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The Elk Lake Warriors used strong pitching and the ability to fight through one-run games to conquer a difficult schedule and advance to the state Class A baseball playoffs for the second straight year.
Elk Lake finished off one win then got another Friday after rain disrupted the schedule throughout the week.
Although the rest of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class A games were played Monday, wet fields forced Elk Lake and Panther Valley back to Tuesday. The teams got in 3 1/2 innings before rain caused a suspended game and a move to King's College in Wilkes-Barre.
After two more rain-outs, the Warriors finished off a 2-1 victory over Panther Valley to start Friday's action. Elk Lake then edged Annville-Cleona, 1-0, in the quarterfinals. Ben Lyne and Seth Button led the pitching.
The rain-outs allowed Lyne to pitch a complete game in the first round of the state tournament and start the quarterfinals.
Lyne worked four innings Tuesday and three innings Friday in a two-hitter over Panther Valley. He stayed on the mound and worked the first three innings of a combined three-hitter with Button in the victory over Annville-Cleona.
Lyne gave up three hits in three innings. Button then retired 12 of the 13 batters he faced, including 12 strikeouts.
It was a big week for Button.
Button's two-run, first-inning homer Tuesday held up for the 2-1 win. He was drafted by the Cleveland Indians before the Warriors ever finished the game.
Cleveland selected Button in the 50th round with the 1464th pick overall. Although Button plays pitcher and first base for Elk Lake, the Indians project him as a right fielder.
Panther Valley scored once in the fourth, but Tom Blaisure started an inning-ended double play to get the Warriors out of trouble right before the game was suspended. Tyler Emmerich's diving catch in left field saved a run in the sixth inning.
Paul Roman's double in the fourth inning drove in Tony Dorman, who had singled, for the only run of the quarterfinal.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Elk Lake's softball team had a much tougher time in the state playoffs.
The Lady Warriors were no-hit in a 9-0 loss to Pottsville Nativity in the first round in Class A.
In addition to being unable to get a hit, Elk Lake committed seven errors, all of which contributed to scoring.
Elk Lake errors started the second and third innings. A second error in each inning brought in runs.
The Lady Warriors committed two straight errors and three total in a four-run fifth inning that built Nativity's lead to 8-0.
In soccer, Susquehanna County athletes were on the losing end of the first UNICO Soccer Cup at Lackawanna County Stadium.
The South shut out the North, 2-0, in the girls' game to open the doubleheader. The South won the boys' game, 5-1.
In professional baseball, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons had a six-game winning streak to move over .500 for the first time since April.
Chase Utley led the streak. In a seven-game stretch, encompassing the winning streak and the game in which it ended, he had four home runs, scored 10 runs and drove in 11.
In arena football, two Greensboro Prowlers players who were involved in incidents during and after the May 23 game at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers received harsh penalties from arenafootball2.
Cranston Johnson, who reached over the boards and struck a fan after being ejected for an on-field fight, was suspended for life.
"Your behavior is inexcusable and will not be tolerated in our game," af2 executive director Jay Marcus wrote in a letter to Johnson.
Thaddeus Bullard, who spent the night in jail after a post-game fight with Rich Butcofski of the Pioneers, was suspended for a year. He had received one-game suspensions twice earlier in the year after being involved in fights.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Susquehanna graduate Teresa Covert will compete in the NCAA Division I track and field championships Wednesday through Saturday in Sacramento.
Covert, a junior at the University at Albany, will compete in the 100-meter hurdles, the event in which she won three of her four state championships for the Lady Sabers.
Covert is seeded 23rd in a field of 28 national qualifiers.
At press time, Elk Lake was scheduled to play District 4 champion Muncy in the state Class A baseball semifinals Monday.
A win would put Elk Lake in Friday's state final at 11 a.m. at Bowman Field in Williamsport against the winner of Chartiers-Houston and Bellwood-Antis.
Jeremy Pierson, a freshman from Elk Lake, was named Region 19 Player of the Year and National Junior College Athletic Association Division III All-American for his play at Keystone College.
Pierson went 10-1 with a save and a 1.44 earned run average. The ERA was the second best in Keystone history. In 68 innings, Pierson struck out 79 and walked 41. He also had a hit and drove in a run in his only at-bat.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached on-line at RobbyTR@aol.com.
STEWART Wins At Pocono Under Yellow, Pocono, PA The defending NASCAR Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart got his first win of the season as he took Sunday's Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway under a yellow flag.
"We finally got the monkey off our back," said Stewart. "I never thought the first win of the season would feel so good. All season we have known how to lead, we finally got it all together."
Stewart gained the lead after a caution on lap 153 of the 200-lap race for the stalled car of Ricky Rudd. He led until he brought his No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet into the pits for a 3.6 second fuel stop on lap 177.
When he returned to the track, he was eighth. After the other leaders pitted for fuel, Stewart was the new leader on lap 190.
Mark Martin, driver of the No. 6 Viagra Ford was able to hang with Stewart, but could never get close enough to seriously challenge for the lead, and finished second.
"Tony was fast, and we were too," said Martin. "But we weren't fast enough. We could keep up but not overhaul him."
Martin's teammate and points leader Matt Kenseth finished third in the No. 17 DeWalt Ford.
"It was a great finish for us," said Kenseth. "We had a great car on long runs, but it wasn't too good on short ones."
Kurt Busch cut a tire and hit the wall during lap 193. Green flag racing resumed on lap 197. On the restart, Terry Labonte got into the rear of Jeff Green's No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet, spinning him into the infield grass and bringing out the race's final caution, and causing it to end under yellow.
Sterling Marlin led the most laps, and for the first time in three races, Jeff Gordon did not get into the back of Marlin's No. 40 Coors Dodge.
Polesitter Jimmie Johnson finished 12th.
Top ten finishing order: 1. Tony Stewart, 2. Mark Martin, 3. Matt Kenseth, 4. Dale Earnhardt Jr., 5. Ryan Newman, 6. Sterling Marlin, 7. Terry Labonte, 8. Ward Burton, 9. Elliott Sadler, 10. Ricky Craven.
KENSETH Maintains His Point Lead The top-10 Winston Cup points leaders after 14 of 36 races: 1. Kenseth-2115, 2. Earnhardt Jr.-1939, 3. J. Gordon-1882, 4. B. Labonte-1828, 5. Busch-1753, 6. Waltrip-1745, 7. Johnson-1738, 8. R. Wallace-1671, 9. Harvick-1630, 10. Marlin-1623.
RIGGS Wins Busch Duel Over Green At Nashville The top ten results of the Busch Series Trace Adkins Chrome 300, run Saturday, June 7 at Nashville Superspeedway; 1. Scott Riggs, 2. David Green, 3. David Stremme, 4. Randy LaJoie, 5. Bobby Hamilton Jr., 6. Ashton Lewis, 7. Stanton Barrett, 8. Scott Wimmer, 9. Jay Sauter, 10. Brian Vickers.
RIGGS Is New Points Leader The top-10 Busch leaders after 15 of 34 races: 1. Riggs-2056, 2. D. Green-2038, 3. T. Bodine-2032, 4. Hornaday-1912, 5. Vickers-1881, 6. Keller-1880, 7. Bliss-1868, 8. Hamilton Jr.-1833, 9. Sauter-1809, 10. Hmiel-1776.
GAUGHAN Gets His Third Texas Truck Race The top ten results of the Craftsman Truck Series O'Reilly 400K, run Friday, June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway: 1. Brendan Gaughan, 2. Carl Edwards, 3. Jon Wood, 4. Travis Kvapil, 5. Dennis Setzer, 6. David Starr, 7. Bobby Hamilton, 8. Chad Chaffin, 9. Terry Cook, 10. Matt Crafton.
HAMILTON Continues As Truck Leader The top-10 Craftsman Truck Series leaders after 7 of 25 races: 1. Hamilton-1152, 2. Crawford-1079, 3. Gaughan-1053, 4. Kvapil-1044, 5. Musgrave-1000, 6. Setzer-977, 7. Wood-947, 8. Cook-919, 9. Chaffin-905, 10. Starr-885.
No racing this weekend for the Craftsman Trucks. They are off until June 21. The NASCAR Busch series is at the 1.5 mile Kentucky Superspeedway in Sparta, while the Winston Cup teams goes to Brooklyn, Michigan.
Saturday, June 14: Busch Series Meijer 300, race 16 of 34, 200 laps/300 miles, 7:30 p.m. ; TV: FX Sports Channel.
Sunday, June 15: Winston Cup Sirius Satellite Radio 400, race 15 of 36, 200 laps/400 miles, 12:30 p.m. TV: Fox.
Racing Trivia Question: Who is young Kyle Busch scheduled to drive for in the future?
Answer To Last Week's Question: Winston Cup driver Joe Nemechek drives the No. 25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
Gerald Hodges/the Racing Reporter is a syndicated NASCAR columnist. If you have a racing question that you would like answered send it to The Racing Reporter, P.O. Box 160711, Mobile, AL, 36616, or e-mail it to: email@example.com.
Montrose's Bob Dean learned about the satisfaction that comes with winning a District 2 championship last season.
Dean also learned the disappointment of having the season end with an off day at the state championships.
Using his second district title to produce a second chance at the state meet, Dean made the most of that opportunity this season.
"I'm really happy," Dean said after concluding his high school career by finishing fourth in the discus in Class AA in the state championships at Shippensburg University.
The state medal followed a strong performance in three events at the District 2 meet. That combination makes Dean a Susquehanna County Transcript Athlete of the Month for the second straight season.
"It was still cold, still kind of rainy," Dean said of the conditions in which the Class AA boys' discus throwers competed. "The circle was so wet, it was like glass when you were spinning on it."
Dean handled those conditions better than most of the field. He was in eighth place until his final throw, which covered 148-9 and lifted him into fourth place.
"When I let it go, I felt that it was pretty good," said Dean, who plans to attend Bucks County Community College for woodworking.
A week earlier, Dean had placed in three events to help Montrose finish fifth in the 19-team event. In addition to his championship throw of 151-9 in the discus, Dean was third in the javelin and fourth in the shot put.
Dean, the son of Calvin and Nannette Dean of Montrose, was on the track team for four years. He was also a member of the Montrose football team for two seasons and part of a third.
Harford Lodge #445 F. & A.M. will sponsor a Demolition Derby at the Harford Fairgrounds, on July 5, to raise funds for charitable purposes. During the past nine years, Harford Lodge has raised several thousand dollars for worthy projects, for local police and firemen associations, as well as the Mountain View School District. On several occasions the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania has doubled the amount of the contribution.
The International Demolition Derby Association rules and regulations will be used as a basis for the competition. Cars are inspected carefully before the heats and final, to ensure that all safety regulations are met. The IDDA recognizes that crashes are common and requires that drivers accept responsibility for the dangers and exercise reasonable and prudent care for their own safety.
The purpose of a Demolition Derby is to trash out a car, have fun, and perhaps make money. Prizes at some State Fairs in the midwest and south run to several thousand dollars, but for most competitors the goal is to have fun. Spectators have fun, too and the sport has become international in scope, particularly in Australia.
Gates at the Harford Fairgrounds will open at 12:00 noon, so that race officials and spectators can inspect the cars. Races will begin at 4:00 p.m. Food and refreshments will be available, but no coolers or alcoholic beverages are allowed at the fairgrounds. The IDDA also requires that no alcoholic beverages are allowed.
Harford Lodge members chose to sponsor a Demolition Derby because it is a new and growing sport, and there are many enthusiasts in the local area. For more information phone Robert Kochmer (222-5713), William Zick (289-4234), or Robert Powers, Jr. (434-2169).
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