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Appalachian State University athletics announced on Thursday that a flex package has been added to the list of options for fans wishing to purchase football tickets for the Mountaineers’ inaugural season in the Sun Belt Conference and NCAA Division I FBS in 2014.

Flex packages allow fans to purchase tickets for two or more home games of their choice. It is the perfect solution for Appalachian State faithful that aren’t able to commit to a full-season or fixed-date half-season ticket package but still want to secure their seats at The Rock before single-game tickets go on sale on Aug. 5.

Prices range from $27-42 per seat, per game, based on the games and section of the stadium chosen.

All 2014 season-ticket packages (full, half and flex) are on sale now and can be purchased online at appstatesports.com/tickets or by phone at (828) 262-2079.

Thursday, 12 June 2014 07:42

Hickory Crawdads Extend Winning Streak

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The Hickory Crawdads stretched their franchise-record winning streak to 12 games Wednesday night, as 'Dads pitchers Tyler Smith, Anyelo Leclerc, and Josh McElwee led the team to a 5-3 win and a series sweep over the Delmarva Shorebirds at Arthur W. Purdue Stadium.

The Hickory hurlers bent but didn't break in the victory, as Smith, Leclerc and McElwee held the Shorebirds to three runs on 10 hits, striking out six combined batters while issuing no walks. That gave the 'Dads bats room to work, combining eight hits with five walks to score five runs.

The Crawdads took a lead in the 1st when Michael De Leon doubled down the left field line with one out, followed three batters later by a RBI single from Ryan Cordell for a 1-0 advantage. That lead held until the third, when Delmarva center fielder Gregory Lorenzo lined his first home run of the season over the left field wall to tie the score at 1-1.

The 'Dads quickly responded with a pair of tallies in the 4th, as Cordell scored on a wild pitch before Travis Demeritte brought in Ronald Guzman with a RBI infield single to put Hickory back up 3-1. The Shorebirds turned to the long ball again in the bottom of the frame, when Chance Sisco connected on a solo blast to right to narrow the score to 3-2.

That would be the last run Smith would allow, as the Crawdads starting pitcher finished with two runs allowed on six hits, no walks, and three strikeouts over five innings pitched. Hickory turned to Leclerc in the 6th, with the right-hander shutting the 'Birds down over the next two frames to maintain the 'Dads one-run advantage.

The Crawdads gave themselves some breathing room in the top of the 8th, as Joe Jackson extended his hitting streak to 15-straight games when he doubled home De Leon on a ball down the right field line. Four batters later, Demeritte lined a ball off the infield umpire to plate Jackson and put the 'Dads up 5-2.

Delmarva scrapped across one last run in the 8th off of Leclerc, before McElwee shut the door with a perfect frame in the 9th to give Hickory the 5-3 win.

Smith (3-1) earned the win for his solid start, while McElwee recorded his third save of the year with two strikeouts in the final frame. Shorebirds starter Mitch Horacek (4-6) took the loss after allowing three runs on six hits, three walks, and seven strikeouts over six innings pitched.

Demeritte led the Crawdads offense with a 2-4 game including two RBIs. De Leon finished 2-4 as well, scoring twice and walking once.

The Crawdads (38-27) have now swept three consecutive series and are 24-8 since losing their last series in early May. The 'Dads will look to keep the streak going Thursday when they open up a four game set in Lakewood against the BlueClaws, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 pm.

Kings Mountain: 6
Caldwell County: 4

Shelby: 8
Burke County: 1

Appalachian State University and the Town of Boone have teamed up to host several events in celebration of Appalachian State officially joining the Sun Belt Conference on Tuesday, July 1.

A full slate of Sun Belt Day events begins at 8 a.m. when the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce holds its quartely “Wake Up Watauga” breakfast at the Appalachian Athletics Center at 8 a.m. Local businesses can participate in the event by registering at boonechamber.com.

From 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Appalachian State will hold a Coaches in the Community event. Mountaineer coaches will canvas the High Country to thank community members for their continued support as Appalachian makes the historic move to the Sun Belt. Be sure to stay tuned to appstatesports.com and follow App State athletics on Twitter (@appstate_sports) and Facebook (Appalachian State Mountaineers) to see where the coaches can be found throughout the day.

From 1-3 p.m., Appalachian State student-athletes, coaches, staff members and Yosef will take to the streets of Boone to interact with supporters of all ages and help young fans sign up for the Junior Mountaineer Kids Club on the first day of 2014 registration.

The historic day closes with an official Sun Belt Day Reception, hosted by Appalachian State and the Town of Boone at the Jones House Community Center on King Street in Boone. The reception kicks off at 5 p.m. with live music, followed by a program at 5:30 p.m.

Dignitaries scheduled to participate include Appalachian State Chancellor Dr. Sheri Noren Everts, Boone mayor Andy Ball, members of Boone Town Council and other community leaders, Sun Belt Conference associate commissioner John McElwain, Appalachian State director of athletics Charlie Cobb, football coach Scott Satterfield, men’s basketball coach Jim Fox and women’s basketball coach Darcie Vincent.

The Sun Belt Day Reception is FREE and open to the public.

In addition to the events, Appalachian State/Sun Belt Conference apparel and other merchandise will be available beginning on July 1 exclusively at all downtown Boone retailers, the University Bookstore on Appalachian State’s campus and Sports Fanatic at the Boone Mall. Be sure to make plans to be in the High Country for this historic day, as this App State/Sun Belt merchandise will not be made available to any other retailers, including the App State Sports Online Store, until July 8.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014
8 a.m.: Boone Area Chamber of Commerce “Wake Up Watauga Breakfast” (Appalachian Athletics Center)
9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Coaches in the Community
1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m.: Youth Community Outreach
5 p.m.: Sun Belt Day Reception (Jones House Community Center) — admission is free and open to the public

Caldwell: 7
Burke: 1

Cherryville: 12
Hickory: 10, 11 innings

Wednesday, 11 June 2014 07:08

Crawdads Win 11th Straight

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The Hickory Crawdads broke their franchise record with their 11th straight win Tuesday night, turning what looked like an easy victory into a come from behind 11-9 win over the Delmarva Shorebirds at Arthur W. Purdue Stadium.

The 'Dads built an 8-0 lead over the first four innings off of Catawba native and Shorebirds ace Hunter Harvey, only to watch the lead disappear into a 9-8 deficit when Delmarva scored three runs each in the 5th, 6th, and 8th innings. Undeterred, the 'Dads rallied for three runs of their own in the top of the 9th off of Shorebirds All-Star closer Jimmy Yacabonis for an 11-9 lead they would hold on to for their record-setting 11th consecutive win.

The victory breaks a tie with the 2007 Crawdads, who won 10 straight games from July 17 - 26th. The 'Dads are now 23-8 over the last month, having won or split each of their last nine straight series dating back to May 10 -13th.

The early Hickory advantage came on one run in the 1st, three in the 2nd and 3rd, and one more in the 4th for an 8-0 lead. Harvey was voted in as the Northern Division Starting Pitcher in next week's South Atlantic League All-Star Game in Hickory, but the right-handed hurler struggled with his command while allowing a season-high seven runs, six earned, on five hits, four walks, and two strikeouts over two innings pitched.

The Crawdads rallied with two outs in both of the first two innings against Harvey, with Nomar Mazara plating the first run on a 2-out, RBI double to right for a 1-0 lead. The 2nd frame saw Kellin Degaln kick start the offense with a two-out walk, followed by consecutive singles from Luis Marte and Evan Van Hooiser along with a wild pitch by Harvey to score Deglan. Michael De Leon then brought in both Marte and Van Hoosier with a 2-RBI single up the middle for a 4-0 'Dads advantage.

The lead grew to 7-0 with three more runs in the third, as Harvey walked the first three batters of the frame on 12 straight balls before being lifted for right-handed reliever Dylan Rheault. Rheault's command was no better however, as the 6'9" hurler issued four wild pitches while walking two batters of his own to help the 'Dads score their three runs.

Hickory's lead grew to its largest at 8-0 after another run in the 4th, this time on a RBI single by Ryan Cordell to score Joe Jackson.

Delmarva began chipping away at the deficit in the 5th with three runs off of Crawdads starting pitcher Ricardo Rodriguez to make the score 8-3. Rehabbing reliever Daniel Bard then entered the game in the 6th and proceeded to walk two batters while hitting another to load the bases with nobody out. 'Dads Manager Corey Ragsdale turned to righty reliever Josh McElwee to escape the inning, a feat he nearly accomplished before allowing a 2-out, 3-RBI triple to Anthony Vega to cut the score to 8-6.

The Shorebirds completed their rally in the 8th when McElwee left the bases loaded for All-Star teammate Cody Kendall, who then gave up a 2-out, 3-RBI triple to Jared Breen to give the 'Birds a 9-8 lead over the 'Dads.

Delmarva then turned to their closer Yacabonis in the 9th, with the right-hander entering the game having not allowed a run all season over 24 innings pitched. Undaunted, the Crawdads struck for back-to-back doubles by Ronald Guzman and Travis Demeritte to quickly tie the score at 9-9. Demeritte would eventually come in to score on a wild pitch while De Leon plated Delgan on a RBI infield single to give the 'Dads their 11-9 lead.

The Shorebirds attempted to mount one last rally in the bottom of the 9th, eventually placing runners at second and third with two outs, but Kendall forced Austin Wynns to fly out to right to end the game and give the 'Dads the historic win.

Five different Crawdads recorded multi-hit games in the victory, led by Mazara who finished 3-4 with a double, RBI, two walks and a run scored. De Leon ended the night 2-5 with 3 RBI, while Demeritte went 1-4 with a double, RBI, run scored, and a walk. The Hickory offense also took advantage of eight wild pitches issued by the Delmarva pitching staff, along with 10 total walks.

Kendall (6-2) earned the win for the 'Dads after losing out on the save, with the reliever going 1.1 scoreless innings out of the pen. Yacabonis (1-1) took his first blown save and loss of the season after allowing three runs on two hits while recording two outs in the 9th.

The Crawdads (37-27) will now go for their third straight series sweep in the finale against the Shorebirds (35-30) Wednesday night at 7:05 pm.

Appalachian State University football’s 2014 home opener versus Campbell on Sept. 6 will air live on ESPN3, the Sun Belt Conference announced on Tuesday. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m. at Kidd Brewer Stadium.

ESPN3, ESPN’s online platform, is available in approximately 85 million homes nationwide as well as to 21 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel. ESPN3 is also available through Xbox LIVE and on smartphones, tablets and Apple TV via the WatchESPN app. Check with your internet or mobile service provider to see if you receive ESPN3 programming.

The Appalachian State-Campbell contest is one of 13 games hosted by Sun Belt institutions that ESPN has selected to air on ESPN3 over the first three weeks of the 2014 season.

It was also announced on Tuesday that App State’s Sept. 25 Sun Belt matchup at longtime rival Georgia Southern, which is set to be televised nationally on ESPNU, will kick off at 7:30 p.m.

Television arrangements and kickoff times for Appalachian State’s remaining 10 games have yet to be determined.

Appalachian State full and half-season ticket packages are on sale now and can be purchased online at appstatesports.com/tickets or by calling the App State athletics ticket office at (828) 262-2079.

Caldwell: 9
Henderson: 1

Shelby: 5
Hickory: 0

Tuesday, 10 June 2014 09:03

Freedom Looking for New Head Football Coach

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Freedom High School head football coach Blair Hardin is leaving the Patriots after one season to take the head coaching position at North Myrtle Beach High School. Hardin went 11-2 in his only season at Freedom, winning the Northwestern Conference championship. Freedom fell in the second round of the state 3A playoffs this season.

A search for a new head football coach begins immediately.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014 07:13

Hickory Crawdads Blow Out Delmarva 15-0

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The Hickory Crawdads took their win streak on the road Monday night and came away with their most lopsided win of the season, as the 'Dads set season highs in both runs and hits as they roughed up the Delmarva Shorebirds 15-0 at Arthur W. Purdue Stadium.

The lopsided victory pushed the Crawdads current winning streak to 10 straight ballgames, tying the franchise record set back in July of 2007. The 15-hit attack saw all 10 of the Hickory hitters reach base safely, while eight of the 10 ended the night with at least one hit. Four different batters had a three-hit night, led by Travis Demeritte who went 3-5 with his South Atlantic League leading 15th home run, a double, two RBI, and three runs scored. Joe Jackson extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a 3-5 night that included a double, three RBI, and two runs scored. Lewis Brinson recorded a 3-4 game with a double and two RBI before being lifted in the 7th. Finally, Luis Marte went 3-5 with three runs scored in his first game played for the 'Dads since April 12th.

Nearly lost in the offensive onslaught was the dominant performance by Crawdads starting pitcher Akeem Bostick, who tossed a season high seven shutout innings while allowing just two hits, no walks, and four strikeouts. Relievers Kevin Pucetas and Jose Valdespina combined to hold down the Shorebirds over the final two innings to complete the 'Dads fourth shutout win of the season.

The game started with two scoreless innings before the 'Dads jumped on Delmarva starting pitcher Luc Rennie for two runs in the 3rd on a 2-RBI double by Jackson. Hickory tacked on another tally in the 4th when Demeritte crushed a solo homer to left, but the 'Dads really pulled away with four runs in the 5th to take a 7-0 lead. Jackson brought home the first run on a RBI single to right, Brinson plated two with a double to right, and Ronald Guzman scored Nomar Mazara on a sacrifice fly to right.

Following two scoreless innings, the 'Dads came through with two more runs on RBI, bases loaded walks to Ryan Cordell and Mazara in the 8th to make the score 9-0. Hickory then finished off the night with six runs in the 9th for the final 15-0 score. The Crawdads sent 11 total batters to the plate in the frame, with Demeritte doubling home a run, Evan Van Hoosier plating a tally with a RBI sacrifice fly, Mazara scoring a man on a RBI single, Jairo Beras recording a RBI on a bases loaded walk, and Guzman recording a 2-RBI double.

Bostick (3-3) earned the win with his best start of the season, while Rennie (2-6) took the loss with seven runs allowed on eight hits over 4.1 innings pitched.

The Crawdads (36-27) will try to set a new franchise win streak record with another victory over the Shorebirds (35-29) Tuesday night, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 pm.