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Crawdads Win 4 High-A East Major Fun Awards

December 6, 2021 - South Atlantic League (SAL) - Hickory Crawdads News Release

HICKORY, NC - The Crawdads claimed four High-A East awards in Minor League Baseball's first-ever Major Fun Awards.

The 'Dads won two Golden Bobbleheads in the High-A East League for their promotional creativity. The Salute to Troops Night was awarded the Best Promotion/Event and the Hickory Couch Potatoes won in the Best Theme Night Collection or Specialty Jersey category.

Two members of the front office staff also won individual awards. General Manager Douglas Locascio was named the Executive of the Year while Director of Marketing, Communications and Merchandise Ashley Salinas was named the Future Star of the Year.

The Salute to Troops Night was held on September 11th this past year. The Crawdads partnered with the Hickory Aviation Museum and had three retired military airplanes on display outside of the stadium. Following the National Anthem, a 1941 Boeing-Stearman did the Crawdads' first-ever flyover. LP Frans Stadium was decorated to pay tribute to the fallen troops. There were 13 pieces of bunting hung around the concourse while 13 stars were painted in the grass next to each of the baselines. One of the Crawdads' logos was also painted with stars and stripes in the area between the warning track and home plate. With the Salute to Troops Night falling on 9/11, the Crawdads paid tribute to the lives lost as part of that tragic day. Prior to the game, the memorial video was shown and there was a moment of silence to pay respects. During the 7th inning stretch, a harpist played God Bless America.

The Couch Potatoes made their on-field debut for three games this past June. While being a catchy name on the surface, the Couch Potato moniker has a deeper meaning. The "Couch" part is to pay tribute to the Hickory metro area being known as the Furniture Capital of the World. "Potato" comes from North Carolina being the nation's leading sweet potato producer. The Couch Potato games featured a Thirsty Thursday (the debut), a fireworks night, and a themed giveaway. The giveaway item was a 3D version of the logo with a coin slot in the top, also known as a Potato Bank. Over 6,000 fans came through the gates to watch the Couch Potatoes. The jerseys featured the Couch Potato wordmark and player numbers in a faded shade of gray, which was designed to resemble grease stains.

Locascio, who was named General Manager in mid-2019, was awarded the High-A East Executive of the Year. The award is intended to "[honor] the MiLB Club executive who best embodies the inspirational leadership, strategic innovation, business-driving vision, and exemplary service to the Club, community and game of baseball." Under Locascio's leadership, the organization set multiple records on the business side. He also continues to serve the community, serving on the Hickory Sports Commission, is on the executive board for the Partnership for Children, and is a member of the Hickory Young Professionals.

Salinas, the High-A East Future Star of the Year, wrapped up her fourth year with the team. The Future Star Award is given out to an executive 25 years or younger and is "a new award platform created to promote the accomplishments of successful young professionals throughout MiLB by highlighting their contributions, dedication, and demonstrated leadership potential." Salinas joined the Crawdads in late 2017 as the Creative Services Specialist and has grown in her role to take on merchandise for the team, and leadership of the pressbox and promotions team. In the Spring of 2020, she was promoted to the Director of Marketing, Communications, and Merchandise. She is responsible for creating all the team's graphics, running the social media accounts, managing all the marketing efforts, and has operated the new videoboard since it was installed for the 2018 season.

Each of the league winners were finalists for the National Award in each category. The 'Dads were also finalists for the national Copa de la Diversión Campeón for their efforts with the Llamas de Hickory identity. The national winners were announced during the Major Fun Awards Show on Sunday, December 5th in Orlando, Florida.

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