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If there were any questions about how much coach Dale Cook valued the contributions of his three Susquehanna County players, one look at the Conklin Raiders batting order provided the necessary answers.
Whitney Williams, who is preparing for her senior year as a three-sport standout at Mountain View, batted second.
Jocelyn Dearborn, who still has two years left as a basketball and softball star at Blue Ridge, followed in the third spot.
Devin Glezen, a Blue Ridge graduate who has already completed her freshman season as the starting catcher at Division I Binghamton University, handled clean-up duties.
Williams, Dearborn and Glezen helped the Raiders finished third in the New York state 18-and-under fastpitch tournament and advance to the Amateur Softball Association nationals. The Raiders wrapped up their season earlier this month by finishing 49th out of 138 teams in the national tournament in Columbus, Ga.
"They are three of the best players around," Cook said. "We're very fortunate to have three kids like that.
"We've had a lot of success over the years and we've seen a lot of Division I players come through. Those three are Division I players; Devin is already there."
Glezen was the only player with college experience on the team during her third summer with the Raiders. At Binghamton, Glezen hit homers in two of the last three games of her freshman season and was named to the America East all-rookie team.
"She was our team leader," Cook said. "I asked her to play outfield because we had a junior catcher who was being recruited."
Glezen also played a few games at catcher, batted .330 and led the team in RBIs.
Dearborn, in her first season with the team, batted over .350 in the second half of the season to raise her overall average to near .260.
"She started out slowly being in a brand-new position up at 18 for the first time," Cook said. "She took off in the second half of the season.
"She's is a great talent. She's an outstanding third baseman, who made some unbelievable plays."
Williams, a speedy shortstop, came to the Raiders last season as a powerful right-handed hitter but with some flaws in her swing that Cook thought might cause problems on higher levels of competition.
Rather than tear down Williams' right-handed swing in a short summer season, Cook helped her make the transition to the left side.
"Whitney did a great job," Cook said. "Her swing is picture-perfect from the left side."
Williams, the county's leading girls' soccer scorer and Mountain View's leading basketball scorer last season, gained more attention from softball recruiters during the summer. Her future is very likely to be on the softball field.
"She's highly recruited," Cook said of Williams, who showed more of her talents by singing the national anthem during opening ceremonies at the national tournament. "The sky is the limit for Whitney."
WEEK IN REVIEW
Catcher/first baseman Mike Jacobs was one of the Eastern League's top hitters when he was called directly to the New York Mets from the Binghamton Mets roster Wednesday.
Jacobs left the Binghamton Mets with a 22-game hitting streak intact after going 1-for-3 earlier that day in Maine.
Jacobs led the league in RBIs (92) and doubles (37) while ranking tied for second in homers (25) and fourth in bating average (.321) at the time he was called up.
Elsewhere in the EL, Montrose graduate Rich Thompson ran his stolen base total with the Altoona Curve to 31. Thompson ranks five in the league in stolen bases.
Counting his time with Class AAA Indianapolis, Thompson is 44-for-49 stealing bases in 105 games this season.
Montrose graduate Nicole Chaszar has landed her first women's basketball head coaching job at the age of 27.
Chaszar was named as head coach at Western New England College earlier this month.
"I'm excited about the opportunity to start my head coach career at Western New England College," Chaszar, who spent the last two seasons as assistant coach and summer camp director at Division I University of Rhode Island, said in a press release. "The college has enjoyed tremendous success in recent years, and I'm looking forward to working with the great young women on the basketball team."
Chaszar graduated from Temple University in 2000 after concluding a career in which she was a four-time Atlantic 10 Conference All-Academic selection, a team captain for two seasons and the Owls' team Most Valuable Player as a senior.
Chaszar then headed to Springfield College where she served as graduate assistant coach for one season. She received her Master of Science degree in physical education and health teaching with a concentration in athletic administration at Springfield in 2003.
Before coaching at Rhode Island, Chaszar also spent one season as an assistant coach at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.
"We're extremely happy to have Nicole join our coaching staff," New England College athletic director Mike Theulen said. "She is a high-energy individual who will be a fine asset to our program. As a player, Nicole was the epitome of a student-athlete. She also has gained a considerable amount of invaluable coaching experience in a relatively short amount of time at both the Division I and Division III levels.
"The future of our women's basketball team is indeed very bright."
Western New England College, which is located in Springfield, Mass. is coming off a 19-8 season. The Golden Bears play in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference.
THE WEEK AHEAD
High school golf season starts with tournament action this week.
Girls' tennis season is scheduled to open Monday.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
MAYFIELD Gambles On Fuel And Wins
Brooklyn, MI – Jeremy Mayfield’s No. 19 team gambled on fuel mileage and it paid off. Mayfield had just enough gas to make it to the finish line for the team's first victory of the season in Sunday’s GFS Marketplace 400.
Mayfield and his crew chief “Slugger” Labbe decided not to pit and ran the final 52 laps without stopping.
“We robbed the bank,” said Labbe. “We took a 28th place car and won with it. The motor run 270 (degrees) all day long and was cooked, had bad tires there at the end, and didn’t run good all day long.
“We had a couple bad pits stops, but no one gave up, and here we are. That’s the way it goes.”
It was Mayfield’s first Nextel Cup victory since last September’s Richmond race, and the fifth of his career.
“We’ve got two flat tires and I just can’t believe it,” said Mayfield. “This is the way we had to do it. All last year and this year, we watched cars do it, and we knew this was the way we had to do it.”
Scott Riggs finished second, his highest ever finish.
Mayfield finished 1.974 seconds ahead of Riggs, followed by Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Joe Nemechek, Brian Vickers and Jimmie Johnson.
Top ten finishing order: 1. Jeremy Mayfield, 2. Scott Riggs, 3. Matt Kenseth, 4. Carl Edwards, 5. Tony Stewart, 6. Greg Biffle, 7. Kurt Busch, 8. Joe Nemechek, 9. Brian Vickers, 10. Jimmie Johnson.
Chase for the Cup Contenders: 1. Stewart-3268, 2. Johnson-3142, 3. Greg Biffle-3016, 4. R. Wallace-2979, 5. Martin-2899, 6. Mayfield-2869, 7. Busch-2848, 8. Newman-2773, 9. Edwards-2758, 10. McMurray-2702, 11. Jarrett-2651, 12. J. Gordon-2644, 13. Sadler-2636, 14. Harvick-2620, 15. Kenseth-2598, 16. Earnhardt-2544, 17. Nemechek-2533, 18. Vickers-2487, 19. Kahne-2405, 20. Waltrip-2364, 21. J. Burton-2359, 22. Kyle Busch-2329.
These are the only drivers that have a mathematical chance of being in the top-10 when the Chase begins.
With just three races left, it doesn’t look good for Dale Jarrett, Jeff Gordon, Elliott Sadler, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, or Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Will Eury Jr. And Dale Jr. Get Back Together? After last week’s announcement by Dale Earnhardt Inc. that Tony Eury Jr. has signed a long-term contract to remain with the team, many fans are wondering if Eury might get back with his cousin, Dale Jr.
"Having such a loyal employee and talented crew chief like Tony as part of DEI on a long-term basis was an important objective for the continuity of our program," said Teresa Earnhardt.
Eury Jr. is currently the crew chief on DEI’s other team, driven by Michael Waltrip. Until the start of the 2005 season, he was the crew chief for Dale Jr.
"I couldn't be happier," said Eury. "I've spent many years with DEI and always planned to be for a long time to come. With all the outside distractions now behind us, we can focus on winning races."
Before the season, DEI looked to bolster both of its Cup teams by swapping the crews of the Nos. 8 and 15, with Eury moving over to run Waltrip's team and Pete Rondeau leading Earnhardt's crew.
Rondeau was let go a few weeks ago and replaced by Steve Hmiel as crew chief of Dale Jr.’s team. Waltrip also has announced his decision to leave DEI at the end of the season.
But still, speculation remains that Earnhardt and Eury could be reunited.
Both Earnhardt Jr. and Eury Jr. have in recent weeks talked openly about their desire to work together again, but last week’s announcement of the new contract for Eury Jr. included no word about which team Eury Jr. will be with in the future.
However, you couldn’t help but feel that Dale Jr. was happy with the signing.
"Tony Jr. is awesome," Earnhardt Jr. said at Indianapolis two weeks ago. "I've always thought he was going to be one of the best crew chiefs in the business. I do want to work with him again, I think we should."
Earnhardt Jr. said in that interview that their separation this year has helped him and Eury Jr. mature after often finding themselves at odds late last season.
"We'll let you guys worry yourselves about what we're going to do in the future," Earnhardt said after Waltrip's decision. "We're just going to concentrate on one week at a time. I think once we get to the end of the season, we'll have a real clear picture about of what might be the best for us to do."
I personally believe that in this case, blood is thicker than water, and the two will get back together in some capacity, where Eury can help Dale Jr. on the car and during races.
Top-10 Busch Series leaders: 1. Truex-3606, 2. Bowyer-3402, 3. Sorenson-3282, 4. Edwards-3255, 5. K. Wallace-3078, 6. Hamlin-3053, 7. Menard-2847, 8. D. Green-2826, 9. Stremme-2802, 10. Lews-2728.
The Craftsman Trucks did not race this past weekend.
All three of NASCAR’s major series will be at Bristol, TN.
Wednesday, Aug. 24, Craftsman Trucks O’Reilly 200, race 17 of 25, Starting time: 9 p.m. (EST); TV: Speed Channel; Distance: 200 laps/106 miles; Defending champion: Carl Edwards, Ford.
Friday, August 26, Busch Series Food City 250, race 26 of 35, 250 laps/133 miles, 7:30 p.m. TV: TNT.
Saturday, August 27, Nextel Cup Sharpie 500, race 24 of 36, 500 laps/266 miles, 7 p.m. TV: TNT.
Racing Trivia Question: Who is the sponsor of the Victory Junction Camp?
Last Week’s Question: Greg Biffle currently drives the No. 16 Nextel Cup Ford. What other NASCAR series championships has he won? Answer. In additional to several regional series championships, Biffle won the 2000 Craftsman Truck Series title, and 2002 Busch Series Championship.
You may read additional stories by the Racing Reporter at www.race500.com. You may write him at P. O. Box 160711, Mobile, AL 36616.
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