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Blue Ridge and Lackawanna Trail got together Thursday in four sports with three division leads at stake.
Blue Ridge came out of the day with sole possession of first place in Lackawanna League Division 3 races in baseball, softball and girls’ track.
Boys’ track, the only competition between the two in which first place was not at stake, was the one from which Trail emerged victorious, 76-73.
Sam Longacre led the victory in baseball where the two teams were 4-0 and tied for first at the start of the day.
Longacre went 3-for-3 with three home runs and drove in five runs to lead the Raiders to a come-from-behind, 12-5 victory.
Lackawanna Trail led, 5-1, after 2 1⁄2 innings.
Kurt Post settled down to keep the Lions scoreless over the final four innings and finished with nine strikeouts.
Jordan Ralston went 3-for-4 and scored twice.
The Lady Lions gave defending champion Blue Ridge a tough test in softball.
Becca Hinkley drove in both runs and Courtney Ucci threw a four-hitter as Blue Ridge remained undefeated with a 2-0 victory.
Hinkley went 2-for-2. She singled in the first run in the second and tripled in a run in the fourth inning.
Ucci struck out seven and did not walk a batter.
Lackawanna Trail started the day tied for second place in the division with Elk Lake at 3-1.
Blue Ridge defeated Lackawanna Trail, 85-65, in a meeting of girls’ track unbeatens.
Both were 4-0 in the division going in.
Maegan Lewis won the 1600 and 3200 while Kaitchen Dearborn won the javelin and high jump for Blue Ridge.
The Lady Raiders had a chance to clinch at least a tie for the division title in a meet that was scheduled for Tuesday at Holy Cross.
Blue Ridge already beat the top two contenders, Elk Lake and Lackawanna Trail. Holy Cross was fourth in Division 3 with a 2-2 record.
WEEK IN REVIEW
The week was a success for the professional franchises in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre market, culminating with a sweep of three games Saturday.
The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees extended their record-breaking start by beating the Rochester Red Wings, 6-2, to improve to 10-0 on the International League season.
Chris Minard’s overtime goal gave the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins a 5-4 victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and a 2-0 lead in their first-round series in the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup playoffs.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers ripped the Mahoning Valley Thunder, 80-46, in an arenafootball2 game after taking a 35-3 lead in the first quarter.
The Yankees were already 8-0 before they got home to celebrate last season’s International League championship. They kept rolling with an 11-0 rout of Rochester in the home opener as former American League Rookie of the Year Angel Berroa hit two home runs and had five runs batted in.
Todd Linden and Shelley Duncan homered in Saturday’s win.
Kei Igawa gave up just one run on three hits in seven innings.
The Yankees outscored opponents, 79-33, through Saturday while winning the first 10 games.
Minard and Dustin Jeffrey had first-period, power-play goals Friday night when the Penguins opened the playoffs with a 3-2 win over the Sound Tigers.
The Penguins took a 3-0 lead in the second period on a goal by Luca Caputi.
Minard’s winner Saturday came at 4:54 of overtime.
The first two games of the series were played at the Nassau Colisseum on Long Island, home of Bridgeport’s parent club, the New York Islanders. Bridgeport had a scheduling conflict at home.
Mason Webster has been the most effective starting pitcher on the Marywood University baseball team despite some struggles with wildness.
The freshman from Mountain View is 2-2 with a 6.16 earned run average in six games, including five starts and two complete games. Webster has struck out 43 and allowed 31 hits in 32 1/3 innings.
Webster has walked 36, thrown 11 wild pitches and hit 10 batters, all team-high totals.
Marywood, which is 7-18 overall, has another freshman from Susquehanna County on the team.
Dan Downton, a catcher/third baseman from Susquehanna, has played in seven games, including four starts. He is 4-for-19 (.211) at the plate with a triple, three runs scored and two RBIs.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Elk Lake is at Montrose Wednesday in high school softball.
At the start of the week, Elk Lake was 4-1 and second in the Lackawanna League Division 3 race while Montrose was 3-2 and tied for third with Lackawanna Trail.
In professional hockey, The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins would be home Friday and Saturday, if a Game Five and/or Game Six, is needed in the Bridgeport 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
PHOENIX, Ariz—With his win in the Subway Fresh Fit 500, Mark Martin became the fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver 50 or older to go to victory lane.
Mark Martin celebrates his Cup win at Phoenix.
Courtesy of NASCAR.
The other three were Harry Gant (52), Morgan Shepherd (50) and Bobby Allison (50).
Martin started from the pole and led 157 of 312 laps.
“I hoped it would happen,” said Martin. “But I didn't expect it to happen. I only hoped. But Rick Hendrick, you know, I sat and watched him make Tim Richmond's dreams come true from being sick, and this may not be as dramatic, but it’s big to me.
“But you know, the response from the competitors means much more than the trophy, and that was incredible, really, really incredible, from all of the crew guys to all of the guys, including Jack Roush, who seemed genuinely happy. And Jack and I are at tight as we have ever been and have been through all of this.
“It's just, like I said, I hoped it would happen, but you know, it's asking a lot, man. These things are hard to win. It's hard just to make a car good enough to win, and then it's like ten times harder to win one on top of that.”
Tony Stewart finished a close second.
“It seemed like what we fought, we fought all night and it didn't really change for us. As it got a little bit cooler it got more grip but that's Phoenix,” said Stewart. “I think for us, it's been refreshing. Just when you've never had a start like this to the season, it's nice to finally have one. It's amazing to think that with a new team we can go out and have this kind of a start to the year.”
Kurt Busch ran up front for most of the race and finished third.
“I felt like we started the race on the tight side, and then we were having trouble putting the power down off turn four when the sun was out. I ignored how loose the car was on power down because I felt like that would go away with the sun setting, and it did, but we were a bit on the tight side, and so I had to loosen up the race car. When I did that, the crew got me out in front, we led some laps out in the lead and felt comfortable up there.”
Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex, David Reutimann, Sam Hornish, and Carl Edwards rounded out the top-10 finishers.
Top-12 Chase Contenders after 8 of 36: 1. J. Gordon-1242, 2. Johnson-1157, 3. Ku. Busch-1144, 4. Stewart-1138, 5. Hamlin-1088, 6. Bowyer-1052, 7. Ky. Busch-1026, 8. Edwards-1023, 9. Reutimann-992, 10. Kahne-975, 11. Burton-953, 12. Kenseth
BIFFLE TAKES PHOENIX NATIONWIDE RACE
Greg Biffle won the Bashas’ Supermarket 200 at Phoenix. It was Biffle’s first win of the season and it gave car owner Jack Roush, his 100th victory.
Kyle Busch took over the points lead from Carl Edwards, who dropped to second.
Top-10 points leaders after 7 of 35: 1. Ky. Busch-1075, 2. Edwards-1028, Ragan-949, 4. Leffler-932, 5. Brad Keselowski-898, 6. Logano-893, 7. Gaughan-822, 8. Allgaier-818, 9. Bliss-789, 10. Bliss-789
DODGE’S RACING FUTURE “IFFY”
Chrysler’s involvement in racing has been around since long before NASCAR’s founding in 1948. While their cars may continue to be operated by some teams, the manufacturer is undergong some hard economic times.
Lindsey Young of the Chattanooga Free Press reported that the Obama administration told Chrysler (Dodge’s parent company) it will get no more bailout money and has less than 30 days to get its financial house in order.
If Chrysler and Dodge is handed over to a bankruptcy judge next month, all NASCAR contracts will be voided, meaning the already-struggling Dodge teams will be put even further behind.
The General Motors story is nearly as sobering. After being turned down for $17 billion in aid, the manufacturer was given until June 1 to eliminate billions of dollars in costs. While no one expects Chevrolet to go under, parent company GM also is likely headed to bankruptcy, though only to reorganize, not liquidate.
Either way, it’s nearly impossible to believe any reorginazation would include NASCAR support as it currently is, estimated at $140 million annually. Ford already has cut its support dramatically after suffering a reported $14.6 billion loss in 2008, and even Toyota, which lost $1.6 billion last year, has indicated that it will not expand its NASCAR support.
Should the worst case scenario come to pass, it would have a negative impact on NASCAR Sprint Cup teams, but racing will continue. GM currently supports 14 of the top 40 teams in NASCAR.
Brian France, NASCAR’s CEO, has kept the lines of communication open with the manufacturers in Detroit - and abroad. And he firmly believes that racing is still the best possible marketing vehicle for the three American carmakers and Toyota.
“They're telling us that we're a very small part of their focus right now,” France said. “Everything they're trying to do is get a restructuring plan for the federal government to approve. We've been very supportive of that.
“Their commitment to NASCAR - in terms of whether it works - is there. They acknowledge (the marketing value). But it's still on the priority list - pretty low down the pike.
“We're OK. We're just like everybody else. Hanging in there with the economy and trying to make some proper adjustments.”
Although it was not widely publicized, France flew by commercial airlines to the races at California and Las Vegas Motor Speedway - a new mandate for all NASCAR employees traveling from Charlotte, N.C., to the West Coast.
“Commercial, I haven't done for a while,” France continued. “But it is a sign of the times - a little bit. We try to be more efficient about how we do things and that's fine. It's good.”
Next Week: State of the Camping World Trucks
The Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams will be at the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway, while the Craftsman Trucks are at Kansas Speedway.
Sat., Apr. 25, Nationwide Series Aaron’s 312, race 8 of 35; starting time: 2:30 p.m. (EDT); TV: ESPN2.
Sat., Apr. 25, Camping World Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 250, race 5 of 25; starting time: 5:30 p.m. (EDT); TV: Speed Channel.
Sun., Apr. 26, Sprint Cup Aaron’s 499, race 9 of 36; starting time: 1 p.m. (EDT); TV: FOX.
Racing Trivia Question: Who will AJ Allmendinger be driving for in 2010?
Last Week’s Question: Who does Clint Bowyer drive for? Answer. He drives the No. 33 Richard Childress Chevrolet in the Cup Series.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at: email@example.com.
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