Series Preview

Series Preview: Lexington (Ky.) Legends at Hickory Crawdads May 21-24

Lexington Legends (Kansas City Royals) (21-22, third place, South Atlantic League Southern Division)

Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers) (28-15, third place, South Atlantic League Northern Division)

The Hickory Crawdads begin their longest homestand of the season with four games against the defending South Atlantic League champions



WHERE IS IT?: 2500 Clement Blvd., 1 mile west of U.S. Hwy 321, near entrance to Hickory Airport.


Tuesday: Lexington at Hickory, 6:30 p.m. Dollar Dog Tuesday ($1 hot dogs, dogs admitted for $1)

Wednesday: Lexington at Hickory, 6:30 p.m. Kids Win Wednesday (All kids 12 and under receive a free ticket, free meal voucher, and free bounce house, speed pitch and carousel voucher every Wednesday night game); Wine Wednesday.

Thursday: Lexington at Hickory, 7:00 p.m. Thirsty Thursday; Thanksgiving in May.

Friday: Lexington at Hickory, 7:00 p.m. Postgame Fireworks; British Invasion Night.

TICKETS: $9 tickets in advance, $10 at the gate. Children (12 and under) and seniors $8, $15 for VIP section.

PARKING: All parking is $3.



Hickory and Lexington played just three games last season and the Crawdads swept them in a series at L.P. Frans in April. Since 2013 and the start of the Legends current affiliation with the Royals, Hickory holds a 24-19 advantage with a 15-13 mark at L.P. Frans.


PROBABLES (Lexington/ Hickory)

Tuesday: RHP Jonathan Bowlan vs. RHP Ronny Henriguez

Wednesday: RHP Austin Cox vs. RHP Cole Winn

Thursday:  RHP Charlie Neuweiler vs. RHP Tyree Thompson

Friday: RHP Jon Heasley vs. RHP Tim Brennan



The Crawdads continue to win more than they lose but are getting no help in the Northern Division standings. Sitting with the third-best record in the league, they are 6-4 over the last 10 but have fallen to 5.5 games behind first-place Delmarva (Md.) and now are a game behind Greensboro for second.

Hickory returns home after a 4-3 road trip, which was capped by a win at Hagerstown (Md.) Monday to salvage a split of the four-game series. The Crawdads have actually been pretty ordinary at home with just an 11-8 record. However, they have lost just one series at L.P. Frans, that coming against Asheville during the previous homestand.

Manager: Matt Hagen (2nd season)

Prospects – (team rankings are by

RHP Hans Crouse No.1 (No. 80 in top-100)

RHP Cole Winn No. 2

IF Jonathan Ornelas No. 18

3B Sherten Apostel No. 22

RHP Ronny Henriquez No. 30

Possible lineups: C: Matt Whatley (.181/.314/.228) or Melvin Novoa (.287/.333/.444); 1B Curtis Terry (.263/.321/.572); 2B Frainyer Chavez (.252/.336/.270); 3B Sherten Apostel (.217/.290/.355); SS Jonathan Ornelas (.316/.375/.478); LF: Miguel Aparicio (.253/.318/.326); CF: Pedro Gonzalez (.235/.292/.447); RF: Jose Almonte (.183/.222/.310)

SAL Rankings:

Individual Batting:

Frainyer Chavez – Tied for 10th stolen bases (11)

Pedro Gonzalez – Tied for 5th homers (7), tied for 9th runs scored

Jonathan Ornelas – 5th batting avg. (.316), 10th OPS (.853)

Curtis Terry – 1st doubles (20), 2nd total bases, 3rd RBI (34), 3rd slugging pct. (.572), 4th home runs (9), 5th OPS (.894).

Matt Whatley – 3rd walks, tied for 8th stolen bases (12)


Individual pitching:

Grant Anderson – Tied for 5th wins (4), tied for 9th saves (3), tied for 10th games pitched (14)

Scott Engler – Tied for 9th saves (3)

Yerry Rodriguez – 3rd ERA (1.95), tied for 5th wins (4), 10th strikeouts (51).


Team Batting:

Slash line (BA. OBP/ SLG/ OPS):.244 (5th)/ .309 (10th)/ .414 (1st)/ .723 (2nd).

Other key rankings: 1st total bases, 2nd runs, 2nd home runs, 2nd stolen bases, 4th triples

Team Pitching:

fewest hit batters, 2nd ERA (3.15), 3rd WHIP (1.16), 3rd fewest runs allowed, 3rd fewest earned runs allowed, 4th fewest earned runs allowed, 4th fewest hits allowed


Hitting (Last 10 games): Miguel Aparicio (.333/.389/.400, 2 doubles, 4 walks, 2 steals); Sherten Apostel (.314/.366/.571, 4 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR, 7 RBI); Melvin Novoa (.278/.333/.444. 3 doubles 1 HR)

Pitching (May): Scott Engler (6 games, 1.84 ERA, .157 OBA, 14.2 IP, 8 H, 3 BB, 23 K); Yerry Rodriguez (3 starts, 2.25 ERA, .161 OBA, 16 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 8 BB, 27 K).



The Legends are the defending South Atlantic League champions, taking their first title since 2001, which was an abbreviated series after the attacks on 9/11. Lexington returns to the road after splitting a four-game series at home with Asheville. The Legends will be road warriors for much of the remainder of the first half. Entering this series, they have played the fewest road games of any SAL with a 9-7 record. Heading into the all-star break, 19 of the next 26 for the Legends will be away from home.

Manager: Brooks Conrad (1st season)

Prospects – Lexington (rankings by

CF Mike Gigliotti No. 13

LHP Austin Cox No. 22

SS Jeison Guzman No. 24

RHP Jonathan Bowlan No. 29

Possible Lineups: C: Freddie Fermin (.286/.318/.419); 1B: Reed Rohlman (.240/.282/.338); 2B: Rubendy Jaquez (.223/.287/.338); 3B: Nathan Eaton (.252/.353/.392); SS: Jeison Guzman (.204/.259/.336); LF: Jackson Lueck (.133/.211/.194); CF: Michael Gigliotti (.248/.346/.328); RF: Juan Carlos Negret (.169/.282/.338)

SAL Rankings:

Individual Batting:

Eric Cole – Tied for 6th triples (3)

Mike Gigliotti -1st stolen bases (17)

Jeison Guzman – Tied for 3rd caught stealing (5)

Nick Hutchins – Tied for 7th doubles (12)

Rubendy Jaquez – Tied for 6th triples (3), tied for 10th stolen bases (11)

Juan Carlos Negret – Tied for 10th strikeouts

Chase Vallot – 7th strikeouts, 10th slugging pct. (.486)

Individual pitching:

Jonathan Bowlan – 7th WHIP (0.94)

Jon Heasley – 2nd WHIP (0.82), 5th ERA (2.04), tied for 5th wins (4)

Kyle Hinton – Tied for 9th saves (3)

Charlie Neuweiler – 4th walks allowed, 9th innings pitched, tied for 9th hit batters (5), tied for 10th home runs allowed (5)

Team batting:

Slash line (BA. OBP/ SLG/ OPS): .224 (12th) / .293 (12th)/ .353 (11th)/ .645 (11th).

Other key rankings: 1st stolen bases, 4th strikeouts, tied for 11th walks, 12th runs scored

Team pitching:

1st WHIP (1.08), fewest walks allowed, 4th strikeouts, 5th ERA (3.31),


Hitting (Last 10 games): Jeison Guzman (.303/.343/.576, 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 3 SB); Chase Vallot (.200/.407/.500, 2 HR); Freddie Fermin (.364/.382/.485. 2B, HR).

Pitching (May): Austin Lambright (5 games, 1.29 ERA, 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 11 K, .120 OBA); Jon Heasley (4 starts, 2.11 ERA, 21.1 IP, 14 H, 7 R, 5 ER, 2 HR, 4 BB, 26 K, .182 OBA)

Game Stories Uncategorized

Crawdads and Rain Edge RiverDogs 2-1

In anticipation of an oncoming storm, neither the Hickory Crawdads and nor the Charleston (S.C.) RiverDogs expected to see a full nine innings Friday night. Played in a cool mist from the start, the game made it to the sixth inning before rain claimed the remaining innings and the Crawdads would up with a 2-1 win.

With the win, the Crawdads (13-21) salvaged the final game of the three-game series with Charleston (17-18), a series in which the RiverDogs took the first two by a combined 25-6 margin.


What Happened?:

Fully aware of the rain to come, the game kept a brisk pace and that seemed to help both starting pitchers attack hitters effectively.

Hickory’s Edgar Arredondo had his best outing of the season as he allowed a run on five hits over five innings and struck out three. The five innings tied his longest outing of the season and he picked up his first win (1-2) of the season.

Coming off a rough week in which most of the Crawdads starters struggled, Arredondo’s outing was a welcomed sight for manager Spike Owen.

“It was really, really good to see,” said Crawdads manager Spike Owen. “He attacked the hitters tonight and really went after them. He had a really good changeup tonight and kept a good hitting team in check.”

A key moment, as it turned out, came in the fourth inning. Blake Rutherford doubled and when Donny Sands singled to left, manager Patrick Osborn gambled and sent Rutherford to the plate. Strong throws by LF Miguel Aparicio and 3B Yanio Perez got the ball to C Alex Kowalczyk in time, but the throw handcuffed the catcher and forced the backstop to drop the ball.

Sands went to second and advanced to third on a back.

Arredondo got two of his three Ks back-to-back to end the innings as both Brandon Wagner and Isiah Gilliam whiffed to strand Sands at third.

“Leaving the guy stranded at third base was big,” said Owen. “(Arredondo) showed good mound presence and composure. He attacked the hitters, which is what you have to do. His fastball and changeup were very effective.”

Former Texas Rangers farmhand Nick Green was nearly as sharp early, but then ran into trouble in the fourth. He walked Perez to start the inning then surrendered a double to right-center by Kowalczyk. A balk scored Perez and moved Kowalczyk. Ti’Quan Forbes served a soft fly to shallow CF. Rutherford lost the ball off the bat and his late charge for the catch went unrewarded with Kowalczyk scoring on the bloop single.

Green allowed just the two runs on five hits. He also walked three and struck out four.

That was all the rain allowed as the game was called after a 40-minute delay in the sixth.

Series Preview Uncategorized

Series Preview: Charleston (S.C.) RiverDogs at Hickory Crawdads May 8-10

Charleston RiverDogs (New York Yankees) (15-17, 5th SAL Southern Division) at Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers) (12-19, 7th SAL Northern)

The Hickory Crawdads continue a weeklong home stand with a four-game series against the Columbia Fireflies at L.P. Frans Stadium in South Atlantic League action.


If you plan to go:

GAME TIMES: Wednesday at 6:00 p.m., Thursday-Friday at 7:00 p.m.



Wednesday – Kids Win Wednesday: All kids 12 and under admitted free, also get vouchers for free meal, bounce house, speed pitch and carousel; Wine & Design with the Crawdads.

Thursday – “Thirsty Thursday”; Salute to Scrubs.

Friday – Post-game fireworks; Hispanic Heritage Night.


TICKETS: $9 dollars for regular seats, $14 for VIP section.

WHERE IS IT?: Clement Blvd., 1 mile west of U.S. Hwy 321, near entrance to Hickory Airport.

PARKING: All parking is $3.

CONCESSIONS: L.P. Frans Stadium has two main concession areas plus the Crawdads Café. The concession stands have your basic ballpark food: Hot dogs, burgers, chicken sandwich, BBQ, etc. The Crawdad Café has a menu that features more diverse items, including the Mac & Cheese Crawdog, Banana Foster Bites, Fried Pickles, Sloppy Burger, and more. Click here for the menu


Probables (Charleston / Hickory):

Wednesday: RHP Jio Orozco vs. RHP Kyle Cody

Thursday: RHP Nick Nelson vs. RHP Michael Matuella

Friday: RHP Nick Green vs. RHP Edgar Arredondo


Recent Series History:

The Crawdads held a 4-3 edge in the 2016 season series, but lost two of three at home to the R-Dogs in late August. The two teams have been nearly even since the 2005 season, with Hickory scraping a 59-58 edge, which includes a 29-28 mark at L.P. Frans and 30-30 at Charleston. Since the Rangers-Crawdads affiliation began in 2009, the Crawdads are 49-40 overall, 26-19 at home.


About the Crawdads:

After the bullpen blew their second 8-1 lead of the season during game two of the four-game series at Hagerstown (Md.), the Crawdads won the final two games to earn a split against the Northern Division’s current pacesetter… After a sputtered start at the plate, Hickory’s lineup has been at full throttle lately. The Crawdads have scored six or more runs during eight of the last 11 games with 8+ in six of those. Their .311 batting avg. in May (they hit .235 in April) is second in the SAL behind Charleston’s .318. Hickory scored 34 runs during the four games at Hagerstown… Despite the Crawdads strong performance at the plate, the pitching has had much to do with just a 6-5 mark over the last 11 games. Hickory remains last in the SAL in ERA (5.32), hits allowed and WHIP (1.55)… The Crawdads have had to play catch-up much of the season, scoring first in just 11 of 31 games. Even more troubling has been the ability to hold early leads as the Crawdads are 4-7 when scoring first… The series will feature two of the worst teams from the SAL in terms of fielding. The Crawdads have committed 41 errors with Charleston holding up the bottom with 46. Hickory’s errors have led to 29 unearned runs, trailing just Augusta (Ga.) in that category.


Prospects to watch- Hickory:

CF Leody Taveras (No. 1 and Baseball America, No. 51 top-100 prospects): Signed as international free agent 2015 out of Tenares, Dominican Republic. The 18-year-old has seen the ball incredible well over the past two weeks. Over his last 14 games, Taveras has 238 pitches and he has more hits (19) than swinging strikes (15). In his last 18 games, he is 25-for-69 (.362) with three doubles, a triple, a homer, 12 runs scored, 15 RBI, 6 walks, and 12 Ks.

SS Anderson Tejeda (No. 7, No. 16 Baseball America). Signed as an international free agent in 2015 out of Bani, D.R. Has been error prone lately with five miscues over his last six games and 6 in his last 9. Has begun to percolate at the plate, however. Tejeda went 4-for-11 in the last 3 games with five runs scored and a three-run homer. Shows some struggles not uncommon for an 18-year-old in a full-season league – 36 Ks in 108 PAs (36%) – but his 15 walks (14%) is quite uncommon for this level.

OF Yanio Perez (No. 15, 27 Baseball America): Signed as an international free agent out of Havana, Cuba. Has asserted himself as THE big bat in the lineup over the last couple of weeks. Has at least one hit in 13 of the last 14 games (24-for-53) with a slash line of .453/.492/.830. Has just 10 Ks during this stretch.

2B Yeyson Yrizarri (No. 17 Signed as an international free agent in 2013 out of the D.R. After a 1-for-39 funk (.065) to start the season, Yrizarri is nearly back to the .200 mark (.196/.222/.304). Had a four-hit game during a 7-inning contest on Sunday and went 7-for-15 at Hagerstown.

RHP Michael Matuella (No. 19 Baseball America, No. 20 Third-round pick in 2015 out of Duke Univ. Was on the path of becoming a first-overall pick in 2015 before back troubles and then Tommy John surgery derailed that promise. He pitched in only three innings last summer at short-season Spokane before further elbow tenderness caused the Rangers to shut him down. Threw 46 pitches in his first start vs. Columbia, then pushed up to 56 last week at West Virginia. Had 5 Ks vs. Columbia, none vs. the Power.

RF Jose Almonte (No. 28 Signed as an international free agent in 2013 out of Santo Domingo, D.R. Missed a week with a leg injury and then returned during the road trip and went 5-for-23 with two walks. Has seven free passes in 23 games after just 9 all last year.

RHP Tyler Ferguson (No. 30 Baseball America, No. 30 Sixth-round pick in 2015 out of Vanderbilt. Working on a string of five straight scoreless outings covering 7.1 innings with 14 Ks. Went 5-for-12 in the series at Hagerstown with a homer and 7 RBI.


Others to watch – Hickory:

C Alex Kowalczyk: 12th-round pick in 2016 out of Pittsburgh. Getting the bulk of playing time at catcher due to an injury to starter Ricky Valencia.

OF Franklin Rollin: 2013 international free agent out of La Romana, D.R. Continues to press for playing time with strong performances at the plate. Had a four-hit game Saturday at Hagerstown and has hits in 6-of-7.

RHP Kyle Cody: 6th-round pick in 2016 out of Kentucky. Along with Jonathan Hernandez, Cody has held steady in the rotation. Has lost three straight starts, but has allowed just four earned runs (three homers) and fanned 11 over 15.2 innings in that stretch.


About the RiverDogs:

Managed by Pat Osborn in his first season at Charleston. Obsorn managed high-A Tampa to the Florida State League finals in 2016… The R-Dogs lead the SAL with a .318 average in May, but are 2-5 so far, all during a just-concluded homestand. Four of the losses were by one run, which bumped the R-Dogs to 4-8 in such games this season… Playing at a home ballpark that is not conducive to power, as a team, the R-Dogs single opponents to death. Charleston is second in the SAL in hits, but in the middle of the league in homers and dead last with just ten homers. The R-Dogs are third in the league at .266 and they put the ball in play. Charleston has the second fewest K… On the mound, the staff has fanned the most in the SAL, something that bears watching in facing a team with the second most Ks at the plate.


Prospects to watch –Charleston:

CF Blake Rutherford: (No. 3, No. 3 Baseball America) First-round pick in 2016 out of Chaminade Prep (Canoga Park, CA). Played for 18-and-under USA National Team. After a satisfactory first month (.277/.388/.361) of the season, the 20-year-old is perhaps feeling the grind as the calendar turned to May (.182/.240/.318). Will work a walk (17 in 123 PAs), but is learning to watch breaking balls as is 29 Ks might indicate. Despite hitting left-handed, he has handled left-handed pitching quite well (.326 to .210 vs. righties). Currently fourth in the SAL with 10 doubles and sixth in walks. Has fanned 7 times over his last five games. Signed a Yankees-record $3.2 million contact, the most for a hitter draftee.

CF Estavan Florial: (No. 14 Baseball America, No. 16 International free agent in 2015 from Port au Prince, Haiti. Saw a 10-game hitting streak end in the finale of the R-Dogs homestand. Is fourth in the SAL in runs scored. Has 35 Ks in 125 PAs, 7th in the league.

C Donny Sands (No. 26 8th-round pick in 2015 out of Salpointe Catholic (Tucson, AZ). Is 10-for-40 over his last ten games. A project at the plate, the former 3B is currently at the bottom of the SAL in catching base stealers, nabbing just 9 of 46 trying to steal.


Others to watch –Charleston:

SS Hoy Jun Park: International free agent in 2014 out of Seoul, South Korea. Leads SAL with a .362 average and is 9th in slugging (.532). Went 9-for-16 over the last four games. Currently in his second season at Charleston.

RHP Nick Green: Acquired by the Yankees in a trade with the Rangers last summer. Went to the Yanks along with former Crawdads Dillon Tate and Erik Swanson. Threw a one-hitter over eight innings and fanned nine in his last start on Saturday. Has allowed just four hits over his last 14.2 innings (two starts) with 16 Ks. Relies on a sinker to get grounders, has a 2.60 GO/AO and has yet to allowed a run in four road starts.


Note: The Crawdads sent OF Eric Jenkins and Argenis Rodriguez to the Rangers extended spring and received OF Miguel Aparicio and RHP Matt Smoral.