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Local Sports Scene

Montrose’s Thompson Returns For Another Year In Allentown
By Tom Robinson

Montrose graduate Rich Thompson opened the season as an outfielder with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Class AAA affiliate of the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies.

Thompson got into seven games with the Phillies during spring training. He went 3-for-7 (.429) with a walk, three runs and two RBIs.

The Boston Red Sox released Thompson right at the end of the 2008 spring training.

Thompson, 29, signed with the Phillies and went 3-for-10 (.300) in three games with their Class AA team in Reading. He moved up to Lehigh Valley, joined the Allentown-based, first-year team, and batted .264 while stealing 25 bases in 27 tries in 97 games.

Thompson was in the Opening Night lineup Thursday when the IronPigs lost at home, 11-3, to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. He played center field and led off, going 0-for-5.


The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees and Binghamton Mets each won their season openers.

Juan Miranda went 3-for-5 and drove in five runs to lead the Yankees to their opening International League win in Allentown.

Miranda hit a three-run homer during a six-run sixth inning that expanded the Yankees lead to 10-3.

Emmanuel Garcia had three hits, including the game-winning single in the top of the ninth inning, to lead the Binghamton Mets to a 5-3 Eastern League victory over the host Trenton Thunder Wednesday.

Josh Thole, Ruben Tejada and Shawn Bowman each had two hits and at one run batted in. Tejada, a 19-year-old shortstop, had a pair of RBI singles in his first Class AA game.

In high school sports, Blue Ridge’s spring teams are a combined 11-2, putting the school in contention in all five sports.

Blue Ridge and Elk Lake shared the Lackawanna League Division 3 softball lead at 2-0 going into their scheduled meeting Monday.

Blue Ridge and Lackawanna Trail are each 3-0 and tied for first in Division 3 girls’ track while the Raiders are 2-0 and a half-game behind the Lions in Division 3 baseball.

Blue Ridge is 2-1 in boys’ volleyball where Lackawanna Trail is 4-0, Mountain View is 3-0 and Western Wayne is 3-1.

Mid Valley and Elk Lake are 3-1 to share the boys’ track lead with Blue Ridge a half-meet back at 2-1.

Elk Lake forced a tie for first Thursday when it defeated defending champion Mid Valley, 85-65.

Jeff Madrak swept all three jumping events to lead the way for Elk Lake.


Katherine Lucenti, a junior pitcher from Elk Lake, received the women’s half of the Misericordia University Athletes of the Month award for her performance on the softball team.

Lucenti went 7-3 with 52 strikeouts and a 1.69 earned run average. She also hit .304 with two doubles.

Lucenti was the team’s Most Valuable Player last season when she was a first-team Pennsylvania Athletic Conference all-star with 17 wins and 95 strikeouts. She was a second-team, all-star as a freshman with 11 wins and 92 strikeouts.


The Binghamton Mets play their Eastern League home opener Thursday against the Portland Sea Dogs Thursday at 6:35. The series continues Friday at 7:05 then Saturday and Sunday with 1:05 games.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees play their International League home opener Friday at 7:05 against the Rochester Red Wings, followed by Saturday and Sunday games at 1:05 before completing the series Monday night.

In high school baseball, Lackawanna Trail is at Blue Ridge Thursday.

In boys’ volleyball, Blue Ridge is at Mountain View Thursday.

TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at

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By Gerald Hodges


A lot of fans that I receive mail from refer to “The Good Old Days.” Sometimes I even long for them, but how good was the actual racing in the early days of NASCAR.

Red Farmer stands beside his Studebaker racecar prior to the 1962 Dayona Modified race.

Courtesy of Walt Wimer.

Walt Wimer sent me the following statement: “Sometimes we read a lot of complaints about the NASCAR racing of today, but look at the results of the 1962 Daytona Modified race. Leroy Yarbrough won it with Bobby Johns second, the only other car on the lead lap. Eddie Crouse, another NASCAR Modified champ was third, 4 laps down while 4th and 5th Larry Frank and Jackie Evans were 5 laps back. Only 13 cars completed 90 or more of the 100 laps.”

Could NASCAR sell that product to the TV today?


But it was more "fun" back then.

The drivers were a unique bunch. They had an overabundance of talent, courage, and a strong desire to do what they knew best, which was racing. But what made them special was their humanness.

They were more real than the drivers we have today.

Now, I don’t mean to take away from drivers like Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon, both who have tremendous driving skills. But our drivers of today are more like robots acting on behalf of the large corporations that control NASCAR racing.

Joey Logano, winner of this past weekend’s Nationwide Series race in Nashville, never had to get “down and dirty,” or sleep in the back of a pickup on race weekends. He doesn’t know what it’s like to have grease under his fingernails.

How did he learn to drive and become a talented driver? According to one report, his father invested over $1-million in tutors and training. That included buying him the best equipment money could buy.

True race fans know there is more to it than the glamour of race day. Many drivers used to spend the better part of his life struggling to build a car and race it on Sunday.

Today’s drivers enjoy big company sponsorship, have chauffer-driven limousines, or helicopters, and never work beside their pit crews and mechanics to help create a better race car.

I would say NASCAR racing is now NASCAR entertainment.

Please understand that I’m not trying to say that today’s racing doesn’t have its bright spots, or isn’t exciting.

Few sports or businesses have enlarged without some type of change. Racing is a spectator sport with fan identification. As the sport has changed, so have the fans.

People generally like action and activity to fill their leisure hours, and of all the major sports, except football, there is more action to be found in NASCAR than anywhere else.

No matter how polished today’s drivers appear on television, there is still something to be said for the early drivers. The ones who partied and drank the night before, showed up just in time to race, and then might light up a Camel in victory lane, were heroes just as well.

You could see they were real people.

They didn’t do it for the big bucks they received. It was the love of the sport, the love of racing that drove them to risk their lives each week.

Every Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Camping World driver I have talked with told me how he loves racing.

Maybe one of my future questions to drivers will be, “If you knew you had to have a part-time job in order to survive and provide for your family, would you still be out there on Sunday?”

Ponder that question as you watch the Sprint Cup race next Sunday. You decide how dedicated to racing your favorite driver might be.


LEBANON, Tenn. -- Joey Logano slipped past teammate Kyle Busch with nine laps to go and hung on to win Saturdays’ Nashville 300 Nationwide Series race at Nashville Superspeedway.

The victory was Logano’s first of the season and second of his young career. The 18-year-old also won last year at Kentucky Speedway.

“It’s been a while,” a smiling Logano said after the race. “We had a really good run here. The last time we were here, we got caught up in a wreck. It was awesome to be able to get that win this time. Ever since I’ve been coming to Nashville… I’ve been wanting to get that guitar, and this is just awesome.”

The track awards a unique trophy to the race winner, a Sam Bass-painted Gibson Les Paul guitar, which Logano proudly carried home in a case after the race.

The race was a battle between the Gibbs teammates, and Busch and Logano led 172 of the race’s 225 laps.

“He had a better car on the short run, and we had a better car on the long run,” Busch said. “(The team) did a great job, and it was just a shame we weren’t able to get out there and win this thing. That’s kind of frustrating, but we finished second today.”

JR Motorsports’ Brad Keselowski was third, followed by Kelly Bires, Carl Edwards, Jason Leffler, David Ragan, Mike Bliss, Steve Wallace and Scott Lagasse Jr.

Busch cut into Edwards’ points lead and now trails by 23 after the sixth race of the season.

Top-10 points leaders after 6 of 35: 1. Edwards-959, 2. Ky. Busch-936, 3. Ragan-799, 4. Leffler-762, 5. Keselowski-733, 6. Logano-728, 7. Allgaier-676, 8. Gaughan-676, 9. Lagasse-672, 10. Keller-667

The Sprint Cup and Camping World Series had an off weekend.

Next Week: Dodge’s Racing Future is Iffy


The Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup teams are at the 1-mile Phoenix International Raceway. The Camping World Trucks do not race again until Apr. 25,

Fri., Apr., 17, Nationwide Series Bashas Supermarkets 200, race 7 of 35, Starting time: 9 p.m. (EDT); TV: ESPN2.

Sat., Apr. 18, Sprint Cup Subway Fresh Fit 500, race 8 of 36; Starting time: 8 p.m. (EDT); TV: FOX.

Racing Trivia Question: Who does Clint Bowyer drive for?

Last Week’s Question: How many Cup races did Kyle Busch win in 2008? Answer. He won eight.

You may contact the Racing Reporter at:

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