Fieldhouse Report, 01.19.2019

unc asheville bulldogs unca basketball
Senior Jessica Wall is introduced prior to a game against Warren Wilson earlier this season (photo – UNCA Athletics)

ASHEVILLE, NC. (January 19, 2019) – Women’s College Basketball – On Tuesday night, the UNCA women’s basketball team defeated USC Upstate in overtime, 93-86. The win moves the team to 7-9 overall and 2-3 in the Big South. Sonora Dengokl led the Bulldogs with 36 points.

The Bulldogs return today at 2:00 p.m. to host conference rival High Point (10-5, 3-1) at Kimmel Arena.

Records of the area’s NCAA Division I teams include: Furman (10-8, 2-1 Southern), UNC Asheville (7-9, 2-3 Big South), Western Carolina (3-14, 0-3 Southern)

College Baseball –  The sixth-annual “Baseball Night in Asheville” was hosted by UNCA before a sold-out crowd at the event room at Asheville’s Highland Brewing on Friday. MLB pitcher Oliver Drake of the Tampa Bay Rays was the guest speaker for the evening.

Current Bulldogs’ head coach Scott Friedholm coached Drake at the Naval Academy before the right-hander was drafted in the 2008 amateur draft by the Baltimore Orioles. Friedholm was the pitching coach for the Midshipmen at the time and also guided Mitch Harris, who made it to the bigs in 2015 for the St. Louis Cardinals.

At the event, the 2019 UNCA Bulldogs team was officially announced and an auction held to raise funds for the team for equipment and travel, among other expenses. The MC for the evening was the Asheville Tourists’ director of broadcast and media relations, Doug Maurer.

The Bulldogs open their 2019 campaign with a three-game series against the College of Charleston on February 15 – 17 in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. Their home-opening series is against UMBC on Feb 22 – 24.    

(Video – courtesy of UNC Athletics)


Gracious Food. Southern Roots.

Cafe Logo (1)

Fieldhouse Report, 01.08.2019

furman paladins furman basketball
Furman’s Alex Hunter lays in a basket against Mercer (photo – Furman Athletics)


ASHEVILLE, N.C. (January 8, 2019) – Men’s College Basketball – After dropping two consecutive games, Furman rebounded with two convincing Southern Conference wins last week to move to 14-2 on the season and 3-1 in the conference. The Paladins defeated Mercer (5-10, 0-3), 71-58, on Thursday and followed it up with a 101-85 victory over the Citadel (9-5, 1-2) on Saturday. Furman’s Matt Rafferty  (17.6 ppg) and Jordan Lyons (16.9) are the fifth and sixth-leading scorers in the conference, respectively.

Elsewhere in the NCAA DI ranks, Western Carolina picked up a SoCon upset win against Samford (11-6) on Saturday.  On the year, the Catamounts are 4-13 and 1-3 in conference games.

UNCA (2-13, 0-1) fell in their Big South opener to Winthrop this weekend, 80-65, with freshman guard DeVon Baker leading the team with 23 points.

Montreat is set to tip off against the Union College (Ky.) Bulldogs tonight in Barboursville, Kentucky. The Bulldogs are 12-3 overall and ranked #7 in the NAIA’s DII. The Mountain Five teams and their records to date include:

  • Montreat (NAIA DII 10-2, 7-1)
  • Mars Hill (NCAA DII 6-5, 1-3)
  • Warren Wilson (USCAA DII 7-9, 2-1)
  • Lees-McRae (NCAA DII 5-10, 2-4)
  • Brevard (NCAA DIII 4-8, 1-4)
christian mccaffrey
Panthers’ running back Christian McCaffrey (photo – RSJ)

Pro Football – Late last week I contributed an article to Forbes on All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey. While the Carolina Panthers’ season grew progressively worse, the second-year running back emerged as a star for the team.

ryan roon brevard baseball
Brevard College’s Ryan Roon (photo – Brevard Athletics)

College Baseball – An advantage of college baseball over the pros is that it starts well before spring in early February. Last week, the Brevard Tornados released their 2019 schedule, which includes a planned February 13 game against Montreat. Ryan Roon led all Tornados’ regulars last season with a .342 average as a sophomore. 

The most interesting team to follow early could be the Western Carolina Catamounts, who won only seven regular-season games in 2018, but followed that up with four wins in the Southern Conference tournament. They eliminated the top-seeded UNC Greensboro Spartans before ultimately bowing out of the tournament after their second postseason loss to Mercer.


Gracious Food. Southern Roots.

Tupelo Honey Three

Photos: A Visit to Kansas City’s Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

Negro Leagues Museum
Kansas City’s Negro League Baseball Museum (photos – Tom Flynn)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (November 13, 2018) – With the last World Series roar a quickly fading echo, baseball’s long winter offseason stretches ahead.  In late June and early July, when baseball was still in full swing, I visited a series of historical sports sites as part of a cross-country trip. Those stops included an overnight in Kansas City to visit several museums, including the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM).

Until Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers integrated Major League Baseball in 1947, the sport was rigidly segregated at its highest level, dating to the mid-late 19th-century when Jim Crow laws increasingly took hold across the country.

In February 1920 in Kansas City, African-American owner and manager Rube Foster led a coalition of fellow owners to form the Negro National League (NNL). The NNL is often considered the leading member of a handful of subsequent leagues that are collectively referred to as ‘the Negro Leagues’ for the more formal structure, and subsequent success, that defined them.

The NLBM was founded in 1990 by a group of former players, including one-time Kansas City Monarchs’ player/manager, Buck O’Neil

0001 Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

The museum and its exhibits encompass too many facets of the game to cover at any length, but highlights include the story of Effa Manley, the first woman inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and the owner of the highly-successful Newark Eagles.

Others are the stories of teams such as the Baltimore Elite Giants, a franchise that produced HOF’ers Roy Campanella and Leon Day as well as back-to-back National League Rookies of the Year, Joe Black (1952) and Junior Gilliam (1953).

In Western North Carolina, the Negro Southern League had an entry, the Asheville Blues (1945-1951), that played some of its games at McCormick Field and had in-game performance incentives for players such as a “$5 and a free taxi ride from the 970 Taxi for the first pitcher striking out two men in a row. $5 from the Ritz Restaurant for the first pitcher striking out seven men.” 

Numerous players of major league-caliber never got the call to the majors in the decades of segregation, or in the years that followed. The Boston Red Sox, this year’s World Series champion, integrated in 1959, 12 years after Robinson’s debut. The NLBM helps tell their story. 

The museum is located at 1616 East 18th Street, in the same building as the American Jazz Museum. Both are a short walk from the Kansas City MLB Urban Youth Academy, which opened in 2018 and all are a short drive from the city’s National World War I Museum and Memorial. 

DSC_0139Baltimore Elite Giants 2Buck O'Neil002 Sign in Negro League MuseumNegro Leagues Baseball Museum0001 Negro Leagues Baseball MuseumBaseball Display

*******************Footer for Fieldhouse Asheville

Fieldhouse Report, 10.16.2018

NYRR 2018 Marathon
The 2018 NYC Marathon will again be preceded by the USATF 5K Championship (photo – NYRR)


Running – As the 2018 NYC Marathon approaches on Sunday, November 4, the city’s calendar will begin to fill with events leading up to the race. The annual “Dash to the Finish” 5k is staged the day before the marathon and will again serve as the USATF National Championship at the distance. 

Asheville-area running fans can watch the NYC Marathon on WLOS-ABC 13 on November 4 at 9:00 a.m. Check back for the November 3 broadcast start time for the 5K Championship on NBCSN. 

Austin Browns Mars Hill College Football
Asheville’s Austin Brown (11) leads Mars Hill (photo – Mars Hill Athletics)


College Football – Austin Brown (pictured) is a graduate of Asheville’s Erwin High School and currently directs the NCAA DII Mars Hill Lions from under center in the South Atlantic Conference (SAC). The lefty has the Lions leading the conference in overall passing and against Limestone on September 29 threw for 371 yards and tied a school record with six touchdown passes. 

The Lions (2-5) return to the gridiron on Saturday to face Wingate (4-3) on the road. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3. 

WNC Women's College Soccer

Women’s College Soccer – The WCU Catamounts are 3-4 to date in the 10-team Southern Conference and currently in seventh place in the league. In their final two regular-season games they’ll strive to move up a place in the standings as the league’s top six teams earn a spot in the conference quarterfinals, while the bottom four must compete in an additional play-in game. Last year, the Catamounts advanced to the SoCon final before falling to UNCG. (photo  – Ashley Evans, WCU Athletics) 

UNC Asheville Baseball Fall 2018
UNCA’s Chris Troost batting against Georgia (photo UNCA Athletics)

College Baseball – The UNC Asheville Bulldogs faced the Georgia Bulldogs of the SEC in a special 14-inning fall exhibition in Athens, Georgia on Sunday. Eight of the last ten College World Series champions have come from the SEC (5) or PAC-12 (3). Georgia was the #4 team in the country last year. 

“We told our guys that there were a lot of positive takeaways from today,” said UNCA head coach, Scott Friedholm. “One of the biggest aspects was having our younger guys play in a tough SEC environment and in front of a great crowd for a fall game.”  

College Cross Country – Montreat’s Lydia Wilson continued to prove herself as one of the top cross-country runners in the region as she finished 14th in a field of 413 runners at the Queens Royals Challenge on October 12 in Charlotte. The sophomore set a cross-country PR (17:45) at the 5k distance in the process and also broke the school record. 

0001 Owen High School Football

Preps  See last week’s Black Mountain News for an article on the rarest of three-of-a-kinds on the gridiron for the Owen High School Warhorses. (photo Tom Flynn)


Head to Black Mountain’s Vertical Runner for all your running needs in WNC


Tourists Finale: Golden is MVP and Fischer Top Female Exec

002 Tourists
Casey Golden was the 2018 South Atlantic League MVP (photo – T. Flynn)

Asheville, NC (September 6, 2018) – The Asheville Tourists started the 2018 season sluggishly but finished it on a high note in the South Atlantic League. After opening the year at 3-13, the Tourists concluded the first half of the season with a 27-42 record. They then went 37-31 in the second half to finish 64-73 overall and closed the year with a 5-4 victory over the Rome Braves on Labor Day.

Among many individual accolades, Asheville’s Casey Golden earned South Atlantic League MVP honors after topping the circuit in home runs (34), RBIs (95), runs scored (92), extra-base hits (60), and total bases (259). Golden played his undergraduate baseball at UNC Wilmington and is a Greensboro, North Carolina native.

Chad Spanberger finished as the 2018 league batting champion with a .315 clip. 

On the hill, Garrett Schilling posted a team-high eight wins. He also led the team in innings pitched (144.1) and strikeouts (135). Furman product Will Gaddis added an area rooting interest to the staff and finished the year with an even 6-6 overall mark. He lowered his ERA from 5.68 at Grand Junction in 2017 to 5.04 at McCormick Field, both notorious hitter’s parks.

“This season was memorable in so many ways. The team competed all year long,” said Doug Maurer, director of broadcast and media relations for the Tourists. “We are grateful to the players and the fans for making 2018 a year for the history books.”

In closing the season, the South Atlantic League announced that Tourists’ exec Samantha Fisher is its 2018 Female Executive of the Year. The Coastal Carolina graduate is in her fourth year with the team. She was recognized for numerous efforts within the organization including managing more than 50 part-time employees, overseeing social media marketing, website content, and in-game promotions. She also organizes the team’s multiple community outreach programs.     
“I am honored to receive this award and to represent the Asheville Tourists,” said Fischer. “The Tourists have always afforded me the opportunities to succeed and trusted in my ability as a person to get the job done.”

001 Tourists
The Tourists concluded their 2018 season with a Labor Day victory at McCormick Field over Rome.


Available on (4.4 stars)

“A must buy,” WBAL-TV (NBC Baltimore)

Baseball in Baltimore

Cards, Shildt Quickly Drop ‘Interim’ Label


MLB: AUG 21 Cardinals at Dodgers
Mike Shildt was promoted to Cardinals’ full-time manager this week.  (Photo – Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

ASHEVILLE (August 29, 2018) – After a gradual 14-year ascent through the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization, Mike Shildt’s most recent promotion came in just 45 days.

On Tuesday, the St. Louis Cardinals dropped the “interim” label from Shildt’s job title and made him the full-time manager of the team. The former UNCA Bulldog took over the job one game prior to the All-Star break in July. Since then, the Cardinals’ have bypassed seven teams in the wildcard hunt, won nine consecutive series, and have more victories than any team in baseball in the month of August (20). After last night’s win over Pittsburgh, the Cardinals are 27-12 under their new skipper. 

“This is not something I take lightly,” said Shildt at a Tuesday press conference. “I’m very grateful for my family. I grew up in a clubhouse around baseball. I got my ABCs of baseball at an early age…I have been given a lot of credit for what’s happened in the past six weeks. I appreciate it, but cannot accept it.” Shildt instead credited his players with the surge.

Although a North Carolina native, Shildt grew up around the Baltimore Orioles’ organization. His father proposed to his mother at an Orioles’ game, and his mother later worked as an office assistant with the team’s Double-AA affiliate at the time, the Charlotte Orioles. Shildt’s first job with the Baltimore organization was earning $5 a game chasing down foul balls.  

Fieldhouse Report, 08.27.2018

UNCA XC Cross Country UNCA Bulldogs UNCA Track


ASHEVILLE, N.C. (August 27, 2018) – UNC Asheville’s cross-country teams get underway this Friday at the Appalachian State Covered Bridge Open. Last year at the event, the Bulldogs finished seventh out of 11 teams on the men’s side, while UNCA finished ninth of twelve teams among the women. 

The Bulldogs host the Asheville Invitational on September 21. (photo – UNCA Athletics).

Two of the area’s neighboring programs open the cross-country season with a dual meet on Friday when Montreat heads west to face Warren Wilson College at 5:00 p.m.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 18 Western Carolina at North Carolina

The WCU Catamounts open their 2018 football season on Saturday at home against the Newberry College Wolves. Newberry plays in the NCAA’s Division II and went 5-6 last year, including a 31-14 season-opening loss to the Southern Conference’s Citadel.

The Catamounts went 7-5 overall in 2017 and 5-3 in the SoCon, good for fourth place in the league. (photo – Icon Sportswire)

On Saturday, Mars Hill travels north to face the SoCon’s ETSU in Johnson City. The Bucs went 2-6 in conference last year and 4-7 overall. MHU finished 3-6 overall.

At the Division III level, the Brevard College Tornados have a tough draw as they travel to face Davidson of the FCS at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday. Brevard is led by Duke graduate, Bill Khayat.


As reported last week, former UNCA Bulldog Mike Shildt has the St. Louis Cardinals surging.

That trend continued through the week. The Redbirds moved into second place in the NL Central, trailing only the Chicago Cubs. They now have a half-game lead over Milwaukee as the top wildcard team, and a game lead over the remaining chase pack for the two wildcard spots.

The team is 26-12 under Shildt, good for a .684 winning percentage. 

For all your college athletics content needs, see

New FieldHouse Header 1040 X 350 (14)

UNCA’s Shildt Has Cardinals Surging

MLB: AUG 19 Brewers at Cardinals
Cardinals’ outfielder Tyler O’Neill leaps to make a catch against Milwaukee (photo – Jimmy Simmons/Icon Sportswire)

ASHEVILLE, NC (August 21, 2018) – Mike Shildt was named the interim manager of the St. Louis Cardinals on July 14. The former UNCA Bulldog is making the most of the opportunity. 

The skipper inherited a team that was an under-performing 47-46 at the time, leading to the dismissal of manager Mike Matheny. They are now 69-57, with a 22-11 mark (.667) while led by Shildt. They have gone 8-2 in their last ten games and are now tied for the final wild-card spot in the National League, and 3.5 games behind the division- leading Cubs for first-place in the NL Central.

In a sign of their revived fortunes, and of Washington conceding 2018 as a lost campaign, the Cardinals picked up left-handed slugger Matt Adams from the Nats on Tuesday.

Adams previously spent 2012-2017 with the Redbirds, and can play both the outfield and first base. He will likely see time platooning in the outfield against right-handers, as well as pinch-hitting. The move also proves a Redbirds’ counter to the Cubs’ acquisition of Daniel Murphy from the Nationals on the same day.

Shildt is the first MLB manager hired since 2007 without former professional playing experience. 

Former UNCA Bulldog Leads Cardinals

MLB: SEP 26 Cubs at Cardinals
Former UNCA Bulldog Mike Shildt (left) now leads St. Louis. (photo – Jimmy Simmons/Icon Sportswire)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (July 19, 2018) – Mike Shildt, a former middle infielder for the UNC Asheville Bulldogs from 1987-1990, was named the St. Louis Cardinals interim manager last week.

He took quick advantage of the opportunity, winning his first game as the Cardinals’ skipper on July 15 before the team headed into the All-Star break. The manager will go for his second win tonight as the Cardinals head to Wrigley Field to face the rival Cubs at 6:05 p.m. Central.

Shildt coached for the Bulldogs in 1992-1993 and has been in the Cardinals’ organization since 2004. He is the first manager at the major league level without professional baseball playing experience since Dave Trembley led the Baltimore Orioles from 2007-2010.

Photos: A Visit to Evansville’s Bosse Field



A League of their Own
Tom Hanks and Geena Davis starring in the 1992 film, “A League of Their Own” (photo – copyright Sony Home Entertainment)

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (June 24, 2018) – Two of the three oldest baseball parks still in use professionally today are well-known – Boston’s Fenway Park (1912) and Chicago’s Wrigley Field (1914). Less famous but far more evocative of its distant past is Bosse Field in Evansville, Indiana, the third oldest active park in the nation. Bosse is home to the Evansville Otters of the 12-team independent Frontier League.

Bosse Field

Bosse opened on June 17, 1915, as the new home of the Evansville River Rats of the Central League, a class “B” minor league circuit based primarily in Indiana, Iowa, and Ohio. Within a decade, it also served a short stint as an NFL venue when it hosted the Evansville Crimson Giants, who played there for the 1921 and 1922 seasons before folding.

Evansville Crimson Giants
The Evansville Crimson Giants c. 1922 (photo – public domain)

Years later, Bosse had a prominent role in the 1992 film “A League of Their Own” as the home of the Racine Belles of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. The interior of the park still has signage dating to the film, and adorning its exterior is a painting of actress Geena Davis, who starred in the movie and notably quipped afterward, “I’d rather play the baseball player than the girlfriend of the baseball player.”

The Otters have called Bosse home since they began play in 1995. They most recently won the Frontier League title in 2016. Josh Allen, a member of that team and the league’s MVP the same year, recently signed a contract with the New York Mets organization and was assigned to their AA-affiliate in Binghamton. The Frontier League, as with all independent baseball leagues, is unaffiliated with MLB but regularly sells the contracts of players to major league organizations. Allen originally made the Otters when he attended an open tryout for the team. (photos – Tom Flynn)

002 Racine Belles004 Bosse Field Dugout005 Geena Davis001 Bosse Field Article