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Asheville: 8
Hickory: 6
Asheville leads the best of five series 2-1. Game four is tonight at Henkle Alley Field.

Shelby: 13
Caldwell County: 6
Shelby wins the series 3-0.

Thursday, 10 July 2014 06:42

Hickory Crawdads Lose in 14 Innings

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The Hickory Crawdads appeared on the way to snapping out of their slump Wednesday night when Kellin Deglan hit a game-tying 3-run home run in the 9th to send the contest to extra innings, but four scoreless frames later it was the visiting Lexington Legends who came through with three runs in the 14th to give the 'Dads a 10-7, 14-inning loss at L.P. Frans Stadium.

The 14-frame marathon lasted 4:36, both marking season highs for the Crawdads. The two teams combined for 38 hits, the most in a Hickory game this year, with the 'Dads allowing a season-high 22 hits to the Legends.

The first eight frames of the contest appeared fairly normal. Lexington utilized a pair of Crawdads errors and a pair of hits to score three runs in the top of the 1st, with the 'Dads responding with a RBI groundout by Deglan in the bottom of the frame to make the score 3-1. The Legends tacked on one run in the 4th and two more in the 6th off of Hickory starting pitcher Tyler Smith to push the score to 6-1, before Ronald Guzman lined a 2-run homer to right-center field for the Crawdads in the home half of the 6th for a 6-3 score.

The 'Dads narrowed the deficit to 6-4 when Travis Demeritte delivered a RBI single in the 8th, but Lexington came back with a single tally of their own in the top of the 9th for a 7-4 advantage. Down to their final out and with two men on in the 9th, Deglan emerged as the hero for the Crawdads with a game-tying, 3-run blast to right to deadlock the score at 7-7 and send the game to extra innings.

Both teams had opportunities to win the game in extras, most notably a bases loaded, one out scenario for Hickory in the 10th that failed to produce a run, but in the end it was the Legends who finally broke through in the top of the 14th with three runs against Crawdads reliever Jose Valdespina for a 10-7 lead. The 'Dads had one last gasp in the home half of the frame with the team bringing the tying run to the plate in the form of Jackson, but regular Lexington infielder Kevin Kuntz got Jackson to fly out to center to end the game.

Legends reliever Alex Black (3-1) earned the win after initially blowing the save in the 9th, with the right-handed reliever totaling three runs allowed on five hits, six walks, and seven strikeouts over five innings from the bullpen. Valdespina (2-1) took the loss for Hickory after giving up three runs on six hits over 2.2 frames. Kuntz earned his first career save for the Legends with a scoreless inning in the 14th.

Deglan ended the night 1-4 with his 14th home run of the season, four RBIs, and two walks, while both Ryan Cordell (3-5, 2B, 2 BB, 2 R) and Janluis Castro (3-6, 2B, BB) finished with 3-hit games.

The Crawdads (13-8) have now lost six-straight games to tie the team's worst skid of the year. The 'Dads will try to right the ship on the road as the team starts a four-game series in Rome against the Braves Thursday night at 7:05 pm.

Wednesday, 09 July 2014 08:16

Hickory Crawdads Drop Fifth Straight Game

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The Hickory Crawdads looked to be putting their recent struggles behind them Tuesday night when the team jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the 1st inning, but the big opening frame wasn't enough for the 'Dads as they fell to the visiting Lexington Legends 16-8 at L.P. Frans Stadium.

The Hickory pitching staff allowed a season-high 19 hits to the Legends in the slugfest defeat, with eight of the nine Lexington batters collecting at least one base knock while all nine scored at least one run. The Crawdads offense also had eight of the nine members of the lineup end the night with a hit, while all nine reached base safely in some manner. The loss is the fifth straight for the Crawdads and secures a second-straight series loss for a team that hadn't lost a series in two months prior to the current home stand.

The 'Dads 1st inning explosion saw the team send all nine batters to the plate against Legends starting pitcher Luis Rico, with a RBI fielder's choice groundout by Ryan Cordell, a 2-run home run from Kellin Delgan, and a RBI double from Ronald Guzman giving the team a 5-0 advantage. Lexington responded with an even larger inning of their own in the 2nd, as the Legends sent 13 men to the plate and scored eight runs on seven hits to take an 8-5 lead and chase Hickory start Akeem Bostick from the game.

The Crawdads picked up another tally in the bottom of the 2nd on a leadoff, solo home run from Evan Van Hooiser to cut the deficit to 8-6, before loading the bases with two outs in the 3rd with Van Hoosier due up again. The 'Dads DH couldn't come through again though, as he grounded out o short to end the threat and the frame.

The Legends would pull away from there, with the road team getting to Hickory reliever Jose Monegro for three runs in the 4th and four in the 6th for a 15-6 advantage. The Crawdads scored their final two runs in the bottom of the 6th on a RBI groundout by Michael De Leon and a RBI single from Joe Jackson for a 15-8 score, before Lexington plated their last tally in the 7th for the 16-8 final.

Third baseman Mauricio Ramos led the Legends attack, going 5-6 with his 5th home run of the year, two RBIs and five runs scored. Deglan paced the Hickory offense with a 2-5 night including his 13th long ball of the season, two RBIs and a double. Van Hoosier (2-5, HR, RBI, 2 R), Jackson (2-5, RBI, R), and Guzman (2-3, 2 2B, RBI, R, BB) finished with multi-hit games for the Crawdads as well.

Lexington reliever Matt Alvarez (4-3) earned the win with two perfect innings of relief complete with two strikeouts, while Bostick (5-4) took the loss for Hickory with a season-high eight runs given up on seven hits, three walks, and a strikeout over 1.2 innings pitched.

The Crawdads (13-7) will try to snap their skid and salvage their final game against the Legends (8-12) Wednesday night, with first pitch scheduled for 7:00 pm.

Hickory: 14
Asheville: 4
The best of five series is tied 1-1. Game three is set for Wednesday at Asheville.

Shelby: 13
Caldwell County: 5
Shelby Post 82 leads the best of five series, 2-0. Game three of the series is set for Wednesday at Shelby.

Tuesday, 08 July 2014 23:18

Cody Kendall Called Up to Myrtle Beach

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The Texas Rangers announced today that Hickory Crawdads RHP Cody Kendall has been promoted to the High-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans, becoming the sixth 'Dad this season and the third in the last week to move up in the Rangers organization.

Kendall, 24, leaves Hickory after leading the team in ERA (1.02), wins (7), and saves (7), while also posting a .213 batting average against and a 42/15 strikeout/walk ratio. An 8th round selection by the Rangers in 2012 out of Fresno State University, Kendall was one of three Crawdads named to the 2014 South Atlantic League All-Star Game in Hickory, where the right-hander threw a perfect inning of relief. Kendall also spent time with the 'Dads in 2013, going 2-2 with a 3.42 ERA and seven saves over 25 relief appearances.

With only 23 active players on the roster following Kendall's departure, right-handed pitchers David Ledbetter and Patrick Kaminska have both been added to the Crawdads from the Arizona League. Ledbetter, 22, pitched for the Crawdads previously this year, going 1-4 with an 8.26 ERA over seven starts totaling 28.1 innings pitched. A 3rd round selection by the Rangers in the 2013 Draft, Ledbetter didn't allow a run over four appearances and 12.2 IP while pitching in the AZL. Kaminska, 23, also posted a spotless ERA in the AZL, with 10.1 total scoreless frames during six relief appearances. The Rangers signed Kaminska as a non-drafted free agent last month out of Central Michigan University.

Kendall is the third Crawdad to be sent to Myrtle Beach this week, joining RHP Kevin Pucetas and OF Lewis Brinson. The trio joins fellow 2014 'Dads alumni Nick Vickerson, Abel De Los Santos, and Kevin Torres on the Pelicans roster.

The Hickory Crawdads continued their recent slide while dropping their fourth straight game Monday night, as the 'Dads opened their series against the Lexington Legends with a 9-2 loss at L.P. Frans Stadium.

The Crawdads began the 2nd half of the South Atlantic League season with a league-best 13-2 record, but the current home stand has not been kind to the 'Dads as they were swept in three games by the Southern Division leading Savannah Sand Gnats prior to losing the first game of their series vs. the Legends. Despite the skid, Hickory still remains in a 3-way tie for first place in the Northern Division with Greensboro and Kannapolis.

Lexington wasted no time in jumping on Crawdads starting pitcher Cole Wiper, scoring two runs on three hits in the top of the 1st for a 2-0 score. The Legends lead doubled to 4-0 with two more tallies in the 3rd, this time with the visitors taking advantage of a fielding error by 'Dads second baseman Janluis Castro and a throwing error by first baseman Ronald Guzman to plate a pair of unearned runs.

Hickory got on the board in the bottom of the 3rd, with Joe Jackson driving in Luis Marte with a two-out RBI single to cut the deficit to 4-1, but the Legends answered back with another run in the 4th and two more runs in the 5th to take a 7-1 lead and chase Wiper from the game.

Lexington plated their final two tallies for a 9-1 lead in the 8th thanks to a hit and a pair of walks off of new Crawdads reliever Scott Williams who was making his professional debut. The Crawdads finished the scoring in the bottom of the 9th, when Travis Demeritte lined his league-leading 18th home run of the season over the right-center field fence for a solo blast and the final 9-2 score.

Wiper (5-7) took the loss for the 'Dads with a season-high seven runs allowed on seven hits over 4.1 innings pitched. Lexington starter Matt Tenuta (4-7) earned the win after allowing one run on three hits during his 5.2 innings. Reliever Pedro Fernandez picked up his first save of the year for the Legends after holding Hickory to one run on one hit over 3.1 frames from the pen.

The Crawdads (13-6) and Legends (7-12) will match up again on Tuesday for game two of the three game series, with first pitch scheduled for 7:00 pm.

Asheville: 7
Hickory: 5
Asheville leads the best of five quarterfinal series 1-0. Game two is Tuesday at Henkel Alley Field in Conover.

Shelby: 10
Caldwell County: 6
Shelby leads the best of five quarterfinal series 1-0. Game two is Tuesday at MS Deal Stadium in Granite Falls.

The Texas Rangers announced today that Hickory Crawdads RHP Kevin Pucetas has been promoted to the High-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans, becoming the fifth 'Dad this season and the second in four days to move up in the Rangers organization.

Pucetas, 29, leaves the Crawdads after going 1-1 with a 3.32 ERA and a .250 average against over 40.2 innings pitched primarily out of the bullpen. The knuckleballer did make one start for the 'Dads, taking the loss against Lakewood on June 12th despite throwing an 8-inning complete game with only three runs allowed on 10 hits.

The 6'4" South Carolina native was originally drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 17th round of the 2006 Draft, prior to being named the South Atlantic League Pitcher-of-the-Year in 2007, the California League (High-A) Pitcher-of-the-Year in 2008, and a Pacific Coast League (AAA) Mid-Season All-Star in 2009. Following a trade to the Kansas City Royals in 2010, Pucetas was named an Eastern League (AA) Mid-Season All-Star in 2012. Pucetas was signed by the Rangers as a Minor League free agent in 2013 while converting to being a knuckleball pitcher.

Pucetas joins fellow 2014 Crawdads Lewis Brinson, Nick Vickerson, Abel De Los Santos, and Kevin Torres on the Pelicans roster.

Monte Sherrill of Alexander Central was named Max Preps National Softball Coach of the Year led his squad to a 35-0 record and another state 4A title. Alexander Central finished behind Amador Valley as the No. 2 team in the Xcellent 25.

"This season was so rewarding because we learned to win in a different style," said Sherrill, 49. "Before, we had Chelsea Wilkinson (Georgia All-American in 2014) and she struck out two of every three batters. She graduated and we had to invent a new style of play – more emphasis on defense, hitting, pick-off plays and baserunning.

"Our baserunning was something to behold," said Sherrill, who has guided Central to four state titles in the last six seasons. "Our baserunning put us on another level."

Central, which set a state record for runs scored (426), will enter the 2015 season riding a 67-game winning streak.

On March 27, Sherrill recorded his 700th win (against just 59 losses). His next coaching victory will be his 722nd.

Sherrill noted that "this team was all about AC (Alexander Central). I am so proud of our two pitchers (Kiana Millsaps and Bailey Rhoney) who shared time without any ego. They worked together and supported one another. It was special to be a part of."

In addition, Sherrill got to share the 2014 season with daughters Bailey Sherrill and Vada Sherrill. Bailey, a senior, earned the MVP award at the state tournament, and Vada, a junior, was the North Carolina Gatorade State Player of the Year.

The All-American Team listed below was selected based on performance on the field and the players' overall contribution to their teams' successes.

On the first team was infielder Vada Sherrill, Alexander Central (Taylorsville, N.C.), Junior. The state's first "60-60" player with 60 hits and 60 runs scored, Sherrill led Central to another state title, a 35-0 record and a No. 2 national finish in MaxPreps' final Xcellent 25. She also stole 51 bases and was named the Gatorade State Player of the Year.

Making second team was infielder Taylor Wike, Alexander Central (Taylorsville, N.C.), Senior. The UNC recruit led her nationally ranked team to a state title and set a state record with 64 RBIs. She hit .639.

Named to National Fastpitch Coaches Association's All-American teams were pitcher Kiana Millsaps as a first team member, Baily Rhoney as a second team member and Vada Sherrill as a third team honor

Appalachian State University men’s soccer head coach Matt Nelson announced the team’s schedule for the upcoming 2014 season on Monday.

“This schedule for the upcoming fall season is a challenging one,” said Nelson. “It’s a schedule that will prepare us for the conference season as we move into the Sun Belt and ready us for a run at a conference championship.”

The Mountaineers will play three exhibition games in preparation for the regular season. App State will challenge UNC Asheville on the road on Friday, August 15 at 1 p.m. The Apps will return home for a match against Campbell on Sunday, August 17 with a 7 p.m. kickoff before closing out the preseason at High Point on Saturday, August 23 at 7 p.m.

To kick off the regular season, the Mountaineers will begin with two games at the JMU Invitational at James Madison in Harrisonburg, Virginia. The Apps will face Albany to open the season on Friday, August 29 with a time to be determined and then take on Vermont on Sunday, August 31 also with a time to be determined.

The Apps will continue the road trip on Friday, September 5 at Navy with a 7 p.m. kick off. The team will then play on Sunday, September 7 when the Apps visit the University of Maryland Baltimore County for a 7 p.m. start.

App State will then host Presbyterian on Friday, September 12 at 7:30 p.m. for the home opener at Appalachian Soccer Stadium. On Monday, September 15 the Mountaineers will travel to Marshall for a 5 p.m. match.

The following week on Wednesday, September 24 the Black and Gold will return home to face Radford at 7 p.m. before hitting the road again for three-straight matches. The Mountaineers travel to USC Upstate on Saturday, September 27, Duke on Tuesday, September 30 and Hartwick in Oneonta, N.Y. on Friday, October 3. All three games are slated for 7 p.m. kick offs.

Appalachian will then finish the season with four home dates in a six game stretch starting on Wednesday, October 8 when they host Jacksonville University at 7 p.m. The Apps will hit the road to Howard in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, October 11.

Two familiar opponents will then visit the High Country when Georgia State comes on Saturday, October 18 with a 7 p.m. start time and long-time Southern Conference foe Georgia Southern makes the trek to Boone on Saturday, October 25 for a 7 p.m. kick off.

The Mountaineers will then travel to Longwood for a mid-week game on Wednesday, October 29 at 6 p.m. before closing the regular season at home with a 7 p.m. match against the New Jersey Institute of Technology on Saturday, November 8.

The Sun Belt Conference men’s soccer tournament is slated for Thursday, November 13 through Sunday, November 16 in Statesboro, Georgia.