The Hickory Crawdads received a pair of big blasts from Tyler Sanchez and LeDarious Clark Wednesday night, as both batters connected on 2-run home runs to power the 'Dads to a 4-2 win over the Lakewood BlueClaws at FirstEnergy Park.
The pair of long balls helped the Crawdads salvage the final game of their four-game series, while also giving Hickory a much-needed win as they battle for a second half playoff birth in the South Atlantic League Northern Division. The homers were supported by another solid night of pitching from Luke Lanphere, Omarlin Lopez, and Adam Choplick, as well as three double plays turned by the Crawdads defense that helped to keep the BlueClaws to two runs despite the home team accumulating 12 hits.
The first of the 'Dads big flies came in the first inning, as Clark reached on a 2-out, infield single before Sanchez crushed a 2-run homer to left for a 2-0 Hickory lead. The Crawdads defense went right to work in defense of the lead, with the club turning double plays in both the first and second frames in support of Lanphere.
Lakewood was able to get on the board in the bottom of the fourth, when Damek Tomscha roped a double to left-center field before advancing to third base on a wild pitch and scoring on an RBI groundout from Wilson Garcia to cut the score to 2-1. The 'Claws then tied up the game two innings later in the sixth, with an RBI infield single by Carlos Duran deadlocking the contest at 2-2. The BlueClaws threatened to take the lead in the inning as well, but Lopez was able to escape the jam with the 'Dads third double play of night.
The game remained tied until the top of the eight inning, when Frandy De La Rosa reached on a 2-out walk to bring up Clark who lined a 2-run long ball down the left field line to put the Crawdads back on top 4-2. Choplick would close the game out from there with a scoreless ninth inning to finish off the Hickory victory.
Clark led the 'Dads bats with a 3-4 game including his 10th home run of the year, a double, two RBI, and two runs scored. Sanchez finished 1-3 with his 10th homer of the season and a walk.
Lopez (8-5) earned the win after throwing 2.2 scoreless innings on three hits and a strikeout, while Choplick (1) recorded his first save of the year with a scoreless ninth. Lakewood reliever Grant Dyer (0-3) took the loss with two runs given up on two hits, one walk, and two strikeouts over his three innings pitched.
The Crawdads (26-27/64-59) will now head to Greensboro for a four game series against the Grasshoppers. First pitch Friday night from NewBridge Bank Park is scheduled for 7:00 pm.
The Hickory Crawdads offensive struggles continued for another night Wednesday in New Jersey, as the 'Dads were shutout for the second straight game in a 1-0 loss to the Lakewood BlueClaws at FirstEnergy Park.
Neither team was able to score over the first seven innings, as the Crawdads and BlueClaws entered the eighth mired in a 0-0 tie. The 'Dads threatened in the top of the frame, but ultimately left a runner at second base. The 'Claws were finally able to score a run and break up the deadlocked contest in the home half, with an RBI single by Cornelius Randolph providing the only run of the night.
The lack of offense spoiled a great performance by the Hickory pitching staff, as starter Joe Palumbo and reliever Matt Ball kept Lakewood off the scoreboard over the first seven frames while allowing just three total hits. The Crawdads actually had more scoring opportunities than the BlueClaws over the first two-thirds of the night, but the 'Dads bats left runners in scoring position in the third, fifth, seventh and eight innings.
The decisive eighth inning rally for Lakewood began with a leadoff, infield single by Grenny Cumana against Hickory reliever Peter Fairbanks. Emmanuel Marrero then moved the runner into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt before Mark Laird reached on a walk to put two runners on with one out. Randolph followed with the biggest hit of the night, as the BlueClaws left fielder knocked a ground ball base hit into left field to drive in the game's only run for a 1-0 'Claws lead.
The Crawdads had one last chance to score in the top of the ninth, as Josh Altmann reached base on a hit-by-pitch to start the frame and was sacrificed to second base on a bunt from Carlos Arroyo to put the tying run in scoring position. 'Claws reliever Ismael Cabrera shut the rally down from there though, with a strikeout of LeDarious Clark and a groundout from Connor McKay to hand the 'Dads a 1-0 defeat.
Fairbanks (4-5) took the loss for the Crawdads after allowing the game's only run on three hits and a walk over his one inning pitched. Lakewood reliever Edgar Garcia (4-5) earned the win with two shutout innings, while Cabrera (3) recorded the save after closing out the ninth.
Altmann led the 'Dads bats with a 1-3 game including a hit-by-pitch, while Clark finished 1-4 with a double for the night's only extra-base hit for either team.
The Crawdads (25-27/63-59) will attempt to salvage the final game of their four-game series against the BlueClaws (30-22/59-62) Thursday night, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 pm.
Bunker Hill: 2
East Burke: 2
Lincoln Charter: 1
South Caldwell: 2
South Point: 4
St. Stephens: 2
Bunker Hill: 3
St. Stephens: 1
West Caldwell: 0
North Iredell: 0
North Lincoln: 0
Mountain Heritage: 3
Alexander Central: 0
The Hickory Crawdads' offense was bottled up for two games Tuesday night in Lakewood, NJ, as the 'Dads lost game one to the Lakewood BlueClaws 3-1 before also falling 1-0 in the nightcap from FirstEnergy Park.
The Crawdads pitching staff did their part to keep the team in the game, with Emerson Martinez, Christian Torres, and Tyler Ferguson combining to allow just four runs on 11 hits over 13 innings spanning the two contests. The 'Dads bats were only able to muster one run over the twin bill however, with LeDarious Clark's fourth inning, solo home run providing the club's lone tally on the night.
Game one began with three scoreless frames for both clubs, as Martinez battled Lakewood starter Franklyn Kilome. Hickory was able to break the deadlock and take the lead in the top of the fourth, when Clark clubbed the first pitch of the inning over the wall in left field for a solo homer and a 1-0 Crawdads lead. The BlueClaws answered with two tallies of their own in the bottom of the frame, as three consecutive singles by Cornelius Randolph, Jose Pujols, and Damek Tomscha loaded the bases prior to an RBI base knock from Wilson Garcia and an RBI groundout by Deivi Grullon that gave the 'Claws a 2-1 advantage.
Lakewood added to their lead in the fifth, as a solo homer by Mark Laird stretched the score to 3-1. The Crawdads had one last shot at a rally in the top of the sixth, when Frandy De La Rosa walked and Clark lined a double down the left field line to put the tying runners in scoring position with only one out. BlueClaws reliever Sutter McLaughlin was able to escape the jam however on a strikeout of Josh Altmann and a groundout by Yeyson Yrizarri. McLaughlin returned with a scoreless frame in the seventh to finish off the 3-1 'Dads defeat.
Martinez (0-4) took the loss for Hickory despite finishing with a quality start, as the right-hander allowed three runs on seven hits, one walk, and two strikeouts while pitching all six innings. Kilome (5-8) earned the win for the 'Claws with one run given up on three hits, four walks, and six strikeouts over 5.1 IP, while McLaughlin (8) recorded the save for closing out the game.
Clark led the 'Dads offense with a 2-3 contest including his ninth home run of the season, while Yrizarri finished 1-3.
The second game featured even less offense for the two teams, with the only run coming in the second inning on an RBI single by Lakewood's number eight hitter Edgar Cabral for a 1-0 BlueClaws lead. The Crawdads best chance to get on the board came in the fourth, when Altmann drew a two out walk and Yrizarri reached on an infield single, but 'Claws starting pitcher Jose Taveras escaped the jam with a fly out to left by Ti'Quan Forbes.
That would be the last inning a baserunner would reach against Taveras (6-8), as the right-hander went the distance with a seven-inning, complete game shutout on two hits, one walk, and seven strikeouts for Lakewood. Torres (1-2) absorbed the hard-luck loss for the 'Dads after allowing one run on four hits, one walk, and five strikeouts.
The Crawdads (25-26/63-58) will take on the BlueClaws (28-22/58-62) on Wednesday, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 pm.
In its first action of the preseason against another team, Appalachian State University men’s soccer held strong in a defensive battle, tying with Wofford 0-0 on Tuesday night at Appalachian Soccer Stadium at the Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex.
“We were glad to get out and play some outside competition,” head coach Jason O’Keefe said. “We played every man on the roster and kept it zero so that’s a very positive thing and something we’ve been working on. A couple of the guys, individually, showed some promise, but we’re still looking for some better relationships in the attack, some more leadership in the attack, and I believe if we keep working, those things are going to come through and we’ll be able to hopefully turn a tie into a win.”
Despite largely a defensive battle for the three 30-minute periods, the Mountaineers controlled possession nearly the entire way, out-shooting the Terriers 12-8 on the evening. Wofford did hold the advantage in shots on goal (8-6), but App State had a more deep attack, putting pressure on their goalkeeper from multiple angles and personnel. Apps’ had their best efforts in the first and third periods, having five and four shots each, respectively.
Leading the way for Appalachian in shots was senior Stephen Chapman (Greensboro, N.C./Northwest Guilford) with three, two of which were on goal. Right behind the senior, however, was newcomer junior Andrew Goodman (Largo, Fla./Seminole (Louisburg College) (Cape Fear Community)) with two shots total and one on goal.
The Mountaineers best chance at a goal came in the 81st minute when Graham Smalley (Kill Devil Hill, N.C./First Flight) redirected a rebound with his head that just missed rolling into the goal before Hunter Wages dove in to save it.
Defending the net for the Mountaineers were sophomore Jake Chasteen (Blowing Rock, N.C./Watauga), freshman Jake Agnew (Farmington, Minn./Farmington) and redshirt junior Mitch Kilmer (Frisco, Texas/Frisco (St. Mary’s)). Chasteen logged the most amount of minutes, giving 45:49 and having three saves in the process. Agnew was in the net for 23:34, which was long enough to record two saves as Kilmer came in to finish the game, playing the final 20:37 and getting one save on the day.
One of the shining points for Appalachian State on the evening was the ability to play 23 student-athletes and not drop the intensity on either side of the ball. While the outcome was a tie, the Mountaineers threw a lot of different looks into the match and the defense continued to stop the Terriers’ advance.
The Mountaineers will go on to face High Point on the road for the second and final exhibition. Appalachian will square off with the Panthers at 7 p.m.
Junior defender Lindsey Tully (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Catholic) was named to the 2016 Sun Belt Preseason All-Conference team, the league announced on Tuesday. Appalachian State women’s soccer also finished fourth in the Sun Belt Preseason Coaches Poll.
“I appreciate the recognition for Lindsey Tully because she has definitely earned the respect through her performance in Sun Belt matches,” head coach Sarah Strickland said.
Tully was a dominant presence at center back all season and the most consistent defender for the Mountaineers last season, locking down opponents well enough to be voted first-team all-Sun Belt by the league. Starting and playing every second of all 20 matches in 2015, tallying 1,880 minutes, Tully helped the Mountaineers shut out six opponents and limited opposing teams to one goal or less in 15 of 20 matches.
The junior played a key role in the Mountaineers’ tournament run last season, helping hold Little Rock to just one goal, and keeping Appalachian tied with No. 1 seed and top-ranked offense, South Alabama, for two overtimes, ending the Jags’ 11-match win streak and forcing PKs – App lost 12-11. Tully also does the job on the offensive side, especially off set pieces. Her game-winning header off a corner kick against UL-Lafayette proved to be a highlight for Appalachian. She had one goal, one assist and 11 shots.
With the Mountaineers coming off a successful second season in the Sun Belt Conference, they ranked fourth with 81 points. Coming in first in the coaches poll was South Alabama, who led the way with 120 points and 10 first-place points, while Troy finished second in the poll with 102 points. Conference newcomer Coastal Carolina edged out Appalachian for the third-place spot with 86 points. Rounding out the top 5 is Troy who finished with 77 points.
Last season, the team went 10-6-4 (5-3-1 Sun Belt, finding their rhythm at the right time and going into the conference tournament hot. After earning their first conference tournament win against Little Rock to advance to the semifinals, the Black and Gold squared off against the No. 1 seeded South Alabama. After holding the Jaguars to two goals and scoring two of their own, the team went into two overtimes as neither team refused to lose. Finally, in PKs, App lost by one goal, but not before showing the conference they could take the top-ranked team to the limit.
The Mountaineers begin the 2016 regular season Friday when they host Northern Kentucky at the Appalachian Soccer Stadium at the Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m.
2016 Sun Belt Preseason All-Conference Team
Jennifer Wittick (Georgia Southern, Senior, Forward)
Yazmin Montoya (UL Lafayette, Senior, Forward)
* Chardé Hannah (South Alabama, Junior, Forward)
** Lauren Prater (Texas State, Senior, Forward)
** Caitlyn Eddy (Little Rock, Sophomore, Midfielder)
* Suzanne Arafa (Georgia State, Senior, Midfielder)
* Danielle Henley (South Alabama, Junior, Midfielder)
* Lindsey Tully (Appalachian State, Junior, Defender)
* Steffi Hardy (South Alabama, Junior, Defender)
** Jemma Purfield (South Alabama, Sophomore, Defender)
* Mikki Lewis (Troy, Junior, Goalkeeper)
* - denotes 2015 First-Team All-Conference | ** - denotes 2015 Second-Team All-Conference
2016 Sun Belt Preseason Co-Offensive Players of the Year
Chardé Hannah (South Alabama, Sophomore, Forward)
Lauren Prater (Texas State, Senior, Forward)
2016 Sun Belt Preseason Defensive Player of the Year
Steffi Hardy (South Alabama, Junior, Defender)
2016 Sun Belt Women’s Soccer Preseason Poll (first-place votes in parentheses)
1. South Alabama (10) - 120 pts
2. Troy - 102 pts
3. Coastal Carolina - 86 pts
4. Appalachian State - 81 pts
5. Little Rock - 77 pts
6. Texas State - 76 pts
7. Georgia Southern - 53 pts
8. Georgia State - 49 pts
9. UL Lafayette (1) - 46 pts
10. Arkansas State - 20 pts
11. UL Monroe - 16 pts
East Burke: 0
Bunker Hill: 6
Highland Tech: 1
West Caldwell: 1
St. Stephens: 2
AC Reynolds: 2
After maintaining an early lead and consistently applying pressure at the net, the Liberty Flames field hockey team defeated Appalachian State University field hockey 11-4 on Monday in App State’s first exhibition match of the preseason.
The Flames’ Kendra Jones dominated the pitch scoring four goals while Jordan Van Cleave (Louisville, Ky./Ballard) had a solid performance for the Mountaineers dishing out three shots past the goal line.
Liberty dominated the first period shutting out the Mountaineers 4-0, and cranked out three goals in under six minutes.
In the second period, Van Cleave collected the first goal of the 2016 preseason and led the charge to outscore the Flames, 3-2. In the 18th minute of the period, Van Cleave fired the ball into the net from a double-assisted corner to bring the score to 4-1.
App State capitalized again with a smoldering low roller to left corner by Taylor Cimbalist (Virginia Beach, Va./First Colonial) from German newcomer Julia Wenz (Bayern, Germany/Stadtisches Louis-Schroeder Gymnasium), compressing the lead to 4-2. Liberty would go on to shoot back-to-back goals before Van Cleave gathered her second goal of the match from a tipped pass by Savanna Sheridan (Hertford, N.C. (First Colonial) to end the period with Liberty up by three (6-3).
After halftime, Liberty connected again to extend its lead by four, Van Cleave responded with a blistering shot that was assisted by Sheridan in the 43rd minute to end the third period, 7-4.
In the last 15-minute period, Liberty held the Mountaineers to a standstill scoring four unassisted goals. Kendra Jones collected the eighth and tenth goals in the 50th and 56th minute, Abby Julius tallied the ninth goal in the 52nd minute, and Agueda Moroni’s goal at the 59th minute solidified their win.
At the conclusion of all four periods, the two teams played a mock shootout ending in three sudden death rounds. Liberty came out victorious winning the shootout, 5-4.
At the Net
Goalkeeper Rachel Gaines (Kettering, Ohio/Kettering (Ohio State)) played in her first match in a Mountaineer uniform. The redshirt freshman played the whole way through deflecting 8 shots from the Flames’ offense. For Liberty, Monica Hernick played for 45 minutes and recorded two saves, and Allison Schaefer finished the match saving one goal and playing 25 minutes.
Wenz, Keighly Adams (Dillsburg, Pa./Northern), Mallory Wolf (Virginia Beach, Salem), Kaley Selner (Herndon, Va./Herndon), Ali Williams (Myersville, Md./Middletown), Melissa Nobile (Hillsborough, N.J./Hillsborough), and Gaines all made their Mountaineer debuts starting for the first exhibition match of the preseason. The freshmen were highlighted by an assist by Wenz to junior Cimbalist in the second period and two shots on goal by Nobile.
The Liberty Flames edged the Mountaineers in shots 33-7 and shots on goal 19-7.
Appalachian State will take a day off to bring in the new academic school year tomorrow, Aug. 16 and will continue with preseason practice on Wednesday, Aug. 17. The Black and Gold will prepare to take on the Limestone Saints in the second exhibition matchup of the preseason on Sunday, Aug. 21, in Boone, N.C. at 3 pm.
Appalachian State University football quarterback Taylor Lamb (Calhoun, Ga./Calhoun) was named to his third preseason award watch list on Monday, as he landed on the 2016 Manning Award Watch Poll.
The junior signal caller is of 30 quarterbacks and one of two from the Sun Belt (Brandon Silvers; Troy) to be named to the list. Lamb also joins the two quarterbacks the Mountaineers will see this season in Joshua Dobbs of Tennessee and Miami’s Brad Kaaya.
Lamb came off one of the best seasons at quarterback in Appalachian history, where he set a single-season record with 31 touchdown passes, surpassing Appalachian State and SoCon Hall of Famer Armanti Edwards’ 30 touchdown tosses in 2008. Lamb ranked ninth in the nation and first in the Sun Belt in touchdown passes, while his 31 touchdowns and nine-interception season equaled an impressive 3:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
His 2015 performance led to an honorable-mention all-Sun Belt award. Lamb’s impressive 160.7 passing efficiency was the 10th highest in the nation. Lamb tossed at least one touchdown in every game last season while throwing at least three touchdown passes in six contests. Lamb’s 2,387 passing yards was third most among Sun Belt quarterbacks, and his performance ranked 10th in App State history for a single season. His 2,823 yards of total offense ranked fourth in the Sun Belt.
He completed at least 60 percent of his passes in eight of 12 contests while registering a mark 70 percent or higher in four of those contests. He also tossed at least one touchdown in every game last season while throwing at least three touchdown passes in six contests.
Lamb is the lone student-athlete to be named to three preseason watch lists, with Marcus Cox ( Maxwell, Doak Walker) being named to two presseason watch lists. Lamb (Manning, CFPA, Davey O’Brien), Darian Small (Wuerffel), Barrett Burns (John Mackey) and Parker Collins (Outland) all have received preseason recognition.
The Mountaineers are currently in the midst of fall camp in preparation for the 2016 season. Appalachian will open up the season with a daunting task at No. 10 Tennessee on Thursday, Sept. 1 in Knoxville.
The Hickory Crawdads have released their schedule for 2017, with the 'Dads 25th anniversary season scheduled to start on the road on Thursday, April 6th with the home opener set for Thursday, April 13th.
The Crawdads will begin the 2017 season with a 7-game road tip to Greensboro and Columbia starting on April 6th. The 'Dads will kick off the home portion of their schedule with four games against Kannapolis beginning on April 13th, followed by three games vs. West Virginia to complete the weeklong home stand. The Crawdads will also be home over Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend, as well as the 4th of July.
The 'Dads have a total of 10 fireworks shows on the schedule, including nine Fireworks Fridays and a special Independence Day fireworks show on the 4th of July.
2017 Ticket Books are on sale now, with fans receiving five free ticket vouchers in addition to the normal 10 vouchers if they purchase by Friday, September 16th. Fans can also pick up $10 in free Crawdads Cash if they purchase a 2017 Ticket Book during any of the 'Dads remaining 2016 games.
54 of the Crawdads games will be against fellow North Carolina teams, including 22 against both Greensboro and Kannapolis as well as 10 contests vs. Asheville. The schedule will once again feature the Crawdads in the South Atlantic League Northern Division and will be comprised of 140 games, 70 per half. The two halves will be split by the All-Star break from June 19th - 21st, with the 58th annual SAL All-Star Game taking place in Columbia, SC.
A breakdown of all the Crawdads opponents in 2017 includes:
vs. Northern Division - 82 (31H, 51A)
vs. Greensboro - 22 (11H, 11A)
vs. Kannapolis - 22 (10H, 12A)
vs. Delmarva - 11 (4H, 7A)
vs. Hagerstown - 10 (3H, 7A)
vs. West Virginia - 10 (3H, 7A)
vs. Lakewood - 7 (0H, 7A)
vs. Southern Division - 58 (39H, 19A)
vs. Columbia - 14 (7H, 7A)
vs. Lexington - 11 (8H, 3A)
vs. Asheville - 10 (7H, 3A)
vs. Greenville - 10 (7H, 3A)
vs. Charleston - 6 (3H, 3A)
vs. Augusta - 4 (4H, 0A)
vs. Rome - 3 (3H, 0A)