Sports (664)

Senior linebacker John Law (Atlanta, Ga./Grady) was named the Sun Belt’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year on Friday, which highlighted the six Appalachian State University football student-athletes that received preseason all-Sun Belt recognition, the league office announced.

Representing the Mountaineers on the first team were App State quarterback Taylor Lamb (Calhoun, Ga./Calhoun) and offensive lineman Parker Collins (North Augusta, S./C./North Augusta) on offense while Eric Boggs (Belton, S.C./Belton-Honea Path) and Law were selected to the preseason all-first team. Marcus Cox (Dacula, Ga./Dacula) and Colby Gossett (Cumming, Ga./North Forsyth) made the all-second team list.

It’s the second-straight season that Law and Cox were named preseason all-Sun Belt while Lamb, Gossett, Collins and Boggs are first-time recepients.

Law was selected as the Preseason DPOY after having an impressive 2015 campaign where he was a first-team all-Sun Belt honoree, finishing second on the team in tackles (72), tackles for loss (9.5), and sacks (4.0). The ball-hawking linebacker tied for 25th in the league with 6.0 tackles per game and also ranked among the leaders in sacks (ninth) and tackles for loss (12th). Law was just one of four student-athletes to rank in the top 15 in both sacks and tackles for loss and top 25 in tackles. Entering his senior year, Law is tied for 20th among all active NCAA Division I FBS student-athletes with an impressive 236 total career tackles.

After having a 2015 season that was one of the best campaigns seen at quarterback in App State history, Lamb was the lone signal caller from the conference to be named to the Davey O’Brien Watch List as one of the top quarterbacks in the nation. His 31 touchdown passes set a single-season school record, passing the previous record of 30 set by Appalachian and SoCon Hall of Famer Armanti Edwards in 2008. The two-year starter threw for 2,387 yards, which was good for 10th in school history. Lamb’s 160.7 passing efficiency was 10th in the nation, and he also ranked ninth in touchdown tosses. His passing yardage was the third highest in the league and his 2,823 yards of total offense ranked fourth in the conference, leading him to a spot on the Sun Belt Honorable-Mention list.

Collins, who was named to the Outland Trophy Watch List for the best linemen in the nation, is coming off an impressive 2015 campaign where he led the team with 105 knockdowns while allowing just one sack and committing only two loafs in 680 snaps. The big-time blocker recorded a 73-percent technique grade and a 78-percent job performance grade, which was third on the squad. Collins helped an Appalachian offense ranked sixth in rushing and one of the most efficient offenses in the nation. Collins anchored an offensive line that allowed just 11 sacks all season, tied for the fourth-fewest in the country.

Along with Law, Boggs was one of the leaders on the defense, leading the team and ranking fifth in the conference with 104 total tackles. Boggs notched four sacks for the fourth most on the team while picking off three passes. The linebacker was the only student-athletes in the conference to be named Sun Belt’s Defensive Student-Athlete of the Week twice in 2015. In his career, Boggs has shown to be a stable linebacker where he’s played in all 25 games in his career with 19 starts. His 2015 campaign led him to a second-team all-Sun Belt award.

A stud at running back, Cox had another historical season and will stamp his name in the record books once it’s all said and done. Cox rushed for a personal-best 1,423 yards on the ground while ranking 13th in the nation at 118.6 ypg. The App State tailback 17th in rushing yards and 20th in all-purpose yards per game (131.92). Cox was one of the top backs in the Sun Belt, as he ranked third in rushing yards and rushing yards per game He’s just 717 yards away the all-time rushing record of 4,804 rushing yards, held by Kevin Richardson (2004-07), and Cox needs just one more game of 100 yards to break his tie with John Settle (1983-86) for the most all-time at 23. Cox was named second-team all-Sun Belt last season for his performance in 12 games.

One of the top linemen in the nation, Gossett led the team with 744 snaps with the second-highest number of knockdown at 72. Gossett didn’t allow a sack all season with just one loaf and four penalties allowed. He was second on the team with a 78-percent technique grade and one of two student-athletes on the offensive line with at least an 80-percent job grade.

Pitt: 13
Caldwell County: 3
Post 29 falls into the elimination bracket

A surging Hickory Crawdads offense produced one of their finest games of the year Thursday night, as the 'Dads bats set a new season high with 16 hits en route to a 7-3 win over the Delmarva Shorebirds at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium.

All nine members of the Crawdads lineup finished with at least one hit, with five players producing a multi-hit game. Both Frandy De La Rosa (3-5, RBI, R) and Eduard Pinto (3-5) led the way with three hits apiece, while Dylan Moore (2-4, HR, 2B, 2 R, RBI), Chuck Moorman (2-4, HR, 3 RBI), and Yeyson Yrizarri (2-5, RBI) all finished with two-hit nights. All the offense provided ample support for starting pitcher Dillon Tate, who earned the win after holding the Shorebirds to one run while tying a season-best with six innings pitched.

The Hickory hitters got on the board in the second inning, when Moore roped a solo home run down the left field line for his eighth long ball of the year. Two outs later, Ti'Quan Forbes laced a double to right and Moorman delivered an RBI single to left for a 2-0 Crawdads lead. The 'Dads advantage doubled two innings later in the fourth as Jose Almonte was hit by a pitch and scored on Moorman's first homer of the year, a 2-run blast to left that gave Hickory a 4-0 lead.

Delmarva cut the deficit to 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth on a double from Ademar Rifaela and an RBI single by Austin Anderson, but the Crawdads quickly responded with a run of their own in the top of the sixth courtesy of a ground-rule double from Moore and an RBI base knock by Almonte to push the score to 5-1.

The 'Dads plated their final two tallies in the top of the ninth on RBI singles by De La Rosa and Yrizarri for a 7-1 lead. The 'Birds picked up two runs of their own in the bottom of the frame on an RBI groundout by Ricardo Andujar and an RBI single from Rifaela, before Hickory reliever Garrett Brummett closed the door for a 7-3 Crawdads victory.

Tate (3-3) earned the win for the 'Dads with one run allowed on five hits, one walk, and one strikeout over six innings pitched. Delmarva starter Michael Costello (1-2) took the loss after giving up four runs on six hits and three strikeouts during his five innings pitched.

The Crawdads (14-13/52-45) have now won four straight games to tie a season high, and will go for the three-game series sweep over the Shorebirds (11-16/53-43) Friday night, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 pm.

Appalachian State University football was picked to win the Sun Belt Conference in 2016 by the league’s coaches, the conference announced on Thursday.

Appalachian being picked as conference favorites comes as no surprise. The Mountaineers return 17-of-22 starters on the offensive and defensive sides from the 2015 team that won the most games in Sun Belt Conference history with 11 victories while capturing the 2015 Raycom Media Camellia Bowl. The Apps’ lone setbacks came to national runner-up Clemson and Sun Belt Champion, Arkansas State.

Appalachian set a new record for victories by a team in its first season as a full-fledged member of NCAA Division I FBS (previously Division I-A) after transitioning from Division I FCS (previously I-AA) and the first team to win a bowl game in its initial season as a full-fledged FBS squad.

The Mountaineers and defending league champion, Arkansas State, were tied with five first-place votes apiece, but the Mountaineers edged the Red Wolves, 114-110, in total number of points, placing the Red Wolves to second place. Last season’s preseason favorite, Georgia Southern, was voted into the third slot with one first-place vote. Georgia State was picked to finish fourth while Troy and UL Lafayette were tied to finish fifth at 70 points.

Rounding out the preseason poll are South Alabama (7th), Idaho (8th), New Mexico State (9th), Texas State (10th) and UL Monroe (11th).

Last season, the Black and Gold were selected to finish fourth in the league and went on to finish second to their only Sun Belt loss of the season, Arkansas State. The last team picked to win the conference and go on to win the title was UL Lafayette in 2013. But the 2013 title was later vacated, making Troy’s 2009 SBC title run the official last time a team has won after they were favored in the preseason.

Seven different times has the team selected to win the league championship went on to claim the league trophy, while four preseason favorites have won the championship outright.

Fans can also still enjoy the perks that come with being a Yosef Club member by joining for the 2016 membership year, which runs through Dec. 31, 2016. Yosef Club membership comes with access to exclusive seating and parking for Appalachian State football (at certain membership levels). Additionally, Yosef Club members at the $100 annual and above will be eligible to participate in July’s single-game tickets pre-sale.

To join the Yosef Club today, visit or call the Yosef Club office at (828) 262-3108.

(Sun Belt Preseason Favorites Stat via Sun Belt Conference)

2016 Sun Belt Football Coaches Predicted Order of Finish (first place votes)
1. Appalachian St. (5) - 114 pts
2. Arkansas State (5) - 110 pts
3. Georgia Southern (1) - 98 pts
4. Georgia State - 73 pts
5. Troy - 70 pts
5. UL Lafayette - 70 pts
7. South Alabama - 62 pts
8. Idaho - 48 pts
9. New Mexico St. - 37 pts
10. Texas State - 30 pts
11. UL Monroe - 14 pts

A Hickory Crawdads team that had been riding a hot hitting lineup of late turned back to an old strength Wednesday night, as 'Dads pitchers Wes Benjamin, Christian Torres, and Joe Palumbo combined to toss a three-hit shutout for a 2-0 Hickory win over the Delmarva Shorebirds at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium.

The trio of lefty hurlers didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning and didn't permit a baserunner to reach third base until the eighth. The dominant performance marked the sixth shutout of the year by the Crawdads pitching staff, and their first since they blanked the Shorebirds 1-0 in game one of a doubleheader on June 18th.

Supporting the standout pitching was a Hickory offense that made the most of their four hits and seven total baserunners. The 'Dads bats got on the board in the first, when Frandy De La Rosa reached on a hit-by-pitch, Eduard Pinto singled to right, and Tyler Sanchez blooped an RBI double to center for a 1-0 score. That lasted all the way until the sixth, when Dylan Moore drew a two-out walk and stole second base, Sanchez coaxed a free pass, and Yeyson Yrizarri delivered an RBI, groundball single to center to give the Crawdads a 2-0 advantage.

That proved to be more than enough for the Hickory hurlers. Benjamin (4-4) earned the win for the 'Dads after throwing 5 scoreless innings on just one hit, two walks, and two strikeouts, while Palumbo (8) picked up the save with a shutout ninth inning. Sanchez was awarded a hold for his three frames pitched without a run allowed.

Delmarva starting pitcher Reid Love (6-6) took the loss after allowing two runs on four hits, two walks, and six strikeouts during his 5.2 IP.

Sanchez paced the 'Dads bats with a 1-3 game including a double, an RBI, and a walk. De La Rosa also reached base multiple times by going 1-3 with a double, a hit-by-pitch, and a run scored, while Yrizarri finished 1-4 with an RBI.

The Crawdads (13-13/51-45) and Shorebirds (11-15/53-42) will match up again Thursday night at 7:05 pm in game two of their 3-game series.

Lenoir-Rhyne Head Women’s Basketball Coach Katie Pate has completed her coaching staff for the 2016-17 campaign with the hiring of Assistant LaSashia Connelly.

Connelly comes to LR after spending the past two years as an Assistant Varsity Women’s Basketball Coach at Jimmy C. Draughn High School in Valdese, N.C. Connelly oversaw player training, opponent research and statistical analysis for her prep alma mater

Connelly, a 2014 graduate of Salem College in Winston-Salem, N.C., lettered four years for the Spirits and served as team captain. While at Salem, Connelly was a cabinet member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee in addition to serving as senior class representative and an intern for the athletic department.

Connelly earned her bachelor’s degree in exercise science and currently works as a physical therapy technician with Carolina Orthopaedic Specialists.

"I am truly excited for the door God has allowed to open for me at Lenoir-Rhyne University,” said Connelly. “I have been given the opportunity to represent a fine institution with some very dedicated coaches and athletes. I can't wait to contribute to the program! I am beyond grateful for Coach (Katie) Pate allowing me to further my journey and continue to participate in my passion (basketball). I am sincerely humbled to be associated with the Lenoir-Rhyne Women's Basketball family. GO BEARS!"

“What a fantastic addition to the family! I am really pleased and excited to have added LaSashia (Connelly) to the women’s basketball staff at Lenoir-Rhyne University,” said Pate. “LaSashia’s passion for basketball and a desire to pursue experience at the collegiate level is a breath of fresh of air in our sport. She’s energetic, fun and eager to make a difference with our Bears. I am certain our players will be fond of her enthusiasm and love for the game as well as her interest in teaching it. The Bear Nation was made stronger with this addition, welcome Coach Connelly!”

Mark Polsgrove has been named Appalachian State University men’s basketball’s director of player development, head coach Jim Fox announced on Tuesday.

Polsgrove will oversee player development for the men’s basketball program. He will continue and expand the larger role that he had taken on over the course of his two seasons as a graduate assistant in the program.

“We’re thrilled and excited to have Mark returning to our staff after serving two seasons as a graduate assistant” Fox said. “He has been a valuable asset over the last two years and with his return we are keeping the continuity of our staff, which is important for the continued growth and development of our program.”

Polsgrove is entering his third season on the men’s basketball staff at Appalachian State. He came to Appalachian in 2014 as a graduate assistant and served in a variety of roles, including video coordinator, assistant director of camps, coordinating and executing alumni and booster events and led the design of all game and practice uniforms, as well as, the design and ordering of all team gear.

He also assisted the director of basketball operations, Bryan Bender, with coordinating the booking of team meals, hotels and flights, while planning recruiting trips and official visits. He oversaw the hiring and supervising of student managers and conducted individual player workouts.

Prior to arriving at Appalachian, Polsgrove spent three seasons as a member of the Gardner-Webb University men’s basketball program. He spent two seasons working for current Butler head coach Chris Holtmann and one season working for current head coach Tim Craft. While at GWU, Polsgrove served as the head manager and assistant video coordinator from 2013 to 2014. He oversaw and hired student managers, developed and organized team scouting reports, assisted in player development, assisted the director of operations and served as the co-director of summer team camps.

Before being promoted, Polsgrove served as a student manager and later being promoted to head manager prior to the 2012-13 season. Beginning as a manager in 2011, he managed team gear/equipment and laundry, while contributing with film editing, scouting reports and keeping stats. He also oversaw recruiting biographies and recruiting mail-outs.

“I am very honored and blessed to be able to continue my coaching career here at Appalachian State and I’d like to thank coach Fox for the opportunity,” said Polsgrove. “To be able to learn and grow in coach Fox’s system - a high-functioning basketball environment over the past two seasons has really accelerated my development and I look forward to continuing our program’s hard work as we prepare for the upcoming season.”

Polsgrove graduated with a Bachelor of Science in sports management from Gardner-Webb in December of 2013. He most recently completed his masters in business administration with a focus in leading and managing human resources this past May from Appalachian State.


“Mark is a diligent, hard working young man who comes from a terrific coaching family. He has a bright future. I’m excited for Mark and App State basketball.”
– Chris Holtmann, head men’s basketball coach at Butler University

“Mark is a very conscientious and proactive young coach. He understands the sense of urgency that is required for success in college athletics. He will continue to be an asset in this position for App State basketball.”
– Tim Craft, head men’s basketball coach at Gardner-Webb University

“I am extremely confident Mark will bring passion to his new position of Director of Player Development at Appalachian State University. Mark grew up around the game and has a great understanding of how to improve upon players skill levels. He will bring enthusiasm and organization to his new position and the players are fortunate to be working with Mark.”
– Steve Drabyn, assistant men’s basketball coach at Lipscomb University

Tuesday, 19 July 2016 00:05

Crawdads Walk and Homer Pass West Virginia

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The Hickory Crawdads took a patient approach to their offense Monday night, as the 'Dads drew seven walks while also having three batters hit by a pitch to accompany eight hits in a 9-2 win over the visiting West Virginia Power at L.P. Frans Stadium.

The Crawdads scored all their runs in three innings, with the big frame coming in the fifth when the club sent 11 men to the plate and scored five tallies on five walks, two hits, and a hit-by-pitch to put the game away. 10 total batters reached base safely in the game, with six players reaching multiple times. The lopsided victory gave Hickory a 4-game series split against West Virginia.

The Crawdads jumped out to a lead in the first, with a double from Josh Altmann, an RBI single by Dylan Moore, and an RBI double off the left field fence from Tyler Sanchez for a 2-0 score. The 'Dads lead doubled to 4-0 in the fourth, this time on a solo home run to left by Sanchez and a bases loaded, RBI sacrifice fly off the bat of Sherman Lacrus.

The Power got on the board in the top of the fifth, when Daniel Arribas hit a bases-loaded, RBI single to left off of Hickory starting pitcher Matt Ball to drive in a run for a 5-1 score. West Virginia tried to bring in another tally on the play, but Eduard Pinto gunned down Casey Hughston at the plate on a throw from left field to end the inning.

The 'Dads then pulled away with five runs scoring in the sixth for a 9-1 lead. Sanchez started the rally with a walk, which was followed by a single from Yeyson Yrizarri and an RBI base knock by Ti'Quan Forbes to bring home the first run. One out later, Lacrus drew a walk to load the bases before Eric Jenkins also took an free pass that forced in a run. Frady De La Rosa followed with an RBI on a hit-by-pitch, before both Pinto and Moore drew RBI walks to put the Crawdads ahead by eight.

West Virginia picked up one final tally in the eighth on an RBI triple to center by Logan Hill before Hickory reliever Adam Choplick closed the door in the ninth for a 9-2 Hickory victory.

Sanchez paced the 'Dads bats with a 2-3 game including a home run, a double, two RBI, and two runs scored. Forbes finished 1-3 with a walk and an RBI, while Yrizarri went 2-4 with two runs scored. Altmann ended the night 1-1 with a double, a run scored, a walk, and a hit-by-pitch before leaving the game in the fifth after suffering an injury sliding into second base.

Ball (2-1) earned the win for Hickory with one run allowed on eight hits, one walk, and four strikeouts over five innings pitched. Power starter Gage Hinsz (2-5) was handed the loss after giving up four runs on five hits, two walks, and one strikeout during his five innings on the mound.

The Crawdads (12-13/ 50-45) have an off day on Tuesday to travel to Salisbury, MD, where they will start a three game series against the Delmarva Shorebirds. First pitch Wednesday night is scheduled for 7:05 pm.

Union County: 10
Caldwell County: 0

The Hickory Crawdads came away with a split of their doubleheader against the visiting West Virginia Power Sunday afternoon, as the 'Dads dropped their first game 4-3 before rallying for a 6-5 win in the nightcap at L.P. Frans Stadium.

The Crawdads jumped out to early leads in each of the two games, only to see the Power rally in the middle innings to go on top. The 'Dads attempted a late comeback in game one with two tallies scoring in the sixth to make the score 4-3, but the rally would stop there. Game two meanwhile saw Hickory answer West Virginia's surge three separate times before eventually scoring twice in the fifth to emerge with a 6-5 win.

Game one began with a Crawdads' run in the first, as Josh Altmann doubled to left and came home one batter later on an RBI single from Eduard Pinto for a 1-0 'Dads lead. The advantage lasted until the 3rd, when the Power clubbed back-to-back home runs off of Hickory starting pitcher Jonathan Hernandez. Carlos Munoz delivered the big blast with a lead-changing 3-run shot to right, before Logan Hill followed with a solo homer to dead center field to put West Virginia on top 4-1.

Hernandez settled down from there and retired the final 13 batters he faced while pitching all seven innings of the game. That bought time for the 'Dads bats, which came through for two runs in the sixth on an RBI single from Tyler Sanchez and an RBI groundout by Ti'Quan Forbes to make the score 4-3. The comeback stopped there however, as West Virginia reliever Seth McGarry tossed a scoreless seventh to hand Hickory a 4-3 defeat.

Hernandez (7-7) took the loss for the Crawdads with four runs allowed on five hits, two walks, and seven strikeouts over seven innings pitched. Power starting pitcher Bret Helton (6-6) earned the win after giving up three runs on eight hits, two walks, and three strikeouts during his six innings. McGarry (5) recorded the save after closing out the game.

The second contest saw the 'Dads take another early lead, this time on a 2-out triple from Yeyson Yrizarri and an RBI single by Altmann in the second inning for a 1-0 score. Hickory doubled the advantage to 2-0 the next frame, when Sherman Lacrus singled to center, Frandy De La Rosa hit a base knock to right, and Pinto delivered an RBI single to right.

Crawdads starting pitcher Peter Fairbanks began the game with three quick innings, but ran into trouble in the fourth when Munoz connected on his second, 3-run home run of the day to give West Virginia a 3-2 lead. The 'Dads quickly came to their pitcher's aid in the home half of the frame, as Chuck Moorman reached on a pair of errors, Lacrus lined an RBI double to the wall in left field, and Eric Jenkins picked up an RBI single to center to put Hickory back on top 4-3.

The Power once again turned to the long ball to regain the advantage in the top of the fifth however, as Casey Hughston and Logan Ratledge clubbed consecutive solo shots for a 5-4 West Virginia lead. The resilient 'Dads bats had one last rally in them though, as the club got a single from Sanchez, a double by Yrizarri, and a 2-RBI single from Altmann for a 6-4 Crawdads advantage.

The 'Dads bullpen closed it out from there, with 2.2 scoreless innings of relief from Omarlin Lopez and Blake Bass.

Lopez (6-3) earned the win for Hickory with no runs allowed on one hit and three strikeouts over 1.2 innings pitched, while Bass (2) earned the save with a perfect final inning. West Virginia reliever Cesilio Pimentel (1-2) took the loss after allowing two runs on four hits and one strikeout over two innings on the mound.

Pinto paced the 'Dads bats in the doubleheader, going 2-3 with an RBI and a run in game one before going 1-3 with an RBI in the nightcap. Pinto has now collected a hit in 11 straight ballgames, the longest streak by a Crawdads' player this season. Sanchez also posted a big night, going 3-3 with an RBI and 1-3 with a run scored.

The Crawdads (11-13/49-45) and Power (13-11/48-45) will wrap up their 4-game series Monday night, with first pitched scheduled for 7:00 pm.

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