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Friday, 08 August 2014 06:34

Hickory Crawdads Get Excellent Pitching in Win

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The Hickory Crawdads received their second straight stellar pitching performance Thursday night, as Hickory hurlers David Ledbetter, Cole Wiper, & Jose Valdespina held the potent Greensboro Grasshoppers offense at bay in the 'Dads 4-1 win at L.P. Frans Stadium.

One night after Crawdads pitchers Luis Ortiz and Tyler Smith narrowly missed out on a no-hitter in the team's 2-1 victory over Kannapolis, the 'Dads once again turned to their pitching staff to lead the way. The pitching trio of Ledbetter, Cole, & Valdespina held the Grasshoppers to just one run on four hits, allowing the Crawdads offense to score three late runs and pull away for the win. The victory also brings the 'Dads to within two games of the first place 'Hoppers in the South Atlantic League Northern Division.

The Hickory bats gave their pitching staff an early advantage, as Michael De Leon began the 1st inning with a double off the left field fence before coming in two outs later on a RBI single from Joe Jackson for a 1-0 Crawdads lead. The score would stand for the next four frames, as Ledbetter retired 11 consecutive Grasshoppers from the 2nd through the first out of the 6th. Greensboro was finally able to scrape across a run in the top of the 6th, with All-Star right fielder Carlos Lopez lining a 2-out, RBI single to left to tie the game at 1-1.

The 'Dads bats came to Ledbetter's rescue in the bottom of the frame, with a 2-out, RBI single by Zach Cone plating Evan Van Hoosier to put Hickory back on top 2-1. The Crawdads built on the advantage with single tallies in the next two innings, with Travis Demeritte lining a solo home run to right center field in the 7th before coming through again with a RBI single in the 8th to give Hickory their 4-1 lead.

The Crawdads bullpen finished it off from there, with Wiper tossing two perfect frames before Valdespina closed out the game with a scoreless 9th for the final 4-1 score.

Ledbetter (5-5) earned the win with one run allowed on four hits, no walks, and three strikeouts over six innings pitched. Greensboro reliever Ramon Del Orbe (3-2) took the loss after giving up two runs on three hits over two innings out of the pen. Valdespina picked up his fourth save of the year for closing out the game.

Demeritte ended the night 2-4 with his SAL-leading 24th homer of the year and two RBI. Joe Jackson also had a multi-hit game going 2-4 with a RBI and a run scored, while De Leon finished 1-2 with a double, two walks, and a run scored.

The Crawdads (27-20) will battle the Grasshoppers (29-18) again on Friday in game two of their 4-game series, with first pitch scheduled for 7:00 pm.

Friday, 08 August 2014 06:33

Lenoir-Rhyne Women's Soccer Ranked 22nd

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The Lenoir-Rhyne Women's Soccer Team is ranked No. 22 in the 2014 NSCAA/Continental Tire NCAA Division II National Preseason Top 25 Poll. NSCAA is the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

Lenoir-Rhyne is coming a 14-4-2 season last fall en route to its fourth consecutive South Atlantic Conference Regular Season Championship.

The Bears also hosted the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Tournament for the second time in three years and earned a trip to the national playoffs for the fourth straight season in 2013.

Lenoir-Rhyne, under first-year Head Coach Tammy DeCesare, returns several key players from last season's squad including junior All-American midfielder Garcelle Alequine (Wilmington, Del.) and junior forward Leah Mullins (Kissimmee, Fla.).

Alequine led the Bears in goals scored (nine) and total points (23) while Mullins finished with seven goals, six assists and 20 points. Over the last four seasons, Lenoir-Rhyne has a combined record of 66-11-7.

Lenoir-Rhyne opens the season at No. 14 Rollins on Friday, September 5, at 7:00 p.m., in Winter Park, Fla. The Bears' first home match takes place on Wednesday, September 10, against USC Aiken beginning at 5:00 p.m.

Belmont Abbey (No. 19) and Wingate (No. 10) are two other opponents Lenoir-Rhyne will face in 2014 who are ranked nationally in the preseason poll.

2014 NSCAA/Continental Tire
NCAA Division II Women's Soccer
Top 25 Preseason Poll

1. Grand Valley State 24-0-1
2. West Florida 17-1-3
3. Western Washington 20-2-1
4. American International 18-3-2
5. St. Edward's 18-1-3
6. Saint Rose 20-1-2
7. Slippery Rock 15-4-2
8. Minnesota-Duluth 17-4
9. Colorado Mines 19-1-1
10. Wingate 16-3-4
11. California State Stanislaus 18-1-2
12. California (Pa.) 18-3-2
13. Quincy 18-1-4
14. Rollins 16-4
15. Minnesota State Mankato 17-3-2
16. Metro State 14-4-4
17. California State San Bernardino 12-7-4
18. Tampa 15-4-2
19. Belmont Abbey 15-4-4
20. Bridgeport 18-3
21. Southwest Minnesota State 17-4-2
22. Lenoir-Rhyne 14-4-2
23. Winona State 16-4-2
24. Fort Lewis 16-6-6
25. Seattle Pacific 15-6-1

Appalachian State women's track and field received an all-academic honor from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

The women's program posted a cumulative grade point average of 3.16 and was one of 208 programs nationwide to receive the honor.

Last month, women's track and field thrower Brianna Tate was named to the all-academic team as announced by the USTFCCCA. Tate qualified by maintaining a GPA of at least 3.25 while also participating in any round of the NCAA Division I Championships during the outdoor season.

Tate won two shot put conference championships during the 2013-14 season, while maintaining a 3.63 GPA in her biology major. She participated in the NCAA regional preliminaries this May and is currently ranked third on the Appalachian all-time records list for the shot put.

Thursday, 07 August 2014 16:34

Deglan Promoted from Crawdads to Myrtle Beach

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The Texas Rangers announced today that Hickory Crawdads catcher Kellin Deglan has been promoted to the High-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans, becoming the 10th 'Dad this season to move up in the Rangers organization.

Deglan, 22, leaves the Crawdads after leading all South Atlantic League catchers in home runs (15), RBI (60), and total bases (152), while batting .251 for the 'Dads this season. A 1st round selection by the Texas Rangers in the 2010 MLB Draft, Deglan also led all SAL catchers in several defensive statistics including games caught (82), assists (94), and putouts (666).

The British Columbia native spent parts of three seasons in Hickory (2011 - '12, '14) and ranks as the 'Dads all-time leader in games caught (233), putouts by a catcher (1,899), assists by a catcher (231), and double plays by a catcher (16), while setting a Hickory single-season record with a .987 fielding percentage and 94 assists this year. Deglan also ranks among the all-time Crawdads leaders in doubles (2nd - 61), games played (3rd - 270), RBI (3rd - 140), runs (4th - 131), hits (4th - 223), and home runs (6th - 33).

Replacing Deglan on the Crawdads active roster is C Marcus Greene Jr. from short-season Spokane. Greene, 19, hit .318 with nine doubles, two triples, three home runs and 24 RBI in 42 games played with the Indians this year. The Pomona, CA native was selected by the Rangers in the 16th round of the 2013 MLB Draft out of New Mexico Junior College.

Deglan joins fellow 2014 Crawdads Nomar Mazara, Jose Monegro, Josh McElwee, Cody Kendall, Kevin Pucetas, Lewis Brinson, Nick Vickerson, Abel De Los Santos, and Kevin Torres as players who have moved up in the Rangers organization this season.

Thursday, 07 August 2014 08:04

Near No-No Propels Crawdads to Victory

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Hickory Crawdads pitchers Luis Ortiz and Tyler Smith took a combined no-hitter into the 9th inning against the Kannapolis Intimidators Wednesday night. The 'Dads lost the no-no and the shutout in the 9th, but still held on for a 2-1 victory and a corresponding series win over the Intimidators at CMC-NorthEast Stadium.

Ortiz started the game with three hitless innings pitched while making his Crawdads debut. The Texas Rangers 2014 first round draft pick struck out two and walked one before handing the ball over to Smith in the 4th. Making his first relief appearance since May 11th, Smith cruised through the 8th inning while allowing just two base runners on a walk and an error. Kannapolis second baseman Christian Stringer broke up the no-hit bid in the bottom of the 9th however, as the left-handed hitter pulled a ground ball single just past Hickory second baseman Michael De Leon to lead off the frame.

The Intimidators parlayed that hit into a 9th inning rally when right fielder Jacob Morris lined a 2-out, RBI double over Jairo Beras' glove in right to cut the score to 2-1, but Smith was able to finish the game with a groundout by catcher Zach Fisher to preserve the 'Dads win.

The only Crawdads offense on the night came in the top of the 1st, when Joe Jackson roped a RBI double to right before Zach Cone drove in a second run with a RBI sacrifice fly to left for a 2-0 Hickory lead. That was enough for Ortiz and Smith though, as the duo made the 1st inning offense hold up by holding Kannapolis to just one run on two hits, tying a season-low for fewest hits allowed.

Smith (6-3) earned the win after allowing one run on two hits, one walk, and six strikeouts over six innings out of the bullpen. Intimidators starter Robinson Leyer (5-8) took the hard-luck loss with two runs given up on five hits, three walks, and five strikeouts over six innings pitched.

The Crawdads (26-20) win the series over the Intimidators (24-22) two games to one with the victory, while also finishing their season series with a 13-11 record against Kannapolis. The 'Dads will now return home for a 4-game series against the first place Greensboro Grasshoppers over the weekend, with first pitch on Thursday scheduled for 7:00 pm at L.P. Frans Stadium.

Thursday, 07 August 2014 08:03

Luis Ortiz Joins the Hickory Crawdads Roster

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The Texas Rangers have announced that 2014 first round draft pick Luis Ortiz has been added to the Hickory Crawdads roster from the Arizona League. The right-handed pitcher replaces RHP Ricardo Rodriguez, who was placed on the 7-day DL.

Ortiz, 18, joins the Crawdads after making six appearances in the AZL, where the hurler allowed three runs on 12 hits over 13.1 IP (2.03 ERA) while also striking out 15 and walking three. The 30th overall selection in the MLB Draft out of Sanger (CA) High School, Ortiz went 5-3 with a 1.04 ERA and 72 strikeouts over 43.2 innings pitched his senior season with the Apaches.

The Crawdads roster now boasts five players selected by the Rangers in the first round, including C Kellin Deglan (2010), OF Zach Cone (2011), RHP Collin Wiles (2012), and INF Travis Demeritte (2013) joining Ortiz (2014).

Rodriguez, 21, heads to the DL with a 3.17 ERA that currently ranks 6th in the South Atlantic League. The 6'2" Venezuelan also leads all Hickory starting pitchers in innings pitched (99.1) and WHIP (1.28), while posting a 5-5 record, a .267 average against, and 71 Ks to 27 BBs.

Tickets earmarked for Appalachian State University students to attend Appalachian’s Aug. 30 football season opener at Michigan will go on sale on Monday, Aug. 18 at 9 a.m. at the Kidd Brewer Stadium Ticket Plaza (located on the northeast side of KBS at the corner of Stadium Drive and Jack Branch Drive).

The $75 tickets will be sold to Appalachian State students on a first-come, first-serve basis. Students may begin waiting in line at 6 a.m. (camping out is not permitted).

A maximum of two tickets may be purchased with a valid Appalachian State student ID. If a group of students wish to sit together, they must be present at the KBS Ticket Plaza at the same time. Cash, Visa and Mastercard are all accepted.

Several hundred Appalachian State students were among the thousands of Mountaineer fans in attendance at Michigan Stadium in 2007 when App State stunned No. 5-ranked Michigan, 34-32, in what many consider to be the greatest upset in college football history. The game was played in front of a crowd of 109,218 — the largest to ever witness an Appalachian State sporting event.

A limited number of tickets are also still available for the general public to purchase for the rematch at the Big House. Tickets can be purchased online at appstatesports.com/tickets or by phone at (828) 262-2079.

Appalachian State softball’s staff is complete with the hiring of two assistant coaches, first-year head coach Janice Savage announced on Tuesday.

Jordan Reid and Hannah Fulk join Savage in the Appalachian State dugout for the upcoming season. Reid enters her second season in the collegiate coaching ranks after spending one season as a graduate assistant at Delaware State with Savage while Fulk will enter her first year as a college coach.

Reid was a standout player for Delaware State from 2009-12, where she became the first Hornet player to earn Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I all-Mid-Atlantic first team honors, while also garnering MEAC Player of the Year for three consecutive seasons (2010, 2011, 2012). In 2011, Reid finished with the second highest batting average (.497) in the country. She was also an ECAC Division I all-star and Lowe’s Senior Class Award nominee while at DSU.

Before joining the Appalachian State coaching staff, Fulk was an all-conference player at Bowling Green State University. She received Louisville Slugger/NFCA mideast region second-team, Capital One first-team academic all-district, first team all-MAC and all-MAC tournament team accolades. Fulk holds the record for single-season home runs (15) and walks (42), while eclipsing the career walks mark (123).

Wednesday, 06 August 2014 08:16

Hickory Crawdads Need Extras to Win at Kannapolis

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The Hickory Crawdads and Kannapolis Intimidators went to extra innings for the second straight game Tuesday night with the Crawdads flipping the script in the rematch, as the 'Dads bounced back from their 10-inning defeat Monday with a 6-3 win in 11 frames at CMC-NorthEast Stadium.

The extra inning contest was the fourth such game between the rival Crawdads and Intimidators in 2014, with Tuesday's win marking the first victory of the season for the 'Dads. The win also snapped a four-game skid for Hickory and kept the team only 3.5 games back of first place in the South Atlantic League Northern Division.

The Crawdads scored all six of their runs in a pair of three-run innings, with the 'Dads combining two hits, two walks, and two wild pitches to patch together their 11th inning rally off of Andrew Mitchell and the Intimidators. Zach Cone and Travis Demeritte each started the frame with a walk, with Demeritte drawing the free pass despite trying to lay down a sacrifice bunt. Following a strikeout by Ronald Guzman after a failed sacrifice bunt attempt of his own, ninth place hitter Luis Marte singled to left to load the bases with only one out.

Hickory then broke the tie game with the first of two wild pitches from Mitchell, with the errant throw allowing Cone to score from third for a 4-3 Crawdads lead. Michael De Leon followed with a RBI sacrifice fly to left to plate Demeritte, before Evan Van Hoosier capped the scoring with a RBI double to left to bring home Marte for the 'Dads 6-3 advantage.

Hickory reliever Felix Carvallo shut the door from there, with the left-hander setting down the Intimidators in order in the bottom of the 11th for his third scoreless inning pitched and a 6-3 Crawdads win.

The first four innings of the game were scoreless thanks to the standout pitching of Akeem Bostick for the 'Dads and Andre Wheeler for the Intimidators. Kannapolis finally got on the board in the bottom of the 5th, when Christian Stinger's 2-out, RBI single to right gave the Intimidators a 1-0 lead and chased Bostick from the game. Kannapolis expanded their advantage to 3-0 one frame later, with Hickory all-star reliever Ryne Slack giving up two runs on two hits, a walk, and a hit batsman.

The Crawdads were able to tie up the game at 3-3 with the first of their two, 3-run innings in the top of the 8th. Marte and De Leon each singled with one out off of Kannapolis bullpen arm Jose Brito, before Van Hoosier roped a double down the right field line to bring in Marte. Following a pitching change that brought in reliever David Putman, Ryan Cordell plated De Leon on a RBI, infield single while Kellin Deglan brought home the final run and tied the game with a RBI single to right.

Van Hoosier finished the night 3-6 with two doubles, two RBI, and a run scored, while Marte also had a three-hit night going 3-5 with two runs scored and a stolen base.

Carvallo (4-2) earned the win with his three, shutout innings of relief, while Mitchell (3-3) took the loss after giving up all three Hickory runs in the 11th.

The Crawdads (25-20) and Intimidators (24-21) will play the rubber match of their three-game series Wednesday night, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 pm.

The Lenoir-Rhyne Football Team was picked to finish second in the league standings this year as voted on by the South Atlantic Conference Coaches while eight players garnered 2014 All-SAC Preseason accolades.

The Bears, the three-time defending conference champions, received four first-place votes and 45 points. Carson-Newman also picked up four first-place votes but edged out Lenoir-Rhyne with 46 total points.

Lenoir-Rhyne finished the year with a 13-2 record and a perfect 7-0 mark in conference action last fall and played in the NCAA Division II Championship game.

The Bears fell to Northwest Missouri State, 43-28, in the finals last December in Florence, Ala. The Bears defeated the Eagles (10-3) twice last year including a 27-20 victory in the second round of the playoffs.

Eight Bears also earned All-South Atlantic Conference Preseason honors including six on the first team.

On offense, the first-teamers for the Bears include senior halfback Jarrod Spears (Bunnlevel, N.C.), senior fullback Isaiah Whitaker (Salisbury, N.C.) and junior offensive lineman Joe Ray (Atlanta, Ga.).

Spears, a two-time First-Team All-SAC honoree (2012-13), led the Bears with 984 rushing yards to go along with seven touchdowns on the ground last year and was the team's top kickoff return man. Spears averaged 23.2 yards per return including a 98-yarder for a score.

Whitaker added 912 yards on the ground with a team-high 11 touchdowns last fall en route to All-American accolades for the second straight years as a fullback. In addition, Whitaker (2,601 career yards) has moved into the top ten on the Bears' all-time career rushing yards list.

Ray was an All-American as well in 2013 and won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy, given annually to the top offensive lineman in the South Atlantic Conference. The trio helped Lenoir-Rhyne rush for an all-time NCAA single-season record 5,563 yards last season.

On the first-team all-league defense, the Bears are led by a pair of All-Americans: senior defensive lineman Blake Baker (Bethlehem, N.C.) and senior linebacker Tanner Botts (Lawrenceville, Ga.).

Baker set a school record for quarterback sacks (14.5) to go along with 56 tackles (22 for a loss) while Botts led the team in takedowns (134) for the second straight year.

Senior defensive back O'neil Blake (Kissimmee, Fla.) was a second-team all-league pick last year after finishing with 76 tackles, 12 pass break-ups and three interceptions.

Lenoir-Rhyne also placed two players on the All-South Atlantic Conference Preseason Second Team: sophomore linebacker Rodney Singleton (Hawthorne, Fla.) and senior defensive back Joe Anderson (Lilburn, Ga.).

Singleton was the SAC Defensive Freshman Of The Year in 2013 after tallying 70 tackles while Anderson totaled 78 takedowns, six pass break-ups and an interception. Anderson was also a 2013 Capital One Academic All-American.

Lenoir-Rhyne, under first-year Head Coach Ian Shields, opens the season on Saturday, September 6, at home against Point. Kickoff at Moretz Stadium is set for 7:00 p.m.

2014 South Atlantic Conference
Football Preseason Coaches Poll

1. Carson-Newman (4) 46
2. Lenoir-Rhyne (4) 45
3. Newberry 36
4. Wingate 31
5. Mars Hill 25
6. Catawba 21
7. Tusculum 13
8. Brevard 7

2014 All-South Atlantic Conference
Preseason Football Teams

FIRST TEAM OFFENSE
QB - W.T. Murden, Newberry
RB - Shaikel Davis, Mars Hill
RB - Jarrod Spears, Lenoir-Rhyne
RB - Isaiah Whitaker, Lenoir-Rhyne
WR - Dimitri Holmes, Mars Hill
WR - Justin Houston, Tusculum
WR - Deon Hicks, Tusculum
OL - Denzell Goode, Mars Hill
OL - Joe Ray, Lenoir-Rhyne
OL - Taylor Fender, Catawba
OL - Will Poteat, Wingate
OL - Nick Allison, Mars Hill
TE - Wesley Powell, Tusculum
LS - Dusty Nance, Carson-Newman
P - Kyle Clark, Newberry
PK - Patrick Smith, Wingate

FIRST TEAM DEFENSE
DL - Blake Baker, Lenoir-Rhyne
DL - Javaris Neal, Carson-Newman
DL - Nick Napolitano, Wingate
DL - Jonathan Jean, Catawba
LB - Tanner Botts, Lenoir-Rhyne
LB - Edmond Robinson, Newberry
LB - Michael Gruber, Brevard
LB - Jason Taylor, Catawba
DB - Eien Jacob, Carson-Newman
DB - O'neil Blake, Lenoir-Rhyne
DB - Jon Jimenez, Wingate
DB - Dante Thomas, Carson-Newman
RS - Andre Overholt, Brevard

SECOND TEAM OFFENSE
QB - De'Andre Thomas, Carson-Newman
RB - Kelvin Jeter, Brevard
RB - Andy Hibbett, Carson-Newman
RB - Cary Littlejohn, Catawba
WR - Jordan Berry, Wingate
WR - Anthony Eubanks, Carson-Newman
WR - Byron Dickerson, Newberry
OL - Landon Martin, Newberry
OL - Robbie Ignagni, Carson-Newman
OL - Evan Sobocinski, Newberry
OL - Billy Munker, Tusculum
OL - Mathu Gibson, Wingate
TE - Brandon Ellington, Wingate
LS - Andrew Smith, Newberry
P - Charlie Ray, Carson-Newman
PK - Kyle Clark, Newberry

SECOND TEAM DEFENSE
DL - William Alderman, Carson-Newman
DL - Johnny Maxey, Mars Hill
DL - Alstevis Squirewell, Newberry
DL - Steven Jacobs, Wingate
LB - Rodney Singleton, Lenoir-Rhyne
LB - Jasper Mason, Mars Hill
LB - Taylor McDonnell, Newberry
LB - Wayne Soliai, Tusculum
DB - Joe Anderson, Lenoir-Rhyne
DB - Jakeem Polk, Wingate
DB - LiRonta Archie, Tusculum
DB - Lance Richardson, Newberry
RS - TraShaun Ward, Carson-Newman