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Sunday, 14 August 2016 22:25

Crawdads Lose Sixth Straight Contest

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Hickory Crawdads first baseman Josh Altmann kept his hot bat rolling Saturday night with his second home run in as many nights, but the 2-run blast proved to be the 'Dads only runs of the night as Hickory lost their sixth straight game in a 7-2 defeat to the visiting Rome Braves at L.P. Frans Stadium.

Altmann finished the night 2-4 with a 2-run home run in the seventh inning that saved the Crawdads from a shutout. The big fly wasn't nearly enough to keep up with the Braves however, as the road team plated one run in the first, another tally in the second, three in the third, and two more in the fifth en route to winning their fifth straight game.

Rome wasted no time in taking an early lead, as Austin Riley reached on a 2-out error by Hickory shortstop Yeyson Yrizarri, before Justin Eillison got aboard on an infield single and Jonathan Morales lined an RBI base knock to left for a 1-0 Braves advantage. Rome doubled the lead on another 2-out rally in the second, with a single by Yeudi Grullon, a throwing error from Crawdads starting pitcher Blake Bass on a pickoff throw, and an RBI hit by Jared James making the score 2-0.

The third frame saw the Braves put together yet another 2-out surge, when Morales singled, Tyler Neslony walked, Carlos Castro delivered an RBI single to right, and Wigberto Nevarez lined a 2-RBI double off the center field fence to give Rome a 5-0 lead. The Braves then brought home their final two tallies in the fifth against 'Dads reliever Jacob Shortslef, as Nevarez drew a bases loaded, RBI walk and Grullon collected an RBI sacrifice fly to right for a 7-0 score.

Hickory plated their only runs on the night in the bottom of the seventh, when Ti'Quan Forbes singled to center off of Rome reliever Jon Kennedy before Altmann crushed a 2-run homer to left for the 7-2 score that would end up as the final.

Bass (4-3) took the loss for the Crawdads after allowing five runs, three earned, on seven hits, one walk, and two strikeouts over four innings pitched. Braves starter Kolby Allard (2-3) earned the win after tossing six shutout innings on four hits, two walks, and eight strikeouts.

Joining Altmann with a good night offensively for the 'Dads was Forbes, who finished 2-4 with a run scored, while Frandy De La Rosa reached base safely twice by finishing 1-3 with a walk.

The Crawdads (24-24/62-56) will look to snap their skid and salvage the final game of their 4-game series vs. the Braves (28-21/55-63) Sunday evening, with a 5:00 pm first pitch.

Sunday, 14 August 2016 22:23

Appalachian State Men's Soccer Holds Scrimmage

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Appalachian State University men’s soccer hosted its annual Black and Gold Scrimmage on Friday evening, as the Gold team was able to win 1-0 over team black.

 

“Today we wanted to look at the relationships out there and some of them worked out pretty well some of them we have to look at and continue to tweak but it was really just about getting these guys a run out with 13 new guys at the Mack,” head coach Jason O’Keefe said. “Just trying to give them a sense of what it’s like competing out here and just trying to get better, which is really going to be the theme all Fall every day, just trying to get better.”

 

The Mountaineers played two, 35-minute halves in the scrimmage, keeping almost the entire team out on the pitch throughout the evening as fans got their first look at the 2016 team.

 

In the first half, the two teams played tight, intense defense proving to lead to a deadlock at the half. Graham Smalley (Kill Devils Hills, N.C./First Flight) led the Black team in shots with one on goal and two total, while team Gold was led by newcomer Felix Kollmannthaler (Frankfurt, Germany/Julius-Echter-Gymnasium), who had a decent chance at a goal early, but wasn’t able to convert as senior goalkeeper Jaron Bradley (Davidson, N.C./Hough (UNC Asheville)) was able to make the save.

 

In the second half, both teams stepped up the aggressiveness on offense and were able to find seams. Junior Cooper Coughlin (Suwanee, Ga./Lambert) exploded for team Gold on the pitch in the second to get five shots early but wasn’t able to get one on goal. Freshman Roy Kell (Easton, Md./Easton) also played a key role in the attack, settling the offensive attack, while also being able to push passed the defense, getting two shots in the second half.

But the deciding goal came when Coughlin cut toward the goal and was able to take a pass from senior Keegan Tanaka (Austin, Texas/James Bowie). Coughlin returned the favor and after settling the ball and finding the angle, Tanaka knocked the ball into the back right of the net.

 

The Mountaineers will now prepare for next week’s two home preseason exhibitions before the regular season begins. Appalachian will face Wofford on Tuesday, Aug. 16 at 6 p.m. and then will travel to High Point on Saturday, Aug. 20 at 7 p.m. The regular season kicks off on the road against Cincinnati on Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. as the team begins its five-match road trip to start the season.

Sunday, 14 August 2016 22:09

Hickory Crawdads Lose to Rome

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The Hickory Crawdads used a pair solo home runs from Josh Altmann and LeDarious Clark as well as some stellar defense to send Friday night's game into extra innings tied at 2-2, but it was the visiting Rome Braves who rallied for a run in the 10th to hand the 'Dads a 3-2 loss in front of 3,511 fans at L.P. Frans Stadium.

The first four runs of the game all came on four solo homers, with Altmann and Clark going yard for the Crawdads while Austin Riley launched two solo shots for the Braves to tie the game at 2-2. It took until extra innings for a team to plate a run without the benefit of a long ball, as Rome used a leadoff hit-by-pitch and a two-out, RBI double to break the tie and hand Hickory their fifth straight loss, tied for the club's longest skid of the season.

Riley got the game started with a bang, as the Braves third baseman took Crawdads starting pitcher Jonathan Hernandez deep to right field for a solo home run and a 1-0 Rome lead in the first inning. The 'Dads answered in the bottom of the second, when Altmann launched the first pitch of the frame over the wall in left to tie the game at 1-1.

The score remained deadlocked until the fourth, when Riley went deep again with his second long ball of the night to put Rome back on top 2-1. That lead lasted until the home half of the sixth, which saw Clark crush a hanging curve ball to left to once again tie the contest at 2-2.

The 'Dads then utilized several sterling defensive plays to keep the Braves off the board and force extra innings. The first highlight came in the seventh, when third baseman Ti'Quan Forbes slid to his left to field a groundball before throwing from his backside to second to start a 5-4-3 double play. Yeyson Yrizarri then flashed the leather in the top of the ninth, as the shortstop slid into the center field grass behind second base to stop a groundball before quickly popping to his feet and firing to first to record the first out of the inning.

The Braves were finally able to overcome the great defense and solid pitching in the 10th however, as Ray-Patrick Didder led off the frame with a hit-by-pitch, followed by a steal second base, before he came in to score the go-ahead run on a two-out RBI double off the base of the left field fence by Jared James to give the visiting team the 3-2 final score.

Crawdads pitcher Peter Fairbanks (4-4) took the loss with one run allowed on two hits over 2.1 innings of relief. Rome bullpen arm Corbin Clouse (4-0) earned the win after tossing 2.2 shutout frames, while teammate Devan Watts (6) recorded the save with a perfect 10th inning to end the game.

Altmann finished the night 1-3 with his fifth home run of the year and a walk, while Clark went 1-5 with his eighth long ball. Yrizarri also had a solid night going 2-3 with a double, a hit-by-pitch and a stolen base, while Eric Jenkins went 1-4 with a walk and two steals to raise his league-leading swiped bag total to 49 for the year.

The Crawdads (24-23/62-55) and Braves (27-21/54-63) will match up for the third game of their four-game series Saturday night, with first pitch scheduled for 7:00 pm.

Appalachian State women’s soccer played Western Carolina to a deadlock for 87 minutes before allowing a late goal as the Mountaineers fell in an exhibition to Western 1-0 Thursday evening at the Appalachian Soccer Stadium at the Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex.


“We were looking for chemistry on the field and creative movement off the ball and obviously looking to create chances and I thought we did all of those things,” head coach Sarah Strickland said. “We didn’t finish the chances that we had, I feel like we could have put several goals away if we framed the back post, but definitely we showed that we can attack from a lot of different directions and personnel. And the other part of that is trying to look at our lines and see if we can connect through the lines and not just play from one to the next and I thought we were successful in that.”


“I thought we played really great soccer for about 87 minutes,” Strickland continued. “And for about three minutes, we struggled for a little bit and Western’s known for their setpieces, that’s how they score goals. They’re a good team. It’s how they scored in the exhibition and beat us last year so we know that and we know to expect that and I’m definitely looking forward to looking at it on film and seeing what went wrong as opposed to what we think went wrong.”


In the first of two exhibitions to start this preseason, the Mountaineers came out looking ready to set the tone for the 2016 season and, for much of the match, did just that.


Appalachian finished with 21 shots (11 in the first half) and finished with an advantage in possession, while the Catamounts finished with five shots. Sam Steyl (Charlotte, N.C./Ardrey Kell) played the entire 90 for App State in the net and made three key saves to fight off the Western Carolina attack, whenever it made the advance.


With five shots on goal, the Mountaineers had plenty of chances, but couldn’t quite find a groove on the shots, sending them often
Then, in the 88th minute, the Catamounts had a corner kick that went straight into a swarm of bodies. But the set-piece worked and off the hard bouncing rebound of a whiffed kick, WCU’s Kyla Moncrief headed the ball into the net for the game-winning goal.


Newcomers Marnie Bonn (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Catholic), Kristin Brown (Mooresville, N.C./Lake Norman), Sharon Osterbind (Jacksonville, Ala./Jacksonville (UAB)) and Maggie Hanusek (Cumming, Ga./Lambert) all made appearances for App State in their first collegiate contest with another team, with Hanusek getting called on to start.


The four battled hard and played well, both on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Hanusek finished the match with a shot on goal and two shots total for the day, while Osterbind had two shots as well.


The Mountaineers will train tomorrow before heading into their second and final exhibition of the preseason. Appalachian hosts longtime SoCon rival Elon at noon on Saturday at the Appalachian Soccer Stadium at the Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex.

The Hickory Crawdads recent skid continued Thursday night against the Rome Braves, as the 'Dads rally in the eighth inning came up just short resulting in a 5-3 loss at L.P. Frans Stadium.

The Crawdads entered the eighth trailing the Braves 4-1 before an RBI single by Josh Altmann and an RBI fielder's choice groundout from LeDarious Clark cut the deficit to 4-3. Ricky Valencia then stepped to the plate representing the go-ahead run, but Rome reliever Jon Kennedy escaped the jam with a groundout to strand the tying run at second base.

The game began as a pitcher's duel between Joe Palumbo for Hickory and Mike Soroka for Rome. The Crawdads jumped out to a quick lead in the bottom of the first, when Clark doubled off the center field fence before Valencia lined a two-out, RBI single to right to give the 'Dads a 1-0 advantage. The Braves countered in the third, with an RBI groundout by Ray-Patrick Didder tying the contest at 1-1.

The score remained deadlocked until the fifth, when Rome rallied for three runs on a 2-RBI double by Austin Riley and an RBI base knock from Jonathan Morales to put the road team ahead 4-1. Hickory reliever Omarlin Lopez kept the game close from there with three shutout innings spanning the sixth through the eighth.

That gave the 'Dads a chance to rally in the bottom of the eighth, as Sherman Lacrus reached on a one-out, infield single, Eric Jenkins walked, and Altmann delivered an RBI base knock to left. Clark followed with his RBI groundout to bring the Crawdads to within a run with a 4-3 deficit at the end of the inning.

The Braves were able to pick up an insurance run in the top of the ninth however on a solo home run by Riley, before Rome closer Josh Graham sat Hickory down in order in the home half to finish off the 5-3 'Dads defeat.

Palumbo (6-5) took the loss for the Crawdads after giving up four runs on seven hits, two walks, and six strikeouts over his five innings pitched. Soroka (6-9) earned the win for the Braves with a career-high 7.1 innings pitched including three runs allowed on six hits, two walks and four strikeouts. Graham (6) recorded the save for his perfect ninth inning.

Clark paced the 'Dads bats with a 1-4 game including a double, an RBI, and a run scored. Both Altmann and Valencia finished 1-4 with an RBI, while Yeyson Yrizarri went 1-4 with a double.

The Crawdads (24-22/62-54) have now lost four straight games heading into Friday night's second contest against the Braves (26-21/53-63), with first pitch scheduled for 7:00 pm.

The Hickory Crawdads' struggles against the Augusta GreenJackets continued for a third straight night Wednesday, as the visiting 'Jackets finished off their series sweep over the 'Dads in an 8-0 Hickory loss at L.P. Frans Stadium.

The Crawdads offense was held off the board for the second time in the three game set, with the 'Dads bats ending the series with two runs scored over 27 total innings. The lack of offense spoiled solid work by Hickory starting pitcher Luke Lanphere as well as yet another dominant relief outing from Adam Choplick, who stretched his scoreless innings streak to 12 with three shutout frames on the night.

The evening began with three scoreless innings for both teams, as Lanphere and Augusta starter Matt Solter cruised through the early frames. The GreenJackets were able to break through in the fourth, with three runs scoring on a solo home run by Jalen Miller, an RBI groundout from Matt Pare, and an RBI single off the bat of Skylar Ewing to give the visiting team a 3-0 lead.

The 'Jackets picked up another run off of Lanphere on another solo homer in the sixth, with Pare's big fly to right field putting Augusta up by four. The close game then got away from the Crawdads in the seventh, as the GreenJackets jumped on newly promoted right-handed reliever Tyler Ferguson for four runs on four walks and two hits to take the 8-0 advantage they would go on to win by.

Lanphere (1-1) took the loss for the 'Dads after allowing four runs on eight hits, one walk, and six strikeouts over six innings pitched, while Solter (4-3) earned the win for Augusta with seven shutout frames pitched on three hits, two walks, and five strikeouts.

Eric Jenkins finished the night as the only Hickory batter with a multi-hit game after going 2-4, while Sherman Lacrus went 1-3 with a walk.

The Crawdads (24-21/62-53) remain just two games back of first place Lakewood in the Northern Division standings as they remain home for a four game series vs. the Rome Braves, with first pitch Thursday night scheduled for 7:00 pm.

Appalachian State field hockey head coach Meghan Dawson announced the field hockey schedule on Wednesday. The 16-game schedule includes nine home games and seven road tests for the Mountaineers. This will be the last season App will compete as Independent before competing in Mid-American Conference play for the 2017 season.

Appalachian will begin their campaign with two exhibition matches against Liberty on August 15 and Limestone on August 21. The Black and Gold will commence their 2016 slate with two-straight home games versus Ball State (Aug. 26) and Georgetown (Aug. 28).

“Knowing that we are going into the MAC next year for the 2017 season, we are playing four of the teams in the conference, which will give us a good idea of the areas we need to work on,” said second-year head coach Dawson. “This season we will continue to play top ranked teams to help us get used to a higher paced game that will test our fitness and basics.”

The field hockey squad will encounter six teams ranked in last year’s RPI top 30—No. 2 UNC, No. 8 Wake Forest, No. 12 Louisville, No. 18 James Madison, No. 27 Miami (OH), and No. 29 Pacific. On the home slate, the Mountaineers will host four-straight games in Boone in September, including a battle on Brandon & Erica M Adcock Field against the 2016 NCAA Tournament qualifiers Louisville on September 25.

On the road, five out of the seven matches will be against top 30 competitors and of those, two qualified for last year’s NCAA tournament. Their road trip begins with two back-to-back away games against JMU (Sept. 2) in Harrisonburg, Va. and LIU Brooklyn (Sept. 4) in Davidson, N.C. In early October, the ladies match up against Davidson (Sept. 30) and Pacific (Oct. 1) and end the season with two-straight away games versus Wake Forest (Oct. 28) and the 2016 NCAA Runner Up UNC on the eve of Halloween (Oct. 30).

“I’m excited for the fall season to start and get our team back together to start practicing and competing,” said Dawson about the season ahead. “ We have got a large group coming to App this fall which will give us a chance to continue building our culture and developing our on field chemistry.”

The Hickory Crawdads had little trouble producing hits against the visiting Augusta GreenJackets Tuesday night, but the 'Dads 11 base knocks translated to only two runs as Hickory left 10 men on base in a 7-2 loss to the 'Jackets at L.P. Frans Stadium.

Eight of the 10 Crawdads batters collected at least one hit on the night, with Josh Altmann going 3-5 and Sherman Lacrus finishing 2-4. The double-digit hits were minimized by the Augusta pitching staff however, which stretched their streak of consecutive scoreless innings pitched to 17 before finally surrendering a pair of runs in the ninth.

The game began with three scoreless frames for both squads before the GreenJackets got on the board against Hickory starting pitcher Emerson Martinez in the fourth by scoring two runs, one earned, for a 2-0 lead. That would be all the runs Martinez would allow, and reliever Jacob Shortslef followed with a scoreless inning in the sixth before Augusta shortstop Jalen Miller lined a solo home run to left in the seventh to make the score 3-0.

The 'Jackets were able to pull away from the 'Dads with four more tallies in the fourth, with all four runs coming against converted major league outfielder James Jones, who allowed four runs on four hits over 0.2 IP in his Crawdads debut. The Crawdads were able to avoid the shutout with a rally in the ninth that saw Yeyson Yrizarri single, Ti'Quan Fobes walk, and Lacrus line a base hit to center field before Eric Jenkins knocked in a pair of runs on an RBI single. That would be as close as the home team would get though, as GreenJackets reliever Cesar Yanez closed the door to finish off the 7-2 'Dads defeat.

Martinez (0-3) took the loss for Hickory after allowing two runs, one earned, on five hits, three walks, and one strikeout over five innings pitched. Augusta starter Domenic Mazza (5-2) earned the win with six scoreless innings on six hits, one walk, and six strikeouts.

The Crawdads (24-20/62-52) will try to salvage the final game of their 3-game series vs. the GreenJackets (27-17/63-51) Wednesday night, with first pitch scheduled for 7:00 pm.

Appalachian State Univeristy head baseball coach Kermit Smith announced the addition of Britt Johnson as an assistant coach on Tuesday.

“Britt is an elite recruiter and has shown the ability to identify not only talent but character as well,” Smith said. “I am fortunate to have someone that I am so familiar with and is familiar with me joining our staff. He exemplifies qualities that make him not only a great coach but a great husband and friend. He is a shining star in our profession. We are so excited for Britt and Sam to be joining the App State family!”

Johnson joins Appalachian after spending six years with coach Smith at Lander University. He started as a volunteer coach and then was promoted after three years to a full-time assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. Johnson also coached infielders and assisted with hitters, while spending time as third-base coach. Johnson was with Smith during Lander’s two Division II College World Series trips over the past three seasons.

“Samantha and I are very excited to be joining such a great University, program, and community,” Johnson said. “We are thrilled to become sold out to Appalachian State and blessed to be part of such a strong academic and athletic institution. I can’t wait to meet our team and get to work.”

In his time as recruiting coordinator, Lander had seven student-athletes drafted by Major League Baseball teams and two sign free agent deals. He helped bring in six All-Americans and 13 Peach Belt All-Conference selections, including eight infielders. In 2014, Johnson’s entire infield was named all-conference selections.

Prior to Lander, Johnson spent two years as an assistant baseball and football coach at Nash Central High School in Rocky Mount, N.C. He also acted as the strength and conditioning coach for all varsity sports.

He graduated in 2007 from East Carolina University with a bachelor’s degree in exercise sports science. While at ECU, Johnson played football as a long snapper under head coach Skip Holtz.

Johnson grew up in Rocky Mount, N.C., where he played both baseball and football in high school. He joins the Appalachian family with his wife Samantha Vickers Johnson.

Tuesday, 09 August 2016 22:27

App State Running Backs Ranked by Athlon Sports

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Appalachian State University Football once again received recognition from Athlon Sports college football columnist Steve Lassan, as he ranked the Mountaineers’ running backs unit the 23rd-best group out of 50 units on Tuesday.

App State is one of three schools from the Sun Belt to make the list with archrival Georgia Southern coming in at 21st and New Mexico State landing the 50th spot.

Appalachian boasted one of the most consistent and lethal ground attacks in the nation, where it ran for at least 200 yards in 11 of 13 contests, six 300 yard outputs and a 401-yard performance on the ground at Idaho. App State rushed for 3,529 yards in 2015, which was the third most in a single-season in school history, and the highest rushing total since 2007 when the Black and Gold set the school record for rushing yards in a season with 4,311 yards.

The trio of Marcus Cox (Dacula, Ga./Dacula), Jalin Moore (Shelby, N.C./Crest) and Terrence Upshaw (Duluth, Ga./Northview) boasted one of the best units in the country leading the Apps’ rushing attack that ranked sixth in the nation averaging 271.5 yards rushing per game and 5.83 yards per rush.

Cox led the bunch with a career-high of 1,423 yards rushing, good for 17th in the country and third in the conference. The senior tailback is just 716 yards away from breaking John Settle’s career school record of 4,804 yards. Cox is also the lone student-athlete in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in his freshman, sophomore and junior seasons, while he is just one 100-yard rushing game away from breaking the tie with Settle for the all-time mark at 23 games.

Moore came onto the scene late last season where he emerged as the No. 2 running back and finished second with 731 yards rushing. The sophomore stud rushed for 528 yards in the last four games, including a freshman rushing record of 244 yards against Idaho. Moore ran for at least 80 yards in the final four contests of the season. Moore averaged nearly a first down on each carry where he paced App State at a 7.4 yards per rushing clip and at least 80 rushing attempts.

Upshaw finished third on the team with 442 yards on the ground and three scores while sporting 5.5 yards per rush. The bruising halfback rushed for at least 45 yards in six contests and rushed for at least 10 attempts in four games.

The trio will look to continue their success on Thursday, Sept. 1 when the Apps open up the season in Knoxville against the No. 10 Tennessee Volunteers.

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