March 2012

This is my life…

 By: Groups Sales and Community Outreach Coordinator

Ok, here it goes. I have found it hard to write blogs these past few weeks, not only because we are approaching less than a month away from opening day but also because I am not that creative of a writer. I have always written what I am told to write about and I have been relatively successful at it but now that I have to actually write something without being told (well besides being told by the pesky media relations assistant), it has put me in a pickle. So, sitting here in my living room enjoying the last bit of sanity I have until April 12th, I decided to take a shot at it. 

I say sanity like my life has been sane the last month. Besides getting the season started and making sure all the calls are made and all the Claw Club memberships are ready, I have also been dealing with the purchase of a new car. I found the perfect car at Dale Earnhardt Chevy (my sponsor plug), they were great help and was excited to purchase my first car on my own. From there the long stressful process begun, the phone calls to banks, relaying the message to my mom and then back to the bank really started getting me stressed. Eventually, I got all of the financing worked out and I was on my way to sign all the papers to finally get this car as mine…only problem my insurance would not carry anymore because they found out I was no longer an Ohio resident. 

This news crushed me! I was so close to getting this car and another obstacle stopped me. This obstacle was not what I wanted to hear though, the only way I would be able to get car insurance is if the car that I was going to purchase was going to be titled and plated in North Carolina. Getting different insurance was not what made me flustered but the fact that I will no long be toting around my Ohio license plates, Ohio driver’s license and that I will essentially be, sigh, a North Carolina resident. 

I understand that this change was inevitable but I did not think it was going to come this abruptly.  I am Ohio, I love my home state, it is the BEST State and I did not want to change. Until, Jared, my roommate and co-worker, pointed out just because I am changing my residency does not mean I am not an Ohioan, it just means I am an Ohioan living in North Carolina. 

I am excited for this adventure and look forward to my years living in the Carolinas, until then I am still going to enjoy being from Ohio. I am going to cheer for Ohio State in the final four, I am going to look forward to the football season and see what excitement Urban Meyer can bring to Columbus. I look forward to opening day for the Reds and anticipate all the great trades and draft picks the Bengals select. Oh, and I am going to keep on telling everyone fun Ohio trivia, like Columbus is ranked the number one zoo in the US and Wendy’s originated out of Columbus.  Until then, you will see me driving around Hickory with my new car and license plates but I still know I am and will always be an Ohioan! 

Megan enters her first year as Director of Community Relations after spending time as a group sales assistant with the Crawdads.  She is a native of Columbus, OH and a graduate of Bowling Green State University with a degree in sport management.  She has worked with the BGSU Athletic Department and the United Way of Central Ohio.  She is an Ohio State fan and enjoys playing soccer and spending time with friends and family.

From the eyes of an intern…

By: Ashley Fernandez, Promotions Assistant

Hey! This is my first post on the Crawdads blog and I figured it would be best if I first introduced myself and tell you who I am.  My name is Ashley Fernandez and I am from Tampa, Florida.  I moved to North Carolina for college and while I am not a true born and bred, I have fallen in love with the University of North Carolina and I can proudly say I am a Tar Heel. For the past three years I’ve attended school there, and will graduate this December with a degree in journalism and sports administration.

As of today I have officially been working with the Crawdads for 2months and 10 days.  And boy does time fly!  It seems like yesterday I was starting my first day and there was 80+ days on the calendar till our first home stand.  Now we have 23 days left and our first game is just around the corner!  I’ve had a great experience so far working at the stadium and cannot wait for the season to begin.  There have been so many things I have done as an intern thus far from brainstorming themes for our 70 home games to developing our pocket schedule.  I’ve worked on making our videos, planning for our holiday parties and gone off on various Conrad and Candy appearances.  All of my adventures here at work have been great.  Each day brings something new, and you never know what tomorrow has in store.  I love that I get to work at a ballpark everyday and am grateful for the staff I work with here.  Needless to say, I am happy I made the move to Hickory and am enjoying being an intern.

Ashley enters her first year with the Hickory Crawdads as a promotions assistant after spending time as a marketing and promotions assistant with Clear Channel Tampa and the University of Tampa Athletics.  Originally from Tampa, Florida, Ashley attends the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is currently majoring in Journalism and Sports Administration.  In her spare time, Ashley spends time with family and friends, goes to the beach, plays sports, and volunteers

It’s Been One Month Since You Looked At Me

By: Luke Addison, Concessions Assistant

This weekend marks the 1 month anniversary in my relationship with the city of Hickory.  It seems only yesterday that my parents were helping me move my clothes and my three pieces of furniture into my apartment.  While we may not be buying each other chocolates and flowers to celebrate, it’s safe to say that the two of us have developed a quick and passionate bond.  So much has happened in just 30 days that it seems as though any second now I will wake up back in Ohio tucked safely away under my Thomas the Tank Engine sheets.

My first impression of Hickory was that whoever designed the street plans was either a major prankster or a lunatic.  Almost all of the streets have numbers in their title.  There is 5th St SE; 5th St. Pl. SE; 5th Ave NE; 5th Ave Dr. NE; and probably a 5th Ave. Pl. Dr. Blvd. Ct. Ln. Rd. St. SW somewhere.  So imagine my frustration the first week as I was sitting at the corner of 2nd and 2nd with no idea as to which way to proceed.  (I have since figured out that streets go north and south, avenues east and west, and the direction represents the quadrant of the city they’re located in.  The difference between 29th Ave. and 29th Ave. Dr.?  You’ve got me). 

The adjustment to a new bed time was, and still is, equally as challenging.  Having lived a life of leisure before my arrival, bed time was not a point of concern with me.  I thought nothing of staying up past 2 or sleeping in past 11.  Now, that alarm is screaming in my ear at 7:30 each morning, making sure I’m off to make something of my life.  It’s quite a chore now to stay up and watch the late game of March Madness and if I do, I pay for it the entire next day.  No wonder adults are so cranky.  (Yes, I’m 24 and I still consider myself a kid.)

I must admit, the life I left behind was pretty grand.  I could not have been luckier to live my life with more wonderful people.  There were all my loving family members, who were always there for me through thick and thin.  There was the greatest group of friends this Earth has seen assembled since the time the Super Friends got together, always down for some Saturday night shenanigans.  And last but not least there was my furry little dog Zeke, as good a companion a guy could ask for. 

I gave it all up to pursue my dream, not knowing anybody and having never lived more than an hour away from my parents.  Thankfully I found Hickory.  The Crawdad family has been wonderful in welcoming me in to their home.  Work is a hundred times easier when you are side by side with people you can enjoy yourself with.  The perks have been pretty awesome so far as well.  The apartment they set me up in is the nicest place I’ve lived in (excluding the laundry situation).  The weather has been great for my sun tan, which I know the ladies will appreciate.  I also get to participate in the Corporate Challenge, a series of competitions to determine which office is the greatest in all of Hickory.  (The level of competitiveness rivals anything in professional sports.)  

On top of it all, last weekend was the most fun I’ve had in a while.  First was getting to see a minor league hockey game in Charlotte Friday night.  I don’t really know much about hockey, but the fight towards the end of the game was top notch.  That was followed up by crossing “see a NASCAR race at Bristol Motor Speedway” off of my bucket list.  You can knock racing all you want, but getting to visit pit road and bumping shoulders with the best drivers in the world is an experience that I will be able to carry with me to my grave.  Finishing with some St. Patty’s Day festivities once we got back really pushed this one into the upper echelon of weekends.

Hickory and I are only beginning to scratch the surface of our potential.  We still have our hiccups, such as me getting lost yesterday trying to find my way to watch the Corporate Challenge soccer match. (I never made it there.)  Things like that, though, are important in building our relationship.  It keeps me grounded from the glitz and glamour of cleaning concession stands, power washing, and pulling carpet that work provides.  I sincerely hope the two of us can continue to grow our relationship.  I don’t know how Hickory feels, but I think this could be the beginning of something special. 

Luke is beginning his first year with the Hickory Crawdads as a concessions assistant.  Previously, Luke has worked in baseball with the Akron Aeros, the Cleveland Indians Double A – Affiliate.  He was born and raised in Uhrichsville, OH and attended Kent State University where he earned a degree in Sports Administration and a minor in Business.  Luke has simple tastes, enjoying warm weather, funny jokes, and dancing.

16 days

By Andrew Buchbinder, Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations

We are 16 days away from the first game of the 20th Anniversary Season of Crawdads Baseball.  The ‘Dads open the 2012 campaign on the road on Thurs., April 5 in Kannapolis, and take on the Intimidators and then Greenville Drive for four games apiece before coming home on Thurs., April 12 for the first home game.

In a sense, 16 days seems like a long time.  Think about it as being more than half a month away.  That is roughly 1/24 of a year.  Kind of seems far away.

However, if you think of it as only two weeks away, for some reason, it feels like it is right around the corner.  It is already Tuesday of this week, and once we get by hump day tomorrow, the weekend will be on deck.  We all know that weekends race by in the blink of an eye, which leads us to next Monday, the 26th.  Then, all of a sudden, Opening Day in Kannapolis is hardly a week and a half away.

Since I am clearly conflicted on my own personal perception of the essence of 16 days, I took the natural course of action and googled it.  The first and most prominent listing is some band called 16 Days.  It appears as if a song called “Whiskeytown” recorded somewhere around 3-5 years ago was their big hit.  I missed it, and am furthermore unwilling to dedicate 3:57 of my life to catching up on it (ironic in light of the time it is taking me to write about the concept of 16 days…).

The next search result, which in my estimation is unequivocally more important than the band and should have come up first, is a South African activist campaign for the awareness of, and response to, abuse against women and children, called 16 Days of Activism.  I would suggest reading up on it in the betterment of all of our world views.

And, finally (at least for the first page of results), the third link on Google for ’16 days’ is a 16-day weather forecast for England.  I typed in London and, after a rough and undoubtedly inaccurate Celsius to Fahrenheit conversion, I have come to the conclusion that I would take 80 degrees and sunny in Hickory over 11 degrees (Celsius) and cloudy in London today.  Who predicts 16 days in advance anyway?  Must be a Europe thing.

Considering the fact that we are now closer to 15.5 days than 16 days, I suppose that amount of time really is not all that long after all and after a largely unsuccessful googling of it.  Baseball will be here before we know it.  That is my final answer.

Oh yeah, and happy spring!

Andrew is in his fourth season as director of broadcasting and media relations for the Crawdads, and sixth season in Minor League Baseball.  Previously, the Larchmont, NY native worked for the Bakersfield Condors Hockey Club (ECHL) and the Bakersfield Blaze Baseball Club (California League). He loves bacon.

The Check On Deck

By Kathryn Bobel, Director of Group Sales

Well, after a hefty two-year hiatus, Kathryn’s vague, ethereal, and all-together not too relevant blogs are back!  This season, I’m sure we’ll run the gamut from Fox’s New Girl to my hapless but always lovable Cleveland Indians to Sex and the City to the always entertaining Meta World Peace (I can’t believe I have to legally call him that).  So, let’s put this Mac I received for Christmas (thanks Mom and Dad!) to good use! 

I have to say, this sleek little silver computer has made me feel very Carrie Bradshaw-esque—sitting in a quaint, but decidedly modern NYC apartment having thoughts flow from mind to fingertip with not so much ease as deliberate thought.  One minor difference, though—I live in a quaint, decidedly college-student-turned-young-adult apartment that overlooks a house that in its backyard has a back-hoe, a Caterpillar, and a 1987 Caddy all in various states of disrepair.  As I attempt to construct some semblance of an adult apartment (dishes that match, a bed with a mattress that actually sits on a frame, and a television that doesn’t require rabbit ears or foil) and an adult job (staff meetings, sales goals, stilettos) I find myself pondering the answers to certain questions: what do I want to do, who should I be, where should I be? 

For some, these questions are ambiguous and elusive, but for others, like myself, they always seemed to answer themselves with little dedicated, conscious thought.  I’m not quite sure how, but through my latter high school and collegiate years, the answers just fell into place. However, as time and life go on, things can change. You can change.  At the ripe old age of 25, things changed. I was shaken to my core and for the first time in my life, I began to question my place in the world. Where do I go from here? Before, it was elementary school then middle school then high school then college then internship then job.  Check, check, check, check, check, and check. The thing is, I don’t have another check on deck. It can’t be a linear shot from here to retirement, can it? So, for the last year or so, my mind has raced–raced from point A to point F to point C to point M and back to point B.  My first reaction when the world around me started to spin faster and faster was to grasp tighter and tighter.

Then, EPIPHANY. Perhaps my eternally racing mind wasn’t meaning to cloud the present, but was instead attempting to map out my future—it was attempting to find my next check. I’m not sure that check is walking up to the plate yet, but until it does, I’ve learned—with the help of a few key individuals—to let my grasp loosen and enjoy the moment. Live your life. Love your family.  Love your friends. Tell them you love them. Depend on them. Thank them. Be immensely appreciative of them.

My little sister (she’ll be 21 this year, but I still think of her as the curly-haired little weirdo who refused to take her bike helmet off at dinner from the ages of three to five) has a single quote in the “About Me” section on her Facebook page:  “Do not look back and grieve over the past, for it is gone, and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering.”  She might have had helmet hair for a good two years, but I guess the previously curly-haired weirdo is on to something.

The point of this excessively wordy blog summed up in a single sentence? Approach each day with more vigor, enthusiasm and love than the last, and you won’t go wrong.  Thanks, Em.  Love you.

In her fourth year with the Crawdads, Kathryn is a native of Indianapolis, IN and graduated from Bowling Green State University in December 2008 with a degree in sport management.  She has previously worked with the Indianapolis Indians and USA Track & Field.  In her spare time, Kathryn enjoys following the Cleveland Indians and BGSU athletics.

The $5,000,000 Winner

By Luke Addison, Concessions Assistant

The most wonderful time of the year has returned once again in full force. Spring is here, with a 80 degrees and sunny forecast for Wednesday.  Spring training is in full swing, where optimism reigns supreme and my Indians are still mathematically alive for the playoffs.  Saturday will bring me together with all other Irish-for-a-day to give thanks to Saint Patrick with green beer.  Yet, roaring head and shoulders above all the rest, comes the beautiful phenomenon that is March Madness.

We all fill out the brackets.  We all stand around the water cooler and discuss which team is a lock to pull off the 12-5 upset, why team x made the dance when team y was left out (when really neither has a shot at winning it all), our super secret sleepers, and to laugh at the non-basketball fan in sales who is making their picks based solely on team colors and mascots (yet will beat us all handily).   Businesses will lose millions of dollars of productivity from its workers as everyone constantly tracks the accuracy of their $5 bracket.

And yet, it is all worth it.  To chase the dream of the perfect bracket is a fire that burns inside millions of Americans.  This year, Yahoo is giving $5,000,000 to the person who can correctly predict all 63 games (play-ins do not count).  I’ll save you the hours of research and agonizing decision-making because I already have crafted the winner.  Yes, it’s true.  I have yet to decide how to spend my newfound riches, but I am certain it will make life as an intern easier.

Without further ado:  the picks

Round of 64: The first 2 days of the tournament always provide some of the greatest and most memorable moments in sports.  This year’s Cinderallas (seeded 10 and lower) come in all shapes and sizes.  On Thursday, Davidson gets the ball rolling with a bracket busting upset of Big East tournament champion Louisville.  Somewhere, Steph Curry is smiling through all of his ankle pain.   Later that afternoon, Long Beach State nails the inevitable 12-5 upset over New Mexico.  Fear the Beach.  A legend from my home area, Bob Huggins, leads his Mountaineers to a mini upset over 7th seeded Gonzaga.  As that game ends, viewers are flipped over just in time to witness the ending to the stunning upset South Dakota State pulls on Baylor.  Baylor’s And-1 style is its downfall in its loss to the 27-win Jackrabbits, who take home the annual “Nobody Has Ever Heard of Our School Before We Won This Game” trophy.  Friday wastes no time picking up the slack as #11 NC State takes down San Diego State.  Now living in North Carolina and seeing some Wolfpack fans around the park, there’s no doubt its upset city in the day’s first game.  Not to be outdone, the St. Bonaventure Bonnies oust ACC tournament champ Florida State.  One of my best friends back home I call Bonnie sometimes and she will be quite proud of the effort her boys give against the ‘Noles. #13 Ohio wins that evening to represent the MAC and #10 Purdue wins to keep my dad happy. 

Round of 32:  A few of upsets dot round 2 (I refuse to call the play-in games round 1).  Things stay calm in the East and Midwest, but heat up in South as #5 Wichita State knocks off #4 Indiana.  I went back and forth forever on the Duke-Notre Dame game, but after having my fanhood questioned I had to move the Blue Devils on.  (Notre Dame also receives no benefit of the doubt for continually thinking its average football program is above playing in the Big Ten or any other conference.) The West sees #6 Murray State continue its winning ways against #3 Marquette.  You can knock them for having a soft schedule, but there is something to say about having only one loss this late in the year. 

Sweet 16:  A couple of 6 seeds make the headlines with their bids into the quarterfinals.  UNLV avenges its loss in the 1991 final four by knocking off the Dukies.  I would love to have my beloved Blue Devils all the way to the final line but the combination of weak perimeter defense combined with weaker post offense and a questionable Ryan Kelly dooms them against a UNLV team featuring Mike Moser who is about to become a household name.  Ditto for Long Beach’s Casper Ware, whose darling run ends in a heartbreaker to Michigan State.  The big one though comes in the East where Cincinnati takes the battle of Ohio from Ohio State.  Yancy Gates outplays the overrated Jared Sullinger and William Buford has just enough of an off night to propel my sister’s alma mater into the Elite Eight.

Elite 8: Kentucky is too talented for UNLV; Mizzou’s perimeter talent overwhelms Michigan State; Syracuse avenges its loss to Cincinnati in the Big East Tourny; and Kansas knocks off UNC in the Roy Williams Invitational.

Final Four:  Missouri’s senior depth overcomes Kentucky’s freshman talent to send the Tigers to their first final.  Kansas also takes out Syracuse. The highlight of Selection Sunday was watching the reaction of the Kansas players feeling snubbed about their number two seed and mean mugging the camera during their air time.  Loved every second of it.  That’s my kind of team.

Championship:  Kansas 78, Missouri 73 It’s unclear if these two teams will keep the rivalry going once Mizzou bolts for the SEC, so this will have to do for maybe the final chapter in one of the best rivalries in college basketball. It just doesn’t feel right having Missouri as champion, so round 3 of the Border War goes to the Kansas.

Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk, KU.  If you need to borrow any money, let me know.

Luke is beginning his first year with the Hickory Crawdads as a concessions assistant.  Previously, Luke has worked in baseball with the Akron Aeros, the Cleveland Indians Double A – Affiliate.  He was born and raised in Uhrichsville, OH and attended Kent State University where he earned a degree in Sports Administration and a minor in Business.  Luke has simple tastes, enjoying warm weather, funny jokes, and dancing.

Just some preseason thoughts

By Andrew Buchbinder, Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations

Man, it was good to see some baseball at L.P. Frans Stadium last Saturday.  If you missed it, you didn’t miss out on any Crawdads Baseball (that starts on Thursday, April 12 at 7 p.m. vs. the Asheville Tourists, featuring Thirsty Thursday pres. by Buffalo Wild Wings and some Opening Night fun, pres. by 1290 WHKY… never a missed opportunity for a plug 😉 ) but you did miss out on some great high school ball with the first-ever Prep Showcase Showdown.  We were able to get in three of the initially-scheduled four games, and really ended up having some great weather.  There’s a good chance that this could become an annual event, so be sure to keep an ear to the ground after our season for more details on next year’s probable showcase.

Being as engulfed in pro ball as we are, sometimes it is easy to forget how high of a quality of high school athletics this area and state have, and that quality was in full gear last Saturday with rematches from last year’s Class 4A and Class 3A State Championships.  Not only was the quality on the field impressive, but the quality of the field was equally stunning.  It is not atypical in a climate such as ours to have the field not look its finest as we just get out of the winter months.  Such is not the case this year.  Maybe the relatively mild winter (knock on wood) has helped, but I prefer to give all the credit in the world to Head Groundskeeper Andrew Tallent.  He’s worked tirelessly throughout the offseason, and it shows.  Never in my previous three seasons here have I seen the field look this good on March 9.  Just another sign that this season of Crawdads Baseball, the 20th, is going to be the best.

On a totally different topic… I was scrolling through the Charleston RiverDogs site a moment ago looking for some details on the 2012 SAL All-Star Game, which will be at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park this season (my absolute favorite ballpark and city in the league, by the way) and came across the ESPN commercial we did with them in 2010.  How awesome is this???  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2zQf6bxsZo Funny inside story… Joe Bonadonna, the runner at second in the video who is of, er, somewhat shorter stature, was roaming around the tent was set up for the cast and crew with refreshments and snacks, and got screamed at by a production assistant for being somewhere he didn’t belong.  The prod. assistant mis-identified the 5’6″ (maybe) Bonadonna for an extra.  I feel your pain, Joe.

Andrew is in his fourth season as director of broadcasting and media relations for the Crawdads, and sixth season in Minor League Baseball.  Previously, the Larchmont, NY native worked for the Bakersfield Condors Hockey Club (ECHL) and the Bakersfield Blaze Baseball Club (California League). He loves bacon.

 

Baseball is Back… with a twist.

By Kyle Titus, Concessions Assistant

Can you feel it? It’s right around the corner. The temperatures are climbing, the date is getting closer and spring training is already under way. Right around the corner will be opening day, with a new twist. Instead of the regular 8 teams that make the post season, Major League Baseball has approved the new 10 team, 2 team wild card format. That is not the only thing that will be different this season. There are many icons of the game that have changed their zip code. The biggest one of course is Albert Pujols who took his talents to the west coast. Pujols a two time World Series champion and arguably the best player in the game, in a shocking and stunning move, spurned the Cardinals and went West to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for greener ($$$) pastures. He is not the only big name slugger to have moved. The other would be Prince Fielder who is now with the Detroit Tigers. Prince chose the team his dad once played for and in a continental shift of power two of the biggest bats in the game now have teamed up with the American League and left the National League with an identity crisis.

Not all is lost though; the Cardinals and Brewers still hold two powerful teams that will keep people guessing. The 10 year $254 million dollar contract Pujols signed while devastating the Cardinals fans and organization in the long run is just too much money and year to give to a 31 year old first baseman for a Midwest smaller market team. In fact I would put my money on the Cardinals actually winning more games this season with a healthy Adam Wainwright coming back into the fold and some of the production Pujols gave being replaced by former all-star Carlos Beltran.  The Brewers on the other hand have known all along they would not be able to bring Fielder back, but still have one of the strongest and deepest starting rotations in all of baseball as well as last year’s MVP Ryan Braun still wearing the blue and gold. However the shift in power will be great when you have two of the game’s biggest sluggers changing leagues entirely. There will be new names and faces garnishing attention in the National League. There will be a dog fight in the American League as to who truly is the biggest slugger and seeing if all the money thrown at these big dogs was truly is worth it. The Phillies are the only team in the National League who has the payroll to compete financially with the American League power house, but has been shown now over the last decade money doesn’t always bring championships so this year should be fun to watch regardless.

The new playoff format this year should make things really interesting especially heading down to the playoff hunt. With the added 5th team this now makes winning the division a premium. Instead of going straight into a 5 game series, the wild card winners will now face off in a 1 game playoff. This makes that stretch run even more important as to having your “ace” on the mound for that one game set. Following that the wild card team will then go on to face the team with the best record in their respective league. This makes the path for a wild card team to win it all much more unpredictable. I don’t know how you could possibly add more drama or excitement then last year’s Cardinals who made a remarkable comeback to win it all and with the best game possibly in baseball history taking place in that game 6 of the World Series but baseball sure is going to try!

With all that said the game as we know it will still be the same, however seemingly different down the stretch. There will be new stars and names mentioned, there will be new teams and the trade deadline should be all that more interesting with more teams still considered in the “hunt” then ever before. All I know is baseball is back and this will be a season worth watching.

Kyle is beginning his first season as a Concessions Assistant with the Hickory Crawdads. He was born and raised in Binghamton, NY and graduated from SUNY Cortland with a degree in sports management. Kyle has worked previously with the Hagerstown Suns also of the South Atlantic League and the Oklahoma City Barons, an AHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers, doing group sales. Kyle enjoys playing baseball, basketball and cheering on his St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Dolphins.

Preview: Prep Baseball Showcase Showdown Part IV

The Hickory Crawdads are hosting the 2012 Prep Baseball Showcase Showdown at L.P. Frans Stadium on Saturday, March 3. The showcase will consist of four exciting match-ups featuring high school teams from around the area, including rematches from last year’s Class 3A and Class 4A State Championship Series. The first game of the showcase will start at 9 a.m. Leading up to the event each game will be previewed here.

Game 4: 4:30 p.m.

Holly Springs Golden Hawks vs. TC Roberson Rams 

The fourth and final game of the 2012 Prep Showcase Showdown will feature a rematch of last year’s Class 4A State Championship.  The Golden Hawks came out on top last year, beating the Rams 2 games to none to win the State Championship, its schools first state championship in any sport.  This matchup, however, will feature a very different Holly Springs team from last year’s State Championship game. 

The Golden Hawks finished last season on a 21-game winning streak thanks in large part to its veteran leadership.  This year the Golden Hawks will look to replace its 11 graduated Seniors to compete for the TRI-9 title and make a run back into the playoffs. 

Three key contributors from last season that are returning are C Joey Roach, SS AJ Sconzo, and 3b/OF Mike Roach.  Joey Roach and Sconzo will return as the Hawks 1-2 punch in the batting order this year. Joey Roach led all Hawks last year with a .375 average from the leadoff spot and looks to continue that success this year.  Hitting .330 last year in the 2 hole, Sconzo will anchor the left side of the infield as well as contribute offensively.  The Hawks also expect Mike Roach to contribute after overcoming an injury last year to becoming a key contributor in the playoffs. 

The Hawks major concern in 2012 will be pitching.  They return very little on the mound and will have to replace all but 10 innings from last year’s team.  As the season goes on, pitching will be key to their success.

TC Roberson has much more coming back from last year’s State Championship run.  They have the #1 preseason ranking by IMPACT Baseball in the 4A Class and expect to compete for a State Championship again this year. 

Leading the Rams this season will be Senior James Nevant.  Nevant has signed to play with Notre Dame next year and will anchor the team’s outfield.  Tim McKeithan also looks to come back from a broken thumb injury and contribute offensively.  McKeithan’s athleticism has helped him become an outstanding defensive SS and he will be taking his talents to Brown University next year. 

Dillon O’Kelley has won many big games for TC Roberson and looks to continue his dominance on the mound this year.  The Senior’s various arm angles and great off speed stuff has helped him become a premier pitcher within the league. 

The Golden Hawks look to defend their title as the Rams hope to finish this season hoisting the State Championship trophy.  It promises to be a very entertaining matchup. 

Jeff has begun his first year with the Crawdads as a Media and Community Outreach Assistant.  The Waukesha, WI native attended school at Northeastern University where he played varsity baseball for the Huskies while earning his degree in Communications.  Jeff is an avid Wisconsin sports fan and enjoys staying active any way possible.

Preview: Prep Baseball Showcase Showdown Part IV

The Hickory Crawdads are hosting the 2012 Prep Baseball Showcase Showdown at L.P. Frans Stadium on Saturday, March 3. The showcase will consist of four exciting match-ups featuring high school teams from around the area, including rematches from last year’s Class 3A and Class 4A State Championship Series. The first game of the showcase will start at 9 a.m. Leading up to the event each game will be previewed here.

Game 4: 4:30 p.m.

 

Holly Springs Golden Hawks vs. TC Roberson Rams

 

The fourth and final game of the 2012 Prep Showcase Showdown will feature a rematch of last year’s Class 4A State Championship.  The Golden Hawks came out on top last year, beating the Rams 2 games to none to win the State Championship, its schools first state championship in any sport.  This matchup, however, will feature a very different Holly Springs team from last year’s State Championship game.

 

The Golden Hawks finished last season on a 21-game winning streak thanks in large part to its veteran leadership.  This year the Golden Hawks will look to replace its 11 graduated Seniors to compete for the TRI-9 title and make a run back into the playoffs.

 

Three key contributors from last season that are returning are C Joey Roach, SS AJ Sconzo, and 3b/OF Mike Roach.  Joey Roach and Sconzo will return as the Hawks 1-2 punch in the batting order this year. Joey Roach led all Hawks last year with a .375 average from the leadoff spot and looks to continue that success this year.  Hitting .330 last year in the 2 hole, Sconzo will anchor the left side of the infield as well as contribute offensively.  The Hawks also expect Mike Roach to contribute after overcoming an injury last year to becoming a key contributor in the playoffs. 

The Hawks major concern in 2012 will be pitching.  They return very little on the mound and will have to replace all but 10 innings from last year’s team.  As the season goes on, pitching will be key to their success.

TC Roberson has much more coming back from last year’s State Championship run.  They have the #1 preseason ranking by IMPACT Baseball in the 4A Class and expect to compete for a State Championship again this year. 

Leading the Rams this season will be Senior James Nevant.  Nevant has signed to play with Notre Dame next year and will anchor the team’s outfield.  Tim McKeithan also looks to come back from a broken thumb injury and contribute offensively.  McKeithan’s athleticism has helped him become an outstanding defensive SS and he will be taking his talents to Brown University next year. 

Dillon O’Kelley has won many big games for TC Roberson and looks to continue his dominance on the mound this year.  The Senior’s various arm angles and great off speed stuff has helped him become a premier pitcher within the league. 

The Golden Hawks look to defend their title as the Rams hope to finish this season hoisting the State Championship trophy.  It promises to be a very entertaining matchup.