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Defending state champion Blue Ridge is simply too good for the competition on most days.
Then, there are the times the Lady Raiders have to face Carbondale and Montrose.
Carbondale and Montrose each put Blue Ridge to the test for the second time this season, but neither was able to spoil a perfect mark that has reached 38 straight games over the past two seasons.
The Chargerettes have taken the Lady Raiders to extra innings twice.
The Lady Meteors have held the Lady Raiders to their lowest two offensive outputs of the season, leading into the fifth inning in the first meeting before falling short, 1-0, Friday.
Blue Ridge won five more times last week, starting and ending with 13-1 and 9-0 victories over an improving Susquehanna team. The Lady Raiders also handled Mountain View, 17-4.
The Carbondale game Wednesday went 10 innings before Blue Ridge escaped with an 8-5 win.
"Carbondale is solid," Blue Ridge coach Bob Pavelski said. "We've been beating them on the short game every time, but they're tough."
Blue Ridge usually overpowers opponents. When not facing Carbondale or Montrose, the Lady Raiders have outscored opponents by an average of 11.8 runs per game.
Abbey Hewitt held Blue Ridge's offense in check in the one-run loss.
"She's doing a fantastic job keeping people off balance," Pavelski said.
Montrose's entire team impressed Pavelski.
"Montrose is getting very good," he said. "Their defense is outstanding."
WEEK IN REVIEW
Scranton – Elk Lake had one of the smallest lineups at the Jordan Relays Thursday at Scranton Memorial Stadium, but a team of eight runners led the Lady Warriors to a second-place finish in Class AA for a second straight year.
"Our girls had to run a lot of races, but they did a good job," Elk Lake coach Will Squier said.
Despite the challenging workout, the Lady Warriors finished strong.
Randi Jo Brown, Lisa Ruppert, Ellen Squier and Rachel Owens combined to finish first in Class AA in the closing 1600-meter relay with a time of 4:13.97.
Elk Lake was second to Class AA champion Scranton Prep in the distance medley, 1200 medley and 3200 relay.
Owens, Rupert, Brown and Squier, the winning 1600 team, opened the event running in a different order for the second-place finish in the distance medley.
Brown, Jasmine Coleman, Caitie Good and Owens formed the 1200 medley.
Ruppert, Squier, Kim Caines and Owens got together for the 3200 relay.
Emily Madrak was in two events, including the 1600 medley where Elk Lake finished fourth.
The Blue Ridge girls also had a big week.
They finished third at the Jordan Relays and clinched at least a tie for the Lackawanna Track Conference Division III title with a 115-35 win over Susquehanna.
The Lady Raiders have scored at least 100 points in four of their five division wins. The only exception was a 77-73 victory over Elk Lake early in the season.
In professional baseball, the Binghamton Mets won back-to-back games for the first time this season when they beat the Portland Sea Dogs Friday and Saturday.
Kelvin Mulvey threw seven scoreless innings Saturday when the Mets won, 1-0, with the help of a passed ball and wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning.
"He was outstanding," Mets manager Mako Oliveras said of Mulvey. "It's the first time we've had one of our starters go that far."
Mulvey held Portland to four hits and a walk while striking out five.
The Mets have given up at least seven runs in 11 of their first 24 games.
The offense still needs work, too, according to Oliveras.
"We have to improve our clutch hitting," he said, "but will I take a wild pitch to win the game? Yes."
In professional hockey, everything seemed to be going right for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins early in the weekend home-and-home portion of their playoff series with the defending champion Hershey Bears.
Micki DuPont's unassisted goal at 6:23 of the second period gave the Penguins a 3-0 lead in Game Two, apparently putting them in position to tie the series and play for the lead Saturday night at home.
Instead, Hershey's offense heated up, firing off 41 shots the rest of the way to rally the Bears to a 4-3 double overtime victory Friday. Then, the Bears defense dominated in a 2-0 victory Saturday to take a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Rachel Hall became the first outdoor runner in Mansfield University history to earn all-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference honors four times.
"It's simply a wonderful honor for a wonderful person," Mansfield coach Mike Rohl said.
Hall, a senior from Blue Ridge, finished third in the 3000-meter steeplechase Saturday at the PSAC Championships.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The Lackawanna Track Conference will hold its Bob Spagna Meet Thursday at Scranton Memorial Stadium.
In boys' tennis, the District 2 singles tournament will get underway Thursday.
In professional hockey, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins host the Hershey Bears Wednesday in Game Four. Game Five, if necessary, is Friday in Hershey. The teams return to Wilkes-Barre Saturday, if the Penguins are able to extend the series.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
The Racing Reporter
Johnson Gets Fourth Cup Win, Richmond, VA – Jimmie Johnson has now won four of the first 10 races of the 2007 Nextel Cup season.
Jammin' Jimmie got his fourth Cup win of 2007 Sunday at Richmond.
Photo courtesy of NASCAR
After adding Sunday’s Crown Royal/Jim Stewart victory to Las Vegas, Atlanta, and Martinsville victories, Johnson moved into second in the points, behind his teammate Jeff Gordon.
With 40 laps to go in the 400-lap race, fans knew it would be a Hendrick Motorsport shootout.
When the green flag was given, Kyle Busch was the leader, followed by teammates, Johnson, and Jeff Gordon. Within two laps, Johnson had worked his No. 48 under Busch and led the remaining 18 laps, which were all ran under green.
“We haven’t been that strong here at Richmond, but we’ve learned this new car, and I think this car has given the team an opportunity to learn the right setup,” said Johnson.
It was Johnson’s first win at Richmond.
Kyle Busch finished second for his second win of the season. His other win came at Bristol.
“We struggled in qualifying, but we seemed to get it once the race started,” said Busch.
Hendrick Motorsports has now won all five of the races where the Car of Today has been used. They have also won seven of the ten races this season. The only other drivers to win a race are Kevin Harvick (Daytona), Matt Kenseth (California), and Jeff Burton (Texas).
Denny Hamlin finished third for his fourth top-five of the year. Jeff Gordon was fourth, and Kurt Busch rounded out the top-five.
Ryan Newman was sixth, passing Kevin Harvick on the final lap. Harvick was the class of the field at one point but a pit road accident with David Ragan damaged the right front of his No. 29 and slowed it down. Harvick, nonetheless, held on for his seventh-place finish. Tony Stewart was eighth. Rounding out the top-10 were Clint Bowyer and Matt Kenseth, neither of which contended for the victory.
Fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr., wound up 13th after a collision with Jeff Green.
Greg Biffle, also involved in a bumping accident with Green, was a contender before the incident but had to settle for the 19th spot.
Fourteen caution periods slowed the pace in a race where side by side racing in NASCAR's new, winged cars was commonplace.
Jeff Gordon, starting from the pole position, stayed in front until a NASCAR-mandated competition caution slowed the field after 40 laps. Due to the rain and postponement of the race from Saturday night until Sunday afternoon, NASCAR officials told the teams prior to the start a caution would be waved at 40 laps to allow teams to check their tire wear and refuel.
Top-10 Nextel Cup leaders: 1. J. Gordon-1691, 2. Johnson-1480, 3. Kenseth-1431, 4. Hamlin-1359, 5. J. Burton-1352, 6. Kyle Busch-1229, 7. Stewart-1225, 8. Harvick-1203, 9. Kurt Busch-1198, 10. Bowyer-1159.
Bowyer Gets Richmond Busch Race – Top-10 Busch leaders: 1. Edwards-1793, 2. Harvick-1391, 3. Blaney-1283, 4. Reutimann-1268, 5. Kenseth-1223, 6. Kyle Busch-1171, 7. Hamilton Jr.-1149, 8. Ragan-1146, 9. Montoya-1109, R. Smith-1106.
Stewart A Spokesman For NASCAR – Three days after the Phoenix race, Tony Stewart blasted NASCAR for their caution calls on track debris, and compared racing to professional wrestling. In last week’s column, we asked fans to comment on his statements.
We received more fan e-mails concerning Stewart’s comments than at any time, except after the death of Dale Earnhardt. Not one of the 173 messages praised or supported NASCAR. Most of the comments were similar to these four.
“I believe Tony Stewart has always spoken his mind, no matter if it lands him on the wrong side of someone. Isn’t it best to stand up for what you believe in?” Connie in Colorado.
“I am not a fan of Tony Stewart’s; however I do agree with what he said. NASCAR is too much show business, and costs too much for teams to get into it. I have lost a lot of interest in the last ten years. I still watch some of them if the weather is bad, but I’m not glued to the TV like I used to be.” C. Snead.
“I don’t care much for Tony Stewart, but he will speak his mind. When he does NASCAR gets mad. There are the same cars up front week after week. When a team finds a way to get an edge, they get fined and docked points.
“Racing is supposed to be not only about the driver and pit stops, but ingenuity in making your car better and faster than the others. Too many rules.” Lee G.
“I am not a big Stewart fan, but he is very straight forward. NASCAR is now all about the money. The more money a driver brings into the sport, the more he will be taken care of.
“Look at Michael Waltrip. His team cheats and they almost hang him. Go back to Jimmie Johnson. He gets caught and gets a slap on the wrist.
“I’ve heard the media say that the fans at Talladega who threw things were all jealous Junior fans. My opinion is they were race fans disgusted by the fact that they were cheated out of their hard-earned money.
“Tony Stewart had every right to say the things he said and should not have been penalized. Maybe he should be a spokesman for NASCAR so we could hear the truth for a change.” Tim L.
MWR Waiting For Last Ten Races, Richmond, VA – Michael Waltrip didn’t make the Richmond race and neither did Dale Jarrett. It was the first race Jarrett has missed since 1994.
Waltrip’s third team, driven by rookie David Reutimann has placed no better than 32nd in a race and has failed to qualify three times. Waltrip's No. 55 NAPA team, stung by cheating scandal at Daytona, has missed the last nine races.
Waltrip's three Toyota teams have struggled more than many predicted, although some car owners questioned last fall how the start-up operation would do because Waltrip had so much work to do in building the team.
“This is the hardest time to enter NASCAR with the level of competition and the qualifying rules,” said Ty Norris, general manager of MWR. “So, all the people who said a year ago that we were crazy, you were right.
“I think if Michael Waltrip was a quitter he would have probably given up a long time ago.”
Norris also said that Waltrip's sponsor, NAPA, continues to back the team despite reports to the contrary.
“We've been told on a number of occasions, that NAPA is not looking at the first eight races of 2007. They're looking at what Michael had done for them over the last six years,” Norris continued.
“They're going to honor our contract, which is two years, with options to go beyond that. They've expressed that to us a number of times over the past week.”
Overall, Waltrip has very little to cheer about after 10 races into the 36-race season.
“This isn't a race-to-race case,” Jarrett said at a press conference in Richmond. “This is about getting to be a good organization with three good race teams and three good race cars by the time we get to the last 10 races of the season.
“If we don't accomplish that, then we're going to be in trouble for 2008.”
The latest move at MWR came Saturday when Matt Borland, the crew chief for Dale Jarrett was replaced by Jason Burdett.
Borland won 12 races with Ryan Newman before leaving Penske South late last season to join Waltrip's new team. He and Jarrett, however, had no success with the No. 44 Toyota.
Borland was offered a position as technical director for the team, but he declined.
The Busch and Cup teams are at the 1.366-mile Darlington, South Carolina track, while the Craftsman Trucks have the weekend off. The Cup teams will be using the Car of Today for the fifth race.
Friday, May 11, Busch Series Diamond Hill Plywood 200, race 12 of 36, 147 laps, 8 p.m. TV: ESPN2.
Saturday, May 12, Nextel Cup Dodge Avenger 500, race 11 of 36, 367 laps, 7 p.m. TV: Fox.
Racing Trivia Question: Who replaced Mark Martin in the Roush Fenway No. 6 Cup car?
Last Week’s Question: What year did Talladega Super Speedway open? Answer. It opened in 1969.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at email@example.com.
Jocelyn Dearborn already had an impressive softball résumé.
When you already have three years as a starter, two years as a first-team, all-star, two state championship gold medals and a Division I college scholarship in your possession before arriving at the first day of practice, expectations can be pretty high.
Dearborn has somehow found a way to exceed those expectations in the first month of her senior season at Blue Ridge.
While helping keep Blue Ridge unbeaten, Dearborn hit eight home runs in April to once again earn the Susquehanna County Transcript Athlete of the Month award.
Dearborn did all this after just a short break coming off a basketball season in which she earned all-star honors and surpassed the 1,000-point mark for her career.
"She stepped right into it," Blue Ridge coach Bob Pavelski said. "She's aggressive at the plate.
"When she goes, she's either going to miss it 100 percent or really drive it. She has hit some foul balls as far as her home runs."
Dearborn, who has since hit her ninth home run, is averaging just under three runs batted in and two extra-base hits a game for the Lady Raiders, who have not lost since her sophomore season.
"That's our main goal, to remain undefeated and remain the best," Dearborn said. "That's what we're striving for."
Dearborn said Pavelski helped drive her to be ready for a strong start.
"It's just a lot of hard work in the preseason," Dearborn said. "He preaches that hitting is just repetition over and over. He makes us work hard."
The results have been staggering.
"I went into the season thinking we're going to have an awesome team," Dearborn said. "I couldn't ask for more so far."
Dearborn has been playing shortstop for Blue Ridge, but she plays third base in the summer. She expects to play outfield or third base at Fordham University.
Jocelyn is the daughter of Mark and Corina Dearborn of New Milford.
SCEA Golf Tournament
The Susquehanna Community Education Association will host their sixth annual golf tournament on Saturday, May 26, at Golden Oak Golf Course, Windsor, NY. There will be an 8 a.m. shotgun start, with Captain and Crew format. A buffet-style dinner will follow at PJ O’hare’s in Oakland, PA.
The tournament raises money to support a scholarship for a Susquehanna Community graduate entering the field of education. Information packets and registration forms may be obtained at the Susquehanna Elementary Main Office, Schneider’s Market, Ho-Mart, The Depot, PJ O’hare’s, or online at www.scschools.org. Registration forms can be dropped off at Schneider’s Market or at the Susquehanna Elementary Main Office, attention Dori Chervanka. Registrations can also be mailed to the address on the form.
If you would like to donate, contact Dori Chervanka at 853-4921, ext. 1106 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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