Sports (416)

After falling behind going into singles play, sixth-seeded Appalachian State University men’s tennis (14-6) fought back in singles action to eliminate No. 3 seed Troy, 4-1, Friday afternoon at the City Tennis Park Center in New Orleans.

With the victory, its the first time the Mountaineers advance to the semifinals since 2014 when they were in the SoCon. It is also the first time since the same year the Black and Gold has defeated a lower seed (defeated No. 4 Samford; 4-2).

“I couldn’t me more proud of how we played to advance in the tournament,” said head coach Bob Lake. “The guys bounced back tremendously after falling in doubles and really dug deep to pull out the win. This was a good Troy team that we beat today, and we’ll have to even play better tomorrow against South Alabama to advance to the finals.”

It was a close matchup between the two foes where five of the single matchups went three sets and all three doubles contests were decided by two points or fewer.

The doubles portion was tight where Troy (15-14) claimed two of three matches to go into singles action with a 1-0 lead. Oliver Casey (Melbourne, Australia/Carey Baptist) and Jack Maddocks (Newcastle, Australia/Lambton) fell short to Hassan Ndayishim and Vaclav Slezak at No. 2 doubles.

At No. 3 doubles, Zach Bost (Jefferson, Ga./Jefferson) and Trey Morris (Gerton, N.C./Abraham Baldwin Agricultrual) helped the Apps tied doubles play, 1-1, thanks to their valiant victory over Andrew Baldo/Andy Lau. Coming down to the last match and the momentum into singles, both No. 1 doubles tandems went back and forth into a deciding tiebreaker. However, Pablo Moreno and Giovani Samaha got the best of Scott Webster (Swanbourne, Australia/Scotch College) and Jan-Willem Kleynhans (Stellenbosch, South Africa/Paul Roos Gymnasium) 7-6 (7-5).

Kleynhans started the Apps off on the right foot in single action with a straight-set 6-1, 6-3 victory over Mustapha Belcora as the No. 5 in the lineup. After tying the match at one-apiece, the Mountaineers kept the ball rolling as Casey dealt Samaha a thrilling 7-6, 6-2 triumph at the No. 2 spot that gave the Black and Gold a 2-1 lead.

Webster helped the Apps put pressure on Troy as he dealt Daniel Bustamante 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 setback as the No. 1 in the lineup. The sophomore won the first set and lost the second set, but bounced back to give Appalachian a 3-1 advantage.

In the clinching match, Morris battle back from a one-set deficit to storm back and capture the next two sets to down Hassan Ndayishimiye 1-6, 6-2, 7-6, giving Appalachian its first-ever Sun Belt Tournament win.

The Mountaineers will have yet another tall task in front of them on Saturday with a 3 p.m. match against No. 2 South Alabama. Appalachian will look for its first-ever appearance in a conference tournament championship.

No. 2 seed South Alabama defeated Georgia Southern, 4-2, in the quarterfinals. The Jaguars finished the season 13-11 while defeating Troy to end the regular season.

Catawba Valley Community College Red Hawks Men’s Basketball Coach is proud to announce the signing of Anthony Turner from Freedom High School and Jamal Tanner from Polk County High School.

Anthony Turner, 6’3” guard, played for the Freedom Patriots who made it to the NCHSAA West Semifinals under Head Coach, Casey Rogers. During his senior season he averaged 18.3 points and 9.3 rebounds on route to logging 14 double-doubles. Turner scored 30 points twice and 17 rebounds twice for game highs. Turner holds the Freedom HS single season free throw attempts record with 228.

Turner was a two time All-Conference player in the Northwestern 3A/4A conference for his Junior and Senior season. “Anthony is a very athletic and strong wing player,” says Head Coach Garmroth. “He will be a good scorer and a great pressure defender. Anthony is capable of posting up and rebounding. We are very excited to have him at CVCC.”

Jamal Tanner, a 6’2” guard, finished an outstanding senior season at Polk County HS to finish off an amazing career. Tanner finished with over 1,500 points and broke the Polk County record with 542 points this season. Averaging 21.6 points along with 4.7 rebounds, 3.2 steals and 3.1 assists per game. The 21.6 average was the highest in Western North Carolina.

Tanner was a 4 time Western Highland All-Conference player, 3 time All-Area, 2 time All-District, was named to the 2016 All Western NC First Team and claimed the Western Highlands Conference player of the year.

“Jamal brings his athleticism as a skilled guard who can score and defend,” said Garmroth. “He can play the point or play on the wing with his versatility and game knowledge. Jamal is going to be a great addition to CVCC.”

North Piedmont Conference:
Alexander Central: 8
Statesville: 5

Northwestern Conference:
Freedom: 11
Hibriten: 7

South Caldwell: 4
St. Stephens: 3

South Mountain Athletic Conference:
East Burke: 7
Draughn: 1

Southern District 7:
Bunker Hill: 3
Bandys: 2

East Lincoln: 16
West Caldwell: 1

Lincolnton: 5
Newton-Conover: 2

West Lincoln: 9
Maiden: 2

North Piedmont Conference:
Alexander Central: 8
Mooresville: 0

Northwestern Conference:
Fred T. Foard: 18
Hickory: 0

Freedom: 11
Hibriten: 7

South Caldwell: 4
St. Stephens: 3

South Mountain Athletic Conference:
Draughn: 5
East Burke: 2

Southern District 7:
Bunker Hill: 5
Bandys: 3

East Lincoln: 7
West Caldwell: 6

Newton-Conover: 7
Lincolnton: 4

West Lincoln: 15
Maiden: 3

North Piedmont Conference:
North Lincoln: 2
Alexander Central: 1

Northwestern Conference:
South Caldwell: 2
St. Stephens: 1

Watauga: 2
Patton: 0

Southern District 7:
Bunker Hill: 3
Bandys: 1

East Lincoln: 1
West Caldwell: 0

Newton-Conover: 4
Lincolnton: 0

West Lincoln: 2
Maiden: 1

Friday, 22 April 2016 09:44

Hickory Crawdads Open Road Trip With Win

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The Hickory Crawdads flirted with danger all night Thursday in Hagerstown but ultimately had the pitching to prevail, as the 'Dads worked around a season-high 9 walks to come away with a 5-4 win over the Suns at Municipal Stadium.

Hickory pitchers Jonathan Hernandez, Jason Richman, and Joe Palumbo combined to allow only three hits in the game but all three hurlers walked at least one batter, with both Hernandez and Richman issuing four free passes. The trio was able to minimize the damage however, stranding 10 runners on the basepaths and allowing only one earned run.

The first four frames of the night served as a pitcher's duel between Hernandez and Hagerstown starter Joan Baez. The Crawdads finally broke open the tie in the 5th, with 3 runs coming home on two hits and a hit batter to put the 'Dads on top 3-0. Ti-Quan Forbes started the rally when he was hit by a pitch with one out. Jose Almonte followed with a single and LeDarious Clark reach on a fielder's choice to load the bases for Eric Jenkins, who brought home Forbes on an RBI sacrifice fly to left. Andy Ibanez then provided the frame's big blast with a 2-out, 2-RBI double down the left field line to bring home both Almonte and Clark.

Hernandez entered the 6th with a no-hitter for Hickory before Max Schrok doubled and Kelvin Gutierrez singled to put runners on the corners and end Hernandez's night. Richman entered and allowed one inherited runner to score before working around a pair of walks to strand the bases loaded and keep the Crawdads on top 3-1.

The 'Dads added to their advantage in the top of the 8th, when Dylan Moore reached on an error by Hagerstown shortstop Edwin Lora and came home one out later on an RBI triple from Frandy De La Rosa for a 4-1 score. The Suns answered in the bottom of the inning, with two walks and errors by both De La Rosa at third and shortstop Yeyson Yrizarri allowing two unearned runs to come in and cut the Hickory lead to 4-3.

The Crawdads picked up one last insurance run in the top of the 9th when Moore drew a 2-out, bases loaded RBI walk that brought in Clark and stretched the 'Dads advantage to 5-3. The extra tally would come in handy, as Hagerstown leadoff batter Victor Robles doubled off of Palumbo to start the 9th, took third base on a wild pitch, and scored on an error from catcher Tyler Sanchez to make the score 5-4. Palumbo settled down from there however, as he struck out the side to finish off the Hickory Victory.

Hernandez (2-1) earned the win for Hickory with one run allowed on two hits, 4 walks, and one strikeout over 5 innings pitched. Baez (0-2) took the loss for Hagerstown after allowing 3 runs on 2 hits, one walk, and 2 Ks. Palumbo (2) recorded the save after closing out the Crawdads win.

Ibanez finished the night 1-4 with a double, 2 RBI, and an intentional walk, while De La Rosa went 1-4 with a triple and an RBI. Almonte paced the club with three hits, going 3-4 with a run scored and a stolen base.

The Crawdads (11-4) will take on the Suns (10-5) again Friday night at 6:05 pm in game two of their 4-game series.

Four Appalachian State University men’s tennis student-athletes landed on the all-Sun Belt Conference list, as announced by the league office Wednesday evening.

Announced at the 2016 Championship Banquet, Scott Webster (Swanbourne, Australia/Scotch College) was named to the all-Sun Belt singles second team and all-Sun Belt second team doubles with Jan-Willem Kleynhans (Stellenbosch, South Africa/Paul Roos Gymnasium). Oliver Casey (Melbourne, Australia/Carey Baptist) and Jack Maddocks (Newcastle, Australia/Lambton) garnered all-Sun Belt doubles second team honors for their solid season.

“I couldn’t be more proud of these four student-athletes,” said head coach Bob Lake. “They have had great seasons that led to our most wins in five seasons, and each and every one of them deserves this honor.”

For the second-straight season, Webster was named to the second team doubles list while the all-singles nod is the first of his career. The sophomore finished 12-4 as the primary No. 1 this season. Since being moved up to the No. 1, Webster was 10-3 overall in singles victory. He was recently just named Sun Belt Men’s Tennis Student-Athlete of the Week for his performance last week. In 38 career singles matches, the Australian is 30-8.

Kleynhans is on his first all-conference list as his exceptional play with Webster led to a team-best 12-2 mark as the No. 1 duo on the squad, including a nine-match win streak. Before the season, the tandem was ranked the 10th-best pairing in the ITA Carolina Regional top-10 rankings.

Apps’ top partnering is 9-1 over their last 10 matches going into the conference tournament.

Maddocks is named all-conference for the second-straight season in doubles play. The Australian was partnered with Webster last season en route to the nod, but this time, his performance with Casey and a 12-4 mark as the No. 1 and 2 duo led to the accolade.

The tandem is tied for a team-high in wins while Casey is on an all-conference list for the fourth-straight season, as the senior has now racked up three second team all-doubles awards and an all-freshman award when the Apps were in the SoCon. Appalachian was the lone squad to have at least two doubles teams to make the all-Sun Belt doubles list.

The quartet helped push Appalachian to a 13-6 mark, the best record since 2012 when Appalachian went 15-7.

App State will play third-seeded Troy on Friday at 3 p.m. in New Orleans in the first round of the Sun Belt Tournament.

Appalachian State University women’s tennis (7-14) fell to UL Monroe 4-3 in the first round of the Sun Belt Women’s Championship Thursday morning at the City Tennis Park in New Orleans.

ULM took home the doubles point and three of the six singles matches it needed to move onto the quarterfinals against top-seeded Georgia State on Friday.

Appalachian had a late surge in the final match with the contest tied, 3-all. Mackenzie LaSure (Asheville, N.C./Asheville), after falling in the first set to Pauline Van Herck, 7-5, LaSure would trail early 5-2 before climbing back to tie the match. But Van Herck claimed the final two points to clinch the win for the Warhawks.

The Apps started the contest with a 1-0 lead before first serve thanks to the Warhawks not having a No. 6 player, giving Rebecca Morse (Lehigh Acres, Fla./Cypress Lake) the win.

Taylor Bygrave (Monto, Australia/Miami Gold Coast) and Megan Mullen (Mooresville, N.C.) even picked up a win since ULM didn’t have a doubles tandem for the No 3’s match, giving Appalachian the chance to already take the doubles point with just one more win and a 2-0 lead. But the Warhawks captured the two doubles matches to tie the match, 1-1, going into singles play.

The No. 1 duo for Appalachian in Clare Cox (Greesnboro, N.C./Grimsley) and Heidi Swope (Weddington, N.C./Weddington) fell to Tiffany Mylonas and Luana Stanciu, 6-2. In a tiebreaking match, Melissa Machado (Miami, Fla./Felix Varela) and Gabrielle Wreder (Miami, Fla./Miami Killian) fought back and forth with Ionana Popescu and Patricia Villar. Machado/Wreder led Popescu/Villar 5-4 in the tiebreak looking like it would take the match, however, Popescu/Villar scored the final three points to tie the contest for ULM.

With the match tied going into singles play, the Warhawks and Mountaineers went back and forth in the singles portion. ULM captured the first match with Mylonas downing Machado 6-1, 6-0. Wreder tied things up at two-apiece thanks to her 6-2, 6-0 triumph over Popescu.

Luana Stanciu gave the Warhawks the lead once again, 3-2, when she toppeld Swope 6-2, 6-1.

Despite a 7-14 record, the Mountaineers should be optimistic, as they return 10 of 13 student-athletes including Swope and Wreder, who will return as the leaders in singles victories. Bygrave and Mullen will also return, as the duo finished with the best win percentage in doubles play at 5-3 (.625).

The fourth and final draft of the 2017-21 North Carolina High School Athletic Association Realignment Plan has been released. After reviewing the third draft, which was released in March, member schools were invited to share concerns and/or opinions to the NCHSAA. The Committee reviewed this information and proposals and produced this final draft.

Conference F
Bunker Hill
East Burke
Fred T. Foard
West Iredell

Conference G
East Lincoln
Lake Norman Charter
North Lincoln
West Lincoln

Conference B (combo 3A/4A league)
Alexander Central (3A)
Freedom (3A)
Hickory (3A)
St. Stephens (3A)
Watauga (3A)
West Caldwell (3A)
McDowell (4A)
South Caldwell (4A)

No changes were made to area schools in the Hickory Metro.

This final draft will be approved at the NCHSAA Board of Directors Spring Meeting, set for May 3 and 4. The new conferences will take place on August 1, 2017.

To see the full fourth draft of realignment for the entire state, download the attachment below.

The Lenoir-Rhyne Softball Team (41-9, 18-2), ranked No. 19 in NCAA Division II, took over sole possession of first place in the South Atlantic Conference standings with a doubleheader sweep of Queens (20-25, 9-11), 12-4 and 14-5, Wednesday at Park Road Park.

Game One – Lenoir-Rhyne 12, Queens 4
Lenoir-Rhyne sophomore shortstop Madison Carter (Bessemer City, N.C.) hit a home run and freshman outfielder Erin Boone (Creedmoor, N.C.) added three hits and three runs batted in as Lenoir-Rhyne scored the first eight runs of the game on its way to the easy win.

Queens, trailing by an 8-0 score, cut the lead in half in the bottom of the sixth inning but Lenoir-Rhyne responded with four runs in its half of the seventh frame. Senior pinch hitter Ashley Oliver (Newton, N.C.) highlighted the inning with a two-run double.

Lenoir-Rhyne senior Maryann Hoskins (Havelock, N.C.) improved to 15-6 on the year after striking out nine batters while Queens’ Evie Scott (Eden, N.C.) fell to 7-6 and the Royals’ Lyndey McCurry (Commerce, Ga.) drove in two runs in the setback.

Game Two – Lenoir-Rhyne 14, Queens 5 (five innings)
Lenoir-Rhyne rolled to the doubleheader sweep with the victory in the nightcap behind senior third baseman Jordin Phillips (Hampstead, N.C.). Phillips finished with three hits and six runs batted in and hit a three-run home run as the Bears raced to a 14-0 advantage.

Junior outfielder Dakota Keller (Creedmoor, N.C.) added a three-run home run as the Bears finished with 17 hits in the contest. Freshman Emily Kenley (Charlotte, N.C.) improved to 8-2 on the year after being credited with the win.

Queens’ Kayla Hall (Cornelius, N.C.) hit a grand slam but Catelyn Presley (Mint Hill, N.C.) (5-9) was tagged with the loss.

In the final South Atlantic Conference Regular Season doubleheader on the season, Lenoir-Rhyne travels to Jefferson City, Tenn., to take on Carson-Newman on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.