Sports (661)

Open Letter from Appalachian State University Women’s Basketball Head Coach Angel Elderkin

June 16, 2016

Dear family, friends, colleagues and the entire Appalachian State community,

I recently made my team aware that I have been diagnosed with endometrial cancer. I have completed the surgical portion of my treatment and all of the clinically apparent cancer has been removed.

Consistent with the standard treatment for this type of cancer, I have started on the recommended post-operative treatment plan that includes both chemotherapy and radiation therapy. It is expected that I will complete the full treatment plan prior to the start of our upcoming season in November. I have already undergone 2-of-6 planned chemotherapy treatment cycles and the good news is that I am feeling great and tolerating the treatments very well!

I have a tremendous team of doctors overseeing my care. As I have told my family, friends, coaching staff, team and administration, I will beat this! I am grateful to all for their support.

While I must make some adjustments, this will not impact my ability to lead the Appalachian State program now or in the future. I have a talented, hard-working and dedicated coaching staff, all of whom are working towards a successful season under my leadership. I also have the most supportive group of student-athletes that any coach could ask for. Words cannot describe how much I appreciate all of them for standing with me as I continue this journey. Just as I ask my team to do on a daily basis, I remain positive, resilient and full of fight!

I ask that you please respect my desire for privacy during this time and I thank you in advance for your support. I look forward to seeing everyone in November when we open the 2016-17 season.


Statement from Appalachian State University Chancellor Dr. Sheri N. Everts
“Since her arrival at Appalachian, Coach Elderkin has worked tirelessly to be an excellent mentor and coach. In this process, she has earned the respect of her team and displayed an amazing amount of heart. As someone who has fought a similar fight, I understand the battle and she has my wholehearted support. Also, I know the entire Appalachian Community stands with Angel as she faces the challenge ahead of her. We will continue to keep her in our thoughts and in our hearts.”

Statement from Appalachian State University Director of Athletics Doug Gillin
“Coach Elderkin is a tremendous asset to our University, athletics department, students and community. Her attitude and determination in this time is an inspiration to all of us. We all support Angel as she undergoes her treatments while continuing to lead our women’s basketball student-athletes and staff. We look forward to seeing her on the bench when play begins in November."

The Hickory Crawdads fell to the Delmarva Shorebirds at L.P. Frans Stadium last night 6-4.

The Crawdads struck first in the first and second innings with single runs in each frame. With one out in the first, Frandy De La Rosa single and Tyler Sanchez moved him over to third with a single to left field. Ricardo Valencia would ground out next, but he would get the sacrifice as De La Rosa scored.

In the second inning, Connor McKay hit his first home run as a Crawdad to left center field.

Delmarva would get on the scoreboard with a run in the fourth, two in the fifth, two more in the sixth and a final tally in the seventh.

Hickory would tie the ball game up in the fifth inning at 3 a piece. Ti'Quan Forbes led off the inning with a single, and would move to second when Jose Almonte singled as well. Two batters later, Dylan Moore singled to center field, scoring Forbes.

Hickory would make things interesting in the bottom of the ninth, down 6-3. Sanchez opened up the inning with his 10th double of the season. Valencia would then walk and Chuck Moorman singled to load the bases. Two batters later, Sanchez would score on a balk from Shorebirds pitcher Christian Turnipseed, but Jose Almonte flew out to center field to end the Crawdads comeback attempt.

Sanchez was two-for-four on the night with a run scored to pace the Crawdads offense.

Peter Fairbanks suffered the loss on the mound for Hickory. He pitched 6.2 innings, allowing 10 hits and 6 runs, all earned. He did strikeout seven and did not allow a walk. Omarlin Lopez replaced him in the lineup and went the remaining 2.1 innings, allowing only one hit and striking out three.

Hickory is now 37-29 on the first half of the season. The Crawdads will remain at home this weekend to wrap up the first half of the season against the Shorebirds.

The Hickory Crawdads find themselves on the brink of elimination of playoff contention in the first half of the season as they fell to the Greenville Drive on the road Wednesday night 4-1.

The Crawdads went three up-three down in the top of the first inning, but the homestanding Drive opened up with three runs in the bottom half of the first with three hits, a walk, a balk and an error off of starter Dillon Tate. The Drive would add an additional run in the third inning.

Hickory's lone run came in the top of the seventh inning. Dylan Moore would lead off the inning with his eighth double of the season with a line drive to right field. Two batters later, Chuck Moorman singled on a line drive to right field that would score Moore.

No Crawdads batter had a multi-hit night at the plate as they were held to five hits in the game. Moore went one-for-three with the run scored and Moorman was one-for-four with the lone RBI. Josh Altmann, Connor McKay and Ti'Quan Forbes also had hits for Hickory.

Tate took the loss on the mound with five innings, allowing eight hits, all four runs, striking out two and walking three. Blake Bass pitched a perfect sixth inning of releif for the Crawdads, striking out two. John Werner pitched the final two innings, allowing an opening triple, and a walk.

With the loss, Hickory falls to 37-28 on the first half of the season. They are three and a half games back of first place Hagerstown in the Northern Division of the South Atlantic League standings, with four games left to play in the first half of the season. The Crawdads now welcome the hottest team in the league into L.P. Frans Stadium in the Delmarva Shorebirds. They have won five straight and eight of their last 10. Hickory will need to win out and Hagerstown lose out to win the first half title.

Law Enforcement Appreciation Night will be celebrated at Hickory Post 48’s Baseball Game against Burke County on Saturday, June 18 at 7 p.m. at the Hickory American Legion Fairgrounds.

First pitches thrown out by Sheriff Coy Reid, Chief Tom Adkins, Chief Eric Loftin, Trooper Keith Travis and other local police chiefs.

There will be a demonstration of a police K9 Unit in action before the game as well as various displays of police vehicles throughout the game.

The Hickory American Legion Fairgrounds and Hinkel – Alley Field is located at American Legion Ave, Newton, NC 28658 off of Hwy 64-70.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016 07:05

CVCC Baseball's Andrus Earns Gold Golve Award

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The National Junior College Athletic Association announced the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings Gold Glove Awards for Division 2. Catawba Valley's Ty Andrus was one of nine players named to the Gold Glove Team. Winners are determined by the NJCAA Division II Baseball Committee.

Andrus had a perfect fielding percentage in the outfield for the Red Hawks this season. On 90 total chances this season, Andrus had 87 putouts and 3 assists this season.

He has been named Region X Player of the Year, and earned second team All-American honor this season as well. A sphomore this season, Andrus has committed to play at Wingate next season.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016 06:47

Hickory Crawdads Edged Out by Greenville Drive

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The Hickory Crawdads locked up with the Greenville Drive in a long shootout Tuesday night that was made even longer by a rain delay of more than an hour in the 1st inning. The 'Dads bats did their best to slug the team to victory with 8 runs on 15 hits including 2 home runs, but it wasn't enough as Hickory fell to the Drive in a 9-8 loss at Fluor Field.

The Crawdads burst out of the gates with 5 runs on 6 hits in the 1st inning, tying the club's biggest opening frame of the year. The Drive responded with 2 quick runs in the bottom of the first before a lightning storm delayed the contest by an hour and 5 minutes. When play resumed, Greenville picked up where they left off with 2 more tallies to make the score 5-4 and set the tone for the rest of the night.

The 'Dads kept the offense churning with single runs in the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th innings but each time the team scored the Drive answered back, with the home team plating 2 runs in the 3rd, 1 in the 5th, and 2 more in the 7th to take their first lead of the game at 9-8. Hickory significantly out-hit their southern opponent 15-9, but the Crawdads also issued a season-worst 12 walks resulting in just the third loss this year where the 'Dads finished with more hits than their opponent.

The opening frame could not have started much better for the Crawdads, as the road team sent all 9 batters to the plate and jumped out to a 5-0 lead. Eric Jenkins, Dylan Moore, Josh Altmann and Tyler Sanchez all laced singles to start the inning and put up a pair of quick tallies. They were followed by a one-out, RBI double from Ricky Valencia and a 2-out, RBI double by Jose Almonte to put the 'Dads up by 5.

Greenville wasted no time in answering the offensive challenge in the bottom of the 1st, with a leadoff single from Luis Alejandro Basabe and a 2-run home run to right by Mitchell Gunsolus to cut the score to 5-2. Hickory All-Star pitcher Erik Swanson then issued consecutive walks to Josh Ockimey and Kyri Washington before recording his first out of the game on a fly out to right by Tyler Spoon. Unfortunately Swanson wouldn't be given a chance to build off of that out, as a lightning storm forced the game to be postponed for more than an hour. When play resumed Swanson was lifted for reliever Matt Ball, who allowed 2 inherited runners to score on a walk, a sacrifice fly, and a throwing error by Valencia behind the plate that whittled the Hickory lead to 5-4.

The 'Dads bats came right back with a run in the 2nd when Jenkins singled to right, moved to second on a walk by Moore, and eventually scored on a throwing error by Basabe at second base for a 6-4 score. Hickory pushed the advantage to 7-4 in the 3rd when Almonte launched a solo home run over the 40-foot green monster in left field for his team-leading 7th long ball of the year.

Once again the Drive answered the bell however, this time with a 2-RBI double by Trenton Kemp in the bottom of the 3rd for a 7-6 score. The Crawdads picked up one last tally in the top of the 5th when Moore crushed a solo homer to left-center field for his second homer of the road trip and an 8-6 'Dads lead. Greenville had another quick response in the home half though, with a 2-out, RBI single to left by Basabe off of Hickory reliever Adam Choplick to cut the lead to 8-7.

Hickory held that lead until the 7th, when the Drive used 4 walks and an infield, RBI single off of Crawdads reliever Joe Palumbo to force their first tie and ultimately lead of the night at 9-8. The 'Dads bats picked up three more hits over the final two innings in an attempt to rally, but couldn't bring in another run resulting in the loss.

Six Crawdads hitters finished with a multi-hit game as the team tied their season-high with 15 hits. Moore led the charge going 2-3 with a home run, 2 walks, and 2 runs scored, while Almonte finished 2-5 with a homer, a double, and 2 RBI. Jenkins (2-5, BB, 2 R), Altmann (2-4, RBI, R, HBP), Sanchez (2-5, RBI, R, SB), and Valencia (2-4, 2B, RBI, R, BB) all posted multi-hit nights as well.

Palumbo (4-3) took the loss for Hickory after walking a season-high 5 batters and allowing 2 runs on 1 hit and 3 strikeouts over 1.1 innings pitched. Greenville reliever Jeffry Fernandez (2-2) earned the win with 1 run given up on 3 hits, 2 walks, and 3 Ks over 4 IP, while teammate Victor Diaz (2) recorded the save with 2 scoreless innings to end the game.

The Crawdads (37-27) will try to salvage the final game against the Drive (34-30) Wednesday night, with first pitched scheduled for 7:05 pm.

Both bodies of the North Carolina General Assembly honored Appalachian State University football for its historic 2015 football season on Tuesday in Raleigh.

Senator Deanna Ballard submitted a senatorial statement congratulating the Mountaineers for their 11-2 campaign in 2015, which was capped by a last-second 31-29 victory over Ohio in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl. Ballard and Representative Jonathan Jordan read the statement on the floor of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The senatorial statement not only congratulated Appalachian State for owning the best record of any NCAA Division I FBS program in North Carolina last season but also lauded the program’s success in the classroom, headlined by linebacker Cody McKinney (Vilas, N.C./Watauga) earning one of the Sun Belt Conference’s two most prestigious individual academic honors as the 2015-16 Sun Belt Male Postgraduate Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Appalachian State football is no stranger to the North Carolina General Assembly. The Mountaineers were also honored by the N.C. Senate and House of Representatives following each of their three NCAA Division I-AA/FCS national championships from 2005-07.


WHEREAS, in 2014, Appalachian State University (ASU) moved from the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), where it won three consecutive national titles and 18 conference championships, to the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) as a member of the Sun Belt Conference; and

WHEREAS, ASU finished the 2015 season with an 11-2 record, the best overall record of any North Carolina FBS team; and

WHEREAS, ASU became the first team to win 11 games in its first season as a bowl-eligible member of FBS and the first team in Sun Belt Conference history to win 11 games in a season; and

WHEREAS, ASU became the first team to win a bowl game in its first season as a bowl-eligible FBS member, defeating Ohio University 31-29 in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl on December 19, 2015; and

WHEREAS, only eight of 128 FBS teams had more overall wins than Appalachian State University, which finished 33rd overall in the final 2015 Associated Press poll; and

WHEREAS, ASU football represents a commitment to athletic and academic excellence, producing 13 all-Sun Belt Conference honorees, including Sun Belt Defensive Student-Athlete of the Year Ronald Blair, a fifth round 2016 NFL Draft pick by the San Francisco 49ers, and senior linebacker Cody McKinney who earned the Sun Belt Conference’s highest individual academic honor for a male student-athlete, the Sun Belt Male Postgraduate Scholar-Athlete of the Year;

NOW, THEREFORE, the student-athletes and coaches of Appalachian State University’s football team should be congratulated on an outstanding 2015 season.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned certifies that the foregoing statement was read in the Senate and placed upon the Journal on the 14th day of June, 2016.

Submitted by Senator Deanna Ballard

Recent Appalachian State University men’s basketball alumnus, Frank Eaves (Greensboro, N.C./Page), will participate in a pre-NBA Draft workout with the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday, June 15 at 10:30 a.m. The workouts will take place on the Hornets practice court at the Novant Health Training Center at Time Warner Cable Arena.

Eaves will be one of five players to participate on Wednesday – joined by Matt Costello (Michigan State), Marshall Plumlee (Duke), Angel Rodriguez (Miami (Fla.)) and Wayne Selden Jr. (Kansas).

Last season was a breakout season for Eaves who led the Mountaineers in scoring (18.7 ppg) and ranked third in the Sun Belt Conference in scoring this season after leading the conference for the majority of the year. During his senior campaign, Eaves netted 30+ points on five different occasions, including a career-high 38-point performance at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 6 in an 86-80 loss to Hofstra - tied for 12th on Appalachian’s single-game scoring list. The total tied for second at The Garden this season by a professional or collegiate player with Aaron Afflalo of the New York Knicks. The Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant holds the top spot with a 44-point outing.

On Jan. 23 against Georgia State, Eaves became just the 31st player in Appalachian State men’s basketball program history to eclipse 1,000 career points. Eaves finished his career with 1,211 points - good for 23rd all-time. He also finished with 579 points in his senior season, which makes him just the 20th played to eclipse 500 points in a season and his total ranks him seventh in the program record book.

Late in the season, Eaves nearly topped his performance at Madison Square Garden with 37 points in a heartbreaking 101-100 loss to Georgia Southern on Jan. 25. The 37 points tied a Holmes Center record for points scored by an App State player and he also tied the Holmes Center record for threes made in a game with nine.

He finished the 2015-16 season in the top-100 in the NCAA rankings in points per game (59th), three-point field goals per game (64th - 2.7), three-point percentage (73rd - 38.4), total points (49th - 579), three-point attempts (53rd - 216), total threes made (51st - 83), total field goal attempts (39th) - 446), free throws made (44th - 156) and free throw attempts (65th - 191).

The Hickory Crawdads and Greenville Drive battled back-and-forth Monday night with three lead changes and a tie over the first 3 innings, before a solo home run by Kyri Washington severed the deadlock and held up for the remainder of the game for a 4-3 'Dads defeat at Fluor Field.

The Crawdads and Drive both jumped on the opposing starting pitchers early, with Hickory scoring 3 runs on 5 hits over the first 3 innings while Greenville countered with 3 runs on 4 hits over the same time frame. In a game in which both bullpens held steadfast, the difference in the contest came down to 'Dads starter Jonathan Hernandez staying for the 6th inning where his first pitch was crushed over the green monster in left field by Washington for the night's decisive tally.

The 'Dads took the game's initial lead in the top of the 1st, when Dylan Moore reached on a one-out walk, stole second base, and scored on a 2-out, RBI single to left by Tyler Sanchez. The Drive quickly responded in the bottom of the inning with a leadoff single by Chad De La Guerra, a one-out, RBI double off the left-center field fence from Josh Ockimey, and an RBI base knock by Washington for a 2-1 Greenville advantage.

Following a scoreless 2nd frame, Hickory struck for 2 runs on 4 hits in the top of the 3rd to re-take the lead at 3-2. Frandy De La Rosa and Eric Jenkins kick started the rally with consecutive singles to open the inning before Josh Altmann delivered a one-out, RBI single off the glove of Drive third baseman Michael Chavis. One out later, Ricky Valencia drove in the frame's second tally with an RBI base knock to center to put the Crawdads on top by a run.

The advantage was quickly wiped away by Greenville in the home half of the frame however, as Hernandez issued three straight walks before Washington came through with an RBI single to right. The 'Dads were able to escape the frame with the score tied at 3-3 when Tate Matheny ground into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.

The tie game held until the 6th, when Washington launched the first pitch of the inning to left for a solo home run and a 4-3 Drive lead. The Crawdads threatened to tie the score in both the 7th and 8th innings, but both times the Greenville bullpen held and the 'Dads left the tying runner in scoring position for the final 4-3 Hickory loss.

Drive reliever Jake Cosart (2-1) earned the win with two scoreless innings pitched on no hits, 2 walks, and 3 strikeouts, while teammate Adam Lau (2) earned the save with scoreless frames in the 8th and 9th to close out the game. Hernandez (6-5) took the loss for the Crawdads after allowing 4 runs on 7 hits, 3 walks, and 2 Ks over 5 IP.

Sanchez paced the 'Dads bats with a 2-4 game including a double and an RBI, while Valencia finished 1-3 with an RBI and a walk. Both Moore and De La Rosa went 1-3 with a walk and a run scored.

The loss snaps the Crawdads (37-26) 4-game win streak and 7-game road win streak. Hickory remains 2.5 games back of first place Hagerstown in the South Atlantic League Northern Division with 7 games remaining in the first half. The 'Dads and Drive (33-30) will play again Tuesday night at 7:05 pm in game 2 of their 3-game series.

Lenoir-Rhyne’s Matthew De La Rosa was drafted by Major League Baseball’s Baltimore Orioles this past weekend in the 2016 draft. De La Rosa was drafted in the 28th round as pick No. 841.

De La Rosa, a senior shortstop from Austin, Texas, is the fifth player in Lenoir-Rhyne history to be drafted. Ivan Vieitez was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers last summer. Both Steve Davis and Michael Tidwell were selected by the Chicago Cubs in 1991 while Craig Corbett was the first-ever Bears’ player drafted (Montreal Expos in 1981). Corbett is a 2014 Lenoir-Rhyne Sports Hall Of Fame inductee.

De La Rosa is a two-time All-South Atlantic Conference Second-Team honoree (2015 and 2016) and set a school single-season record with 61 runs batted in this past spring in addition to a .357 batting average and a team-leading 10 home runs, 112 total bases and a .605 slugging percentage. For his career, De La Rosa batted .309 with 108 runs scored, 34 doubles, two triples, 18 home runs, 112 runs batted in and a .489 slugging percentage in three seasons with the Bears.

On the mound, De La Rosa also tallied a pair of saves this year in relief. De La Rosa led the Bears to a 33-18 mark in 2016 – the second-most wins in school history – and a berth in the South Atlantic Conference Baseball Championship for the first time in seven years.

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