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THROOP – Even with the sting of defeat still fresh, Elk Lake softball coach Tony Blaisure had no doubt the type of game his team had been in.
“By far,” Blaisure said. “Even though we lost, in my 24 years here, this is the best game we’ve been part of.”
The Lady Warriors came from behind in extra innings twice and had a third rally fall short while losing to Pine Grove, 5-4, in 16 innings at Mid Valley High School during the first round of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class AA softball tournament June 1.
The nine runs in the equivalent of more than two full games of action were only possible because of the International Rules tiebreaker which places a runner on second base at the start of every half inning from the 10th inning on. The rule was put into place by the PIAA for softball at the start of this season.
Elk Lake’s Brooke Darling and Pine Grove’s Hope Spancake made it difficult on hitters throughout a game that was tied, 1-1, until the tie-breaker rule took effect.
Darling, a sophomore, threw a four-hitter with 29 strikeouts.
“That is a ridiculous number,” Blaisure said of the strikeout total. “She showed complete composure the entire game.
“Even when we threw the ball away for two runs, she got out of the inning and came in telling the other girls we could get it back.”
Darling retired nine in a row to start and end the seven-inning regulation part of the game then retired 12 in a row with seven strikeouts while working under the pressure of the International Rules. She threw 146 of her 188 pitches for strikes.
Spancake threw a four-hitter with 19 strikeouts with 136 of her 172 pitches going for strikes.
Pine Grove scored once each in the 10th and 15th innings, but Elk Lake matched the runs to extend the game. After the Cardinals scored twice in the 16th, the Lady Warriors managed one run and had two runners on base before shortstop Jenna Leffler made a throw to first base just in time to retire Katie Mitchell.
“Katie hit the ball on the nose and made the shortstop have to make a throw,” Blaisure said. “She didn’t want to hurry the throw and she almost made a mistake.”
Elk Lake, the District 2 champion, had the lead before a runner reached base against Darling.
Darling retired the first nine batters, including seven on strikeouts.
Molly Saravitz reached on an error after bunting to start the bottom of the third.
After two straight strikeouts, Saravitz came around to score when Bri Hollenbeck’s grounder up the middle got through a big gap in the over-shifted outfield for an RBI double.
Darling took a one-hit shutout into the fifth inning. Kylin Lyons then led off with a wind-aided triple down the right-field line and scored when Miranda Reigal grounded the ball through the right side only to be thrown out at first by Saravitz, the right fielder.
Only four runners reached scoring position in the next 4 1/2 innings before the rules changed. Elk Lake stranded two runners in scoring position in the sixth and another in the eighth. Pine Grove got a runner to second in the eighth.
The new rules immediately changed the game.
Pine Grove pinch runner Keandra Koons started the 10th on second base and scored on a single by Lyons.
Saravitz got down a two-strike bunt and Karley Caines, who had already been moved up by a Hannah Hunsinger sacrifice, beat the throw home.
Alyssa Krammes singled in a run for the Cardinals in the 14th and Gabby Baltzley answered with a double to center field to score Hollenbeck.
A botched rundown – on a throw that hit the baserunner – and another wild throw on a bunt allowed Pine Grove to score twice in the 16th.
Hollenbeck singled in pinch runner Amanda Silfee and Baltzley drew a walk before Spancake got the final out.
“It’s a tough way to lose,” Blaisure said. “Getting to this point, nobody has any reason to hang their head.
“We fought as hard as we could.”
The Lady Warriors are looking forward to possible future success with the graduation of just one starter, third baseman Karin Mowry.
“We’ll keep our heads up and work to get back to this point again,” Blaisure said. “This was a great experience.”
Stewart Wins On Fumes At Pocono
By Gerald Hodges; The Racing Reporter
POCONO, Penn.–“I hate this kind of racing,” said Tony Stewart just prior to winning Sunday’s Sprint Cup Pocono 500 on fuel mileage.
Stewart, who won the pole, had to start the 200-lap race as the last car in the 43-car field after wrecking his primary car during Saturday’s practice. He conserved fuel during the final 10-laps for his first points victory of the season and as a car owner.
Tony Stewart is all smiles after winning Sunday's Pocono 500.
Photo Courtesy of NASCAR
“This has been an awesome weekend,” continued Stewart. “I’ve always had a great group of people to work with, but this is one of the best teams I’ve ever been with.”
Carl Edwards finished second for his third top-5 finish of the season.
“I didn’t think Tony was going to be a factor at the end,” said Edwards. “My Ford was good all day. He barely beat us off pit road. We asked ourselves if we were going to race him or save fuel. We decided to save fuel.
“I was sure that he was going to run out of fuel, but he didn’t.”
David Reutimann finished third, and Jeff Gordon was fourth.
Stewart’s teammate, Ryan Newman finished fifth.
“The guys did a great job on pit road, but we had a bad spark plug,” said Newman. “I was trying to drive and trouble-shoot at the same time. We got lucky being able to stay on the lead lap and finish where we did.”
The sixth-place finisher was Marcus Ambrose.
Jimmy Johnson’s late race rally failed. He had moved into second with three laps to go, but his motor sputtered after his gas tank went dry on the last lap, and he coasted to the start/finish, in seventh-place.
“We were in great position, but at the end we were just playing a fuel game, and we didn’t play it well.”
Juan Montoya, Jeff Burton, and Sam Hornish were the remaining top-10 drivers.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his team were never a factor in the race. After qualifying 18th, he wound up 27th.
Top-12 Chase Contenders after 14 of 26: 1. Stewart-2043, 2. J. Gordon-1972, 3. Johnson-1940, 4. Newman-1840, 5. Kurt Busch-1819, 6. Edwards-1762, 7. Biffle-1753, 8. Kenseth-1745, 9. Kyle Busch-1731, 10. Burton-1725, 11. Reutimann-1701, 12. Hamlin-1679.
KYLE BUSCH WINS NATIONWIDE RACE
Kyle Busch celebrated his win in the Nationwide Series Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville Superspeedway by smashing the Gibson Guitar given to him for winning.
Busch said he made a promise to his team members last year that if he ever won a race at Nashville, he would give them each a piece of the guitar.
“I always said, 'Man, if I win here, I'd smash that thing.' I had to stick to my word. It's karma or something, I guess. I won here, so I tried to smash it up.
“All them sorry saps (drivers), they take it home in one piece and put it on their shelf, man. I break that thing up and spread it within the team so everybody's got a piece.
“It didn't break according to plan. I was actually hoping to get more pieces for the guys on the team. We'll go back to the shop and cut it up, and they can have nice, smooth pieces of it.”
Top-10 points leaders after 13 of 35: 1. Kyle Busch-2031, 2. Edwards-1966, 3. Leffler-1843, 4. Keselowski-1838, 5. Logano-1670, 6. Bliss-1520, 7. Keller-1519, 8. Allgaier-1468, 9. McDowell-1465, 10. Gaughan-1455.
TODD BODINE GETS FIFTH TEXAS WIN
Todd Bodine won his fifth NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race Friday at Texas Motor Speedway, Friday night, finishing 1.321 seconds in front of runner-up Matt Crafton in the WinStar World Casino 400.
Bodine became the first driver in the history of the series to have five victories at one track. They've all been accomplished in a Toyota for Germain Racing. It was Bodine's 17th career victory in trucks.
“It's incredible to win five races at one track,” Bodine said. “It's hard to win anywhere.”
Bodine took the lead on the 125th of 167 laps on the 1.5-mile superspeedway and was never threatened. He had a 2.5-second lead over Matt Crafton with 25 laps to go and 2.1 with five remaining. Making sure he had enough fuel to reach the checkered flag, Bodine backed off the throttle on the final lap.
Top-10 points leaders after 8 of 25: 1. Crafton-1202, 2. Hornaday-1172, 3. Skinner-1163, 4. Bodine-1136, 5. Scott-1067, 6. Starr-1049, 7. Benson-1047, 8. McCumbee-1040, 9. Cook-1023, 10. Crawford-1013.
CHAD KNAUS, ONE SMART CREW CHIEF
Chad Knaus has paid his dues and climbed the NASCAR ladder steadily to get to his current spot on the top rung. From 1993 to 1997, he worked with Ray Evernham on Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 team at Hendrick Motorsports before leaving to take a job at (then) Dale Earnhardt, Inc.
After a couple more moves in the next two years, he landed with Evernham once again, in the fledgling Dodge program. In 2002, he was offered a job back at Hendrick Motorsports as crew chief for a rookie driver by the name of Jimmie Johnson. The rest, literally, is NASCAR history.
The ride hasn’t always been a smooth one. Knaus is a guy with a lot of nicknames, ranging from “The Magician” to “Cheatin’ Chad,” depending on which side of his fence you happen to be standing. Some consider him an innovator, while others accuse him of having a flagrant disregard for the NASCAR rulebook.
Either way, there’s no disputing the fact that whatever he’s doing is definitely working. In 2008, he became the first crew chief in NASCAR history to win three consecutive Cup Series championships.
Think about that one for a minute. In six decades of racing, this feat had never been accomplished. There’s a reason they’re called “firsts.” They only happen once.
So the next time the No. 48 car seems to come out of nowhere to win a race - and that happens fairly frequently - take time to remind yourself of the reason why Chad Knaus seems to be the guy with all the answers.
The Sprint Cup and Camping world Trucks are at the 2.0-mile Michigan International Speedway. The Nationwide Series visits the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway.
Sat., June 13, Camping World Series Cool City Customs 250, race 9 of 25; Starting time: 1:30 p.m. (EDT); TV: Speed.
Sat. June 13, Nationwide Series Kentucky 300, race 14 of 35; Starting time: 8 p.m. (EDT); TV: ESPN2.
Sun., June 14, Sprint Cup Lifelock 400, race 15 of 36; Starting time: 12:30 p.m. (EDT); TV: TNT.
Racing Trivia Question: Which is the longest track on the NASCAR Cup circuit?
Last Week’s Question: How many children does Jeff Gordon have? Answer. Jeff and his wife Ingrid have one daughter, Ella Sofia Gordon.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many track and field athletes see their first meet when they compete in one.
Julia Koloski got a head start, although she admits she was too young to fully comprehend what she was watching.
“When I was little my mom took me to the Big East track meet,” Koloski said. “I think I was 4 or 5.
“My mom still held the high jump record at the Carrier Dome, but I didn’t really get that idea at the time.”
When Koloski goes to track meets now, it is often to set records and win medals of her own. Her list of school, meet and district records includes some that she has taken away from her mother, the former Diane DiPhillips, who went on from Montrose to continued success at Mohawk Valley Community College and Syracuse University.
Koloski was the dominant performer at virtually ever meet in May heading up to the state championships where she claimed one silver medal and two bronzes in Class AA. For her efforts, the Montrose junior has been selected as the latest Susquehanna County Transcript Athlete of the Month.
“I’m very happy,” Koloski said. “It could not have been a more successful season individually or as a team.”
After missing almost all of her sophomore season with an upper leg injury, Koloski built on the promise she displayed as a freshman when she won district titles in the 100 and the long jump.
Following a strong meet at the Wilkes-Barre Invitational, Koloski won four gold medals at the Lackawanna Track Conference’s Robert Spagna Championship Meet. She set a record in the long jump and beat eventual state Class AAA 200-meter runner-up Jordan Hoyt of Abington Heights in the 100.
Koloski won four gold medals at the District 2 championships, setting records in the long jump, triple jump and 400 relay while also winning the 100 over eventual state second-place finisher Amanda Kuhl of Hanover Area.
She finished second in the triple jump 38-6 1/2 while taking third place in the 100 - where she missed second by one-hundredth of a second - and the 400 relay.
The result is a series of contacts from interested major colleges, leaving Koloski with plans to increase her track and field concentration this summer.
“In previous years, I have played basketball in summer leagues, but I’ve decided I need to buckle down in track,” Koloski said. “I’ll be going to the Nike National Invitational and the Keystone Games.”
Koloski will compete in the Nike event in North Carolina in the 100 and triple jump and with her teammates on the 400 relay.
The increase in competitions in indoor track during the winter will give Koloski more chances to improve and test the many events in which she is capable of helping a team.
“I prefer the jumps the most,” Koloski said. “But a coach can put me anywhere. I’m pretty versatile up to the 400.
“Wherever we need points is fine.”
Julia, the daughter of John and Diane Koloski of Montrose, is also a three-year starter in soccer and basketball.
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