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Rich Thompson was tied for sixth in the Pacific Coast League in triples as the minor league baseball season passed the halfway point last week.
Thompson, a Montrose graduate, is playing his first season with the Tucson Sidewinders, the top farm team of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The 28-year-old center fielder got off to a strong start with the Sidewinders. After attending Arizona training camp on a free agent tryout, Thompson was sent to extended spring training before being assigned to Tucson.
Thompson batted .367 in April and .288 in May before slumping to .194 this month, bringing his season batting average down to .281. He is 5-for-7 stealing bases, has scored 26 runs and has driven in 20.
Thompson spent last season in the Pittsburgh farm system. After hitting .340 in 14 games for Class AA Altoona, he batted .280 in 80 games for Indianapolis at Class AAA and earned a spot in the International League All-Star Game.
The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees have not had the starting pitching staff stability they hoped for in the first season as the new top farm team of the New York Yankees.
The Yankees, however, have still managed to be one of the International League’s hottest teams of late while improving to 37-34, and moving into second-place in the six-team North Division, 2 1/2 games behind Buffalo.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Buffalo meet for a series this week.
The Yankees have already used 25 pitchers and have divided their 37 wins up among 17 of them, including Roger Clemens.
Steven Jackson and Matt DeSalvo, who share the team lead with four wins, have produced drastically different seasons.
Jackson is 4-8 in 14 games, including a team-high 11 starts, and has a horrific 6.10 earned run average.
DeSalvo is 4-0 with a 1.47 ERA in seven starts and has struck out 37 in 36 2/3 innings. He is back in the rotation after making five starts and getting one win in New York.
Jim Brower, a 34-year-old, right-hander, is 3-0 with 11 saves and a 2.31 ERA in 20 games since joining the team less than a month ago. He has 27 strikeouts and just five walks in 23 1/3 innings.
Brower’s last four appearances have resulted in saves with five strikeouts and only one hit allowed in four scoreless innings.
Designated hitter Shelley Duncan leads the offense with 18 home runs and 51 runs batted in while batting .292.
Andy Phillips is hitting .301 with 11 homers and 36 RBIs.
Angel Chavez is 6-for-16 in the last four games to bring his average up to .307.
The Binghamton Mets, the Class AA affiliate of the New York Mets, have had an up-and-down season to date.
The team learned Thursday that Jesus Martinez, a center fielder from the Dominican Republic, has been selected to play for the World Team in the Futures All-Star Game.
Martinez, an All-Prospect Team choice in last year’s Arizona Fall League, is hitting .265 with three homers, 18 RBIs and three stolen bases in 57 games for Binghamton.
Binghamton started out 9-20, got to within a game of .500 and has slipped back to 30-37. The Mets are fifth out of six teams in the North Division.
A seven-game winning streak ended May 26, bringing to an end a stretch in which the team won 13 of 16 games.
Tim McNab has been a workhorse, pitching 51 2/3 innings in 24 relief appearances. He is 6-3 with two saves to share the team lead in wins with starter Kevin Mulvey.
Third baseman Mark Kiger is hitting .305. Outfielder Caleb Stewart has 11 home runs while first baseman Brett Harper has 10.
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
Montoya Wins At Sonoma, Sonoma, CA – Juan Pablo Montoya won Sunday’s Toyota Save/Mart 350 to become only the third foreign-born driver to win in NASCAR’s top division.
The other two drivers were Earl Ross of Canada, who won in 1974, and Italian-born Mario Andretti, winner of the 1967 Daytona 500.
Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates his Sunday win at Infineon.
Montoya’s last tank of fuel was supposed to run out one or two laps before the finish, but somehow he was able to nurse his No. 42 Dodge all the way around the 1.99-mile road course for his first Nextel Cup win in 17 starts.
“I knew it was going to be close,” said Montoya. “I was saving as much as I could. I said, ‘If it is, it is.’”
And it was.
Montoya took the lead from Jamie McMurray on lap 104 of the 110-lap race and kept going until the checkered flag was given.
Richard Childress teams finished second, third, and fourth.
Kevin Harvick took over the second spot, behind Montoya after Jamie McMurray ran out of fuel with two laps remaining.
“We knew we were close on fuel and Todd (Todd Berrier, crew chief on Harvick’s No. 29) came on the radio and said we’ve got 20 laps, just give me one,” said Harvick. “I just tried to stay in front of the 5 and 99.
“We saved enough and that’s what we had to do.”
Harvick’s teammate Jeff Burton was third.
“We’ve worked the last year on improving our fuel mileage, and we had a good car, at least a top-10 car,” said Burton. The second run we were tight, but the third time, the car ran really good.”
The third Childress car driven by Clint Bowyer was fourth. Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Boris Said, and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top-10.
Top-12 Chase Contenders: 1. J. Gordon-2538, 2. Hamlin-2267, 3. Johnson-2172, 4. Kenseth-2105, 5. J. Burton-2084, 6. Stewart-2058, 7. Edwards-2019, 8. Harvick-1964, 9. Bowyer-1934, 10. Kyle Busch-1905, 11. Truex-1863, 12. Earnhardt Jr.-1815.
Who Is The Real Winner? Aric Almirola won Saturday’s Busch Series race at the Milwaukee Mile and wasn't even around to see it.
Joe Gibbs Racing officials decided to replace Almirola with Denny Hamlin on Lap 59 of the 250-lap race, and after Hamlin made up a lost lap because of the driver change, he charged to the front in the second half to take the checkered flag.
But under NASCAR rules, Almirola is officially the winner because he started the race. NASCAR checked its records to find out whether that has ever happened in the 26 years of the Busch Series.
The last time a scenario like this occurred was in the Winston Cup Series on August 7, 1977, when Darrell Waltrip relieved Donnie Allison and won at Talladega.
Hamlin was in charge of the race after getting the lead on Lap 177. He pulled away from the field before Frank Kreyer spun to bring out a caution on Lap 221. Hamlin's team changed four tires, while Wimmer and two others changed two to get out front.
Almirola won the pole for this race for the second straight year but wasn't supposed to start the race. Hamlin was flying from Infineon Raceway in California to race the No. 20 for sponsor Rockwell Automation, which is based in Milwaukee and wanted Hamlin in the car.
But the helicopter carrying Hamlin from the airport in nearby Milwaukee couldn't land because a makeshift helipad was turned into a parking lot before the race. The helicopter circled the track before heading back to the airport.
Hamlin was whisked to the track with a police escort, but by the time he finally arrived in the infield, the race had started. Hamlin ventured down to Steve Wallace's pit since Wallace wasn't feeling well, and his Rusty Wallace Inc. team was searching for a relief driver.
But Wallace didn't come out of the car, and Hamlin returned to the Gibbs pit. On Lap 59, Almirola was ordered to pit lane, where he was replaced by Hamlin.
Almirola retreated to his hauler and eventually ducked out of the garage without comment.
Edwards Has A Whopping Busch Lead – The top-10 Busch Series leaders: 1. Edwards-2686, 2. Reutimann-1910, 3. Ragan-1840, 4. Blaney-1833, 5. Harvick-1798, 6. Leffler-1768, 7. Ambrose-1756, 8. Hamilton Jr.-1753, 9. Smith-1744, 10. Leicht-1696.
Skinner Continues To Lead Trucks – The top-10 Craftsman Truck Series Leaders: 1. Skinner-1878, 2. Hornaday-1770, 3. T. Bodine-1673, 4. Kvapil-1585, 5. Crawford-1579, 6. Musgrave-1481, 7. Benson-1454, 8. Sprague-1335, 9. Fike-1332, 10. Crafton-1322.
Ford Is Behind The Learning Curve In Testing – Last week Jack Roush, co-owner of four Nextel Cup teams, said his teams have not performed well at tracks where the Car of Tomorrow was used, because of a lack of testing.
“The only thing that I lack in terms of making my program realize its fruition is just getting caught up on the testing lag that I got into when I accepted the bait and spooled down my testing for this year,” said Roush. “I got blindsided by that.
“So that's been the short side of my program – my vision regarding what NASCAR was going to do and what they were going to allow us in testing. I didn't assess that correctly. But as far as the driver talent is concerned, I wouldn't trade my lineup of drivers for anything I see out there.”
Meanwhile, Ricky Rudd, driver of the No. 38 Robert Yates Ford, who was 33rd in points heading into the first road race of the season, says Ford teams have some “catching up to do.”
“I think the only way you can get out from behind that 8-ball is to test, test, test and run programs and don't go out there just to run laps,” said Rudd. “Come to the race track in a test mode and be prepared to make a lot of geometry changes to your chassis and be creative and open-minded, but it means a lot of test time.
“We have been to Virginia International Raceway and we've spent a couple days and it went okay, but not exactly like we needed it to do. So we went back another day.
“So we have three days at VIR, but that doesn't guarantee your success. But we went through a lot of built-in geometry changes and found some things that we like that we think will work for us, and yes, I think we are getting better.”
His teammate, David Gilliland is 32nd in points.
The Cup and Busch series teams are at the 1.058-mile Loudon, NH track, while the Craftsman Trucks race at the .75-mile Memphis, TN facility.
Saturday, June 30, Busch Series Camping World 200, race 18 of 35, 200 laps, 2:30 p.m. TV: ABC.
Craftsman Trucks O’Reilly 200, race 12 of 25, 200 laps, 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 1, Nextel Cup Lenox Industrial Tools 300, race 17 of 36, 300 laps, 2:30 p.m. TV: TNT.
Racing Trivia Question: Who was the legendary Indy-car driver that won the 1972 Daytona 500?
Last Week’s Question: Richard Petty has the most career NASCAR wins with 200. Which driver is second in wins? Answer: David Pearson, three-time NASCAR champion is second with 105 wins.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Susquehanna County Treasurer Cathy Benedict announces to area hunters that hunting licenses for 2007/2008 season are now on sale in the treasurer's office. Applications for back tags are available by mail or you may print the application from the website: www.susqco.com. You may also purchase on-line at www.pgs.state.pa.us.
As the wind blew and the dirt blew, the races were on.
The best finish of the night was between Mike Nagle, Jr. in the Sportsman’s Heat, where the 15-year old outlasted and out-blasted the rest of the field by nearly a half track. In the Sportsman’s Main, Rick Brown crashed and bashed his way to a first-ever win. The rest of the classes were as follows:
Sportsman Feature: 1. Rick Brown; 2. Shaun Walker; 3. Paul Rooney.
Modified Feature: 1. Alan Rudalavich; 2. Rick Verkitus; 3. Chad Cook.
Late Model Feature: 1. Tracey Gregory; 2. Jamie Griffin; 3. Dave Zona.
Pure Stock Feature: 1. Green; 2. Ramsey; 3. Wolf.
4 Cyl. Feature: 1. Fredericks; 2. #76; 3. #71.
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