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Rich Thompson's job is to get the Altoona Curve offense started from the leadoff position.
The Montrose graduate got the offense going and it never stopped Thursday when the Curve set a franchise record for runs in a game during an 18-4 romp over the Akron Aeros.
Thompson was the only player in the lineup with three hits and was one of two with three runs. He went 3-for-3, drew a walk and drove in two runs while pushing his season batting average to .340.
Altoona's previous high for runs in a game was 16 against Reading May 5, 2000.
The Curve is in first place and off to an 11-4 start. The record-setting win was the team's fifth victory in six games.
Thompson was 2-for-6 in a 9-3 victory over the Trenton Thunder in the previous game.
After ranking among the top base stealers in all of minor league baseball the past five seasons, Thompson is just 1-for-4 on stolen base attempts so far this season.
WEEK IN REVIEW
The only time the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins led in the first three games of their Calder Cup playoff series with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the game was stopped immediately.
Matt Hussey's goal 1:12 into overtime Sunday in Bridgeport helped the Penguins escape with a 3-2 victory that cut the Sound Tigers’ lead in the best-of-seven series to two games-to-one.
The Penguins earned home ice for at least the first two rounds of the playoffs by winning their first East Division title.
That was little help when the Sound Tigers scored the first two goals of each of the first two games on the way to 2-1 and 3-2 victories.
The Penguins went to Bridgeport in trouble and found more when Rob Collins scored his third goal of the series 2:48 into the game.
Bridgeport led twice, but the Penguins recovered each time to gain ties. Ryan Stone scored in the first minute of the third period to force a 2-2 tie.
Dany Sabourin stopped all eight shots he saw in the third period to force the game into overtime where Hussey won it on his eighth shot of the game.
The Penguins began peppering Wade Dubielewicz midway through Game Two, but were having trouble against the goalie, who stopped 95 of 101 shots in the first three games.
Bridgeport took a 3-0 lead at 9:44 of the second period Saturday and held on for the 3-2 win despite Wilkes-Barre/Scranton racking up a 31-9 advantage in shots the rest of the way.
In minor league baseball, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons have erased a slow start.
The Red Barons swept host Syracuse, 4-2 and 4-3, Sunday to extend their winning streak to nine games.
After starting the season 2-6, the Red Barons went on the winning streak, which includes six wins in one-run games.
In high school sports, the Blue Ridge baseball and softball teams made scoring in double figures look routine.
Blue Ridge ripped St. Rose, 19-0, Thursday; Bishop O'Reilly, 14-0, Friday; and Pittston Seton Catholic, 12-6, Sunday in baseball.
The Lady Raiders shut out Lackawanna Trail, 11-0, and St. Rose, 12-0, in softball.
Devin Glezen, a sophomore catcher/outfielder from Blue Ridge, is the leading home run hitter on the Division I Binghamton University softball team.
Glezen has four of the team's seven home runs. She has started all 30 games for Binghamton (6-24).
An America East all-rookie selection last season, Glezen also leads the team with nine sacrifices.
Glezen is second on the team with a .278 batting average, 12 runs, 25 hits and 13 runs batted in. She is also tied for second with four doubles.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The Lackawanna Track Conference regular season is scheduled to come to an end Monday.
Among the meets on the schedule are: Montrose at Western Wayne, Susquehanna at Elk Lake and Carbondale at Blue Ridge.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
HARVICK Dominates In The Desert, Avondale, AZ – Kevin Harvick won Saturday night’s Subway 500 Nextel Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, sweeping the weekend after also winning Friday’s Busch Series race at the one-mile oval.
Kevin and DeLana Harvick prior to Saturday's race at Phoenix
Harvick never led in the Subway 500 until passing Greg Biffle on Lap 302 of 312, and then held off Tony Stewart by 2.774 seconds for the win.
The Cup win is the first of the season for Harvick and sixth of his career. He improved to eighth in points, 174 behind new leader Matt Kenseth.
As Harvick crossed the finish line, several drivers ran out of fuel, including Biffle, Mark Martin, Kyle Petty and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
“We didn’t have the best car all day, but we had the best car when it counted,” said Harvick. “Once we got out front, I was able to conserve gas. I was sweating the gas.”
Tony Stewart started last, but picked up 41 positions to finish a strong second.
Stewart qualified his No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet third, but due to a miscommunication amongst the team, the tires with which Stewart posted that third-place qualifying time were taken to Goodyear and destroyed. Those tires needed to be on the car when Stewart began Saturday night's 312-lap affair, as NASCAR mandates that the top-10 qualifiers start the race on the tires with which they qualified. Since those tires weren't available to Stewart, NASCAR had no choice but to send Stewart to last-place in the 43-car field.
Why were the tires destroyed?
Due to the new-for-2006 tire leasing policy implemented by NASCAR and Goodyear, used tires from practice must be turned back into Goodyear. Those tires are then destroyed and later recycled so that teams can't stockpile used tires for future testing purposes. Stewart's qualifying tires were confused for a set of Stewart's practice tires, hence the reason his qualifying tires were unavailable and the subsequent penalty by NASCAR.
The tire setback proved minor to Stewart, who took only 75 laps to crack the top-10 despite being tight in the middle of the corners and loose on exit.
As the race ticked toward its conclusion, fuel became a factor for just about every participant. The last round of pit stops had come on lap 224, leaving teams with empty tanks at the drop of the checkered flag 88 laps later.
Stewart was good to go to the finish, but Greg Biffle, who was leading and Mark Martin were not. Both ran out of fuel with two laps remaining.
“In the last 30 laps, the right rear (tire) was gone,” said Stewart. “I asked for a little bit more of an adjustment (during the last pit stop) and I finally got us over the top so it was probably my fault there. But I'm just really happy. We did what got us to a championship last year. We worked our way from the 43rd spot and finished second.”
Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson, Bobby Labonte, Jeff Burton, and Jeff Gordon rounded out the top-ten.
The race was red flagged at the end of 100 laps because of a multi-car pileup. Polesitter, Kyle Busch lost his cool. Away from the accident, Busch ran into Casey Mears and spun him around.
The move earned Busch a five-lap penalty and a meeting with NASCAR officials after the race. He finished 36th, while his brother Kurt, was 24th.
Matt Kenseth’s third-place finish allowed him to take the points lead away from Jimmie Johnson. Kenseth now leads Johnson by nine points.
Top-10 Nextel Cup points leaders: 1. Kenseth-1218, 2. Johnson-1209, 3. Kahne-1167, 4. Martin-1152, 5. Stewart-1141, 6. J. Gordon-1045, 7. Earnhardt-1045, 8. Harvick-1044, 9. Kyle Busch-1010, 10. Mears-948.
Life Is Looking Good For HARVICK – Kevin Harvick is on a roll in the Busch Series. He has won the last two Busch races, including last Saturday night at Phoenix, and leads all other Busch drivers in points.
He’s also back in the top-10 in the Nextel Cup for the first time since last year’s June event at Michigan, and has moved from 23rd in the series standings to eighth in three races.
He said at Phoenix that he wanted to renew his contract with Richard Childress, which expires at the end of this season.
“Richard and I have a seven year relationship here, and that first and foremost is the main priority,” said Harvick. “I have a lot of friends here. The number one priority is to salvage this seven-year relationship and build on it.”
If he doesn’t resign with RCR, he will be considered the sport’s top free agent. With Toyota set to make their Cup debut in 2007, Harvick would be an ideal driver for them.
Things also are going well on the ownership side for Harvick. He and wife DeLana own Kevin Harvick Inc., which fields the NASCAR Busch Series team of Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate Burney Lamar (No. 77 Dollar General Chevrolet) and the No. 33 Outdoor Life Channel Chevrolet driven at Nashville by Ron Hornaday, Jr. Lamar, who finished seventh behind Harvick at Nashville, is now 10th in the series standings.
KHI also owns the No. 33 Chevrolet team driven by Hornaday in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Hornaday is 19th in the series standings.
Top-10 Busch Series leaders after 9 of 35: 1. Harvick-1469, 2. Bowyer-1180, 3. Hamlin-1174, 4. J.J. Yeley-1158, 5. Edwards-1128, 6. Menard-1074, 7. Wood-1037, 8. Kyle Busch-1032, 9. Lamar-1007, Biffle-999.
Fans Can Vote In Favorite Driver – For the third straight year, fans will choose an at-large driver for the 2006 NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Saturday, May 20.
Fans will have the opportunity to vote in one driver among the top-50 in Cup Series points who is not already on the list of eligible drivers for this year’s all-star event.
Voting is now available through the following channels: On-line at www.NASCAR.com, Sprint or Nextel phones by text messaging “NASCAR” to 7777 on your Sprint or Nextel web-enabled phone and follow the received directions, participating Sprint and Nextel retail locations, and Bass Pro Shop retail locations
In 2005, nearly 440,000 votes were cast, with Martin Truex, Jr. topping the fan vote to secure a position in the field.
The All-Star Challenge kicks off May 20 at 7:30 p.m. with the running of the Nextel Open, a 30-lap race divided into two segments featuring drivers who rank in the top 50 in the points standings, but have not yet qualified to run in the All-Star Challenge. The winner of the Open advances to the All-Star Challenge, which begins at 9 p.m. and is a 90-lap competition, divided into three segments. The race winner will receive prize money in excess of $1 million.
The Craftsman Truck Series is at St. Louis, while the Busch and Cup teams are at Talladega Superspeedway.
Saturday, April 29, Busch Series Aaron’s 312, race 10 of 35, 117 laps, 3 p.m. TV: Fox.
Craftsman Truck’s Dodge Dealers 200, race 5 of 25, 160 laps, 8 p.m. TV: Speed Channel.
Sunday, April 30, Nextel Cup Aaron’s 499, race 8 of 36, 188 laps, 1:30 p.m. TV: Fox.
Racing Trivia Question: Who will take over the NASCAR TV schedule in 2007?
Last Week’s Question: Who is the crew chief on the No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet driven by Tony Stewart? Answer. Greg Zippadelli.
You may read additional stories at the Racing Reporter’s website, www.race500.com.
The Montrose Boys Tennis team has several returning varsity players from last season including senior Captain Mike Whitney and senior Co-Captains Dave Kimble and Joe Quanne. Juniors Patrick Bayer and Andrew Bookin return at number 1 and 2 singles respectively. Lance Elliott and Jon Lodge complete the varsity team.
The team began the season with losses to perennial power Abington Heights on April 6 followed by a non-league match against Western Wayne on April 10. Bayer and Quanne posted victories against Western Wayne at number 1 and 3 singles respectively.
Upcoming matches include Riverside and Bishop Hannan followed by a home match against Scranton on April 20.
The Montrose Meteors posted victories at Number 1 singles by Patrick Bayer and Number 3 singles by Joe Quanne against Riverside on April13. Bayer and Quanne both won their matches in straight sets before the tennis match was suspended due to heavy thunderstorms. Bayer and Quanne won in straight sets. When the match was suspended Andrew Bookin was in the second set tied at 5 games after losing the first set. The number 1 doubles team of Mike Whitney and Matt Bulger had split sets while the number 2 doubles team of Jon Lodge and Dave Kimble had just gotten underway.
The match will resume at date to be determined. Montrose faces Scranton at home on April 20.
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