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COVID-19 outbreak cancels Hickory Crawdads season finale
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COVID-19 outbreak cancels Hickory Crawdads season finale

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Sunday’s Hickory Crawdads season finale against the Rome Braves in Georgia was canceled due to an COVID-19 outbreak on the Crawdads.

Scheduled for a 2 p.m. start, the Braves issued a statement announcing the cancellation just after 9 a.m. Sunday.

The statement read: “Sunday’s game has been cancelled to allow for additional testing and contact tracing within the Hickory Crawdads organization. We are adhering to Minor League Baseball’s health and safety protocols and will practice caution as we follow the guidance of experts.”

When asked for further information about the status of the outbreak, the Crawdads replied with an emailed statement issued by the Major League Baseball parent club Texas Rangers which read:

“As a result of several positive COVID tests by members of the Hickory Crawdads, today’s season finale versus the Rome Braves at Rome, GA has been cancelled under an abundance of caution. Additional testing and contact tracing has been conducted on the team’s players and staff. The Rangers and Crawdads have been in consultation with Major League Baseball throughout this process to insure that the health and safety of the players and staff are the primary consideration. The Rangers will have no further comment at this time.”

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The cancellation was the second in a row to end the season, as the teams were rained out Saturday. The series also had a rainout last Wednesday. What was billed as a seven-game series to start the week was shortened to three.

The Crawdads finished the season with a win in their final game last Friday, which snapped a 16-game losing streak. Hickory ended the season at 46-68, the worst record by the team as a Rangers affiliate (starting in 2009). It is also the worst record by a Rangers High-A affiliate since that level was brought into the minor league system in 1990. The previous low was the Rangers’ 2007 High-A team in Bakersfield (California), when the Blaze went 57-83.

The Crawdads return for the 2022 season April 8 at Winston-Salem. The first home game is April 12.

Crawdads of note

Several Hickory players had top-10 finishes in the High-A East League in statistical categories. Three pitchers were in the top 10 in strikeouts, led by Avery Weems, who had 124 on the season.

Ezequiel Duran, who came to Hickory from league rival Hudson Valley (N.Y.) in late July, had several top 10 finishes. He ranked as the Rangers seventh-best prospect, he was second in RBIs (79), third in hits (111), fifth in runs scored (67), tied for seventh in triples (6), tied for eighth in doubles (22), and 10th in on-base percentage (.486).


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