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Tuesday, 09 June 2015 10:25

Hickory Crawdads Lead SAL With Seven All-Stars

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Eric Krupa, president of the South Atlantic League, has announced the rosters for the 56th Annual SAL All-Star Game, scheduled to be played on June 23, 2015, at McCormick Field in Asheville, North Carolina, home of the Asheville Tourists.

For the Northern Division, the Hickory Crawdads placed seven players on the roster, including starting pitcher Ariel Jurado, and right fielder Luke Tendler. The Lakewood BlueClaws provide five players, including first baseman Rhys Hoskins, shortstop Malquin Canelo and center fielder Carlos Tocci, who received more votes than any other player on either squad. Four teams contribute three players. The Greensboro Grasshoppers provide starting catcher Arturo Rodriguez, left fielder K.J. Woods and designated hitter Austen Smith while the Delmarva Shorebirds contribute second baseman Stephen Wilkerson and the Hagerstown Suns provide third baseman Grant DeBruin. The West Virginia Power also contribute three players and the Kannapolis Intimidators provide two players to the Northern Division roster.

Hickory manager Corey Ragsdale will skipper the Northern Division All-Stars. Ragsdale is in his third season managing in the league, and his fourth year as a manager in the Minor Leagues. Ragsdale will be assisted by Hickory coaches Francisco Matos and Oscar Marin. Handling the athletic trainer's duties for the Northern Division for the second consecutive year will be Hickory's Sean Fields.

For the Southern Division, the Greenville Drive led the division with eight players, including starting catcher Jordan Procyshen, third baseman Rafael Devers, shortstop Javier Guerra, and left fielder Derek Miller. The Lexington Legends provide six players, including first baseman Ryan O'Hearn and right fielder Elier Hernandez. Three teams each placed three players on the team. The Augusta GreenJackets provide center fielder Johneshwy Fargas and the Savannah Sand Gnats provide second baseman Jonathan Johnson. The Rome Braves also supply three players to the Southern Division roster. The Asheville Tourists provide two players, including starting pitcher Helmis Rodriguez. The Charleston RiverDogs provide one player, designated hitter Connor Spencer.

Asheville skipper Warren Schaeffer will manage the Southern Division squad. Schaeffer is in his first season as a manager, and his third overall as a member of the Colorado Rockies organization. Schaeffer will be joined on the Southern Division coaching staff by Asheville's pitching coach Mark Brewer and two-time MLB All-Star third baseman Vinny Castilla. Asheville's Casey Papas will serve as the team's athletic trainer.

Both all-star teams will be represented by 26 players, selected by the votes of the team’s managers and coaching staffs, local media and front office executives. McCormick Field will be hosting its third SAL All-Star Game. The first time was in 1977, when the Southern Division beat the Northern Division 8-3. The second time, in 1996, the Northern Division beat the Southern Division 4-3. The annual SAL All-Star Game dates to 1960, when the All-Stars defeated the Salisbury club, 6-2, in Newton, NC.

"Once again, we look forward to enjoying a game showcasing the incredible talent in this league," said Krupa. “Asheville Tourists President Brian DeWine, General Manager Larry Hawkins and the entire staff in Asheville have been working for more than a year to live up to the tradition and host one of the most anticipated events on our baseball calendar.”

A variety of events have been scheduled in Asheville along with the SAL All-Star Game. On Tuesday, June 23rd, there will be an All-Star Luncheon at The Double Tree Biltmore at 12:00 noon. Hall of Fame sportswriter Hal McCoy is the keynote speaker. Gates open at 3:00pm at McCormick Field, where fans will have the opportunity to get autographs from and pictures with the SAL All-Stars. A Home Run Derby will begin at 5:35 pm and the first pitch of the 2015 All-Star Game is scheduled at 7:35 pm. More information can be found on the website of the Asheville Tourists at www.theashevilletourists.com.

2015 South Atlantic League All-Stars

NORTHERN DIVISION
MANAGER
Corey Ragsdale, Hickory

COACH
Francisco Matos, Hickory

COACH
Oscar Marin, Hickory

PITCHERS
Ariel Jurado, Hickory
Joey DeNato, Lakewood
John Fasola, Hickory
Yeudy Garcia, West Virginia
Junior Lopez, West Virginia
Yohander Mendez, Hickory
Luis Ortiz, Hickory
Alexis Rivero, Lakewood
Drew Van Orden, Hagerstown
Collin Wiles, Hickory
Austen Williams, Hagerstown

CATCHERS
Arturo Rodriguez, Greensboro
Brett Austin, Kannapolis
Jose Trevino, Hickory

FIRST BASEMAN
Rhys Hoskins, Lakewood

SECOND BASEMAN
Stephen Wilkerson, Delmarva

THIRD BASEMAN
Grant DeBruin, Hagerstown

SHORTSTOP
Malquin Canelo, Lakewood

UTILITY INFIELDER
Eddy Alvarez, Kannapolis

UTILITY INFIELDER
Jomar Reyes, Delmarva

RIGHT FIELD
Luke Tendler, Hickory

CENTER FIELD
Carlos Tocci, Lakewood

LEFT FIELD
K.J. Woods, Greensboro

UTILITY OUTFIELDER
Conor Bierfeldt, Delmarva

UTILITY OUTFIELDER
Elvis Escobar, West Virginia

DESIGNATED HITTER
Austen Smith, Greensboro

TRAINER
Sean Fields, Hickory

SOUTHERN DIVISION
MANAGER
Warren Schaeffer, Asheville

COACH
Mark Brewer, Asheville

COACH
Vinny Castilla

PITCHERS
Helmis Rodriguez, Asheville
Mario Alcantara, Greenville
Pedro Fernandez, Lexington
Kyle Kinman, Rome
Michael Kopech, Greenville
Zach Lovvorn, Lexington
Casey Meisner, Savannah
Raymundo Montero, Augusta
David Roseboom, Savannah
Matthew Strahm, Lexington
Jerry Vasto, Asheville

CATCHERS
Jordan Procyshen, Greenville
Aramis Garcia, Augusta
Ben Moore, Greenville

FIRST BASEMAN
Ryan O'Hearn, Lexington

SECOND BASEMAN
Jonathan Johnson, Savannah

THIRD BASEMAN
Rafael Devers, Greenville

SHORTSTOP
Javier Guerra, Greenville

UTILITY INFIELDER
Ozhaino Albies, Rome

UTILITY INFIELDER
Mauricio Dubon, Greenville

RIGHT FIELD
Elier Hernandez, Lexington

CENTER FIELD
Johneshwy Fargas, Augusta

LEFT FIELD
Derek Miller, Greenville

UTILITY OUTFIELDER
Joseph Daris, Rome

UTILITY OUTFIELDER
Alfredo Escalera-Maldonado, Lexington

DESIGNATED HITTER
Connor Spencer, Charleston

TRAINER
Casey Papas, Asheville

Tuesday, 09 June 2015 09:52

CVCC's Sullivan Earns All-American Honors

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Catawba Valley Community College baseball's Danny Sullivan has earned National Junior College Athletic Association Division 2 First Team All-American honors. He gives CVCC their fourth straight all-american member, but the first in the program to make the first team.

Sullivan had a .440 batting average and ranks Sullivan 16th in the nation with batting average. Sullivan was also ranked in the top 50 nationally in 7 other offensive categories with 84 hits (9th), 133 total bases (17th), 63 runs (18th), .696 slugging percentage (30th), 10 home runs (31st), 17 double (33rd), and .493 on base percentage (49th).

Sullivan also earned first team all-region honors and was named to the all world series team as well.

Cherryville: 11
Hickory: 1

Caldwell County: 10
Henderson: 0

The Hickory Crawdads offense jumped on the Lakewood BlueClaws early and rode the pitching staff the rest of the way Sunday afternoon, as the 'Dads defeated the 'Claws 5-3 at FirstEnergy Park to leave town with a 4-game series split.

The Crawdads plated single runs in the 1st and 2nd innings, two tallies in the 3rd, and one final run in the 4th to build an early 5-0 lead that would last them the rest of the game. Eduard Pinto led the 'Dads attack, finishing 4-5 with a triple, RBI and run scored. The offensive output supported another solid outing by the league-leading Hickory pitching staff, which held Lakewood to a 3-run 6th inning while putting up zeroes in the contest's other eight frames.

The 'Dads production at the plate came against BlueClaws ace Ricardo Pinto, who entered the afternoon 5-1 with a 2.68 ERA and a .239 batting average against. Crawdads leadoff hitter Isiah Kiner-Falefa set the tone for the game on the very first pitch when he reached on an infield single. One out later, Pinto singled to left and Marcus Greene walked to load the bases for Luke Tendler, who drove in Kiner-Falefa with an RBI sacrifice fly for a 1-0 Hickory lead.

The advantage doubled for the 'Dads in the 2nd, when Jose Cardona lined a solo home run to left to put Hickory ahead 2-0. The Crawdads doubled their lead again the very next inning, with Greene driving home Pinto on an RBI triple to center field before coming in himself on an RBI base knock by Kevin Torres to put the 'Dads ahead 4-0.

The Crawdads capped off their early offensive barrage in the 4th when Cardona walked to lead off the frame before eventually scoring on an RBI single to left by Pinto that put the club on top 5-0.

Hickory starting pitcher Ariel Jurado was the benefactor of all the early support, as the 19-year-old escaped a bases loaded jam in the 1st with a double play ball that began a streak of 12 straight batters retired. Jurado left the game after tossing five scoreless innings and handed the ball over to reliever Kelvin Vasquez, who promptly allowed a walk, a single, and another walk to load the bases with nobody out in the 6th. The 'Dads turned to left-hander Joe Filomeno to minimize the damage, but all three inherited runners would score against the southpaw while he recorded two outs.

With runners on the corners and the potential go-ahead run at the plate for the 'Claws Hickory manager Corey Ragsdale turned to closer John Fasola to get the final out of the 6th, and the right-hander responded with a three-pitch strikeout to end the threat.

Fasola shut down the BlueClaws from that point on, as the Ohio native retired the final 10 batters in the game to give the 'Dads the 5-3 victory.

Jurado (8-0) earned the win for Hickory with six strikeouts over his five scoreless innings on the mound. Pinto (5-2) took the loss for Lakewood after allowing all 5 'Dads runs on seven hits, three walks, and four strikeouts over his four innings pitched. Fasola picked up his league-leading 11th save of the season with 3.1 scoreless innings of relief with 3 Ks.

The Crawdads (36-20) have an off day on Monday before returning to L.P. Frans Stadium for a weeklong home stand starting on Tuesday, June 9th against the Charleston RiverDogs.

Caldwell County: 10
Taylorsville: 0

Gastonia: 3
Maiden: 2

Rutherford: 11
Burke County: 10

Monday, 08 June 2015 07:46

Crawdads Lose Again on the Road to Lakewood

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The Hickory Crawdads produced more hits, base runners, and scoring opportunities than the hometown Lakewood BlueClaws Saturday night, but it was the 'Claws who took better advantage of their chances resulting in a 3-2 'Dads defeat at FirstEnergy Park.

Despite outhitting the BlueClaws 8-6 and drawing four walks to the 'Claws two, the Crawdads never held a lead as they went 2-9 with runners in scoring position while stranding 8 men on base, six in scoring position. Conversely, Lakewood had only three innings in which they had a man in scoring position, but finished the night with just three runners left on base.

The lack of offense spoiled a great performance by the Hickory bullpen, as Austin Pettibone, Scott Williams, and David Perez combined to throw four shutout innings of relief with five strikeouts and just one hit allowed.

The 'Claws jumped on Hickory starting pitcher Brett Martin in the 1st inning, scoring two runs on three hits for an early 2-0 score. Martin settled down following the initial frame and put up perfect innings in the 2nd and 3rd to keep the score the same. The 'Dads were able to get on the board for the first time in the top of the 4th, when Marcus Greene and Jose Trevino both lined singles with one out before Luke Tendler drove home Greene on an RBI, fielder's choice groundout to cut the deficit to 2-1.

The BlueClaws responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the frame to push their lead to 3-1, but the Crawdads came right back in the top of the 5th when Tripp Martin led the frame off with a double before coming in two outs later on an RBI base knock by Josh Morgan to make the score 3-2.

The Hickory bullpen held Lakewood in check from there, giving the 'Dads a chance to rally late. The Crawdads looked to be in prime position to tie the game if not take the lead in the 7th when Martin walked and was followed by singles from Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Morgan, but Greene grounded into an inning-ending double play to squash the potential rally. The 'Dads had one last opportunity in the 9th when Martin came through with his second double of the night with one out, however 'Claws reliever Joey DeNato stopped the opportunity there as he got Jose Cardona to fly out and Kiner-Falefa to strikeout to end the game with a 3-2 Crawdads loss.

Lakewood starting pitcher Elniery Garcia (3-5) earned the win with two runs allowed on five hits, three walks, and four strikeouts over six innings pitched. Martin (3-2) took the loss for the Crawdads while making his first start in two weeks, as the left-hander gave up all three BlueClaws runs on five hits and three Ks during his 4 IP. DeNato (2) picked up the save with two scoreless frames of relief.

Martin (2-3, 2 2B, R, BB), Morgan (2-4, RBI), and Greene (2-4, R) all finished with multi-hit games to lead the Hickory offense.

The Crawdads (35-20) will try to salvage the final game of their series against the BlueClaws (27-26) and earn a 4-game split in the finale Sunday afternoon, with first pitch scheduled for 1:05 pm.

Hickory Motor Speedway Results 6/6/15:
Bojangles Late Models:
1. #75 Landon Huffman
2. #5 Dexter Canipe Jr.
3. #00 Shane Lee
4. #25 Matt T. Piercy
5. #12 Annabeth Barnes
6. #7 Ashley Huffman
7. #6 Collin Cabre
8. #25 Kate Dallenbach
9. #4 Natalie Decker
10. #57 Justin Carroll

T-Mobile Limited Late Models:
1. #77 Travis Byrd
2. #51 Jeremy Pelfrey
3. #13 Mark Johnson
4. #21 Monty Cox
5. #29 Mitch Walker
6. #15 Anthony Alfredo
7. #55 Jake Spillers
8. #2 Bradley Weaver
9. #92 Jason Stanley
10. #19 Benji Woodward
11. #14 Akinori Ogata
12. #43 Greg Wise
13. #7 Tyler Gregory
14. #2 Zachary Bruenger DNS
Street Stocks:
1. #10 Kevin Townsend
2. #18 Cody DeMarmels
3. #52 Don Machutta
4. #2 Larry Mosher
5. #3 Mark Whitten
6. #64 Marshall Sutton
7. #03 Kevin Eby
8. #17 Clint Campbell
9. #16 Carroll McKinney
10. #23 Brendan Doyle

4 Cylinders:
1. #09 Randy Canipe
2. #00 Eddie Gilbert
3. #16 Michael Tucker
4. #6 Rodney Trivette
5. #17 Curtis Pardue
6. #79 Crystal Davis
7. #28 Dennis Trivette
8. #31 Candice Tucker
9. #11 Tim Canipe
10. #98 Rob Lewis
WrenchRags Renegades:
1. #09 Blake Walker
2. #8 Kenneth Roberts
3. #6 Darren Dickinson
4. #4 Justin Austin
5. #57 Ray Triplett
6. #71 Kyle DiVanna
7. #68 Steve Griffith
8. #16 Randy Truett
9. #69 Ben Campbell

The Lenoir-Rhyne University Men’s Basketball Team and Head Coach Ryan Odom has announced the addition of Keenan Palmore to the squad for the 2015-16 season.

Palmore, a rising senior guard from Stone Mountain, Ga., comes to Lenoir-Rhyne after playing three years at Old Dominion, an NCAA Division I school in Norfolk, Va.

“He’s an experienced guard who wants to do his part to help our team win,” said Odom, who became the 18th head coach in school history on Tuesday, May 19. “He’s a committed student-athlete and the type of person we want in our program at Lenoir-Rhyne.”

Palmore, a graduate of Paideia High School, started two of his three seasons with the Monarchs. Palmore’s best year was his sophomore campaign in 2013-14 when he started and played in all 36 games and averaged 9.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per outing to go along with 96 assists and 47 steals. So far in his career, Palmore has totaled 686 points, 317 rebounds, 219 assists and 115 steals.

Asheville: 17
Burke County: 3

Caldwell County: 3
Kings Mountain: 1

The Hickory Crawdads were two thirds of the way to riding their pitching staff to yet another win Friday night, before a wild 6th inning turned a 2-0 lead into a 4-2 loss to the Lakewood BlueClaws at FirstEnergy Park.

The 'Dads entered the bottom of the 6th with starting pitcher Nick Gardewine having cruised through five scoreless frames while protecting a 2-0 lead, but three hits and a controversial call later Hickory found itself looking up at a 4-2 deficit they would not recover from. The loss marked just the second time all year that the Crawdads held a lead after the 3rd inning and did not end the night with a win.

The decisive frame began with BlueClaws DH Herlis Rodriguez reaching on a lightly hit ground ball that resulted in an infield single. Grenny Cumana followed with a tapper in front of the plate that 'Dads catcher Jose Trevino fielded and threw to second base in an attempt to get the lead runner, but Rodriguez beat the throw to put two men on with no outs. The situation grew worse for the Crawdads when Lakewood leadoff hitter Malquin Canelo hit a ground ball through the right side to load the bases for the 'Claws with nobody out.

Gardewine responded with a strikeout of Cord Sandberg before inducing a fly ball to right field from Carlos Tocci that Hickory right fielder Luke Tendler bobbled but appeared to ultimately catch resulting in an RBI sacrifice fly. The umpires ruled that Tendler actually dropped the ball however, turning a two on, two out situation into a bases loaded, one out scenario with the 'Dads lead down to 2-1. BlueClaws cleanup hitter Rhys Hoskins capitalized on the opportunity on the very next pitch, as he lined a bases clearing double to center field to score three runs and give Lakewood the 4-2 score they would go on to win by.

Crawdads manager Corey Ragsdale would earn his first ejection of the season arguing the call following Hoskins' game-changing hit.

Prior to the bottom of the 6th, the 'Dads had built a lead with single runs in top half of the 1st and 6th frames for their 2-0 advantage. Tendler delivered the 1st inning tally with a 2-out, RBI single to right, while Jairo Beras came through with an RBI single up the middle in the 6th. That seemed to be enough support for Gardewine, who began the night with three perfect innings and faced the minimum number of batters through the first four frames before losing the lead late.

Gardewine (4-4) ended up as the hard-luck loser, as the Hickory hurler allowed four runs, three earned, on five hits, no walks, and two strikeouts over a season-high 5.1 innings pitched. Lakewood reliever Scott Harris (1-1) earned the win after allowing one run on two hits and four Ks during his two innings on the mound.

Tendler led the 'Dads offense with a 2-4 night including a double and an RBI, while Josh Morgan also finished with a multi-hit game going 2-4.

The Crawdads (35-19) maintained their 2.5 game division lead over the West Virginia Power despite the loss, with 15 games left in the first half of the season. The 'Dads and BlueClaws (26-26) will face off again Saturday night at 7:05 pm in game three of their 4-game series.