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Thursday, 18 June 2015 06:24

Hickory Crawdads Roll Over the Rome Braves

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The Hickory Crawdads were able to walk to their 5th straight win Wednesday night against the Rome Braves, as the 'Dads drew a season-high 12 free passes en route to an 11-1 victory over the Braves at State Mutual Stadium.

The 11-run outburst set a new season best for Crawdads, as the 'Dads utilized 9 hits and five wild pitches in addition to the 12 walks. Eight of the nine Hickory batters drew at least one free pass while three players ended the game with two, led by All-Star Luke Tender who finished 2-3 with two walks, an RBI, and a run scored. The Offensive barrage gave more than enough support for All-Star starting pitcher Collin Wiles, who tied a season-high with 6 strikeouts while allowing just an unearned run on two hits over 6.2 innings.

Hickory scored multiple runs in three separate innings, beginning in the 2nd when the club sent all nine batters to the plate while brining home four runs on four walks and two singles for a 4-0 lead. Ricky Valencia brought in the first tally with an RBI single to left, while Isiah Kiner-Falefa drew a bases-loaded, RBI walk and Michael De Leon picked up a pair of RBIs on a base knock through the left side.

The 'Dads tacked on another run in the 3rd, when Tripp Martin was hit by a pitch and eventually came home on a wild pitch by Rome starter Alec Grosser to stretch the lead to 5-0. The Braves picked up their only run of the night in the bottom of the 4th, as Wiles walked the leadoff batter Erison Mendez before allowing a single and another walk ahead of a Valencia throwing error to bring in the unearned tally and cut the score to 5-1.

The Crawdads answered by putting up a 3-spot in the top of the 5th, this time using four walks, four wild pitches, and a lone single to take an 8-1 advantage. Martin kick started the frame with a base knock to left before Tendler, Jairo Beras, Rock Shoulders, and Jose Cardona all drew free passes. All three runs would come in on wild pitches by Grosser and Rome reliever Zach Quintana.

Hickory capped off the scoring with three more tallies in the 8th, as Tendler drove in a run on an RBI single up the middle while Shoulders came through with a 2-RBI double to right for the final 11-1 score.

Wiles (7-3) earned the win for the 'Dads while Grosser (4-4) took the loss for the Braves after allowing 8 runs on four hits, 7 walks, and two strikeouts over 4 IP.

Joining Tendler with a solid night at the plate was Shoulders, who finished 1-3 with a double, 2 RBI, 2 walks, and a run scored, while De Leon ended the game 1-5 with 2 RBI, a walk, and a run.

The Crawdads (43-22) will go for the 3-game series sweep over the Braves (29-37) Thursday night, with first pitch scheduled for 7:00 pm.

Hickory Crawdads infielder Josh Morgan has been added to the South Atlantic League Northern Division All-Star team as an injury replacement, raising the number of 'Dads All-Stars to 8 players to go along with 4 coaches.

Morgan, 19, currently leads all Crawdads batters in average (.288), OBP (.377), and hits (59), while tying teammate and fellow All-Star Luke Tendler for the club lead in runs scored (30). A 3rd round selection by the Rangers in the 2014 Draft out of Orange Lutheran HS (CA), Morgan has hit .309 since the start of May while playing standout defense at both third base and shortstop.

The first half Northern Division Champion Crawdads are now tied with the Southern Division's Greenville Drive for the most All-Star players with eight. Morgan will be joined on the Northern Division team by fellow Hickory hitters in Tendler and Jose Trevino, along with pitchers Ariel Jurado, Luis Ortiz, Collin Wiles, John Fasola, and Yohander Mendez. The Northern coaching staff will also be managed by 'Dads skipper Corey Ragsdale, who will be joined by pitching coach Oscar Marin, hitting coach Francisco Matos, and athletic trainer Sean Fields.

The 56th Annual SAL All-Star Game will be hosted by the Asheville Tourists at McCormick Field in Asheville, NC on Tuesday, June 23rd.

Burke County: 5
Henderson County: 3

The Hickory Crawdads seemed well on their way to a routine victory Tuesday night before a late rally by the Rome Braves eventually forced extra-innings, but the 'Dads were able to salvage the game thanks to a solo home run by Jairo Beras in the 10th that gave the club a 7-6 win over the Braves at State Mutual Stadium.

One night after clinching the South Atlantic League Northern Division first half title, the Crawdads looked every bit the champion as they jumped on the hometown Braves for a 6-0 lead over the first five innings. The advantage wouldn't last however, as Rome plated one run in the 6th before rallying for 5 runs, one earned, in the 8th to force extras. Finally in the top of the 10th, Beras lined a 2-out, solo blast to left-center field to give Hickory a 7-6 lead they would hold on to win by.

The 'Dads built their early lead with a pair of runs in the 1st and four more tallies in the 5th off of Braves starting pitcher Max Povse. All-Star outfielder Luke Tendler drove in both the runs in the 1st, with a 2-out, 2-RBI double to right that brought home both Carlos Arroyo and Eduard Pinto for an early 2-0 Crawdads advantage.

Hickory seemingly broke the game open in the 5th, as the club scored four runs on three hits and three hit batters for a 6-0 lead. All nine Crawdads batters came to the plate in the frame, with Ricky Valencia delivering an RBI double and Carlos Arroyo producing a 2-RBI double.

Rome got on the board in the 6th with a run on an RBI sacrifice fly against 'Dads starting pitcher Cody Buckel to cut the score to 6-1. The frame could've been worse for the Crawdads as the Braves loaded the bases in the inning, but reliever Scott Williams recorded the final two outs and stranded three runners on base to preserve the lead.

Williams tossed a scoreless 7th as well before Rome got to fellow relievers Chris Dula and David Perez in the 8th, with the Braves scoring five runs on two hits, three walks, 3 wild pitches, and a passed ball to erase the 'Dads lead and tie the game at 6-6. Perez settled in for Hickory and kept Rome off the board in the 9th and 10th to leave the door open for Beras' game winning homer.

Perez (2-1) earned the win with one unearned run allowed over 2.2 innings of work. Braves reliever Francisco Gonzales (1-1) took the loss after allowing one run over his three frames out of the bullpen.

Beras finished the game 1-5 with his first long ball of the year, while Arroyo went 3-5 with two doubles, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored.

The Crawdads (42-22) and Braves (29-36) will match up again Wednesday night in game two of their three-game series at 7:00 pm.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015 07:32

Hickory Crawdads Win First Half Title

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The Hickory Crawdads came away with more than just a single win Monday night, as the 'Dads 4-1 victory over the Savannah Sand Gnats combined with a loss from the second place West Virginia Power gave the club the 1st Half Northern Division Championship and the accompanying playoff birth.

The Northern Division title marks the first time the Crawdads have reached the South Atlantic League post-season since 2011. The 'Dads won the clinching game using a very familiar formula, including great pitching, timely offense, and solid defense to lead to the club's 41st win of the year.

Hickory fell behind early in the game, as Savannah scrapped across a run on a double, a balk, and an RBI groundout against Crawdads starting pitcher Luis Ortiz in the 2nd for a 1-0 score. The 'Dads responded in the bottom of the 3rd, when Josh Morgan lined a 2-out double to left before Eduard Pinto roped a 2-run home run to right for a 2-1 Hickory lead.

The Crawdads used the same blueprint to expand their advantage in the home half of the 3rd, as Jairo Beras hit a 2-out single to right before Rock Shoulders lined an opposite filed, 2-run homer to left for a 4-1 'Dads lead. That would be all the club would need, as Ortiz, Joe Filomeno, Austin Pettibone, and John Fasola held the Sand Gnats to one run on five hits en route to the victory.

Ortiz (4-1) earned the win for the Crawdads, as the right-hander struck out a career-high 9 batters while allowing just one run on three hits over five innings pitched. Savannah starter Casey Meisner (3-2) took the loss after allowing all four Hickory runs on five hits over 6.2 IP. Fasola earned his league-leading 13th save of the year after setting down the 'Gnats in order with two Ks in the 9th.

Pinto (1-4, HR, 2 RBI) and Shoulders (1-3, HR, 2 RBI) led the 'Dads offensive attack, while Morgan finished the night 1-3 with a double, a run scored, and a walk.

The Crawdads (41-21) will now head on the road for six games to wrap up the first half of the season. The 'Dads will begin their road trip Tuesday night in Rome, with a 7:00 pm first pitch against the Braves.

Athon Sports tabbed Appalachian State University football head coach Scott Satterfield as one of college football’s “Top 15 Coaches on the Rise for 2015” in an article issued on Monday.

The article, written by Athlon college football columnist Steven Lassan, says that “Appalachian State’s first year (2014) in the FBS ranks shouldn’t go unnoticed” and that Satterfield, the Mountaineers’ third-year head coach, has “got the program trending up entering the 2015 campaign.”

After a 1-5 start in 2014, Appalachian State won its final six games to finish 7-5 in its first NCAA Division I FBS campaign. All six wins to close the season came against Sun Belt Conference opponents, propelling the Mountaineers to a 6-2, third-place finish in their first year in the league.

Appalachian State’s six-game winning streak is the fifth-longest in FBS going into 2015, behind only defending national champion Ohio State (13-straight wins), Boise State (9), TCU (8) and Memphis (7).

Of the 14 other coaches featured on Athlon’s “On the Rise” list, Satterfield and the Mountaineers go head-to-head against four this season — Old Dominion’s Bobby Wilder (Sept. 26 at ODU), Wyoming’s Craig Bohl (Oct. 3 at Kidd Brewer Stadium), Georgia Southern’s Willie Fritz (Oct. 22 at Kidd Brewer Stadium on ESPNU) and UL Lafayette’s Mark Hudspeth (Nov. 28 at Kidd Brewer Stadium).

Appalachian State season tickets, including a slew of full- and half-season packages, are on sale now. Tickets, which are available for as low as $99 for the full season (six home games) and $65 for a half-season package (three home games), can be purchased online at appstatesports.com/tickets, by phone at (828) 262-2079 and in person at the Appalachian State athletics ticket office, located at the Holmes Center.

A scoreless ballgame between the 1st place Hickory Crawdads and Savannah Sand Gnats was finally broken up when the 'Dads got to the 'Gnats bullpen Sunday night, as Hickory scored 8 runs over the final three innings to come away with an 8-1 win over Savannah at L.P. Frans Stadium.

The game entered the 6th inning with neither team able to scratch across a run, but the Crawdads were able to exploit a pair of Sand Gnats relievers for two runs in the 6th and 7th frames before closing out the contest with a 4-run 8th en route to the 8-1 win. Eight of the 'Dads 11 hits came from the 6th inning on, including a 2-run home run by All-Star Jose Trevino and a 2-RBI double from Carlos Arroyo.

The second half offense backed a stellar pitching performance from Hickory hurlers Yohander Mendez, Ariel Jurado, and David Perez, who combined to hold the 'Gnats to one run on seven hits, six of them singles. The victory also served to lower the Crawdads magic number to clinch the 1st half Northern Division title to just two.

Making his first start of the season for the 'Dads, Mendez continued his 2015 dominance from the bullpen with three scoreless innings and 4 strikeouts. The shutout performance extended the All-Star's scoreless innings streak to 24.1 to begin the year, to go along with a .111 batting average against. Jurado entered the game in the 4th for his first relief appearance of the year, with the fellow All-Star picking up right where his teammate left off with two perfect innings to begin his outing.

The Hickory offense was held in check over the first five frames as well by Savannah starting pitcher Ricky Knapp. Following Knapp's 5 shutout frames on three hits and 4 Ks, the Sand Gnats turned the ball over to right-handed reliever Dawrin Frias who promptly lost the shutout on a 2-run homer by Trevino in the bottom of the 6th. The long ball was Trevino's team-leading 9th big fly of the year, and put the Crawdads on top 2-0.

The 'Gnats responded in the top of the 7th when Vicente Lupo, Joe Tuschak, and Adrian Abreu all produced consecutive two-out singles against Jurado to plate a run and cut the score to 2-1. The 'Dads would run away with the contest from there however, with the bats producing two more runs in the 7th for a 4-1 advantage. Hickory loaded the bases to begin the frame thanks to back-to-back singles by Jairo Beras and Rock Shoulders before Arroyo laid down a bunt that resulted in another hit. One out later, Josh Morgan hit a hard ground ball to short that could have resulted in an inning-ending double play, but Arroyo broke up the relay throw at second base with a hard takeout slide that resulted in a throwing error by Savannah second baseman Jonathan Johnson. The end result was an RBI for Morgan and an unearned run coming in on the throw for a 3-run Crawdads lead.

The 'Dads put the game away in the next frame, when the club sent all nine batters to the plate while scoring four runs on four hits and two walks to put up the final 8-1 score. Arroyo produced the big hit in the frame in the form of a 2-RBI double, while both Beras and Michael De Leon came through with RBI singles.

Arroyo finished the game 2-4 with a double and 2 RBI, while Trevino went 1-3 with a homer, 2 RBI, a walk and a run scored. Morgan also came away with a productive night offensively, going 2-3 with an RBI, two hit-by-pitches, and a run scored.

Jurado (9-0) earned his league-leading 9th win of the year with one run allowed on four hits and five strikeouts for the 'Dads. Frias (0-1) took the loss for Savannah after giving up six runs, five earned, over his 2.1 innings of relief.

The Crawdads (40-21) now have a chance to clinch the SAL Northern Division with a win against the Sand Gnats (34-29) and an ensuing loss by the West Virginia Power in their game against Augusta. First pitch between the 'Dads and the 'Gnats Monday night is scheduled for 7:00 pm.

Caldwell County: 9, 9
Moundsville, W. Va.: 0, 2

Hickory: 7
Lincoln County: 6

Taylorsville: 1, 7
Haywood: 4, 5

The Hickory Crawdads were forced to lean on their bullpen to pitch the majority of the game Saturday night and the duo of Adam Parks and John Fasola delivered, as the tandem shutout the visiting Savannah Sand Gnats over the final 5.1 innings to lead the 'Dads to a 3-2 win in front of a season-high crowd of 4,823 at L.P. Frans Stadium.

Parks entered the game in the top of the 4th with the score tied and the Sand Gnats batting with the bases loaded and two outs. The right-handed hurler stepped up to the challenge with an inning-ending strikeout before putting up scoreless frames in the 5th, 6th, and 7th. Fasola followed suit in the 8th, as the Crawdads closer finished off the game with two shutout frames for a 3-2 'Dads win.

The stellar bullpen worked backed a Hickory offense that made the most of its opportunities, as the Crawdads scored three runs on six hits while stranding only four runners on base. The 'Dads bats gave the club an early lead with two runs in the 2nd inning, both of which came home on a 2-out, 2-RBI double to right by Rock Shoulders for a 2-0 score.

Savannah worked their way back with a run against Hickory starter Brett Martin in the 3rd and an unearned tally in the 4th to force a 2-2 tie. With the Crawdads pen putting up zeros, the 'Dads came through with the game-winning run in the 6th on a triple off the right field wall by Eduard Pinto followed on the very next pitch by an RBI single from Jose Trevino to give the 'Dads a 3-2 lead.

The bullpen finished the game from there, as Parks struck out the side in the 7th and Fasola closed out the win with a 6-out save for a 3-2 Hickory victory.

Parks (2-3) earned the win with a career-high 8 strikeouts over 3.1 scoreless innings of relief. 'Gnats starter Corey Oswalt (3-3) took the loss with three runs allowed on six hits, two walks, and four strikeouts over 7 IP. Fasola earned his league-leading 12th save of the year.

Shoulders paced the 'Dads offense finishing 1-2 with a double, 2 RBI, and a walk. Pinto ended the night 1-3 with a triple, a run scored, and a walk, while Trevino went 1-4 with an RBI.

The Crawdads (39-21) will try to become the first South Atlantic League team to reach 40 wins when they take on the Sand Gnats (34-28) in game three of their four-game series Sunday evening at 5:00 pm.

Hickory 15, 18
Moundsville (W.Va.) 2, 3