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Sports (397)

Northwestern Conference Tournament Finals:
South Caldwell: 9
Fred T. Foard: 2

Southern District 7 Conference Tournament Semifinals:
Bunker Hill: 9
West Lincoln: 1

East Lincoln: 12
Newton-Conover: 1

North Piedmont Conference Tournament Finals:
Alexander Central: 5
Lake Norman: 3

Southern District 7 Conference Tournament Semifinals:
Bunker Hill: 6
East Lincoln: 2

West Lincoln: 10
Bandys: 0

Hickory: 2
Freedom: 0

Southern District 7:
Bandys: 1
West Caldwell: 0

Bunker Hill: 2
West Lincoln: 0

Maiden: 3
Newton-Conover: 3

The Hickory Crawdads pitching staff produced a shutout performance for the second straight night on Thursday, as the 'Dads blanked the Greensboro Grasshoppers 6-0 at L.P. Frans Stadium and extended their scoreless innings streak to 18 consecutive shutout frames.

Following the club's 1-0 win over the 'Hoppers in game one of the series, the Crawdads shutdown Greensboro on eight hits, six singles, and 9 strikeouts. Luis Ortiz led the charge, with the 19-year-old first round draft pick tossing a career high six innings while striking out five and allowing only five hits. Relievers Nick Gardewine and Adam Parks finished the job from there, as the duo combined for three scoreless frames from the bullpen with four Ks and three hits allowed.

The Hickory offensive meanwhile utilized a big five-run 4th inning to take a commanding lead the team would never surrender. The 'Dads sent a season-high 11 batters to the plate in the frame, scoring their five runs on four hits, three walks, a sacrifice bunt, and a Grasshoppers error. The inning started with consecutive singles by Jose Trevino and Tripp Martin. Following a sacrifice bunt from Eduard Pinto, Josh Morgan drew a walk to load the bases with only one out. Jose Cardona then delivered the first blow against Greensboro starter Michael Mader with a 2-RBI single to center.

Morgan eventually scored on a wild pitch, and after an infield single by Isiah Kiner-Falefa and a walk from Travis Demeritte re-loaded the bases, Luke Tendler plated the fourth run of the frame on an RBI walk. The final run of the inning came one batter later on a throwing error by Grasshoppers third baseman Brian Schales that allowed Kiner-Falefa to come home for a 5-0 Hickory advantage.

The 'Dads finished the scoring and padded their lead with one last run in the 6th, with a 2-out single from Cardona and an ensuing RBI double by Kiner-Falefa giving the team their final 6-0 advantage.

Cardona finished the night 2-4 with two RBI, two runs scored, and two steals, while Kiner-Falefa went 2-3 with a double, an RBI, a run scored, and a walk. Martin (2-4, R) and De Leon (2-4, 2B) also ended the contest with a multi-hit game.

Ortiz (1-0) earned his first win of the season with his dominant, shutdown performance, while Mader (2-3) took the loss for Greensboro after allowing five runs, four earned, on six hits, five walks, and two strikeouts over his 3.2 innings pitched.

The Crawdads (18-8) will go for the series sweep over the Grasshoppers (12-14) in Friday night's series finale, with first pitch scheduled for 7:00 pm.

Lenoir-Rhyne Head Volleyball Coach Dave Markland announced the addition of six players for the 2015 season.

The recruiting class next year for the Bears includes Kayla Bolt, Tiffany Brooks, Bailey Cloninger, Jackie Denny, Jessica Funk and Emily Steele.

Bolt (Kings Mountain, N.C.) was named the South Mountain 2A/3A Conference Player Of The Year in both 2013 and 2014 at Kings Mountain High School. Bolt is also a three-time all-league and two-time Team MVP selection who led Kings Mountain to back-to-back conference titles.

Brooks (Kannapolis, N.C.) was Team MVP and an All-Rowan County and all-conference pick at South Rowan High School. Brooks transfers to Lenoir-Rhyne from Catawba Valley Community College.

Cloninger (Hickory, N.C.) was an All-Northwestern 3A/4A Conference selection and Team MVP as a senior at St. Stephens High School. In addition, Cloninger was a member of two league championship teams in 2012 and 2013 and the North Carolina Sectional Championship squad as a junior.

Denny (North Wilkesboro, N.C.) played at North Wilkes High School where she led the squad to its best season in school history – 20-4 – this past fall.

Denny holds the school record in kills (909) and solo blocks (206) and is a four-team all-conference selection and two-time team Most Valuable Player.

Funk (East Bend, N.C.) played at Forbush High School where she was a three-year all-conference honoree and co-captain and the 2014 Co-Team MVP. In addition, Funk was an all-league pick in both women’s basketball and women’s soccer. For her efforts, Funk was named her high school’s female athlete of the year (Falcon Award).

Steele (Greenville, S.C.) was league player of the year and Team Most Valuable Player at J.H. Rose High School. In addition, Steele was a three-time all-league pick in high school and played the last two seasons at Gardner-Webb University.

Lenoir-Rhyne is coming off a 22-10 campaign in which the Bears earned a second playoff berth in three seasons in 2014.

The Texas Rangers announced today that Hickory Crawdads infielder Ronald Guzman and reliever Jefri Hernandez have both been promoted to the High Desert Mavericks (Class A - Advanced), becoming the first 'Dads players this season to move up in the Rangers organization.

The promotions headline a series of moves involving the Crawdads, with RHP Luis Ortiz, RHP Austin Pettibone, and catcher Marcus Greene Jr. all coming to Hickory from Extending Spring Training while outfielder Jairo Beras was reactivated off the 7-day DL and placed back on the 'Dads active roster. Also moving is catcher Kevin Torres who was transferred to Extended Spring Training while reliever Kevin Matthews was released by the Rangers.

Guzman, 20, was off to a hot start in his third season in Hickory. The 6'5" 220-pound slugger leaves with a .309 average, three home runs, and three doubles to go along with 14 RBI. Guzman hit .272 with 4 HR and 8 2B over 49 games with the Crawdads in 2013, before playing 118 games and posting a .218 average with 6 HR and 32 2B last season.

Hernandez, 24, had been one of the best relievers in the 'Dads bullpen thus far in 2015. Signed by the Rangers as a minor league free agent in 2015 after pitching seven years in the Colorado Rockies system, Hernandez was 2-0 with a 4.50 ERA (6 ER/12 IP), 18 strikeouts, and two walks with the Crawdads.

Ortiz, 19, returns to Hickory after a weeklong stint on the Extended Spring Training roster. A 1st round selection by the Rangers in the 2014 Draft out of Sanger (CA) High School, Ortiz posted a 0.79 ERA (1 ER/11.1 IP) with 12 Ks and 3 BBs over three starts with the Crawdads this season.

Beras, 20, also rejoins the 'Dads following a nearly three week span on the DL. The 6'5" 178-pound Dominican Republic native was 1-7 at the plate with the Crawdads prior to his injury.

Greene, 20, is another former Crawdad making a return trip to Hickory. A 16th round selection by Texas in the 2013 Draft out of New Mexico JC, Greene was a Mid-Season All-Star with the short-season Spokane Indians in 2014. The California native spent 13 games in Hickory at the end of the year, where he batted .179 (7/39) before his season ended with a concussion.

Pettibone, 22, is the only player joining the Crawdads with no previous experience with the club. The 6'3" pitcher went 2-2 with a 5.45 ERA (24 ER/39.2 IP), 32 Ks, and 8 BBs over 15 appearances in Spokane in 2014. The California native was a 24th round selection by the Rangers in the 2014 Draft out of UC Santa Barbara.

The Crawdads currently boast the best record in the South Atlantic League at 17-8. The 'Dads are currently hosting the Greensboro Grasshoppers for two remaining games before welcoming the Savannah SandGnats to L.P. Frans Stadium on May 9th for a four-game series.

The Lenoir-Rhyne Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Teams had several impressive individual performances Wednesday on the first day of the Duke Twilight at Morris Williams Stadium.

Lenoir-Rhyne junior All-American Kevin Baxter (Columbia, S.C.) finished fourth in the men’s 110-meter hurdles with a season-best 14.05 seconds. Baxter has already qualified as a provisional to nationals for the third straight year in the event.

For the second straight meet, Lenoir-Rhyne freshman Haylea Salamon (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, CANADA) broke her own school record in the women’s discus throw. Salamon placed sixth overall with a 152’9”.

Sophomore Domonique Jones (Greensboro, Ga.) also competed in the women’s discus throw for the Bears, placing 10th overall with a 115’0”.

Like Baxter, Salamon has qualified for nationals as a provisional. The 2015 NCAA Division II Championships take place on May 21-23 in Allendale, Mich.

Lenoir-Rhyne sophomore Charles Koontz (Flemington, N.J.) ran a 4:10 in the men’s 1,500-meter run to place 38rd overall as well.

The Duke Twilight meet continues with the second and final day on Thursday. Freshman Aubrey Hite (Pelion, S.C.) is scheduled to run in the men’s 800-meter run for the Bears.

The Catawba Valley Community College Red Hawks baseball team again led the charge placing the most players (four) on the All-Region X defensive team. The All-Defensive team honors the best defensive player at each position in Carolinas-Virginia Conference.

Sophomore catcher Alex Minton posted an 1.000 fielding percentage with 101 total chances. He logged 91 put outs and 10 assists in 101 chances with no errors. Minton also only allowed 6 passed balls.

Freshman first baseman Mykel Davis also posted an 1.000 fielding percentage while logging 259 put outs (team lead and ranked 32nd nationally), 11 assists, and no errors in 270 chances (team leader and 40th ranked nationally). Davis was also a part of 12 double plays on the season.

Sophomore shortstop Ivan Acuna was 1 of only 3 players named to both the All-Defensive and All-Region teams. Acuna logged at .910 fielding percentage from shortstop with 35 put outs, 76 assists, and only 11 errors in 122 total chances. Acuna also helped turn 9 double plays on the season.

Sophomore outfielder Skyler Strickland only posted 1 error on a way to a .989 fielding percentage. Strickland posted 92 putouts and 1 assist in 94 total chances.

The Red Hawks will play the #8 seed Southeastern CC on Friday at 1:00pm. For more information on the tournament please visit out tournament central page here.

Wednesday, 06 May 2015 22:36

Hickory Crawdads Win In Pitchers Dual

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Hickory Crawdads starting pitcher Ariel Jurado turned in the performance of the season for the 'Dads pitching staff Wednesday night, as the 19-year-old right-hander tied a career high with 11 strikeouts over seven shutout innings while leading his team to a 1-0 win over the Greensboro Grasshoppers at L.P. Frans Stadium.

Jurado appeared dominant on the mound from his very first pitch, with the 'Dads Opening Day starter fanning two batters in the first as a part of four multi-strikeout frames. The Panama native ended his outing with a flourish as well, striking out the side in each of his last two innings en route to finishing with double digit Ks.

The Crawdads offense was held in check themselves for most of the game, with Greensboro starter Ben Holmes throwing five scoreless frames. The Grasshoppers turned to the bullpen in the 6th, and the 'Dads took advantage of the smallest of openings to seize the lead. Travis Demeritte started the inning with a single to right before going first to third on Ronald Guzman's base knock to put runners at the corners with nobody out. Greensboro reliever Drew Steckenrider settled down and retired Jose Trevino on a fly out to center and struck out Luke Tendler swinging for the second out of the frame. On the final pitch to Tendler however, Guzman broke for second base. When Greensboro catcher Arturo Rodriguez threw to second, Demeritte sprinted for home with both runners arriving safely and the double steal giving the 'Dads their 1-0 lead.

That would be all the Hickory bullpen would need, as Chris Dula pitched a scoreless 8th after leaving runners at second and third while closer John Fasola struck out two in a perfect 9th to give the Crawdads the 1-0 win. The overpowering pitching led to a season-low one hour, 58 minute game.

Jurado earned the win and improved to a perfect 5-0 on the season. Steckenrider (0-1) took the loss after allowing the game's only run on four hits during his three innings of relief. Fasola picked up his 5th save of the year for closing out the game.

Demeritte finished the night 2-4 with a run scored to lead the Hickory offense.

The Crawdads (17-8) and Grasshoppers (12-13) will face off again Thursday night in game two of the series, with first pitch scheduled for 7:00 pm.

On the strength of last Friday’s complete-game victory over UL Lafayette, Appalachian State University’s Taylor Thurber (Mooresville, N.C./Lake Norman) was named the Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week for the third time on Tuesday.

Thurber earned his latest honor after shackling UL Lafayette’s high-powered offense in a 2-1 victory on Friday night. The right-handed senior allowed just five hits and one run while striking out a career-high 11 and not issuing a walk.

Despite the lofty strikeout total, Thurber only needed 112 pitches to record his third complete game of the season. He threw 83 of his 112 pitches for strikes.

UL Lafayette scored its only run on a solo home run in the first inning. From there, Thurber limited the Sun Belt’s top scoring team to just four hits over the final 8.1 innings, retiring 15 of the 17 batters that he faced during a stretch from the second inning to the seventh. Eight of the nine hitters in the Ragin’ Cajuns’ starting lineup struck out at least once.

Thurber was also named the Sun Belt Pitcher of the Week after throwing a complete-game shutout against UL Monroe on March 20 and not allowing an earned run in nine innings against then-first-place Georgia State on April 17. He is the only pitcher in the league to earn the award three times this season.

For the campaign, Thurber ranks third in the Sun Belt with a 2.36 ERA, .215 opponents’ batting average and 70 strikeouts. He leads the conference with 87.2 innings pitched and his seven walks are the fewest among qualified Sun Belt pitchers (min. 1.0 IP/team game). The all-America candidate’s 10-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio ranks eighth nationally and his 0.89 WHIP (walks plus hits/innings pitched) is good for 17th in the nation.

Thurber and the Mountaineers close Sun Belt Conference play this weekend with three games at UT Arlington. Thurber takes the mound for the series opener on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. ET.