Area Sports Briefs: Former Catawba catcher Almond among minor leaguers released

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 10, 2020

From staff reports

Pro baseball

Zac Almond, a former Catawba College catcher who was in the Arizona Diamondbacks farm system, was one of the players released as a wave of minor leaguers lost their jobs.

It’s unlikely there will be a minor league season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Drafted in the 35th round in 2017, Almond, 24, was a native of Richfield.

He played in 592 minor league games and hit .270 with 18 homers and 102 RBIs.

His best professional year was in the Pioneer League in 2018 when he hit .345 with 13 homers for Missoula and was named to the league’s mid-season and post-season all-star teams.

Almond smacked a grand slam for Catawba against Mars Hill in 2016 and tied the school record in that game with eight RBIs.

In 2017, he hit one of the four consecutive homers by Catawba batters against Shippensburg.

Almond had a 20-game hitting streak in 2017 and had 17 homers and 61 RBIs.

He hit 30 homers in his two seasons at Catawba. He was first team All-South Atlantic Conference in 2017 and second team all-region in 2016 and 2017.



CHAPEL HILL – The North Carolina High School Athletic Association has named the winner of the Female Athlete of the Year for the 2019-2020 School Year. The award is in its 35th year and winners receive the Pat Best Memorial Trophy.

Morgan Smalls of Panther Creek is the winner. She  is an elite level track and field athlete, leading the Panther Creek women’s track teams to a pair of NCHSAA outdoor state championships as well as an indoor state title in 2020. Smalls was the 4A state indoor meet MVP for the second year in a row, winning the long jump, triple jump and high jump events for the second straight year. She has the NCHSAA State record in all three indoor jumping events and the outdoor high jump.  Smalls won 13 individual state championships and three state meet MVP awards during her career. The winner, finalists and semifinalists were chosen from nominations received from coaches, media and school administrators.


Catawba athletics

Catawba College has announced several team MVP awards:

Men’s golf — Tanner Bibey, a senior from Walnut Cove

Women’s lacrosse — Caroline Falcone, a sophomore from Brookeville, Md.

Women’s soccer — Katie Beck, a sophomore from Clermont, Fla.

Men’s cross country — Matthew Fowler, a freshman from Concord First Assembly Academy


High school basketball

Former A.L. Brown player Amare Haynie, who is now at Moravian Prep, received an offer from Wake Forest. Haynie is in the Class of 2022.


North Rowan’s Brandon White, a mobile 6-foot-10 player in the Class of 2022, is ranked as the state’s No. 9 prospect by Justin Byerly, one of the state’s recruiting experts.

White is a work in progress, but his athleticism for his size makes his ceiling high. He has offers from Virginia Tech and Western Kentucky.