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Sports (250)

Caldwell County: 4, 3
Hickory: 2, 10

Haywood County: 17
Burke County: 0

Maiden at Union, ppd.

Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Jazmine Charles has been nominated for the prestigious 2015 NCAA Women Of The Year, the association announced.

NCAA member colleges and universities have nominated 480 female student-athletes – the most ever in the history of the program – for the 2015 NCAA Woman of the Year award.

Charles, a recent graduate from Lexington, N.C., was one of the best women’s basketball players in school history.

Charles was a four-year starter for the Bears who leaves the program ranked first in three-pointers made (183) and fifth in points scored (1,605) on the team’s career lists.

Charles was a three-time First-Team All-South Atlantic Conference honoree (2013-15) and was named the 2013-14 SAC and Southeast Region Player Of The Year.

In addition, Charles earned Third-Team All-American honors as a junior as she led the squad to the South Atlantic Conference Regular Season Championship. Lenoir-Rhyne, 24-7 that year, served as the host of the 2014 NCAA Division II Southeast Region Tournament.

Academically, Charles earned her bachelor’s degrees in public relations and broadcast and electronic media this past May and was named the 2014-15 SAC Women’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete Of The Year. Charles has also been selected to both Lenoir-Rhyne’s Dean’s List and President’s List and was an Academic All-District selection.

Charles was also an active member of FCA, Nu Generation Gospel Choir and several honor societies in addition to volunteering at the Hickory Soup Kitchen, Cooperative Christian Ministry and the Humane Society of Catawba County.

Now in its 25th year, the Woman of the Year award honors graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in academics, athletics, service and leadership.

Of the nominees, 207 competed in Division I, 93 competed in Division II and 180 competed in Division III athletics. In 2012, Lenoir-Rhyne's Kate Griewisch was one of the nine finalists nationally and was invited to a special awards ceremony in Indianapolis.

The Hickory Crawdads started their 3-game series in West Virginia with a wild back and forth contest Friday night, with the 'Dads ultimately falling to the Power 6-5 at Appalachian Power Park.

The series could have been a battle for the first half Northern Division title as the Power were only 2.5 games behind the 'Dads as recently as June 9th, but a surge by Hickory along with a slump by West Virginia resulted in the Crawdads clinching the division at home on June 15th. The lack of a pennant chase did little to dampen the drama of the night however, as the 'Dads and Power combined for six lead changes and two ties before Hickory lost 6-5.

The night began with a nearly hour and a half long rain delay before the game finally kicked off at 8:33 pm. West Virginia wasted little time from that point in jumping on Crawdads starting pitcher Brett Martin for one run on two hits in the 1st for a 1-0 score. The 'Dads came back with a run of their own in the top of the 2nd, with Jairo Beras coming home on a double play groundout by Ricky Valencia to tie the game at 1-1.

The Crawdads took their first lead of the night two innings later in the 4th, when All-Star Luke Tendler doubled to right before scoring one batter later on an RBI double by Beras for a 2-1 Hickory lead. The advantage lasted only until the bottom of the 5th, when West Virginia got to 'Dads reliever Chris Dula for two runs on two hits and three walks to re-take the lead at 3-2.

The seesaw affair continued with Hickory rallying for the game-tying run in the 6th thanks to an RBI sacrifice fly by Isiah Kiner-Falefa to plate Beras and make the score 3-3. The Power then pounced on the Crawdads bullpen again in the 7th, this time with DH Michael Suchy hitting a 2-out, solo home run to left to put West Virginia in the lead once again at 4-3.

The 'Dads made one last offensive push in the top of the 8th, when Beras and Rock Shoulders came through with back-to-back solo homers to launch the Crawdads ahead 5-4. Hickory then turned to All-Star closer John Fasola for a potential 6-out save, but the 'Dads lead would not survive the 8th. Fasola quickly recorded the inning's first out with a fly out to right, before the right-hander induced a routine fly ball to left that was dropped by Crawdads left fielder Carlos Arroyo to put the tying run on 2nd base with one out. West Virginia jumped on the opportunity the very next batter, as Power All-Star Elvis Escobar hit a ground ball, RBI single through the right side to tie the game at 5-5.

Another single and an intentional walk later, West Virginia had the bases loaded with only one out and first baseman Connor Joe at the plate. Fasola and the 'Dads appeared to escape the frame with the game still tied when Fasola fielded a grounder back to the mound and started what looked like an inning-ending 1-2-3 double play. The home plate umpire however ruled that Valencia's foot was not on home plate, thus allowing the go-ahead run to score for the Power and giving them the 6-5 score they would go on to win by.

Power reliever Jake Burnette (2-3) earned the win after allowing three runs on two hits, three walks, and four strikeouts over his three innings pitched. Fasola (1-1) was handed his first loss of the year despite both of his runs allowed in the 8th being unearned. West Virginia closer Nick Neumann (10) earned the save with a perfect 9th inning.

Beras ended the night with his best offensive game of the season, as the outfielder went 3-4 with a home run, double, two RBI, and three runs scored. Shoulders also finished with a multi-hit game going 2-3 with his 3rd long ball of the year, while Arroyo ended the night 2-5.

The Crawdads (43-24) and Power (37-31) will match up again Saturday night at 7:05 pm for game two of the three game series.

Friday, 19 June 2015 21:46

Lenoir-Rhyne Adds Six to Next Season Roster

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Lenoir-Rhyne University Head Men’s Golf Coach Elliot Gealy announced today the addition of six players for the 2015-16 campaign.

The group includes Brad Robinson, Carlos Lasso, Ulisses Toledo, Jr., Luis Lopez Malo, Colby Carter and Hunter McCombs.

“I am excited and optimistic about the future of Lenoir-Rhyne Men’s Golf,” said Gealy. “This class of incoming players will add a good deal of depth and talent to our program. I look forward to watching this group of players develop into quality young men and help our team compete for championships for years to come.”

Robinson, a native of Northumberland, UNITED KINGDOM, was captain of his County’s U18 Team as well as the youngest member of his Men’s County Team. In the past year, he recorded Top 10 finishes in his County’s Stroke Play Event, The North and South Trophy and the North of England School Championship. Robinson studied at The Kings School Tynemouth.

Lasso attended the Crenshaw School in Orlando, Fla., where he was captain on the squad and notched two second-place finishes on the Future Collegians World Tour (FCWT) this past spring. Lasso is a native of Spain as well.

Toledo, Jr., a native of Curitibe, BRAZIL, has been a very successful player in both Junior and Amateur Tournaments in Brazil. Toledo, Jr., notched two wins in 2014 – Aberto de Golfe de Fcpg and the Juvenil Brasiliano la etapa – and placed fourth in the Doral Publix Junior in Miami, Fla., two years ago.

Lopez Malo, a native of Spain as well, attended St. Joseph Academy in St. Augustine, Fla. During his prep career, Lopez Malo finished second in both the regional and district championships as a senior and won the Titleist Invitational on the North Florida Junior Golf Tour. While competing at home in Spain in the summer of 2014, Malo won the Gran Premio Juvenil Tournament.

Carter was the top player for Davie County High School in Mocksville, N.C. During his senior year, Carter earned all-conference honors with a 36.25 stroke average.

McCombs (Morganton, N.C.) lettered four years at Patton High School while leading his squad to a Division Championship as well as three Smoky Mountain Athletic Conference Championships. McCombs is a transfer from UNC Pembroke as well.

Appalachian State University volleyball player Lauren Gray (Round Rock, Texas/Round Rock) has been nominated for the 2015 NCAA Woman of the Year award, as announced by the NCAA on Friday.

The Woman of the Year award honors graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in academics, athletics, service and leadership.

Gray, a middle blocker from Round Rock, Texas, finished her four-year career at Appalachian as one of the school's most consistent hitters, possessing a career hitting percentage of .298 to rank fourth all-time in school history. During her senior season Gray was named second-team All-Sun Belt and NCCSIA All-State, while serving on the team's leadership council.

In addition to her athletic accomplishments, Gray has maintained a 3.92 GPA and graduated this past spring with a degree in Public Relations. She has been an active participant in the Boone community, volunteering with programs such as Reading Across America, Relay for Life and the Special Olympics, along with the App State volleyball team.

NCAA member colleges and universities have nominated 480 female student-athletes for the 2015 NCAA Woman of the Year award. Of the nominees, 207 competed in Division I, 93 competed in Division II and 180 competed in Division III athletics.

The Sun Belt Conference will assess each nominee’s eligibility and select up to two conference nominees. All conference nominees are forwarded to the Woman of the Year selection committee, which chooses the top 30 honorees – 10 from each division.

From the top 30, the selection committee determines the top three nominees from each division and announces the top nine finalists in September. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics then chooses from among those nine to determine the 2015 NCAA Woman of the Year.

The 2015 NCAA Woman of the Year winner will be announced, and the Top 30 honorees celebrated, at the annual award ceremony on Oct. 18 in Indianapolis.

Saturday night is Matt DiBenedetto night at the races at Hickory Motor Speedway. DiBenedetto raced at Hickory Motor Speedway just a few seasons ago and won the limiteds series track championship. He is now racing in the Sprint Cup Series and is up for rookie of the year honors.

Racing tomorrow night at Hickory Motor Speedway will be twin 20 lappers for the street stocks, 25 laps of the 4-cyliners, 35 laps out of the limiteds and 75 from the late models.

In speaking with track promoter Kevin Piercy earlier today, he has told WHKY that 2004 late model track champion Matt McCall will be racing in the late models Saturday night. McCall is now the crew chief for Sprint Cup driver Jamie McMurray, who currently sits 7th in the point cup standings. The Sprint Cup series is off this evening, so McCall will bring his late model car to the track Saturday night.

Qualifying begins at 5, and an on-track autograph session will begin at 6, that will include the street stocks, the 4-cylinders, the limiteds, and the man of the night, Matt DiBenedetto. Tickets are $11 for adults, nine dollars for teens and seniors and kids 12 and under get in for free at Hickory Motor Speedway Saturday night.

Wells Fargo, along with the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, today announced the final standings in the Wells Fargo Conference Cup competitions for the 2014-15 academic year, following the conclusion of the spring sports season.

The Wells Fargo Cup award, sponsored by Wells Fargo and the NCHSAA, recognizes the schools that achieve the best overall interscholastic athletic performance within each of the state’s four competitive classifications.

The Wells Fargo Conference Cup is a companion to the Wells Fargo Cup and recognizes schools with the best overall interscholastic athletic performances within individual conferences. Wachovia and now Wells Fargo has sponsored the conference awards program since 1980.

In most conferences, points are awarded based on participation and standings in conference play. Each conference determines its own method of awarding points. Of the four conferences with teams in the Hickory Metro:

Southern District 7 2-A: It was a close race all year long, with East Lincoln finally edging out Newton-Conover for the Wells Fargo Conference Cup. East Lincoln finished the spring season with league titles in baseball, women’s track and women’s soccer, while Newton-Conover took first in men’s tennis and golf. Maiden wound up in third place, thanks to a second-place tie in men’s tennis and third-place finishes in men’s golf, men’s track, and women’s track. Conference Standings: East Lincoln 109, Newton-Conover 105.5, Maiden 79.5, Bandys 73.5, Lincolnton 73, West Caldwell 66, West Lincoln 61, Bunker Hill 60.5.

South Mountain Athletic 2-A/3-A: Thanks to league titles this spring in golf and softball along with a runner-up finish in men’s tennis, Kings Mountain jumped ahead of Shelby to take the Cup. Shelby finished the year in second, with top finishes in women’s soccer and men’s tennis this spring. Crest wound up in third place after finishing second in both baseball and golf. Conference Standings: Kings Mountain 122.5, Shelby 118.5, Crest 108.5, R-S Central 92.5, Draughn 87.5, East Burke 87.5, Chase 64, East Rutherford 61.5, Burns 56.5.

North Piedmont 3-A/4-A: Lake Norman dominated down the stretch to earn the Wells Fargo Conference Cup, thanks to league titles this spring in men’s tennis and women’s soccer and second place in baseball and both men’s and women’s track. Mooresville took second overall, with conference crowns in both baseball and men’s track. Sitting in third place is Alexander Central, with the championship in softball. Conference Standings: Lake Norman 840, Mooresville 732.5, Alexander Central 670, South Iredell 660, North Lincoln 570, North Iredell 522.5, Statesville 480, West Iredell 465.

Northwestern Athletic 3-A/4-A: A tie at the top means that the Wells Fargo Conference Cup is shared this spring between Watauga and Hickory. Watauga took first place in men’s tennis and both men’s and women’s track, while Hickory took home first place in women’s soccer. Third place belongs to South Caldwell, which earned regular season titles in baseball and softball this spring. Conference Standings: Watauga 198, Hickory 198, South Caldwell 188.5, St. Stephens 177.5, Fred T. Foard 169, Freedom 164.5, Hibriten 162.5, Patton 141.

The Hickory Crawdads fell short in their sweep attempt against the Rome Braves Thursday night, as the 'Dads offense left 11 men on base resulting in a 3-2 loss at State Mutual Stadium.

A Crawdads offense that scored 18 total runs while winning the first two games of the series produced numerous scoring opportunities, but went 1-12 at the plate with runners in scoring position. The lack of runs neutralized another standout performance by the Hickory pitching staff, with Nick Gardewine, Austin Pettibone, Adam Parks, and Joe Filomeno combining to hold Rome to three runs, two earned, on six hits.

The Braves jumped on Gardewine and the 'Dads for two runs in the 1st inning, with the club collecting three of their hits while jumping out to a 2-0 lead. Rome extended their advantage in the top of the 3rd, this time utilizing a pair of Hickory errors and an RBI groundout to plate an unearned run without a hit and make the score 3-0.

The Crawdads were shutout over the first six frames by Braves starter Ricardo Sanchez and in the 7th by reliever Arodys Vizcaino before breaking through against Dustin Emmerson in the 8th. Josh Morgan led off the inning with an infield single while Jose Trevino followed with a base knock to right. One out later Jairo Beras plated the 'Dads first run on an RBI sacrifice fly before Isiah Kiner-Falefa drove home another tally on an RBI single to cut the deficit to 3-2.

That would be as close as Hickory would get however, as Braves All-Star closer Kyle Kinman shut the door in the 9th for the final 3-2 score.

Sanchez (1-3) earned the win for Rome after tossing a career-high 6 shutout innings on five hits, one walk, and six strikeouts. Gardewine (4-5) took the loss for the 'Dads with three runs allowed, two earned, on four hits and 2 Ks over his four innings pitched. Kinman picked up his 11th save of the year for closing out the game.

Morgan paced the Hickory offense by going 4-4 with a walk and a run scored. Kiner-Falefa finished 3-4 with an RBI, while Trevino ended the night 2-4.

The Crawdads (43-23) will now head to West Virginia for a 3-game series against the Power to close out the first half of the South Atlantic League season. First pitch of game one on Friday is scheduled for 7:05 pm.

Taylorsville: 10
Burke County: 5

Thursday, 18 June 2015 06:24

Hickory Crawdads Roll Over the Rome Braves

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The Hickory Crawdads were able to walk to their 5th straight win Wednesday night against the Rome Braves, as the 'Dads drew a season-high 12 free passes en route to an 11-1 victory over the Braves at State Mutual Stadium.

The 11-run outburst set a new season best for Crawdads, as the 'Dads utilized 9 hits and five wild pitches in addition to the 12 walks. Eight of the nine Hickory batters drew at least one free pass while three players ended the game with two, led by All-Star Luke Tender who finished 2-3 with two walks, an RBI, and a run scored. The Offensive barrage gave more than enough support for All-Star starting pitcher Collin Wiles, who tied a season-high with 6 strikeouts while allowing just an unearned run on two hits over 6.2 innings.

Hickory scored multiple runs in three separate innings, beginning in the 2nd when the club sent all nine batters to the plate while brining home four runs on four walks and two singles for a 4-0 lead. Ricky Valencia brought in the first tally with an RBI single to left, while Isiah Kiner-Falefa drew a bases-loaded, RBI walk and Michael De Leon picked up a pair of RBIs on a base knock through the left side.

The 'Dads tacked on another run in the 3rd, when Tripp Martin was hit by a pitch and eventually came home on a wild pitch by Rome starter Alec Grosser to stretch the lead to 5-0. The Braves picked up their only run of the night in the bottom of the 4th, as Wiles walked the leadoff batter Erison Mendez before allowing a single and another walk ahead of a Valencia throwing error to bring in the unearned tally and cut the score to 5-1.

The Crawdads answered by putting up a 3-spot in the top of the 5th, this time using four walks, four wild pitches, and a lone single to take an 8-1 advantage. Martin kick started the frame with a base knock to left before Tendler, Jairo Beras, Rock Shoulders, and Jose Cardona all drew free passes. All three runs would come in on wild pitches by Grosser and Rome reliever Zach Quintana.

Hickory capped off the scoring with three more tallies in the 8th, as Tendler drove in a run on an RBI single up the middle while Shoulders came through with a 2-RBI double to right for the final 11-1 score.

Wiles (7-3) earned the win for the 'Dads while Grosser (4-4) took the loss for the Braves after allowing 8 runs on four hits, 7 walks, and two strikeouts over 4 IP.

Joining Tendler with a solid night at the plate was Shoulders, who finished 1-3 with a double, 2 RBI, 2 walks, and a run scored, while De Leon ended the game 1-5 with 2 RBI, a walk, and a run.

The Crawdads (43-22) will go for the 3-game series sweep over the Braves (29-37) Thursday night, with first pitch scheduled for 7:00 pm.