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Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Kevin Baxter and Haylea Salamon will compete in the 2015 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field National Championships on Friday on the campus of Grand Valley State University.

Baxter, a junior from Columbia, S.C., will compete in the men’s 110-meter hurdles for third straight year. The preliminaries are set for Friday at 6:50 p.m., Eastern time.

Baxter earned All-American honors in 2014 after finishing fourth in the finals and his season-best time of 14.05 seconds at the Duke Twilight on Wednesday, May 6, currently ranks him seventh in the nation.

Baxter, who holds the school record in the men’s 110-meter hurdles (13.95 seconds), has also won the event three times this year.

In addition, Baxter is a two-time NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field All-American in the men’s 60-meter hurdles (2013 and 2015). Salamon, a freshman from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, CANADA, will complete in the women’s discus. Salamon earned her spot with a school-record throw of 154’11” at the Georgia Invitational in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, May 9.

Salamon also won the 2015 South Atlantic Conference Championship in the event in late April and was named the conference’s freshman of the year and co-field athlete of the year for her performance. The women’s discus throw is set for 2:00 p.m., Eastern time on Friday afternoon.

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.

Appalachian State University men’s soccer will have six members of its upcoming 2015 roster playing for teams over the summer.

“It’s really great for these guys to get this opportunity this summer,” said head coach Matt Nelson. “My hope is that they bring their experiences from this summer to camp in the fall and pass along to the rest of the guys as we prepare to make a run at a Sun Belt crown.”

Mason McCarter (Shelby, N.C./Shelby) will be playing this summer for the Charlotte Eagles PDL (Premier Development League). McCarter scored his first career goal in 2014 which proved to be a game-winner against NJIT in the last match of the regular season.

Both Stephen Chapman (Greensboro, N.C./Northwest Guilford) and Trey Hemphill (Asheville, N.C./T.C. Roberson/UNC Asheville) will play together this summer for the Carolina Dynamo. The Dynamo, like the Charlotte Eagles, are members of the PDL.

A Sun Belt Player of the Week honoree last season, Chapman scored three goals last season, while Hemphill tallied one goal and one assist. Chapman collected his first multi-goal game on the road at Longwood, while also scoring the game-winner in the Sun Belt Conference quarterfinal match against NJIT to send the Apps to the semifinal.

Two more teammates will play together this summer with Ben Steen (Mooresville, N.C./Lake Norman) and Jordan Melia (Bolton, England/Rivington and Blackrod) both playing for the PDL’s Southern West Virginia King’s Warriors. Steen and Melia, both defenders for the Mountaineers, were key cogs on a strong defensive back line unit last season.

Lastly, Donovan Japp (Oakridge, N.C./Northwest Guilford) will play for Gate City FC of the NPSL (National Premier Soccer League). Japp, a Sun Belt Player of the Week winner in 2014, scored one goal and tallied four assists for the Mountaineers last season.

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.

Appalachian State University women’s golf and women’s soccer programs have earned NCAA Public Recognition Awards for ranking among the top 10 percent of all Division I programs in their respective sports in the latest multiyear Academic Progress Rate (APR) figures, the NCAA announced on Wednesday.

The APR provides a real-time look at a program’s academic success each semester by tracking the academic progress of each student-athlete on scholarship, accounting for eligibility, retention and graduation. The latest multiyear APR scores include figures from the four-year period beginning with the 2010-11 academic year and ending with 2013-14.

Head coach Heather Brown’s women’s golf program earned a Public Recognition Award for the second-straight year. Appalachian State is one of four Sun Belt Conference women’s golf programs to earn the award this year, joining Arkansas State, Texas State and Troy. Other notable women’s golf programs to receive the recognition include Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth, Duke, Harvard, North Carolina, NC State, Northwestern, Princeton, Stanford, Penn, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest and Yale.

The honor is Appalachian State’s first in women’s soccer since Public Recognition Awards were introduced following the 2004-05 academic year. Head coach Sarah Strickland’s program is the only women’s soccer program in the Sun Belt to earn the award this year. Other notable women’s soccer programs to receive the recognition include Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, NC State, Northwestern, Rice and Yale.

Recognition for academic progress and achievement has long been a staple of Appalachian State’s student-athletes, as at least one Mountaineer team has been honored in nine of the 10 years that Public Recognition Awards have been conferred. In the only year that an Appalachian State team did not earn a Public Recognition Award (2011-12), 14 of Appalachian’s 20 varsity programs recorded multiyear APR scores that matched or exceeded the national average for their respective sports and two more scored within two points of their sports’ national averages.

“We’re unbelievably proud of our women’s golf and women’s soccer programs for achieving this great honor,” Appalachian State director of athletics Doug Gillin said. “Academic integrity and success are first and foremost among our core values and this recognition is a great example of Appalachian State’s commitment to those values. Congratulations to Coach Brown, Coach Strickland and their staffs, our academic services staff, the University’s faculty and staff and, most of all, our women’s golf and women’s soccer student-athletes, past and present, for their achievements.”

The NCAA will announce the latest APR figures for all sports on Wednesday, May 27.

Providence: 8
South Caldwell: 7
Spartans season ends at 26-1.

Alexander Central: 10
Northwest Guilford: 4
Cougars advance to the fourth round hosting North Davidson on Friday.

South Caldwell: 6
Porter Ridge: 5
Spartans advance to the fourth round hosting Richmond/Olympic. The Richmond/Olympic contest was postponed until Wednesday due to rain.

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.