 16 points and seven rebounds while helping lead his squad to a 24-2 mark during the regular season and a spot in the prestigious, eight-team National Prep Championships. He also provides the Mountaineers with a solid post presence who can score from anywhere on the floor.

Thursday, 22 May 2014 23:08

Crawdads Continue to Surge With Home Win

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The Hickory Crawdads brought their red-hot road bats back home with them Thursday night, as the 'Dads scored eight unanswered runs over the middle innings to beat the visiting Charleston RiverDogs 9-4 in front of 1,883 fans at L.P. Frans Stadium.

After scoring 10 runs in each of their last two wins in Kannapolis, the Crawdads carried the streak back to Hickory with their nine runs coming on 11 hits. All nine starters ended the game with at least one base knock, with three different 'Dads having a multi-hit game. Kellin Deglan (2-4, 2B, 2 RBI, R) and Nomar Mazara (2-4, 2 2B, 3 RBI, R) were the driving forces behind the Crawdads middle innings rally, while Evan Van Hoosier (2-4, HR, RBI, 2 R) chipped in as well from the leadoff spot.

Prior to the mid-game explosion, the Crawdads were locked in a back and forth affair with the RiverDogs. The 'Dogs jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a run in the top of the 2nd, before the 'Dads answered in the bottom of the inning on a solo homer to left by Guzman to tie the game at 1-1. Charleston picked up single runs in both the 3rd and 4th frames for a 2-1 advantage, but Hickory answered again in the bottom of the 4th with a bases-loaded, 2-out, 2-RBI double down the right field line by Deglan to deadlock the game once more at 3-3.

The Crawdads would take over from there, scoring eight unanswered runs from the 4th through the 7th to stake out a 9-3 lead. The 'Dads broke up the 3-3 tie in the 5th, when Van Hoosier launched a solo blast to left for a 4-3 score. The lead ballooned to 9-3 in the 7th, when the 'Dads tied a season high by scoring five runs in the inning. All nine batters came to the plate in the frame, with Nick Vickerson's RBI single and Ryan Cordell's bases loaded, RBI walk scoring the first two runs before Mazara cleared the bases with a 3-RBI double to left.

The RiverDogs would score one last unearned run in the top of the 9th when Deglan threw wide of first on a pickoff play for his first error of the season, but Hickory reliever Felix Carvallo got the final two batters out to end the game with the 9-4 Crawdads victory.

The two starting pitchers both took no-decisions after pitching four innings apiece, with Tyler Smith of the 'Dads allowing three runs on four hits while Caleb Smith of the 'Dogs gave up three runs on five hits. Hickory reliever Ryne Slack (2-2) earned the win with three shutout innings out of the bullpen, including a season high five strikeouts. Charleston bullpen arm Giovanny Gallegos (1-4) gave up six runs on six hits over 2.1 innings pitched to take the loss.

The win is the third straight for the Crawdads (22-23) who have now won six of their last eight contests to climb within a game of .500. The loss is the third straight for the RiverDogs (23-22). The 'Dads and 'Dogs will play the second game of their four-game series Friday night at 7:00 pm.

4A:
Alexander Central: 10
Lake Norman: 3
The Cougars advance to the semifinals taking on either North Davidson or Northwest Guilford.

Furman’s Greg Harrison hit a two-run walkoff home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to hand Appalachian State University baseball a heartbreaking 3-1 Southern Conference Tournament loss on Thursday evening at Riley Park.

With the loss, No. 5-seeded Appalachian State (21-33) falls into the losers’ bracket of the double-elimination tournament and faces No. 4 Georgia Southern (35-21) in an elimination game on Friday at 3 p.m. The winner of that game must beat No. 8 Furman (26-31) twice on Saturday to advance to Sunday’s winner-take-all championship game.

Thursday’s game was a classic pitchers’ duel between Appalachian State’s Jeffrey Springs (Belmont, N.C./South Point) and Furman’s Tyler Wood.

Springs allowed only two hits and struck out 11 over eight innings but was saddled with an unearned run in the fourth inning when Appalachian State third baseman Michael Pierson (Coral Springs, Fla./Pine Crest) mishandled a two-out grounder that allowed Furman’s Hunter Burton to come home from third with the first run of the game.

The score remained 1-0 until the top of the ninth when Wood joined Springs as the victim of a costly error. With runners on first and second and two outs, Appalachian State’s Alex Leach (Charlotte, N.C./Ardrey Kell) hit a grounder to second that was booted by Furman second baseman Jordan Simpson to load the bases.

Appalachian’s next batter, Brian Bauk (Salisbury, N.C./Salisbury), drew a five-pitch walk that forced Dobson home with the tying run. The Mountaineers nearly took the lead when Ozzy Gonzalez (Miami, Fla./South Miami) followed Bauk’s walk with a flare into left field but Furman’s Carter Grote made a terrific diving catch to send the game to the bottom of the ninth knotted at 1-1.

In the bottom of the ninth, Appalachian State reliever Taylor Thurber (Mooresville, N.C./Lake Norman) walked Grote after jumping ahead 0-2 in the count to put the winning run on base. However, the leadoff walk proved to be inconsequential when Harrison drove the first pitch he saw from Thurber just inside the fair pole in left field for the game-winning home run.

Despite Furman’s late-game heroics, the game was decided on the basepaths as a controversial call and two baserunning errors likely cost the Mountaineers several runs.

In the top of the first inning, Tyler Stroup (Thomasville, N.C./East Davidson) tagged up from second on Preston Troutman’s (Rockwell, N.C./East Rowan) long flyout to right field. Stroup easily advanced to third but Furman made a quick appeal to second base and umpire Darion Padgett called Stroup out — giving Appalachian no runners on base with two outs instead of a runner on third with one out. The disputed call proved to be big when the Mountaineers followed with a single and a double that likely would have given App State an early 2-0 lead.

The Mountaineers also had two doses of self-inflicted damage on the basepaths when Bauk was easily thrown out at third after tagging up on a shallow fly ball to right field in the fifth and when Tyler Zupcic (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) was also gunned down at third when trying to advance from first to third on Dillon Dobson’s (Hamptonville, N.C./Starmount) one-out infield single in the ninth.

Like Springs, Wood did not figure in the decision after his sterling outing. Furman’s right-hander scattered eight hits over 8.2 innings, walked two and struck out five while surrendering only the unearned run in the ninth. Alex Abrams (8-2) got the final out of the ninth to earn the win while Thurber (1-7) suffered the loss.

Pierson and Zupcic had two hits apiece to lead Appalachian State offensively.

NOTES: Appalachian State suffered its 11th one-run loss of the season ... the Mountaineers fell to 5-6 all-time versus Furman at the SoCon Tournament ... Springs’ 8.0 IP and 11 strikeouts were career highs ... the southpaw’s previous career high for innings pitched was 7.1 at Georgia Southern on March 23 and his previous career high for strikeouts was eight at Samford on May 11 ... Pierson reached base for the 29th-straight game but Troutman’s 22-game streak was snapped.

Former Appalachian State University football coach Jerry Moore has been selected for induction to the College Football Hall of Fame, the National Football Foundation announced on Thursday. The College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2014, which includes Moore and 15 other inductees, will be formally inducted on Dec. 9 at the 57th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 9 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York.

The winningest coach in Appalachian State University and Southern Conference history, Moore compiled a 215-87 record in his 24 seasons at Appalachian State (1989-2012), including 10 SoCon championships, 18 postseason appearances and an unprecedented three-straight NCAA Division I FCS/I-AA national titles (2005-07). In 31 years as a head coach, Moore was 242-135-2, which is good for 15th all-time among NCAA Division I coaches. In 2012 alone, Moore passed coaching legends Bo Schembechler (234 victories), Billy Joe (237) and Woody Hayes (238) on the all-time wins list.

While he enjoyed success at nearly every stop of his 51-year coaching career, his 24 seasons at Appalachian State cemented Moore’s standing as one of college football’s all-time great mentors.

He led the Mountaineers to three-consecutive national championships from 2005-07, making Appalachian the first program to ever win three-straight titles at the FCS level and the first Division I institution (FCS or FBS) to accomplish the feat in 61 years. Appalachian became the first institution from the state of North Carolina to ever win an NCAA football championship at any level when it defeated Northern Iowa, 21-16, in the 2005 national-title game, a feat it repeated with wins over Massachusetts (28-17) and Delaware (49-21) in the 2006 and ‘07 NCAA Division I Football Championship finals.

Moore also led the Mountaineers to seven SoCon championships in an eight-year span (2005-10, ‘12), making Appalachian State only the second program to achieve that feat since the venerable league began crowning a champion in 1933. Appalachian won 26-straight conference games — the second-longest run of league victories in SoCon history and the longest in 51 years — from 2007-10.

Additionally, Appalachian State became a household name when Moore led his troops to perhaps the biggest and most prominent upset in college football history, a 34-32 triumph over the University of Michigan in the 2007 season opener. The victory over Michigan, college football’s all-time winningest program which came into the contest ranked No. 5 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, marked the first time that an FCS team ever toppled a nationally ranked FBS opponent. The victory also compelled the AP to change its long-standing history of only accepting votes for FBS teams in its Top 25 poll, which allowed the Mountaineers to become the first FCS team to ever receive votes in the poll, which they did on three occasions in 2007.

Moore is no stranger to individual awards, as he is a three-time American Football Coaches Association Coach of the Year (2005, ‘06, ‘07) and the only Division I (FCS or FBS) mentor in the 77-year history of the award to win it three years in a row. He also won the 2006 Eddie Robinson Award (National Coach of the Year) from The Sports Network, is a six-time AFCA Regional Coach of the Year (1994, ‘95, 2005, ‘06, ‘08, ‘09, ‘10) and a record eight-time SoCon Coach of the Year (1991, ‘94, ‘95, 2005, ‘06, ‘08, ‘09, ‘10). In 2009, he was named the Liberty Mutual FCS Coach of the Year, an award that included $50,000 for Moore’s favorite charities and $20,000 for the Appalachian State Alumni Association scholarship fund. He was inducted to the Southern Conference Hall of Fame in March.

Under Moore, Appalachian State players earned all-conference recognition 257 times and received all-America honors on 99 occasions. He also coached the only two-time winner of the Walter Payton Award (FCS National Player of the Year), Armanti Edwards in 2008 and ‘09, and the only two-time winner of the Buck Buchanan Award (FCS National Defensive Player of the Year), Dexter Coakley in 1995 and ‘96.

In addition to his nearly quarter-century tenure at Appalachian State, Moore also served as head coach at North Texas (1979-80) and Texas Tech (1981-85) and spent 15 seasons on the staffs of legendary mentors Hayden Fry (1965-72 at SMU), Tom Osborne (1973-78 at Nebraska) and Ken Hatfield (1988 at Arkansas). Moore began his coaching career with four seasons as an assistant coach at Corsicana H.S. in Texas (1961-64).

Prior to embarking on his legendary coaching career, Moore made his mark as one of the nation’s premier players at Baylor from 1958-60. He ranked among the nation’s top 10 in receptions while serving as a team captain for the 11th-ranked Bears as a senior and graduated from Baylor with a bachelor’s degree in finance and economics in 1961. A native of Bonham, Texas, Moore was an all-state performer on the gridiron and earned 14 varsity letters in four sports at Bonham H.S. He is a member of the Bonham Athletics Hall of Fame and the town honored one of its most prominent sons when it declared Feb. 18, 2008 to be “Jerry Moore Day” in the hamlet of 9,900 located 75 miles northeast of Dallas.

Moore was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. Generally, coaches are not eligible for induction until three years following their exit from coaching but coaches over 70 years of age become eligible immediately following the end of their coaching careers. Schools submitted nominations for the Hall’s Class of 2014 last fall and Moore was elected from a national ballot that included 162 players and 12 coaches.

Joining Moore in the 2014 College Football Hall of Fame class are college-football legends Dre Bly (DB, North Carolina, 1996-98), Tony Boselli (OT, Southern Cal, 1991-94), Dave Butz (DT, Purdue, 1970-72), Shane Conlan (LB, Penn State, 1983-86), Joe Hamilton (QB, Georgia Tech, 1996-99), John Huard (LB, Maine, 1964-66), Darrin Nelson (HB, Stanford, 1977-78, 1980-81), Willie Roaf (OL, Louisiana Tech, 1990-92), John Sciarra (QB, UCLA, 1972-75), Sterling Sharpe (WR, South Carolina, 1983, 1985-87), Leonard Smith (CB, McNeese State, 1979-82), Derrick Thomas (LB, Alabama, 1985-88), LaDainian Tomlinson (TB, TCU, 1997-2000), Wesley Walls (TE, Mississippi, 1985-88) and coach Mike Bellotti (Chico State, 1984-88 and Oregon, 1995-2008).

Moore is Appalachian State’s second College Football Hall of Famer, joining linebacker Dexter Coakley, who was inducted in 2011.

In addition to December’s induction ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria, Moore will also be honored with the other 15 inductees during a National Hall of Fame Salute at the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 2015. His accomplishments will be forever immortalized at the new $66.5-million College Football Hall of Fame, which currently under construction in Atlanta and scheduled to open in August.

Lenoir-Rhyne's Kevin Baxter will compete in the men's 110-meter hurdles at the 2014 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Grand Valley State Stadium. The preliminaries take place on Friday at 6:35 p.m.

Baxter, a sophomore from Columbia, S.C., has the top time in the nation this year in the event. Baxter clocked a wind-aided 13.81 seconds at the VertKlasse Meeting on Saturday, April 5, in High Point, N.C.

Baxter advanced to the national championship in the men's 110-meter hurdles last year and won the event three times this spring including a first-place finish at the 2014 South Atlantic Conference Championships on Saturday, April 19, at the Moretz Sports - Athletic Complex in Hickory, N.C.

Baxter broke the 14-second barrier in the men's 110-meter hurdles three times as well this year including a 13.95 at the Penn Relays on Saturday, April 26, in Philadelphia, Pa.

At the Penn Relays, Baxter finished fifth and was the top NCAA Division II competitor in the event.

Baxter is also Lenoir-Rhyne's first-ever male indoor track and field All-American after finishing sixth in the men's 60-meter hurdles (8.01 seconds) at the 2013 NCAA Division II Track and Field Championships in Birmingham, Ala.

2A:
Newton-Conover: 1
Polk County: 0
Red Devils will host Parkwood in the fourth round.

3A:
Marvin Ridge: 4
Hickory: 0
Red Tornadoes season ends at 18-4-1.

Weddington: 10
Fred T. Foard: 1
Tigers season ends at 11-14.

Michael Pierson (Coral Springs, Fla./Pine Crest) led off the 11th inning with a home run off the fair pole in right field and Appalachian State University baseball opened its final Southern Conference Tournament with a thrilling 3-2, 11-inning win over Georgia Southern on Wednesday morning at Riley Park.

With the victory, No. 5-seeded Appalachian State (21-32) advances to play the winner of Wednesday afternoon’s game between top-seeded Western Carolina and No. 8-seeded Furman on Thursday at either 5 p.m. or 8 p.m. Fourth-seeded Georgia Southern (34-21) faces the loser of the WCU-Furman contest in an elimination game on Thursday at 10 a.m.

Pierson’s game-winning homer came only after Appalachian State rallied from a 2-0 deficit with single runs in the seventh and ninth innings.

Trailing 2-0 with two outs in the top of the seventh, Jaylin Davis (McLeansville, N.C./Northeast Guilford) put the Mountaineers on the board with a single up the middle that brought Pierson home from third base and cut the deficit to 2-1.

After a scoreless eighth inning, Preston Troutman (Rockwell, N.C./East Rowan) led off the top of the ninth with a slow roller to short. However, Georgia Southern shortstop Dalton Busby air-mailed the throw into the stands behind first base and Troutman moved to second on the only error of the ballgame.

Troutman advanced to third on a groundout by Pierson but couldn’t score on Tyler Zupcic’s (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) hard-hit grounder to third and the Mountaineers were down to their final out.

Three pitches later, Dillon Dobson (Hamptonville, N.C./Starmount) smacked Jason Richman’s 1-1 pitch into left field and Troutman scored easily to knot the score at 2-2.

It remained 2-2 until Pierson launched a 1-1 pitch from Georgia Southern’s Ryan Frederick (4-1) down the right-field line. The only question — whether the towering shot would be fair or foul — was answered when the ball hit about half-way up the fair pole. Pierson’s seventh home run of the season gave the Mountaineers a 3-2 lead.

Georgia Southern threatened in the bottom of the 11th when Ben Morgan drew an eight-pitch walk with one out and stole second to move into scoring position. However, Appalachian State closer Robert Whaley (Hickory, N.C./Hickory) struck out GSU three-hole hitter Aaron Mizell on a 2-2 pitch for the second out and, one batter later, got Ryan Cleveland to pop up to Troutman at shortstop to end the game.

Whaley closed out a spectacular effort by four Appalachian State pitchers. Sixth-year senior Tyler Moore (Banner Elk, N.C./Watauga) made his first postseason start and limited Georgia Southern to just two runs on five hits over eight strong innings. He was followed by senior Zach Joyce (Lexington, N.C./North Davidson), who worked a perfect ninth to send the game to extra innings.

Whaley came on with runners on first and second and only one out in the bottom of the 10th but got Busby to fly out to Davis in center field for the second out. Davis caught the line drive on the run and fired the ball to second base to double GSU’s Garrett Chapman off for an inning-ending double play and set up Pierson’s heroics.

Whaley (3-1) turned in 1.2 hitless innings to earn the win.

Davis went 3-for-5 with an RBI and Pierson finished 2-for-5 with two runs scored to pace Appalachian State’s nine-hit attack.

Kody Adams (2-for-5) led Georgia Southern offensively.

NOTES: After winning just once in the first 48 games of the season when trailing at any point after the third inning, Appalachian State has come from behind in the fifth inning or later four times in the last eight days ... Appalachian beat Georgia Southern at the SoCon Tournament for only second time in seven meetings ... App State’s only other tournament win over GSU came in the teams’ last previous meeting, a 6-2 triumph in 2010 ... the Mountaineers have won a game in every SoCon Tournament appearance since 1996 (13-straight appearances with at least one victory) ... Pierson has reached base in 28-straight games ... Davis extended his team-best hitting streak to six games ... former Appalachian State shortstop Will Callaway was in attendance ... Callaway, now a member of the Savannah Sand Gnats (class-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants), made the drive to Charleston with Sand Gnats teammate Ryder Jones, the son of Appalachian head coach Billy Jones.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014 07:31

Crawdads Offense Continues to Shine in Win

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The Hickory Crawdads offense asserted itself on the Kannapolis Intimidators for the second straight night on Tuesday, as the 'Dads collected a season-high 15 hits while once again reaching double digit runs in their 10-3 win at CMC-NorthEast Stadium.

One night after the 'Dads finished with 11 total hits in their 10-6 win over the Intimidators, the Hickory hitters took it one step further with all nine starters reaching base, eight batters collecting a hit, and five different players ending the night with at least one RBI.

Second baseman Travis Demeritte led the offensive onslaught, going 3-4 with a home run, a triple, three RBIs, and three runs scored. Left fielder Ryan Cordell also posted a three-hit night, finishing 3-5 with a triple, a RBI, and three runs scored.

The Crawdads attack scored a run in five different frames, including two in the 2nd, three in the 3rd, two in the 4th, two in the 7th, and one in the 9th. Cordell and Demeritte wasted little time in giving the 'Dads the lead, as the Crawdads responded to a 1st inning Kannapolis run with two of their own in the 2nd for a 2-1 lead. Cordell led off the inning with a triple to the right-center field gap, before Demeritte followed with an opposite field, 2-run blast to right-center. The long ball was the team-leading 9th big fly of the year for Demeritte, which also ranks second in the South Atlantic League.

The Intimidators quickly tied the game at 2-2 with a single run in the bottom of the frame, but Cordell and Demeritte once again led the 'Dads to three runs in the 3rd for a 5-2 advantage Hickory would never look back from. Three straight singles by Nick Vickerson, Joe Jackson, and Cordell drove in the first run, while an error and an RBI base knock by Demeritte plated the other two tallies.

The Crawdads lead ballooned to 7-2 with two more runs in the 4th, this time with Evan Van Hoosier driving in the first run with a RBI, sacrifice fly to right and Jackson plating the second on a single to right.

The Intimidators scored their final run in the 6th to make the score 7-3, but the 'Dads brought in the final three runs to finish the game at 10-3. A Kellin Deglan RBI single and the fifth Kannapolis error of the game plated the two runs in the 7th, while a triple by Demeritte and an RBI, infield single from Michael De Leon pushed across the final run in the 9th.

Crawdads starting pitcher Kelvin Vasquez allowed only two runs on three hits while striking out seven over 4.1, but it was reliever Ricardo Rodriguez (2-1) who earned the win after giving up one run on two hits, one walk, and three Ks over 3.2 frames out of the bullpen. Kannapolis starter and Hickory native Tyler Barnette (2-2) took the loss with five runs allowed, three earned, on eight hits over three innings pitched.

With the win the Crawdads (21-23) win their series against the Intimidators (21-23) three games to one, and finish their road trip with a 5-2 record. The 'Dads have their final off day of the first half of the season on Wednesday before starting a 7-game home stand on Thursday with a 7:00 pm first pitch against the Charleston RiverDogs.