The Hickory Crawdads did their best to overcome a large, early deficit against the Greensboro Grasshoppers Thursday night, but the 'Dads rally from a 6-run hole came up two tallies short as they fell to the 'Hoppers 8-6 at NewBridge Bank Park.
The Crawdads were their own worst enemy early on, with three Hickory errors leading to 4 unearned runs for the Grasshoppers over the first two innings. Greensboro stretched their advantage to 7-1 after the 4th before the 'Dads began chipping away with single runs in the 5th & 6th, two runs in the 7th, and one in the 8th to make the score 8-6. Hickory had one last chance to tie the game in the 9th when Jose Trevino stepped to the plate as a pinch hitter representing the tying run, but the All-Star grounded out to third to end the game with an 8-6 defeat.
The 'Dads jumped out to the initial advantage in the 1st, when Carlos Arroyo singled, Luke Tendler and Jairo Beras walked, and Eduard Pinto drew a bases-loaded, RBI walk off of 'Hoppers starting pitcher Gabriel Castellanos for a 1-0 lead. The Grasshoppers quickly responded in the bottom of the inning however, when a fielding error by Arroyo opened the door for KJ Woods to line a 2-RBI single to center to put Greensboro on top 2-1.
The 'Hoppers doubled their advantage in the 2nd, when Hickory third baseman Juremi Profar committed two errors to allow both John Norwood and Felix Castillo to come home for a 4-1 score. The Grasshoppers stretched the lead to it's largest with three more tallies in the 4th, as an RBI single by Brian Schales and a 2-RBI double from Arturo Rodriguez pushed the score to 7-1.
The Crawdads began their comeback in the 5th, when Michael De Leon walked, took 2nd base on a balk, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and finally came home on an RBI groundout by Jose Cardona for a 7-2 score. The 'Dads tacked on another run in the 6th when Cardona drew a bases-loaded, RBI walk to bring in Pinto and cut the deficit to 7-3, but Greensboro answered with a solo home run from Schales in the home half of the frame to make the score 8-3.
Tendler responded with a 2-run homer for Hickory in the 7th, while an RBI base knock by Arroyo in the 8th brought the Crawdads to within a pair of runs with an 8-6 score. The 'Dads gave themselves one last shot in the 9th when Pinto reached on a 2-out, single to center before Trevino grounded out to end the game.
Tendler finished the game 1-4 with his 12th home run of the season, two RBI, and a walk, while Arroyo went 2-4 with an RBI and a run and Pinto ended the night 2-4 with an RBI, a walk, and a run. De Leon reached base safely in all four of his plate appearances, going 1-1 with three walks and two runs scored.
Castellanos (1-0) earned the win for Greensboro with two runs allowed on two hits, five walks, and two strikeouts over five innings pitched. Hickory starting pitcher Austin Pettibone (3-5) took the loss with seven runs allowed, three earned, on 8 hits, one walk, and three strikeouts. 'Hoppers reliever Kyle Fischer (9) picked up the save with 1.1 scoreless innings to end the game.
The Crawdads (73-48/29-24) and Grasshoppers (45-77/16-37) will play again Friday night in game two of the four-game series, with first pitch scheduled for 7:00 pm.
Returning first baseman Mykel Davis (Gastonia, NC/South Point HS) accepted his award for being named to the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Rawlings Gold Glove DII Team an honor going to the nation’s top defensive position players.
Davis posted a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage while being first on the Red Hawks and 30th in the nation with 324 total fielding chances. Davis also led the Red Hawks and was 24th in the nation with 313 putouts. Davis recorded 11 assists and was a part of 14 double plays.
"What a great accomplishment. To think that you could put anybody in a situation 324 times and not make a mistake is just mind blowing,” stated Head Coach, Paul Rozzelle on Mykel Davis receiving the Gold Glove. “It is not just the errors that he did not make but the throwing errors that he saved. What a great accomplishment and I am so happy for him and his position coach Marshall McDonald."
Davis was one of the seven freshman players who participated on the 3rd place World Series team and has returned to CVCC this fall to play in his sophomore season.
Hickory Crawdads manager Corey Ragsdale became the winningest skipper in franchise history Wednesday night, as Ragsdale and the 'Dads made three early runs hold up for a 3-2 win over the Hagerstown Suns at Municipal Stadium.
The victory marked the 229th win for Ragsdale in less than three seasons at the helm in Hickory, breaking a tie with former Crawdads manager Bill Richardson (2010 - 2012) for the team record.
The record-breaking victory came in what has become a familiar script for the 'Dads, as the club received an early burst of offense and rode the pitching staff to the team's 73rd win of the year. The Crawdads jumped on Hagerstown starting pitcher Justin Amlung for two runs in the 1st and one more tally in the 2nd for a quick 3-0 lead. All three runs came on 2-out hits from the Hickory hitters, including an RBI single by Jose Trevino and an RBI double from Luke Tendler in the 1st, followed by an RBI base knock by Carlos Arroyo in the 2nd.
Crawdads starting pitcher Collin Wiles kept a Suns lineup that included rehabbing major leaguers Denard Span and Dan Uggla off the board over the first three innings before allowing two runs in the 4th on an RBI double from Raudy Read and an infield, RBI single by Bryan Mejia to cut the 'Dads lead to 3-2. The All-Star hurler would shut down the Suns from there however, as he escaped a bases loaded jam in the 5th and tossed a 1-2-3 6th to keep the score at 3-2.
Following a leadoff double by Hagerstown catcher Matt Reistetter in the 7th, Ragsdale brought in left-handed reliever Shane McCain who proceeded to escape the 7th and allow just one base runner on a walk over three shutout innings to close out the Crawdads 3-2 win.
Wiles (11-3) earned the win with two runs allowed on 8 hits, three walks, and two strikeouts over 6 innings pitched. Amlung (3-2) took the loss for the Suns after allowing three runs on 7 hits, one walk, and three strikeouts over his 7 innings on the mound. McCain picked up his first save of the year after throwing three scoreless frames with one walk and 5 Ks.
Tendler helped lead the 'Dads offensive attack with a 1-4 game including a double and an RBI, while Trevino and Arroyo both finished 1-4 with an RBI as well. Eduard Pinto was the only batter with a multi-hit game after going 2-4.
The victory gives the Crawdads (73-47/29-23) the series win over the Suns, two games to one. The Dads will now continue their road trip with a 4-game series in Greensboro, with game one against the Grasshoppers Thursday night scheduled for 7:00 pm.
Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Joe Ray has been named to the 2015 HERO Sports NCAA Division II Preseason All-American Football Team.
Ray, a senior offensive tackle from Atlanta, Ga., has earned All-American accolades the past two years and anchored a unit which paved the way for the Bears to set an NCAA Division II all-time single-season rushing record average (416.2 ypg) last fall.
Ray was also a Gene Upshaw Award Finalist in 2014 and a two-time recipient of the Jacobs Blocking Trophy (2013-14), given annually to the top offensive lineman in the South Atlantic Conference.
Ray was also a starter on the 2013 squad which advanced to the NCAA Division II Championship game and set an NCAA all-time rushing record for a season with 5,563 yards.
Lenoir-Rhyne, 11-1 last season, is ranked No. 10 in the national preseason poll and will take on 23rd-ranked West Chester (11-2) in the 2015 season opener on Thursday, September 3, in West Chester, Pa. The kickoff is set for 6:00 p.m., while the game will be broadcasted nationally on ESPN3.
HERO Sports selected the 25 best NCAA Division II football players based on several credible 2014 post-season and 2015 preseason All-America lists. Using that list as a starting point, HERO Sports identified the players who earned the most All-America recognition and awarded points based on first-team honors, second-team honors, etc.
On the offensive side, HERO SPORTS identified a quarterback, two running backs, two wideouts, a tight end and five linemen for the All-America team. For the defense and special teams, a 4-3 defensive format – four defensive linemen, three linebackers and four defensive backs – plus an all-purpose/kick-returner, placekicker and punter was used.
2015 HERO Sports Division II
All-America Preseason Football Team
Quarterback – Jason Vander Laan, Sr., Ferris State
Running Back – Anthony Bilal, Sr., Lake Erie
Running Back – Calvinaugh Jones, Sr. Concord
Wide Receiver – Nathan Mourik, Sr., Southwest Baptist
Wide Receiver – Keelan Cole, Jr., Kentucky Wesleyan
Tight End – Tim Brown, Sr., West Chester
Offensive Lineman – Ryan Geiger, Sr., Bloomsburg
Offensive Lineman – Eric Mitchell, Jr., Harding
Offensive Lineman – Coleman Osborne, Jr., Concord
Offensive Lineman – Joe Ray, Sr., Lenoir-Rhyne
Offensive Lineman – Cory Tucker, Sr., Slippery Rock
Defensive Line – Lucky Baar, Sr., McKendree
Defensive Line – Josh Gordon, Sr., Minnesota State-Mankato
Defensive Line – Marcus Martin, So., Slippery Rock
Defensive Line – Justin Zimmer, Sr., Ferris State
Linebacker – Connor Harris, Jr., Lindenwood
Linebacker – Tyler Henderson, Sr., Minnesota State-Mankato
Linebacker – Alex Wahl, Sr., Upper Iowa
Defensive Back – Solomon St. Pierre, Sr., Sioux Falls
Defensive Back – Mike Jordan, Sr., Missouri Western
Defensive Back – Brandon Hathaway, Sr., Wingate
Defensive Back – Jordan Shaw, Sr., Shorter
Placekicker – Brent Wahle, Sr., Ohio Dominican
Punter – Dakota Swinehart, Sr., Western State Colorado
Kick Returner/All-Purpose – Marquese Cushon, Sr., Pittsburg State
The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) released their preseason poll for DII Volleyball and the Catawba Valley Red Hawks enter the polls ranked 19th. This follows being placed in the second spot in the NJCAA District predictions behind Pasco-Hernando State College (FL) who was ranked 5th in the preseason polls and defeated the Red Hawks in last year’s District Championship game.
The Red Hawks are coming off their 3rd consecutive year of winning the Conference and Region Championships, and remaining undefeated in conference play.
The Red Hawks will return 5 sophomores this season to a team that finished 34-7. Katelyn Houser (Hickory, NC/Saint Stephens HS) headlines the returners as 1 of only 3 student-athletes who played in all 41 matches last season as a Libero. Houser led the team with 658 digs (30th in the nation) and 5.06 digs per set (37th in the nation).
The Red Hawks will welcome in nine new freshman with a lot of local flair with freshman outside hitter Megan Fair (Conover, NC / Bunker Hill HS) being named an NJCAA Top Newcomer.
The Red Hawks volleyball team will open up their season on the road at Montreat on Tuesday, August 25 before traveling to Ohio to participate in the Owens Invitational, an invitational which hosts some of the top NJCAA Volleyball teams in the nation. The Red Hawks will be tested in their first game of the invitational in facing the number 1 ranked Parkland Community College (IL).
The Red Hawks will play their first home match on Tuesday, September 1st at 6:00pm vs. Laurel College in the Tarlton Complex on CVCC’s campus. Laurel College is a 4 year school in High Point, NC that participates in the NCCAA (National Christian College Athletic Association).
The Texas Rangers, MLB parent club of the Hickory Crawdads, have acquired major league OF Will Venable in a trade with the San Diego Padres in exchange for 2015 Hickory catcher Marcus Greene and a player to be named later.
Greene, who turned 21 today, batted .218 (17-78) with 5 home runs and 9 RBI in 25 games with the Crawdads before his season ended with 'Tommy John' surgery on his right elbow in June. A 16th round selection by the Rangers in the 2013 Draft out of New Mexico JC, Greene was a Mid-Season All-Star with the short-season Spokane Indians in 2014 before spending the final 13 games of the year with the 'Dads.
Venable, 32, has spent his entire career in the Padres organization since he was selected in the 7th round of the 2005 June draft. The left-handed batter and thrower has a .258 average with 6 home runs and 30 RBI in 98 games for San Diego this season, playing primarily against right-handed pitching. He has made 68 total starts, with 56 starts in center, 8 in left field, and 4 in right field. Venable owns a .345 (19-55) batting average with runners in scoring position this season.
Venable has a .252 career batting average over 8 major league seasons with San Diego since his debut with the Padres in 2008. He was selected as the Padres' 2013 Most Valuable Player by the San Diego chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America after setting career highs in most offensive categories that year, including batting average (.268), home runs (22), RBI (53), and OPS (.796).
The move is the third by the Rangers this year including former Crawdads, joining the club's acquisition of Philadelphia Phillies ace LHP Cole Hamels in exchange for a package of players including former Hickory stars Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams, and Jerad Eickhoff, as well as the trade of Tom Telis and Cody Ege to Miami for RHP Sam Dyson.
Alexander Central: 3
East Burke: 1
Fred T. Foard: 3
Bunker Hill: 1
Lincoln Charter: 0
St. Stephens: 3
University Christian High School (UCHS) in Hickory announces a number of changes to the athletic department at the school. University Christian High School, which is affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, is in partnership with Lenoir-Rhyne University. The school's location in the St. Andrew's Lutheran Church building on the LRU campus allows students to use the university's facilities, cafeteria, library and science labs. Since its inception in 2009 UCHS has gradually added athletic competition as an independent private school.
UCHS joins the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association (NCISAA) as a full member and will compete in the Southern Piedmont Athletic Association (SPAA). The Barracudas will compete in the 1A classification of the NCISAA. This affiliation will provide competitive conference and playoff opportunities for UCHS in the 12 varsity sports they offer which are: women and men's cross country, women and men's soccer, women and men's tennis, women and men's track and field, women and men's basketball, volleyball and golf.
Colin Barrett will assume the role of head soccer coach as UCHS competes in soccer on both the men’s and women’s side for the first time. Mr. Barrett a graduate of Lenoir-Rhyne University teaches History at UCHS and previously served as the cross country coach. Before joining the staff at UCHS Mr. Barrett also taught at Discovery High School in Newton.
Derek Chase former men’s soccer coach at Bunker Hill High School will serve as assistant for the UCHS team this season. In addition to coaching Mr. Chase is a science teacher at UCHS. Prior to joining the staff at UCHS Mr. Chase taught at St. Stephens High School and Bunker Hill where he was selected Teacher of the Year during his tenure at each school. Mr. Chase was also Catawba County Schools Teacher of the Year in 2011.
Jeff Taylor joins the staff at UCHS serving as Athletic Director as well as Dean of Students. Mr. Taylor will also teach selected courses and coach cross country and track and field. Mr. Taylor recently retired from Catawba County Schools where he served most recently as principal of St.Stephens High School 2013-2015. Prior to that Mr. Taylor had been principal at Bunker Hill High School 2007-2013 and H M Arndt Middle School 2002-2007. Mr. Taylor began his career at Bunker Hill High School in 1984 serving as a social studies teacher and coach. Mr. Taylor guided the Bunker Hill men’s track[JT1] and field teams from 1986-1997 and during that time his teams won nine SD-7 championships. Mr. Taylor also served as coach of the Bunker Hill men’s cross country teams from 1986-1999. During that span the Bunker Hill harriers won ten consecutive SD-7 championships (1990-1999) and also garnered three runner up finishes in the NCHSAA 2A classification. The 1990 men’s team won the 2A state championship, which remains the only team state title in Bunker Hill athletic history.
Returning coaches for UCHS for the fall are Laura Kennedy for volleyball and Scott Nestor for women’s tennis.