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THROOP – Blue Ridge matched Old Forge in creating scoring opportunities during Thursday’s District 2 Class A softball championship game.
Only Old Forge found a way to take advantage of one of those chances.
“Timely hitting,” Blue Ridge coach Bob Pavelski said in explaining Old Forge’s 1-0 victory at Mid Valley High School. “They got the timely hits.
“There are times you want to crush the ball and times you want to just get a base hit.”
The Blue Devils got two of their five hits back-to-back to open the top of the seventh inning with the game still scoreless.
From there, all Old Forge needed was a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly. Kim Granahan barely beat a strong throw home by Blue Ridge center fielder Courtney Collins to score the game’s only run on a fly ball by Lindsey Regan.
“It was just a little too high, but it was close,” Pavelski said.
The Lady Raiders came close often against the Blue Devils.
Blue Ridge loaded the bases with one out in the first, had Morgan Sinnett thrown out trying to stretch a triple into an inside-the-park homer in the second and put the first two runners on in the sixth. None of those chances produced a run.
“We needed to get that run early,” Pavelski said. “We’ve worked on that, situational hitting and getting the ball down.”
Jessica Armillay held the Lady Raiders to four hits, none with runners on base. She walked three and struck out seven.
Erin Keene struck out five and did not walk a batter in her five-hitter.
“Erin pitched a great game,” Pavelski said.
Two days earlier, Gabby Wolfe drove in the first three runs and Courtney Ucci retired the final 13 batters she faced to lead Blue Ridge to a 5-0 semifinal victory over visiting Susquehanna.
Susquehanna put runners on base in each of the first three innings, including the leadoff hitter in the first two. Ucci then got into a groove, getting 11 of the last 13 outs in the infield and adding two more strikeouts to finish with six.
Ucci finished with a two-hitter that included one walk.
The game was scoreless into the fourth inning when Wolfe singled to center field to score the first two runs. Wolfe singled in the first of three runs in the sixth with a blooper to right-center field.
Sara Bouton doubled for the only extra-base hit of the game to bring in another run before scoring the last run.
Becca Hinkley had two hits for the Lady Raiders.
WEEK IN REVIEW
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are in the Calder Cup finals for the third time in nine years, but still looking for their first title.
The finals opened in Chicago Thursday and the Wolves got the early jump in the game and series.
Chicago held on for a 5-4 Game One victory after opening a 3-0 lead in the first period.
The Penguins scored twice in the first 2:26 of the second period to get within a goal for the first of three times. A potential game-tying goal with 2:20 remaining was disallowed when the referee ruled that Nathan Smith intentionally kicked the puck in.
Jordan LaVallee and Kevin Doell each had a goal and an assist while American Hockey League Most Valuable Player Jason Krog added two assists for the Wolves.
Kurtis McLean scored two goals while Alex Goligoski added a goal and two assists for the Penguins.
Montrose graduates Ryan Calby and Matt Hornak formed a doubles team that shared the Misericordia University team lead in wins.
Calby, a sophomore, and Hornak, a graduate student, went 4-9 in doubles.
Misericordia was 2-13.
Calby went 2-13 playing in the first or second singles spot.
Hornak went 4-9 playing third or fourth singles.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins will host the Chicago Wolves in the third through fifth games of their best-of-seven Calder Cup finals series Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at the Wachovia Arena.
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
Kyle Busch Tames Dover Mile, Dover, DE – Toyota driver Kyle Busch and Joe Gibbs Racing tamed Dover’s Monster Mile. Busch led 158 laps of the 400-lap race and crossed the finish line nearly 6 seconds ahead of the runner-up driver, Carl Edwards in a Roush Ford.
2 1/2" pic.
Kyle Busch is all smiles after winning at Dover.
“The guys on pit road did a phenomenal job,” said Busch. “We didn’t have the best car at the start of the race. We had about a third-place car and they gave me what I needed to win the race.”
It was Busch’s fourth win of the season, but the first for him at Dover.
Carl Edwards’ second-place finish gave him his sixth top-5 finish of the year. Even though he was able to lead several laps, at the end his Roush Ford was no match for the JGR Toyota.
“That’s all I could do,” said Edwards. “I have to force a smile when I have to settle for second. The people at the shop get things done, and we have a fast car, but it wasn’t fast enough. I felt like we had a car that could beat Kyle most of the day, but they were just better there at the end.”
Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth, two other Roush drivers, finished third and fourth.
“We lost our alternator and I had to shut down all the cooling,” said Biffle. “The car was tight, but we finished third and that will help us in the points.”
The fourth-place finish for Matt Kenseth was his best finish of the year.
“We were a little bit off, but I guess you could say we’re pleased with our progress,” said Kenseth. “We’re going the right way.”
Jeff Gordon, Martin Truex, Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Burton, Dave Blaney, and Jamie McMurray rounded out the top-10 finishers.
“Miles,” the so-called Dover Monster struck early in the race. During lap 18 there was an 11-car pileup. It all started when Elliott Sadler came down low, trying to pass Sam Hornish. The only problem was that David Gilliland was under Sadler.
Sadler hit Gilliland and spun up into the outside wall. Tony Stewart was the first to slam into Sadler, then Bill Elliott, Dale Earnhardt, Bobby Labonte, Kasey Kahne, Scott Riggs, Denny Hamlin, Paul Menard, Kevin Harvick, and Clint Bowyer all took turns piling in.
“I was trying to go under the 77-car, and the 38-car came under me and we just tried to make it three-wide. It didn’t work,” said Sadler.
Hamlin was one of the last cars to join the melee, but he really rammed into the pile of cars that were all stopped by this time.
“I feel bad for Elliott,” said Hamlin. “I really came in there and hit him. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, just one of those racing deals.”
Eight of the 11 cars had to be towed to the garage area for repairs. Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Elliott Sadler, and Tony Raines never made it back into the race.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. wound up 35th, but he remains third in points.
Top-10 Nextel Cup Chase contenders: 1. Kyle Busch-2050, 2. Burton-1908, 3. Earnhardt-1779, 4. Edwards-1713, 5. Biffle-1658, 6. J. Gordon-1646, 7. Johnson-1644, 8. Bowyer-1633, 9. Hamlin-1630, 10. Harvick-1566.
Top-10 Nationwide Series leaders: 1. Bowyer-2028, 2. Kyle Busch-1907, 3. Edwards-1884, 4. Reutimann-1862, 5. Keselowski-1816, 6. Bliss-1772, 7. Ragan-1740, 8. Leffler-1634, 9. M. Wallace-1624, 10. Stremme-1619.
Top-10 Craftsman Truck Series leaders: 1. Crawford-1131, 2. Crafton-1111, 3. Hornaday-1107, 4. Bodine-1082, 5. Benson-1077, 6. Sprague-1066, 7. Skinner-1064, 8. Starr-1063, 9. Cook-1049, 10. McCumbee-1026.
NASCAR’s Clown Prince, Joe Weatherly – Joe Weatherly’s career path into NASCAR racing was vastly different than that taken by Glenn “Fireball” Roberts. About the time “Fireball” and his parents were moving to Daytona Beach, Florida, Weatherly was serving in the U.S. Armed Forces in North Africa and Europe. While in North Africa, a German sniper’s bullet struck Weatherly in the face, knocking out two of his teeth and leaving behind a mean looking scar that would forever belie Little Joe’s sense of mischievous good humor.
Come war’s end, Weatherly resumed a pre-war love affair with motorcycles, racing in the AMA where he attained a degree of fame and no small amount of success, earning three AMA championships between 1946 and 1950. “Little” Joe, as he came to be called, might easily have made a career as a motorcycle racer were it not for his entry into NASCAR racing in 1950. Such was his skill on four wheels that he won the very first modified race he entered.
A volume could be written about Weatherly and his pranks on and off the track. He was known as the “Clown Prince of Automobile Racing” and he enjoyed behaving outrageously, wearing wild clothes and once he took practice laps wearing a Peter Pan suit. Moreover, he frequently stayed out partying until the early hours, usually with fellow driver and good time buddy, Curtis Turner.
But behind the happy, fun-loving exterior, Little Joe held the heart of a champion. In a NASCAR Grand National career that spanned between 1952 and 1964, Weatherly notched 25 victories. The win column statistic is more astounding when we consider that he never ran anything approaching a full race season until 1962. Not surprisingly, in 1962 (his first full season) Little Joe won the NASCAR championship, claiming 7 victories over a grueling span of 52 races.
The following year he backed up his dominating performance with 6 victories and another NASCAR championship. The 1963 championship is all the more amazing when we consider that team owner, Bud Moore didn’t have the resources to campaign a car throughout the entire season. Rather than sit out those races that the Bud Moore team couldn’t afford to run, Little Joe “bummed” rides in other team’s cars, thus salvaging the championship in grand fashion.
So it seems that “Fireball” Roberts and “Little” Joe Weatherly were nearly opposites in their approach to racing. “Fireball” is remembered as calculating, deliberate and goal-oriented. Weatherly is remembered as a prankster, a fun-loving clown who just happened to be tough to beat on the track come race day.
Next Week: Are Independent Race Tracks On The Way Out?
NASCAR’s three major series will all be at different tracks. The Craftsman Trucks race on Friday at the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway. The Nationwide teams will be at the 1.33-mile Nashville Speedway for a Saturday race, while the Cup Series races at the 2.5-mile Pocono facility on Sunday.
Friday, June 6: Craftsman Trucks Sam’s Town 400k, 8:30 p.m. TV: Speed Channel.
Saturday, June 7: Nationwide Series Federated Auto Parts 300, 7 p.m. TV: ESPN2.
Sunday, June 8: Cup Series Pocono 500, 12:30 p.m. TV: TNT.
Racing Trivia Question: What year did Matt Kenseth win the NASCAR Winston Cup championship?
Last Week’s Question: How many races has Jimmie Johnson won this season? Answer: Johnson’s only win this season came at Phoenix.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at: email@example.com.
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