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Whitney Williams and Jocelyn Dearborn have taken similar paths in softball.
The two most recent Susquehanna County Transcript Athletes of the Year each moved on to NCAA Division I schools and made immediate impacts in their freshman season.
Blue Ridge's Dearborn recently finished a record-setting freshman season at Fordham University while Mountain View's Williams remained a prominent part of the nationally ranked University of Massachusetts program as a sophomore.
Among Dearborn's many awards was a second-team selection on the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Mid Atlantic Region team.
Dearborn hit .333 as a freshman outfielder with 13 doubles, two triples, nine home runs and 51 RBIs. She set a Fordham freshman record for home runs in a season and led the Atlantic 10 Conference in RBIs.
Dearborn was named Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week three times during the season and was named to the All-Rookie team. Fordham went 11-9 in the league and 36-30 overall, qualifying for the conference championship tournament for the sixth straight season.
Williams played in 54 of 55 games and started 52 of them for a Massachusetts team that ended the season ranked 20th in the country.
Playing shortstop most of the time and often serving as the leadoff hitter, Williams helped UMass go 20-0 in the Atlantic 10 and 42-13 overall. The Minutewomen reached the NCAA Tournament where they lost to Stanford in the regional final.
Williams was a second-team Atlantic 10 all-star for the second straight season and was an all-tournament selection after helping UMass to the title.
After not hitting a home run in her freshman season, Williams hit seven this year, including one shortly after singing the national anthem in pre-game ceremonies. She had a stretch in April where she hit homers in three straight games.
Williams was hit by a team-high 11 pitches and tied for the team lead in runs scored with 33. Her home run total was tied for second best on the team and she ranked third in doubles with 12 while batting .291.
Susquehanna graduate Amber Gaffey gave the county a third Division I female athlete.
Like Dearborn, Gaffey was a state champion in high school. Dearborn won 2004 and 2006 state Class A titles with the Blue Ridge softball team. In between, Gaffey won an individual gold medal in the pole vault at the 2005 state Class AA track and field finals.
Gaffey competed in the pole vault as well as the discus as a freshman at Towson University.
In the Delaware Open, her final event of the year, Gaffey finished tied for second in the pole vault and sixth in the discus. She had a pole vault win earlier in the season.
Devin Glezen, a senior second baseman from Blue Ridge, helped Lock Haven University return to the NCAA Division II Softball World Series.
Glezen was also a starter on the 2007 team that reached the national championship game after the team won the national title in 2006.
For the second straight year, Lock Haven had its season end in an extra-inning loss at the World Series.
Humboldt State, which had earlier beaten top-ranked Lock Haven in a 10-inning game, knocked the Lady Eagles out of the double-elimination tournament with a 1-0, 17-inning victory.
Glezen provided a combination of power and speed while starting all 57 games for Lock Haven (49-8).
Glezen was tied for second on the team with nine stolen bases in 10 attempts and was third in home runs with eight. She also had six doubles and scored 27 runs while batting .287.
At Kutztown University, left-handed pitcher Jordan Smith appeared in seven baseball games as freshman.
Smith made one start. He was 1-1 with a 5.11 ERA. He struck out 10 and walked four in 12 1/3 innings.
At East Stroudsburg University, Jess Sekely was a thrower on the women's track team.
Sekely's best event was the javelin. She placed fourth at the West Chester Golden Ram Invitational with a throw of 106-9 1/2.
Katherine Lucenti was a first-team Pennsylvania Athletic Conference all-star as a pitcher on the Misericordia University softball team that won the ECAC South championship.
Lucenti, a sophomore from Elk Lake, went 18-3 with a 1.99 earned run average to help Misericordia to a 34-12 record. She had three shutouts and struck out 98 while walking 42 in 137 innings.
Katherine's brother, Dominick Lucenti, was on the men's lacrosse team at Misericordia.
Dominick, a sophomore from Montrose, played in 12 games, starting in 10 as Misericordia went 3-10.
Two seniors from Montrose helped Misericordia launch its men's tennis program.
Ryan Calby, who had the team's only number-one singles victory, went 2-13 while also playing number-two singles.
Matt Hornak went 4-9 playing at third and fourth singles.
Calby and Hornak also formed the Cougars' second-most successful doubles team, going 4-9.
At Keystone College, John Pierson had a team-high seven saves for the baseball team that went 32-12.
Pierson, a senior from Elk Lake, and Chad Lasher, a freshman from Mountain View, were both relief pitchers for the Giants.
In 15 games, Pierson was 1-0 with a 4.87 ERA.
Lasher was 1-0 with a 6.59 ERA in nine games.
Tim Robinson, a junior from Blue Ridge, was a Mason-Dixon Conference all-star in two track and field events and qualified for the ECAC meet in the high jump.
Robinson made all conference by clearing 6-0 in the high jump and by running the 110 high hurdles in 17.26 seconds.
Four Susquehanna County girls played on the Keystone softball team that went 9-23.
Kim Kwitoski, a junior outfielder from Montrose, led the team with 19 runs scored. She started all 32 games and was second on the team with a .337 average and five stolen bases while finishing tied for second with nine RBI.
Kwitoski was a second-team North Eastern Athletic Conference all-star.
Leah Simko, a sophomore from Mountain View, matched Kwitoski with nine RBI while batting .217 in 27 games.
Sam Lamont, a freshman from Montrose, batted .231 in five games.
Ashley Zuidema, a sophomore outfielder from Forest City, played in 14 games and had one hit.
At DeSales University, Nick Staats had the team's best pole vault when he cleared 13-1 1/2 at the Elizabethtown College Quad Meet.
Staats, a sophomore from Montrose, also competed in the 100-meter dash where his season-best time was 12.21 seconds.
Lackawanna College pitcher Sean Brewer earned National Junior College Athletic Association Region 19 Division II first-team, all-star honors.
Brewer, a sophomore from Montrose, was 6-2 with a 1.06 ERA. He struck out 74 and walked just 11 in 66 1/3 innings.
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 Wins Big At Sonoma, Sonoma, CA – Kyle Busch is back. After winning four times in the first 13 races of the season, Busch had two lackluster performances at Pennsylvania and Michigan, but all that changed Sunday at Infineon Raceway.
Kyle Busch, winner of Sunday's Nextel Cup race at California.
Busch led 75 laps of the 110-lap Toyota/Save Mart 350 for his fifth win of the season.
“We unloaded here and we were absolutely junk,” said Busch. “But it was the hard work that put us here (victory lane). This is really special, because this is my first road course win.”
David Gilliland, driving the Yates Racing No. 38 finished second, the best finish of his career.
“It’s so incredible,” said Gilliland. “My dad’s won races here, and I’ve won the West race last year, but this tops them all right here.”
Jeff Gordon, the third-place finisher started off poorly, but as the laps wound down, he had a pretty good race car.
“I’m excited,” said Gordon. “It shows what kind of a race team we have. We didn’t give up. We fought back. We weren’t bad at the end, we just missed it. I don’t know if it was air pressures or what, I couldn’t drive it.
“We made some adjustments, they got me off pit road at the right time and we moved up some spots, but we didn’t have anything for those guys up front.”
A late race caution cost Tony Stewart a good finish, and possibly the victory.
Stewart was running second with six laps remaining, when Kevin Harvick, who was running two cars behind Stewart, lost his brakes going into a corner. Harvick’s No. 29 plowed into the rear of Jamie McMurray’s No. 26, pushing him into the rear of Stewart.
Stewart was able to regain control of his car, but by the time he got straightened out, he was back in 11th.
“I don’t know what happened,” said Stewart. “I haven’t seen the replays and it wouldn’t be fair to comment until I know what happened.”
Polesitter Kasey Kahne had lots of problems and finished 33rd.
Kevin Harvick’s 33rd place finish dropped him out of the top-12 Chase leaders. He was replaced by Matt Kenseth, who finished 8th.
Top 10 finishers: 1. Kyle Busch, 2. David Gilliland, 3. Jeff Gordon, 4. Clint Bowyer, 5. Casey Mears, 6. Juan Montoya, 7. Ryan Newman, 8. Matt Kenseth, 9. Carl Edwards, 10. Tony Stewart.
Top 10 Chase contenders after 16 of 35: 1. Kyle Busch-2408, 2. Burton-2299, 3. Earnhardt-2259, 4. Edwards-2150, 5. Johnson-2079, 6. J. Gordon-2041, 7. Biffle-2016, 8. Hamlin-2008, 9. Kahne-1958, 10. Bowyer-1924.
Top 10 Nationwide Series leaders after 17 of 35: 1. Bowyer-2506, 2. Keselowski-2318, 3. Reutimann-2316, 4. Edwards-2301, 5. Ragan-2201, 6. Bliss-2192, 7. Kyle Busch-2093, 8. M. Wallace-2053, 9. Stremme-1977, 10. Leffler-1968.
Top 10 Craftsman Truck leaders after 11 of 25: 1. Benson-1617, 2. Bodine-1567, 3. Carfton-1550, 4. Hornaday-1547, 5. Crawford-1508, 6. Skinner-1483, 7. Cook-1441, 8. Darmnell-1435, 9. Sprague-1428, 10. McCumbee-1396.
Petty Enterprises: The End Of An Era – Petty Enterprises has been one of the most storied names in NASCAR, but that may change in the future.
Sixty years of racing history ended last week with the announcement that Petty Enterprises will sell majority ownership of the company to a private investment firm.
Richard Petty realizes that his family's sale of a majority ownership in Petty Enterprises could signal the end of an era.
His family has owned the team since 1949 and has won 10 championships, but its last race victory came in 1999. Petty confirmed last Wednesday that Boston Ventures will now have controlling interest in the team, with the investment firm getting four members of the board of directors and the Petty family getting three.
“From an era standpoint – I don’t look at it [that way],” Petty said. “I just look at it as growth. It’s just like us not going to North Wilkesboro [N.C.] anymore or not going to Rockingham [N.C.].
“This is progress as far as I’m concerned. For us to get bigger and better, we can’t continue to do the same thing we’ve been doing.”
Boston Ventures will help with sponsorship and branding the Petty name. It also has named a chief executive officer to replace Richard’s son, Kyle, in that role.
“I’m 70, 71 years old, and Kyle doesn’t want to run the business,” Richard continued. “He wants to be involved in it, but he doesn’t want to take it to another dynasty. For his purposes and for the rest of my family, everybody just felt like the way the business is growing and the way NASCAR is growing, this is the only way we can go and be competitive next year and five, 10 years down the road.”
Petty insisted he wasn’t sad.
“Look at what I’ve seen 60 years ago and what I see now – look at how big this business is,” Petty said. “You grew up in it and you had a part of it, so it makes you real proud that the dadgum thing has got away from you and has got that big.”
And Petty insisted that in his new position as chairman emeritus, his role hasn’t changed.
“It’s still got my name on the door, and I’m still responsible for what goes on in there, no matter who the people is that’s running the business,” Petty said. “It’s up to me to keep them kind of straight from that standpoint.
“You’re not going to see any difference in the way I operate or the way I run the business. No matter what happens, the buck stops here. It is my company. If things get screwed up, you can come back to me.”
Let’s hope so, Richard. The sport still needs an ambassador like you.
Next Week: What is NASCAR’s New Car Really Like?
The Cup and Nationwide teams are at the 1.058-mile Loudon, New Hampshire track, while the Craftsman Trucks are at Memphis Motorsports Park, a .75-mile track.
Saturday, June 28: Nationwide Series Camping World 200, 2:30 p.m. TV: ABC.
Saturday, June 28: Craftsman Trucks O’Reilly 200, 8:30 p.m. TV: Speed Channel.
Sunday, June 29, Nextel Cup Lenox Tools 301, 12:30 p.m. TV: TNT.
Racing Trivia Question: What do Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle have in common?
Last Week’s Question: Which team does Elliott Sadler drive for? Answer. He drives the No. 19 Dodge for Gillett Evernham Motorsports.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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