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Rain altered the District 2 softball playoffs throughout the week, delaying the celebration for Elk Lake and even playing a factor in Blue Ridge coming up short in its championship game.
Elk Lake won the District 2 Class AA championship with a 4-2 victory over top-seeded Northwest Saturday at King’s College, leaving the Lady Warriors as the last Susquehanna County high school sports team of the school year still standing. The championship game was rained out three days in a row before the teams got to play.
Blue Ridge lost to Old Forge, 3-2, in the Class A championship game that was suspended Friday in the middle of a Blue Ridge rally and completed Saturday afternoon at Mid Valley High School.
Brooke Darling retired the final 12 batters she faced while throwing a three-hitter with six strikeouts to lead Elk Lake to its victory.
“Brooke has been a big key for us,” Elk Lake coach Tony Blaisure told the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader. “If she gets in a groove, she’s very tough to beat.”
Elk Lake won the game by scoring twice in the fifth inning to break a 2-2 tie with the Wyoming Valley Conference Division II champions.
Karin Mowry reached on an infield single and scored the game-winning run on a Karley Caines bases-loaded bunt. Gabby Baltzley then scored on a wild pitch.
Mowry and Bri Hollenback each finished with two hits.
The Lady Warriors finished second in Division 3 of the Lackawanna League one game behind Blue Ridge, which fell in a district final meeting of division champions for the second straight year.
Old Forge, which edged Blue Ridge, 1-0, on the way to the state semifinals last season, needed an extra inning – and a bit of good fortune – for its one-run win this time.
Blue Ridge had three hits, including two for extra bases, while scoring twice in the fifth inning to force a 2-2 tie and put the go-ahead run on third base. At that point, a downpour started, stopping the game overnight.
“The momentum was kind of in their favor,” Old Forge coach Pat Revello said.
Revello used Friday night and a Saturday morning practice before boarding the bus to go over ever possible scenarios for Blue Ridge getting the runner in from third.
“It was the worst possible time,” Blue Ridge coach Bob Pavelski said of the rain delay. “It turned the game around.”
Half of the last dozen batters reached base against Old Forge pitcher Jess Armillay Friday, four on hits and two on walks.
When the game resumed Saturday, Armillay retired all 10 batters she faced, allowing just one ball out of the infield and giving the Old Forge offense time to produce the winning run.
Sophomore Courtney Ucci threw a five-hitter with 10 strikeouts against the Lackawanna League’s highest-scoring team, but two of those hits came in the eighth inning.
Andi Alsalahat singled with one out and Aleca Semenza doubled to the left-field fence with two out to drive her in with the winning run.
“It’s a heart-breaker,” Pavelski said. “Our seniors are upset right now.
“Old Forge did a good job getting out of trouble. Like you would expect, the game came down to one swing of the bat. It could have been our swing, but it wasn’t.”
Chrissy Belko gave the Lady Devils a 2-0 lead in the first three innings. She homered and scored the other run.
Blue Ridge tied the game prior to the rain in the fifth inning.
Alissa Richardson doubled with one out and Carissa Stonier followed with her second hit of the game to drive in Richardson.
Gabby Wolfe ripped a two-out triple for her second hit, tying the game just before the rain came.
Blue Ridge reached the final with an 11-1 semifinal victory over Susquehanna.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Mountain View’s Erika Lewis scored early in the second half Sunday night to give the Northern Tier a lead before it settled for a 3-3 tie in the Southern Tier in the girls’ UNICO All-Star Soccer game.
The Northern Tier played without substitutes and twice took the lead in the second half. Lewis put the team ahead, 2-1, and Delaware Valley’s Tori Martin scored on a penalty kick for a 3-2 advantage.
Dunmore’s Nicole Pelosi brought the Southern Tier back both times, scoring goals to tie the game. She was named Most Valuable Player.
Blue Ridge’s Brandi Luce, Forest City’s Kristian Majdic and Amanda Cino, Montrose’s Chelsea Lunger, Bridget McNamara and Autumn Ely and Mountain View’s Sarah Walker were also selected for the Northern Tier team.
Pat Callahan of Abington Heights was named MVP of the boys’ game after scoring with 18:05 remaining to lift the Southern Tier to a 1-0 victory.
Blue Ridge’s Nik Decker and Chris Empett, Forest City’s Tim Tyson and Mike Pasternak, Montrose’s Pat McNamara and John Maurey, Elk Lake’s Matt Walters and Chris Sobonski and Mountain View’s Josh Pfahl played for the Northern Tier.
Montrose graduate Larry Lundy received all-East recognition by finishing third in the IC4A Division I Championships at Princeton University.
Lundy took third in the shot put with 58-10 1/4.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The state softball quarterfinals are scheduled for Thursday.
Elk Lake needed to beat District 11 champion Pine Grove in the Class AA opener scheduled for Monday in order to reach the quarterfinals.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
Thrilling Win For Johnson At Dover
DOVER, Del. - Jimmy Johnson’s Sunday win in the Autism 400 at Dover was nothing less than incredible.
Jimmy Johnson, winner of Sunday's Dover Sprint Cup race.
Johnson, who led 298 laps of the 400-lap race, took on four tires with 30 laps to go. Many other teams only got two. The two extra tires cost Johnson 11 positions. He went from first to 11th.
It was a lot of ground to make up and a lot of cars to pass. But Johnson put his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet in overdrive and caught the leader Tony Stewart six laps from the finish.
Johnson and Stewart raced side-by-side for the next three times around the one-mile oval, and treated the fans to some exciting racing. But near the end, Johnson’s four new tires made the difference. He was able to pass Stewart, who had only two new tires, three laps later.
“I really had to suck it up and get going there at the end,” said Johnson. “But the only reason I could do it was because we had an awesome race car today. We’ve had a lot of fast cars, but this was a special one.
“At the end I just had to go. I got to running around at the top of the track with Tony and had a heck of a time.”
Stewart’s runner-up finish allowed him to take over as the new Sprint Cup points leader.
“The fastest car won the race today for sure,” said Stewart. “I’m just excited for our guys that we’re able to run as good as we do. We really didn’t have a second-place car, but my guys on the pit crew did an awesome job there at the end and got me some track position.”
Top-10 finishers: 1. Johnson, 2. Stewart, 3. Greg Biffle, 4. Matt Kenseth, 5. Kurt Busch, 6. Kasey Kahne, 7. Carl Edwards, 8. Ryan Newman, 9. Casey Mears, 10. Mark Martin.
Polesitter David Reutimann finished 18th.
Top-12 Chase Contenders after 13 of 26: 1. Stewart-1853, 2. J. Gordon-1807, 3. Johnson-1789, 4. Kurt Busch-1762, 5. Newman-1680, 6. Kyle Busch-1634, 7. Hamlin-1630, 8. Kenseth-1625, 9. Biffle-1618, 10. Burton-1587, 11. Edwards-1582, 12. Martin-1567
KESELOWSKI GETS DOVER NATIONWIDE WIN
Brad Keselowski raced to his first Nationwide Series victory of the season at Dover on Saturday. Top-10 leaders after 12 of 35: 1. Kyle Busch-1836, 2. Edwards-1796, 3. Leffler-1683, 4. Logano-1670, 5. Keselowski-1663, 6. Keller-1434, 7. Gaughan-1364, 8. Ragan-1358, 9. Bliss-1355, 10. Allgaier-1344
SCOTT IS DOVER TRUCK WINNER
Brian Scott became the sixth different driver in seven races to win a Craftsman Truck Series race, as he took Saturday’s AAA Insurance 200 at Dover. Top-10 leaders: 1. Hornaday-1056, 2. Skinner-1029, 3. Crafton-1027, 4. Kyle Busch-1000, 5. Scott-949, 6. Bodine-946, 7. Cook-920, 8. McCumbee-916, 9. Starr-903, 10. Benson-887
JUNIOR HAS NEW CREW CHIEF
Rick Hendrick has replaced Tony Eury, Jr., chew chief and cousin of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Eury was reassigned to Hendrick Motorsports' research and development group. Lance McGrew, who has worked with several NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series drivers over the years, was named as Earnhardt's interim crew chief starting with the Cup race at Pocono next weekend.
Brian Whitesell, manager of Earnhardt's No. 88 Chevrolet team, called the race this past weekend at Dover. Earnahrdt, Jr. managed a respectible 12th-place finish.
Pressure on Hendrick to make the change had been building in recent weeks, but he didn't act until after Earnhardt finished 40th in the 43-car field Monday in the Coca-Cola 600.
“The frustration after Charlotte just reached a point with all of us that we said, let's try something different,” Hendrick said in a teleconference.
“This year, our goal is to make the Chase and we think we can do it. Some guys are going to have to have some bad luck and we're going to have to run a ton better.”
Hendrick said Eury has "tremendous talent" and that “we want him to be part of our organization for a long time.”
But Earnhardt's struggle created “probably the most pressure that I've felt in racing since I don't know when,” Hendrick said. “Hopefully we're going to ease some of that. We just need a fresh start.”
Junior met with reporters at Dover and said the pain of his split with cousin Tony Eury, Jr. “may linger for a long time.”
“When you're at Hendrick Motorsports you're in the best equipment, and you should win races,” said Junior. “And if you don't, that makes for a hard argument that you had any business being there in the first place.
“We've got to work hard the next six months to give ourselves that argument.
“And I really think we can do it.
“Everyone on that team knows we've got the microscope on us. That's sometimes a good thing, sometimes a bad thing.
“If you don't run top-five or top-10 every week, you're not that good.
“Most everyone else in the field doesn't get that kind of scrutiny, doesn't get ridden so hard.
“But we know those are the stakes, and that when we show up at the race track we have to live up to those expectations.”
Meanwhile the issue over Jeremy Mayfield’s drug supsension by NASCAR grew even more complex.
Mayfield and his attorney went to court Friday in attempt to get a restraining order against NASCAR. The judge denied Mayfield’s request because Mayfield and his team did not show up for the Dover race.
Mayfield said he had been taking two medications; one was Claritin-D and the other was a prescription drug for Anxiety and Attention Deficit Disorder.
NASCAR said he had tested positive for a third drug, which they labeled extremely dangerous. Mayfield said he had not been told about the third drug, which could have been amphetamines.
In the suit, Mayfield alleged that NASCAR did not follow proper testing procedures and failed to give him a chance to prove his innocence. He even said one of the samples had been tampered with before it was tested.
Another hearing has been set for next Wednesday.
All three of NASCAR’s major series’ will be at different tracks. The Craftsman Trucks are at the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway, while the Nationwide Series will be at Nashville Superspeedway. The Sprint Cup teams travel to Pocono, Pennsylvania.
Fri., June 5, Craftsman Trucks Winstar World Casino 300, Starting time: 8:30 p.m. (EDT); TV: Speed.
Sat., June 6, Nationwide Series Federated Auto Parts 300, Starting time: 7 p.m. (EDT); TV: ESPN2.
Sun., June 7, Sprint Cup Pocono 500, Starting time: 12:30 p.m. (EDT); TV: TNT.
Racing Trivia Question: How many children does Jeff Gordon have?
Last Week’s Question: Where is Tony Stewart’s home town? Answer. Rushville, Indiana.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at: email@example.com.
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