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The Texas Rangers announced that Hickory Crawdads center fielder Lewis Brinson has been promoted to the High-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans, becoming the fourth 'Dad this season to move up in the Rangers organization.

Replacing Brinson on the Crawdads active roster is infielder Nick Urbanus from the Arizona League. Urbanus played 23 games with the 'Dads earlier this season, batting .181 with five doubles and five RBIs before going on the disabled list on May 13th. Urbanus also spent time in Hickory in both 2013 and 2012.

Brinson, 20, had been on fire for the Crawdads in the 2nd half, batting .439 with seven home runs and 12 RBIs in 11 games played since the All-Star break. A first round selection by the Rangers in the 2012 Draft, Brinson missed more than five weeks of the season due to injuries, but compiled a .335 average with 10 homers, 28 RBIs, and seven stolen bases in his 43 games played. Brinson was also a member of the record breaking 2013 Crawdads, where he became the first 'Dad in team history to finish with a 20/20 season after hitting 21 home runs and stealing 24 bases.

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

The Hickory Crawdads combined solid pitching and two more home runs for yet another victory Thursday night, as the 'Dads defeated the West Virginia Power 6-1 at Appalachian Power Park to complete the three-game series sweep.

The sweep pushed the Crawdads current winning streak to seven straight games while also improving the 'Dads South Atlantic League-best record to 13-2. The two Hickory homers by Ryan Cordell and Jairo Beras gave the Crawdads at least one long ball in 11-consecutive contests, and raised the team's SAL-leading total to 83 for the year.

Prior to the home runs the 'Dads took advantage of a dropped pop up by West Virginia All-Star second baseman Erich Weiss in the 3rd to score a pair of unearned runs and take a 2-0 lead. Michael De Leon started the rally with a one-out walk, followed two batters later by a popup into shallow right field by Nomar Mazara. The would-be final out instead fell behind Weiss and allowed De Leon to score all the way from first. Lewis Brinson followed next with a RBI single to right to plate Mazara for the inning's second run.

The score held all the way until the 7th, when Cordell led off the frame with a line drive, solo shot down the left field line for his eighth homer of the year and a 3-0 Hickory advantage. The Power finally got on board in the bottom of the frame when Reese McGuire's infield, RBI single snapped a 14 innings scoreless drought for the Power and made the score 3-1, but the 'Dads put the nail in the coffin in the 9th when Beras crushed a 3-run home run to left for the final 6-1 score.

Cordell finished the game 2-5 with a homer, while Beras went 1-3 with his 4th big fly of the year. Travis Demeritte also had a big night in his first game played since June 27th, going 1-1 with three walks and a hit-by-pitch.

The offensive support was more than enough for Hickory starting pitcher Akeem Bostick (5-3) who earned the win after shutting out the Power on three hits, two walks, and four strikeouts over five innings pitched. West Virginia starter Dovydas Neverauskas (4-7) took the loss after allowing two unearned runs on three hits, five walks, the three strikeouts over four frames on the mound.

The Crawdads will now return home to take on the Savannah Sand Gnats in a 4th of July battle between the SAL's two first place teams. First pitch Friday night is scheduled for 7:00 pm.

Caldwell County
Mint Hill, ppd. lightning
The series is tied 1-1. Game three of the best of five series is Friday at Independnce High School in Charlotte.

Hickory: 6
Alexander County: 1
Hickory Post 48 leads the series 2-1. Game four of the best of five series is Friday at Henkel Alley Field.

Shelby: 13
Burke County: 1
Shelby Post 82 wins the series 3-0.

Appalachian State University softball picked up more accolades with four student-athletes earning North Carolina Collegiate Sports Information Association (NCCSIA) University Division all-state honors.

The Mountaineers garnered the second-most first-team honorees with two, while also posting two second-team honorees.

Junior outfielder Dani Heichen (Pembroke Pines, Fla./Pembroke Pines Charter) and junior second baseman Cynthia Gomez (Oxnard, Calif./Pacifica) were both honored as first-team selections.

Junior pitcher Alissa Schoelkopf (Sewell, N.J./Washington Township) and freshman shortstop Cara Parker (Lake Park, Ga./Lowndes) both earned second-team honors.

Heichen had a career year during the 2014 season and was selected as a Southern Conference first-team outfielder. She finished with career-highs in batting average (.333), total bases (51), slugging percentage (.347), on-base percentage (.368) and stolen bases (18). The 18 stolen bases gives her 48 for her career and places her eighth all-time in program history.

The Pembroke Pines, Fla. native, also reaped SoCon Player of the Week honors on April 14th after a week in which she batted .650, while finishing 13-for-20 at the plate. Heichen led the Mountaineers in average during league play. The junior outfielder also carried a 17-game hitting streak into the SoCon tournament – the longest hit streak in program history, which dates back to 2001.

Gomez also finished with a career-high in batting with a .328 average. The Oxnard, Calif. native drove in 11 runs – including her first career home run against Georgia Southern on April 6th. Gomez hit .367 in conference play, which contributed to 12 multi-hit games and seven stolen bases.

Schoelkopf helped pace the pitching staff for the Mountaineers in 2014 while contributing almost a strikeout per inning ratio. The Sewell, N.J. native, pitched 97 innings and struck out 95 batters in 26 appearances. The 95 strikeouts place Schoelkopf fifth on the all-time strikeout list with 253 in two seasons as a Mountaineer. Schoelkopf made 16 starts and finished the year with a 3.68 earned-run average.

Parker garnered all-freshman team honors from the SoCon after one of the best seasons from a freshman in program history. Parker finished the regular season with a team-high 10 homers, 29 RBIs, 28 runs, .659 slugging percentage and 19 walks all while hitting .326 at the plate.

The Hickory Crawdads hitched their wagon to the long ball Wednesday night and rode it all the way to yet another 2nd half victory, as the 'Dads clubbed five solo home runs in a 5-1 win over the West Virginia Power at Appalachian Power Park.

The five homer performance marked the most long balls hit in a single game by the Crawdads this season, and pushed the 'Dads South Atlantic League-leading dinger total to 81 for the year. Both Lewis Brinson (10) and Nomar Mazara (12) went deep twice in the contest, while Ryan Cordell (7) chipped in with a solo shot as well. The Crawdads have now clubbed a home run in 10 straight games, sending 21 total big flies out of the yard during that stretch.

It was the Power who struck first in the game however, as West Virginia scrapped across a run in the 1st inning off of Crawdads starting pitcher Cole Wiper for a 1-0 lead. The inning could have been much worse for the 'Dads, but Wiper was able to minimize the damage by stranding the bases loaded.

The top of the 2nd inning brought the first of the Hickory homers, as Mazara and Brinson went deep in consecutive at-bats against West Virginia starter Buddy Borden to put the Crawdads ahead 2-1. Mazara's big fly sailed well past the right field wall and on to the adjacent street, while Brinson's prodigious blast flew over the video board and clock in left-center field.

The lead grew to 3-1 in the 4th when Brinson connected off of Borden again, this time sending another solo blast off the video board in left-center. Fast forward to the top of the 6th, and the 'Dads connected on back-to-back homers for the second time when Cordell and Mazara crushed the first two pitches from Power reliever Shane Carle over the fence to give Hickory a 5-1 lead.

The Crawdads bullpen would take it from there, as Ryne Slack and Jose Monegro combined to shutout West Virginia on just one hit and five strikeouts over the final five innings of the game. Slack (6-1) earned the win for the 'Dads with three scoreless frames out of the bullpen. Borden (3-6) took the loss for the Power after giving up three runs on five hits, no walks, and eight strikeouts over five innings pitched.

Both Mazara and Brinson finished the game 2-4 with two solo home runs, while Cordell ended the night 1-4 with his big fly. Luis Marte led the non-homer portion of the Hickory offense, going 3-4 with three singles.

The Crawdads (12-2) have now won six straight while jumping out to the best 2nd half record in the SAL. The 'Dads will go for the 3-game sweep over the Power (8-6) Thursday night, with first pitch scheduled for 6:05 pm.

The Lenoir-Rhyne University Softball Team placed a statewide-high five players on the 2014 NCCSIA College Division All-State First and Second Teams. NCCSIA is the North Carolina Collegiate Sports Information Association.

Of the five Bears, four garnered first-team all-state accolades: sophomore pitchers Brandi Hole (Sandy Ridge, N.C.) and Maryann Hoskins (Havelock, N.C.) and senior infielders Haily Jarman (Wadesboro, N.C.) and Jody Mizelle (Colerain, N.C.).

Hole finished with a 20-6 record in addition to a league-best 1.28 earned run average and 136 strikeouts while Hoskins was named the 2014 South Atlantic Conference Pitcher Of The Year after fashioning a 20-9 mark, a 1.50 earned run average, 10 shutouts and 219 strikeouts. Both players were all-region honorees.

Jarman batted .337 with six home runs and 38 runs batted in while Mizelle led the Bears in numerous offensive categories this season including hitting (.371), home runs (12), runs batted in (43), slugging percentage (.660) and stolen bases (18).

Both Jarman and Mizelle were named to the 2014 All-SAC First Team and started all 55 games for Lenoir-Rhyne. Jarman also ended her career as a four-time all-league (2011-14) and three-time all-region (2012-14) selection.

The Bears' freshman catcher Sarah Kenley (Charlotte, N.C.) was named to the all-state second team. Kenley started all 55 contests as well and finished with a .331 batting average, four home runs and 24 runs batted in.

Lenoir-Rhyne ended the year with a 40-15 record and a share of the South Atlantic Conference Regular Season Championship. The Bears also earned a berth to the NCAA Division II National Tournament for the ninth straight season.

Nominees were submitted by North Carolina sports information professionals and voted on by the NCCSIA members.

Founded in 2002, The North Carolina Collegiate Sports Information Association (NCCSIA) is comprised of sports information professionals from NCAA Division I, II, III, NAIA and independent institutions from the state of North Carolina.

The purpose of the organization is to promote collegiate athletics at all schools. Membership is open to anyone affiliated with a college, university or conference located in North Carolina, and whose area of responsibility lies within sports information.

NCCSSIA selects all-state teams in the University (Division I) and College (Division II, III, NAIA) divisions for men's and women's basketball, men's and women's soccer, volleyball, softball and baseball.

North Carolina Collegiate Sports Information Association
2014 College Division All-State Softball Teams

First Team
P - Brandi Hole, So., Lenoir-Rhyne, Sandy Ridge, N.C.
P - Maryann Hoskins&, So., Lenoir-Rhyne, Havelock, N.C.
C - Taylor Laskey, So., Wingate, Cherryville, N.C.
INF - Cynthia Hayes&, Sr., Guilford, Seagrove, N.C.
INF - Mellena Helms, So., Wingate, Concord, N.C.
INF - Haily Jarman&%, Sr., Lenoir-Rhyne, Wadesboro, N.C.
INF - Jody Mizelle#, Sr., Lenoir-Rhyne, Colerain, N.C.
OF - Taylor Cloninger&, Sr., UNC Pembroke, Jacksonville, N.C.
OF - Liz Hipple&%, Jr., Chowan, Pembroke Pines, Fla.
OF - Kristi Morton, Sr., Salem, Trussville, Ala.
UTIL - Marty Wilcox, Jr., Guilford, South Charleston, W.Va.
DP - Kayla Saliga&, Jr., Wingate, Asheboro, N.C.

Second Team
P - Stacey Houser&, So., Wingate, Mooresville, N.C.
P - Carley Tysinger&, So., Catawba, Lexington, N.C.
C - Sarah Kenley, Fr., Lenoir-Rhyne, Charlotte, N.C.
INF - Courtney Baker, Sr., Chowan, Chesapeake, N.C.
INF - Tori Cragan, So., Chowan, Concord, N.C.
INF - Kierston Garner&, So., Salem, Danbury, N.C.
INF - Rachel Howard, Jr., Guilford, Hillsborough, N.C.
OF - Whitney Jackson, So., UNC Pembroke, Farmville, N.C.
OF - Taylor Rosenbalm, So., Queens, Statesville, N.C.
UTIL - Jackie Nicholson&, Jr., Greensboro, Snow Camp, N.C.
DP -Brea Hartley&, Jr., UNC Pembroke, Lexington, N.C.

& - Named to 2013 All-State Team
% - Named to 2012 All-State Team
# - Named to 2011 All-State Team

Caldwell County: 13
Mint Hill: 6
The series is tied 1-1. Game three of the best of five series is Thursday at Independnce High School in Charlotte.

Hickory: 10
Alexander County: 7
The series is tied 1-1. Game three of the best of five series is Thursday at Alexander Central High School.

Shelby: 7
Burke County: 2
Shelby Post 82 leads the series 2-0. Game three of the best of five series is Thursday at Shelby.

Jaylan Barbour, a true freshman ranked among the nation’s top 100 wide receivers in the high-school class of 2014, has enrolled at Appalachian State and joined the Mountaineers’ football program. Barbour, a 5-10, 165-pounder from Monroe, signed a National Letter of Intent with Wake Forest in February but was released from the obligations of that NLI, which allowed him to enroll at Appalachian State and play immediately.

Former Appalachian State field hockey goalkeeper Sarah Anderson and four-year forward from Wake Forest University Taylor Rhea has been added to the Appalachian field hockey coaching staff as assistant coaches, head coach Brandi Alexander-Kist announced recently.

Former Appalachian State University field hockey goalkeeper Sarah Anderson and four-year forward from Wake Forest University Taylor Rhea has been added to the Appalachian field hockey coaching staff as assistant coaches, head coach Brandi Alexander-Kist announced Tuesday.

Anderson joins the coaching staff after starting her last two seasons in the net for the Mountaineers. Anderson graduated from Appalachian December 2013 as stuck around as a volunteer assistant coach during the winter and spring training season working one on one with the goalkeepers and helping the defense.

“Sarah has contributed so much to our program as a player, and now we welcome her contributions as a coach,” Kist said. “I am thrilled to have her return on our coaching staff and to keep her enthusiasm for our sport and passion for our university around. Sarah will work primarily with our goal keepers and defense.”

After sitting out her true freshman season, Anderson began to flourish as the Mountaineers goalie, on and off the field. In 2010 and 2011, she was the reserve goalkeeper, playing 12 games and saving a total of 24 shots. In her junior season, Anderson started all 18 matches. She posted 140 saves on the season for a .673 save percentage and was named NorPac East Defensive Player of the Week for two-straight weeks. She posted her previous career high in saves against Wake Forest and earned her first career shutout on Oct. 14, 2012 against Ball State.

During Anderson’s senior season, she tallied a career high in saves, surpassing her previous career high by 32. She finished her career seventh on the Appalachian all-time saves list with 336 saves and ninth on the single season all-time saves list. She was a four-time National Field Hockey Coaches Association academic squad honoree for her excellence in the classroom.

Anderson has also trained with the U.S. Field Hockey High Performance Program for two years.

Rhea brings a different element to the Mountaineers coaching squad proving to be a force offensively at Wake Forest and Alexander-Kist is very excited about it.

“I am very excited to have Taylor join our staff,” Kist said. “With her experience playing at a high level and specifically her offensive mindset, I am looking forward to having work with our attack. She has great energy and love for the game and will compliment our program well as we transition to playing on our new field.”

Rhea ended a decorated career with the 15th-ranked Demon Deacons in 2013, earning a spot on the 2013 All-South Region Second Team and was a participant at the 2013 NFHCA Division I senior game.

She was named Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Week after recording a hat trick against Boston College and guided her team to the NCAA tournament. She also ranks in the top-five in the ACC in goals scored, goals per game and points per game.

During her senior year, Rhea tallied all career highs with 38 total points, comprising of 17 goals and four assists. She also showed her clutch ability scoring five game-winning goals, while carrying a .315 shot percentage on 54 shots. Rhea scored one of Wake Forest’s two goals in the NCAA tournament game against North Carolina.

She finished her career at Wake Forest with 32 goals, eight assists and 72 total points. She had a .244 shot percentage but showed her accuracy with 93 shots on goal.

Wednesday, 02 July 2014 22:15

Appalachian State Adds Wide Receiver

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Jaylan Barbour, a true freshman ranked among the nation’s top 100 wide receivers in the high-school class of 2014, has enrolled at Appalachian State University and joined the Mountaineers’ football program.

Barbour, a 5-10, 165-pounder from Monroe, N.C., signed a National Letter of Intent with Wake Forest in February but was released from the obligations of that NLI, which allowed him to enroll at Appalachian State and play immediately.

ESPN ranked Barbour as the No. 79 high-school wide receiver nationally in the class of 2014 and the Fayetteville Observer tabbed him as the 30th-best prospect in the state of North Carolina. He caught 130 passes for 2,198 yards and 20 touchdowns during his prep career, including 46 receptions for 858 yards and seven scores as a senior.

JAYLAN BARBOUR (WR, 5-10, 165, Fr., Monroe, N.C./Monroe)
Rated as a three-star prospect by Rivals.com and 247Sports ... tabbed as the No. 79-ranked wide receiver nationally by ESPN and No. 81 by Rivals.com ... named the No. 30-ranked prospect in the state of North Carolina by the Fayetteville Observer and No. 38 by National Underclassmen Sports ... caught 130 passes for 2,198 yards and 20 touchdowns in three seasons as a starter ... tallied 44 receptions for 861 yards and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore (2011) ... had 42 catches for 521 yards and four scores during injury-riddled junior campaign (2012) ... bounced back with 46 receptions for 858 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior (2013) ... also averaged 29 yards per kickoff return and 18 yards per punt return during senior season ... helped lead Monroe to 13-3 record and appearance in 2013 North Carolina 2AA state championship game as a senior ... caught five passes for 132 yards and a touchdown in regional semifinal win over East Lincoln ... returned a kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown in regional final victory over Parkwood ... three-time first-team all-conference honoree ... first-team all-Union County ... coached by Johnny Sowell ... won six 1A state championships in track and field as a member of relay teams at Monroe ... cousin, Jamison Crowder, is a senior all-ACC wide receiver at Duke.

Wednesday, 02 July 2014 22:13

Crawdads Rally to Win at West Virginia

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The Hickory Crawdads seemed well on their way to a routine win Tuesday night before losing a 3-run lead in the 8th, but the resilient 'Dads rallied for five more tallies in the top of the 9th to emerge with an 11-6 win over the West Virginia Power at Appalachian Power Park.

Hickory sent all nine batters to the plate in the decisive ninth frame, with Jairo Beras' bases loaded, RBI walk breaking the tie before Ronald Guzman plated two with a single and Evan Van Hoosier tripled in a pair to give the Crawdads their 11-6 lead. The win is the 5th straight for the 'Dads and pushes their South Atlantic League best 2nd half record to 11-2. The victory also moves the Crawdads all-time franchise record to 1,498-1,497, marking the first time in team history that their record is above .500.

Prior to the 9th inning surge, the Crawdads built a 6-3 advantage through the first seven innings. 'Dads starting pitcher Ricardo Rodriguez was solid on the mound with only three runs allowed, two earned, on nine hits over 5.1 innings pitched. That gave the Hickory offense room to work, with the 'Dads scoring two in the 4th, three in the 5th, and one in the 7th.

Beras delivered the game's opening blow and he broke up a scoreless tie in the 4th with a RBI single to right to plate Lewis Brinson. Kellin Deglan also came home on the play when Power right fielder Elvis Escobar's throw to third base went off line for a 2-0 score. Following a West Virginia run in the bottom of the 4th on a RBI single by Kawika Emsley-Pai, the Crawdads used a pair of home runs in the top of the 5th to stretch their lead to 5-1. Ryan Cordell struck first with on opposite field, solo shot to right, followed two batters later by a 2-run blast by Deglan to right.

The Power plated single runs in both the 5th and 6th frames on a RBI sacrifice fly by Jeff Roy and a RBI single from Emsley-Pai respectively, but the 'Dads came through with another tally in the 7th when Beras singled home Brinson for his second RBI of the game and a 6-3 Hickory lead.

The Crawdads turned to right-handed reliever Josh McElwee to try to navigate the team through the final two innings, but the normally dependable hurler couldn't hold on to the lead as he gave up a game-tying 3-run homer to Power shortstop JaCoby Jones for a 6-6 score.

The Hickory offense would come to their pitcher's aid though, as Joe Jackson singled before Cordell and Brinson walked to load the bases with nobody out in the top of the 9th. Beras then came through with a go-ahead RBI walk that forced home Jackson for a 7-6 Crawdads lead. The 'Dads weren't done yet, as Guzman followed Beras with a 2-RBI single up the middle and Van Hoosier came through two batters later with a 2-RBI triple to center for the final runs of the frame.

All-Star closer Cody Kendall would shut the door from there with a perfect bottom of the 9th to complete the 11-6 Hickory win. McElwee (2-0) earned the win after the late rally, while West Virginia reliever Henry Hirsch (1-4) took the loss after giving up all five runs in the 9th while recording two outs.

Beras (3-4, 3 RBIs, BB, R), Cordell (3-4, HR, RBI, 2 R, BB) and Deglan (3-4, HR, 2 RBIs, 2 R, BB) all finished with three-hit games, while Brinson went 1-2, with three walks and four runs scored for the game.

The Crawdads (11-2) will play the Power (8-5) again on Wednesday in game two of the three game series, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 pm.