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Saturday night at Hickory Motor Speedway, Woodforest Bank Night at the Races presented by Sam's Club will give fans an exciting night to remember with appearances from the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Bojangles' Late Models, T-Mobile Limited Late Models, Street Stocks, WrenchRags Renegades and the 4-Cylinders and more.

The feature event for the night will be the 5th round of the Paramount KIA "Big 10" Race Challenge, a 10-race, 100-lap, point-paying series for the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Bojangles' Late Model division. Approximately 20 Late Model Cars are expected to enter with several fan-favorite Late Model drivers participating in the feature event including 2014 NWAAS Bojangles Late Model champion, Josh Berry.

Grandstands open at 5 p.m. ET, with qualifying immediately following. An On-Track Autograph Session featuring NASCAR legend, Harry Gant, will begin at 6 p.m. and racing action is schedule to take place at 7 p.m. The evening will conclude with a spectacular fireworks display in honor of our nation's military and a live performance by the AC/DC tribute band, Problem Child.

Tickets are only $15 for adults and $13 for seniors and teens, with children 12 and under free. A portion of all ticket sales will be donated to local charities, including the Children's Miracle Network, a non-profit organization that helps raise funds to cover medical costs for children at more than 170 hospitals across North America.

A.C. Reynolds: 5
Fred T. Foard: 1
The Tigers season ends at 15-8-1.

Sun Valley: 4
St. Stephens: 1
The Indians season ends at 15-8-1.

The Hickory Crawdads and West Virginia Power wrapped up their three-game series with their third straight 3-1 final score Wednesday afternoon, unfortunately for the 'Dads they were on the wrong end of that score for the second time in the series as they fell to the Power in front of 3,023 fans at L.P. Frans Stadium.

Continuing a series trend, runs were at a premium for both teams as the Crawdads were held to one run on six hits while the Power plated three runs on 11 hits, 8 of them singles. The difference in the game came down to both teams' performance with the bases loaded and no outs, as West Virginia came through with two runs in the 6th while Hickory was turned away empty handed in the same situation in the 7th.

The game began with four straight scoreless frames, with Crawdads starter Luis Ortiz and Power hurler Alex McRae swapping zeros. West Virginia finally broke through for the contest's first run in the top of the 5th to take a 1-0 lead. Trace Tam Sing started the inning for the Power with a single to right, then was able to go first to third on a sacrifice bunt by teammate Tyler Filliben. One out later, Connor Joe hit a hard ground ball off the glove of Hickory third baseman Isiah Kiner-Falefa for an RBI infield single to put West Virginia ahead.

The 'Dads quickly countered with a run of their own in the bottom of the frame, with Kiner-Falefa singling to left with two outs, stealing second base, and eventually scoring on an RBI single to right by Jose Cardona to tie the game at 1-1.

The tie didn't last long, with the Power jumping on Crawdads reliever Austin Pettibone for two runs on four hits in the 6th to re-take the advantage 3-1. Michael Suchy began the inning with a base knock to right before both Pablo Reyes and Tito Polo reached on sacrifice bunt attempts that turned into bunt singles. Kawika Emsley-Pai followed with a bases-loaded RBI walk to bring in the first run, while Filliben plated the second tally one out later with an RBI single.

Hickory looked to jump back in the game with a no out, bases loaded situation of their on in the 7th, when Rock Shoulders walked and both Travis Demeritte and Tripp Martin singled. West Virginia reliever Miguel Rosario was able to escape the inning unharmed however, as the right-hander induced shallow fly outs by both Kevin Torres and Kiner-Falefa before Cardona flew out to right to end the inning.

Rosario sat the 'Dads down in order in the 8th, while Power closer Nick Neuman retired the side in the 9th to give the Crawdads the final 3-1 defeat.

McRae (3-3) earned the win for the Power with one run allowed on four hits, no walks, and four strikeouts over six innings pitched. Pettibone (0-1) took the loss for the Crawdads with two runs given up on five hits during his two innings on the mound. Neuman earned his 5th save of the year for West Virginia with a perfect 9th inning.

Martin finished with the only multi-hit game for Hickory, going 2-4. Cardona ended the afternoon 1-4 with an RBI, while Kiner-Falefa went 1-3 with a run scored.

The Crawdads (27-11) still maintain a 5.5 game lead over the Power (22-17) in the South Atlantic League Northern Division. The 'Dads will now take to the road, playing five games in four days in Kannapolis. The series starts with a doubleheader on Thursday, with first pitch for game one scheduled for 5:00 pm.

First-team starting pitcher Taylor Thurber (Mooresville, N.C./Lake Norman) and second-team second baseman Dillon Dobson (Hamptonville, N.C./Starmount) represent Appalachian State University on the 2015 all-Sun Belt Conference baseball teams, which were announced at the league’s annual baseball banquet on Tuesday evening.

Despite a tough-luck 4-9 record, the Sun Belt’s coaches tabbed Thurber as one of the league’s three first-team starting pitchers.

In 95.2 innings pitched (second in the Sun Belt), the right-handed senior amassed 73 strikeouts (fifth in the conference) against just eight walks (fewest in the league among qualified pitchers). He leads the Sun Belt and ranks among the nation’s top 20 in fewest walks per nine innings (0.75 - third nationally), strikeout-to-walk ratio (9.13-to-1 - eighth nationally), WHIP (0.91 - 18th nationally) and complete games (four - 20th nationally).

Thurber ranks fifth in the Sun Belt with a 2.35 ERA and second with a .218 opponents’ batting average.

Dobson earned second-team all-conference recognition after ranking among the Sun Belt leaders with 66 hits (t-eighth), 12 home runs (t-third), 14 doubles (t-seventh), 43 runs scored (fifth), a .577 slugging percentage (third) and 120 total bases (second) during the regular season. His 12 homers are good for a tie for 44th nationally while his 120 total bases are tied for 74th in NCAA Division I.

The left-handed-hitting junior’s career-best .317 batting average ranked second on the Mountaineers this season.

He earned all-conference honors for the second-straight season after being a first-team selection in the Southern Conference as a sophomore. He was also a member of the SoCon’s all-freshman team in 2013.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015 21:43

Hickory Crawdads Jump Back Into Win Column

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The Hickory Crawdads offense didn't produce many scoring opportunities against the visiting West Virginia Power Tuesday night but the 'Dads cashed in on what few chances they had, as the club plated three runs on their five hits and three walks to come away with a 3-1 win at L.P. Frans Stadium.

One night after Hickory was held to a season-low 2 hits in their 3-1 loss to the Power, the 'Dads bats were limited to five singles in game two of the series. The difference was the Crawdads bunched four of their hits into their two run-scoring innings. The 'Dads pitching staff took things the rest of the way, with Ariel Jurado, Yohander Mendez, and John Fasola holding West Virginia to one unearned run on five hits.

The Crawdads jumped out to an early lead in the 1st, with the club using two hits, a walk, and a costly error by the Power to take a 2-0 advantage. Josh Morgan started the rally with a one out walk and was immediately followed by a single to left by Luke Tendler to put two runners on. One out later, Rock Shoulders hit a hard ground ball to the right side that should have ended the inning, but the grounder rolled in-between the legs of West Virginia first baseman Chase Simpson for an error that allowed Morgan to come home. Travis Demeritte further took advantage of the miscue with an RBI single to left to plate Tendler for the frame's second run.

The Power followed a similar script to score their lone tally in the 3rd, with Tyler Filliben singling to left and moving to third on an ensuing throwing error from Hickory left fielder Tripp Martin. One batter later, Cole Tucker brought home Filliben with an RBI sacrifice fly to cut the score to 2-1.

The game would remain at 2-1 for the next four innings thanks to the standout bullpen work by Mendez for the 'Dads and Jose Regalado for the Power. The Crawdads were finally able to break through for one last tally in the bottom of the 8th, when Tendler singled to center with two away before taking second on a wild pitch and scoring on an RBI base knock by Jose Trevino for the final 3-1 score.

Fasola closed the door in the 9th for Hickory, with the 'Dads closer inducing the team's third double play of the night to end the game.

Jurado (7-0) earned his South Atlantic League-leading 7th win of the season after holding West Virginia to one unearned run on four hits, no walks, and three strikeouts over five innings pitched. Power starter Yeudy Garcia (1-3) took the loss with two unearned runs given up on three hits, two walks, and 4 Ks during his 4.2 IP. Fasola picked up his league-best 9th save of the season for finishing off the win.

Tendler led the Hickory offense with a 2-4 game including two runs scored, while Morgan ended the night 1-3 with a walk and a run and Demeritte went 1-2 with a walk and an RBI.

The Crawdads (27-10) now lead the 2nd place Power (21-17) by 6.5 games in the SAL Northern Division race. The rubber match of the teams' three-game series is scheduled for Wednesday morning at 11:00 am.

Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Neill McGeachy has announced the hiring of Ryan Odom as its new head men’s basketball coach. Odom is the 18th head coach in school history.

In May of 2014, Odom was elevated to Associate Head Coach at Charlotte.

On January 6, 2015, Odom was named head coach for the interim at Charlotte for the remainder of the season.

Odom led the 49ers to eight victories as mentor and coached Torin Dorn to Conference USA Freshman-Of-The-Year honors and Pierria Henry to third-team all-league accolades.

Before his promotions prior to last season, Odom was an Assistant Coach for Charlotte for four years (2010-14). The 49ers earned a bid to the NIT in 2013.

Prior to Charlotte, Odom spent seven years on the coaching staff at Virginia Tech as an assistant and was part of a Hokies’ team which earned a berth to the NCAA Division I Tournament in 2007 and beat Illinois in the first round.

Odom was also an assistant coach at American (2000-03), UNC Asheville (1999-00) and Furman (1997-99) and served one year as an administrative assistant at South Florida (1996-97).

Odom graduated from Hampden-Sydney in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and was a four-year starting point guard on the men’s basketball team.

Odom served as team captain his senior season and led Hampden-Sydney to an 80-30 record during his playing career including two berths in the NCAA Division III Tournament. In addition, Odom finished his career as the school’s all-time leader in three-pointers made and fourth in assists.

Odom takes over for John Lentz, who resigned after 29 years as Bears’ mentor in late April. Ryan Odom is also the son of Dave Odom, who retired in 2008 as the head coach at South Carolina.

The Hickory Crawdads returned home Monday night coming off a perfect 4-0 road trip and carrying a five-game winning streak, but the 'Dads high powered offense was stifled by the visiting West Virginia Power resulting in a 3-1 loss at L.P. Frans Stadium.

The Crawdads were held to a season-low two hits in the contest, with Josh Morgan and Michael De Leon both singling in the 6th to produce the 'Dads lone run. The lack of offense spoiled another solid pitching performance by the Hickory hurlers, as Nick Gardewine, Kelvin Vasquez, and Scott Williams held West Virginia to three runs on eight hits.

The Power jumped out ahead in the 1st inning, using a fielding error by Gardewine and an RBI single from Taylor Gushue to take a 1-0 advantage. The score remained the same until the top of the 5th, when West Virginia got a leadoff double from Elvis Escobar followed by a single from Tyler Filliben and an RBI single by Cole Tucker to make the lead 2-0. The damage could have been much worse for the 'Dads as the Power had runners at 2nd and 3rd with no outs, but Gardewine recorded the next three outs with a popup and back-to-back strikeouts to keep Hickory in the game.

The Crawdads got on the board in the 6th, when Morgan broke up West Virginia starter John Sever's no-hitter with a base knock to center. Sever then moved Morgan to third on a two-base throwing error. De Leon followed with an RBI single into shallow left to plate Morgan and cut Hickory's deficit to 2-1.

That would be as close as the 'Dads would get, as the Power plated the game's last run on a solo home run by Pablo Reyes in the 8th for the final 3-1 score.

Sever (2-1) earned the win for West Virginia with one unearned run allowed on two hits, two walks, and five strikeouts over 5.1 IP. Gardewine took the loss for Hickory after allowing two runs on seven hits, no walks, and six Ks during his five innings pitched. Junior Lopez earned his second save of the season with a perfect 9th.

The Crawdads (26-10) and Power (21-16) will meet up again in game two of their three game series Tuesday, with first pitch scheduled for 6:00 pm.

Appalachian State University athletics collected one of the Sun Belt Conference’s most prestigious honors on Monday evening when it was named the winner of the Sun Belt’s 2015 Institutional Graduation Rate Award.

Appalachian State earned the 2015 Institutional Graduation Rate Award on the strength of its student-athletes owning the highest Federal Graduation Rate among all current Sun Belt members for the 2013-14 academic year. The graduation rates are calculated and published yearly by the NCAA in its Division I Graduation Rate Annual Report.

Appalachian State’s student-athletes compiled a 73-percent Federal Graduation Rate in 2013-14, which was five percent better than the next-highest Sun Belt institution.

“We’re proud and honored to receive this award,” Appalachian State director of athletics Doug Gillin said. “Our No. 1 goal as a department is for student-athletes to earn a degree from Appalachian State. This award is a testimony to the commitment of our coaches, academic services personnel, faculty, staff and student-athletes to achieve that goal.”

The Texas Rangers have announced the club's monthly minor league award winners for April, with Hickory Crawdads outfielder Luke Tendler being honored as the Rangers Minor League Player of the Month.

Tendler, 23, batted .346 (27-78) with 11 doubles, a triple, 5 home runs, 10 RBI, 4 walks, and 18 runs over 20 games in April for the 'Dads. The outfielder led the South Atlantic League during the month in extra-base hits (17), doubles, and runs, while also ranking among the leaders in hits (2nd), batting average (4th), and home runs (T4th). Tendler was named the SAL Player of the Week for the first week of the season, before he finished the month with multiple hits in 5 of his final 8 contests, posting a .400 average (14-35) in that stretch. Overall, Tendler is batting .309 (42-136) with 12 doubles, 2 triples, 5 home runs, and 16 RBI in 35 games with the division-leading Crawdads. The Wilmington, North Carolina product was selected in the 29th round of the 2014 June Draft out of North Carolina A&T.

Sunday, 17 May 2015 23:45

Hickory Crawdads Complete Sweep of Augusta

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A seemingly easy win turned into anything but for the Hickory Crawdads Sunday afternoon as the Augusta GreenJackets rallied for a pair of 9th inning runs, but the 'Dads ultimately escaped the jam and came away with a 5-4 win over the 'Jackets at Lake Olmstead Stadium.

Hickory entered the game's final frame with a 5-1 lead they had held since the 4th, but Augusta refused to go down quietly as they put two runners on with only one out against Crawdads reliever David Perez. An ensuing error by 'Dads shortstop Josh Morgan allowed one run two score and put runners at second and third. GreenJackets pinch hitter Aramis Garcia followed with a 2-RBI single to left that cut the Crawdads lead to a single run at 5-4. That prompted Hickory manager Corey Ragsdale to bring in his closer John Fasola, who was finally able to end the game with a groundout to give the 'Dads a 5-4 win.

Prior to the 9th inning drama the Crawdads built an early lead with two runs in the 2nd and three tallies in the 4th. Marcus Greene started the 2nd inning with a leadoff walk and came in two batters later on an RBI triple by Morgan. Isiah Kiner-Falefa followed with an RBI single to right to put Hickory ahead 2-0.

Augusta got on the board with a run in the bottom of the third, but Hickory starter Collin Wiles minimized the damage with an inning-ending double play to keep the 'Dads on top. The Crawdads then gave themselves some breathing room the next half inning, when Jose Cardona lined a 3-run home run to left to push the score to 5-1.

Cardona finished the game 3-5 with a home run, triple, and two RBIs, while Morgan went 2-3 with a triple, two runs scored, and an RBI.

Wiles (4-1) earned the win for Hickory with one run allowed on five hits, four walks, and four strikeouts over five innings pitched. Augusta starter Jose Reyes (2-1) was handed the loss after giving up all five runs on eight hits, one walk, and 10 Ks over 7 IP. Fasola improved to a perfect 8/8 in save opportunities by recording the final out.

The win gives the Crawdads (26-9) a four-game series sweep over the GreenJackets (17-18) and stretches their current winning streak to five games. The 'Dads will return home for a three-game series against the second place West Virginia Power (20-16) at L.P. Frans Stadium starting Monday night at 6:00 pm.