Garner Cleveland: Sports

Sports Briefs: Dec. 4

Mudcats shift start times

The Carolina Mudcats are excited to announce their Carolina League schedule for 2014, along with time changes for home games at Five County Stadium. Most Mudcats home games will now begin at 7 p.m. in 2014, with Saturday games beginning at 6 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Five County Stadium will also host five day games at either 11 a.m. or noon.

For the third straight year, the Mudcats will open the season at home. Opening Day is set for Thursday, April 3, when the Mudcats host the Potomac Nationals in a four-game series. The Mudcats will also have home games on Easter (April 20) against the Frederick Keys and Memorial Day (May 26) against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. The Mudcats will celebrate Independence Day with three spectacular fireworks displays beginning July 3 (vs. Lynchburg), and continuing July 4th and 5th (vs. Salem).

Five County Stadium will host 11 Fireworks Fridays and 33 weekend games overall. Fans can expect another great fireworks extravaganza after each Friday home game, and special fireworks shows on Sunday, May 25 and August 31, with 6 p.m. start times.

The 140-game schedule features 70 homes games in all.

Cheerleaders earn honors

Three Johnston County schools took part in the Carolina Cup, the 11th annual N.C. High School Athletic Association’s state invitational cheerleading championships in Raleigh last month.

Corinth Holders was second in the small junior varsity division for squads of 5-15 members, with a score of 108.85. Cary won with 112.45 points.

The Pirates’ varsity team finished ninth in the medium varsity division (13-16 members), with 107.1 points.

In the small varsity non-tumble division, North Johnston placed fifth (119.6) out of 20 teams. Cleveland competed in the large varsity division (17-20 members).

Cornelius Hough won the Carolina Cup, which goes to the varsity squad that earns the highest cumulative score in the competition, regardless of size.

Spartans help middle-school players

Coaches from Smithfield-Selma High School, in conjunction with the Smithfield Parks and Recreation Department, hosted the Middle School Basketball Boot Camp for seventh and eighth graders planning to tryout for their school teams. The event wasNov. 9 at the Smithfield Recreation and Aquatics Center. More than three dozen players watched the SSS boys team practice, then went through a clinic with a focus on prepping for the tryout experience with ball handling and shooting drills.

“The high school players were really excited to have this opportunity to give back to the middle schools they attended,” said Smithfield-Selma coach James Robinson. “The practice preceding the clinic was by far the best practice I can remember. We had great enthusiasm and energy throughout the day.”

The day wrapped up with pizza for the camp attendees, provided by the Spartan basketball program. SSS opens its season Monday, Nov. 18, against Southern Wayne.

Ten named to all-region squad

Players from the new Two Rivers 3A Conference dominated the selections of the N.C. Soccer Coaches Associations all Region III team. Ten players from the conference were named to the team which covers Johnston, Harnett, Wilson and Nash counties.

Smithfield-Selma had junior midfielder Daniel Avila, senior midfielder Robin Barksdale, senior midfielder Harrison Howell, senior defender Moises Monroy-Narvaez and senior midfielder Joseph Williams named to the squad. The Spartans won the Two Rivers 3A Conference championship and advanced to the second round of the state playoffs.

Corinth Holders had three selections to the squad: junior midfielder Aaron Lopez, senior defender Kevin Rosales and senior defender Jamie Schap.

Players from Triton accounted for the remaining pair of Two Rivers 3A representatives named to the squad: junior keeper Raynor Weaver and senior midfielder Ricardo Hernandez.

Ejection policy under review

The NCHSAA board of directors is expected to review its ejection policy in the wake of procedural problems with a Southern Vance player.

A Southern Vance player was ejected from a game against Franklinton on Nov. 8, but the school was not officially notified that the player had been ejected in a timely manner.

NCHSAA players can be ejected for sportsmanship issues, but can be disqualified for various reasons. Disqualified players do not have to sit out games.

Southern Vance had not been notified of the ejection until after the Raiders had beaten South Columbus 12-5 in the first round of the playoffs.

The NCHSAA did not notify Southern Vance of the ejection because the NCHSAA had not been notified by game officials.

The Southern Vance player was ineligible, but played, which usually results in a forfeit.

NCHSAA commissioner Davis Whitfield ruled that since Southern Vance had not received notification before the game that the player was ejected, the school did not have to forfeit. South Columbus appealed to the NCHSAA executive committee and later to the full board.

The executive committee and the full board upheld Whitfield’s ruling.