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Issue Home April 28, 2010 Site Home

Local Sports Scene

Sarah Ficarro All-American

Caines, Darling Carry Elk Lake To Softball Win Over Blue Ridge
By Tom Robinson

Karley Caines homered and Brooke Darling threw a two-hit shutout as Elk Lake held on to first place in Lackawanna League Division 3 softball when it won a battle of unbeatens, 1-0, over defending champion Blue Ridge April 19.

The game was scoreless until Caines hit a homer to deep rightfield with one out in the top of the sixth.

Darling walked one and struck out 16.

Blue Ridge got just two runners to second base and none any further. Jenna Rupakas doubled in the bottom of the sixth.

Courtney Ucci threw a three-hitter with 10 strikeouts in the loss.

Darling’s two-hitter against Blue Ridge was part of a phenomenal start in which she allowed just four hits in the first five games while throwing back-to-back no-hitters, including a perfect game. She helped the Lady Warriors to a 6-0 start.

“You usually don’t see all the pitches this kid has until you get to the collegiate level,” Elk Lake coach Tony Blaisure said.

After throwing a five-inning, one-hitter in a 10-0 victory over Forest City in the opener, Darling had a perfect game against Susquehanna and a six-inning, no-hitter against Western Wayne three days apart. She allowed just one baserunner in that stretch April 12-15.

Darling struck out 11 without a walk in the opener.

She fanned 20 of 21 hitters in her perfect game during a 10-0 win over Susquehanna. After hitting a batter on the first pitch, Darling retired the remaining 18, including 14 on strikeouts, in another 10-0 win over Western Wayne.

Darling opened the season with 25 straight scoreless innings and 34 in a row without allowing an earned run.

Elk Lake was scored on for the first time Wednesday when it won the rematch with Forest City, 4-1. Darling struck out 15 in a one-hitter.

Darling gave up four runs, two earned, in the third inning of Thursday’s 19-4, three-inning rout of visiting Mountain View.

Darling finished that game with eight strikeouts. She allowed five hits.

Elk Lake led, 9-0, before Mountain View scored then clinched the win with 10 runs in the bottom of the third.

Molly Saravitz had three hits and drove in four runs. Caines and Bre Hollenbeck also had three hits each and all nine players had at least a hit and an RBI.

Darling, who struck out 29 in an extra-inning state tournament loss to Pine Grove last season, has 84 strikeouts in 35 innings so far this season. She has given up nine hits, five runs, two earned runs and one walk while hitting one batter and posting a 0.40 earned run average.

The return of the second-team Class AA coaches’ all-state selection helps make Elk Lake, the defending District 2 Class AA champion, a threat to make a run in the postseason.

“Our team goals were to try to win the league and try to win it undefeated, that way it would put us in a good seed for districts,” Blaisure said. “If we can go into districts seeded one or two, then all the playoff games would be home except for the final.

“You never know after that, but the girls would like to try to go further than last year.”


Blue Ridge’s Kaitchen Dearborn finished fourth out of 20 high school javelin throwers at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia when she sent her final throw 42.83 meters (140-6).

The top four finishers were from Pennsylvania in an event that also included entries from New Jersey and New Hampshire.

Laura Loht of Indian Valley won, followed by Allison Updike of Tamaqua, Meghan Morton of St. Pius X and Dearborn.

The Penn Relays is the largest track meet in the United States.

In softball, Blue Ridge came back from its loss to hand Lackawanna Trail its first defeat, 1-0.

The top half of the Division 3 standings at the end of the week were: Elk Lake 6-0, Lackawanna Trail 4-1, Blue Ridge 3-1 and Montrose 3-2.

In high school baseball, Mountain View and defending champion Blue Ridge are 4-1 to share the division lead with Western Wayne.

In girls’ track, Western Wayne clinched at least a tie for the Lackawanna Track Conference Division 2 title with its 85-65 victory over Montrose Thursday in a meeting between the division’s last two unbeaten teams.

In running, two Susquehanna County runners were among the 22,452 finishers at the Boston Marathon.

Larry Cassidy, 58, from Uniondale, placed 14,957th with a time of 3:57:00.

Fred Bostrom, 72, from Brackney, was 17,708th with a time of 4:15:33.

In professional hockey, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins took the lead three times in the last game, but that did not stop the Albany River Rats from completing a four-game sweep with a 5-3 victory April 19.


Blue Ridge’s Zach Kruger won the Class AA boys’ 300-meter hurdles April 17 at the Shippensburg Invitational.

The meet is held at Shippensburg University, site of the state track and field championships.

Kruger ran 40.07 to win the event.

Dan Kempa finished second for the Raiders by throwing the javelin 165-2. The 1600 relay team also finished second.

Allison Hall finished second in the Class AA girls’ 400 and 800 meters with times of 1:00.53 and 2:25.13.

Dearborn was third in the javelin with a throw of 127-7.

Abington Heights, coached by Susquehanna native Frank Passetti, also did well in the event.

The Lady Comets won three events and finished second in the Class AAA girls’ team scoring behind State College.

Justin Passetti, Frank’s son, was third in the Class AAA high jump when he cleared 6-foot-2.


Karin Mowry is the leading hitter on the Baptist Bible College softball team that is closing in on a Colonial States Athletic Conference playoff berth.

Karin Mowry, a freshman catcher from Elk Lake, is the leading hitter on a Baptist Bible College team that is closing in on a Colonial States Athletic Conference playoff berth.

Photo courtesy Baptist Bible College.

The Defenders, who slipped to 14-16 overall when they were swept by sixth-ranked Messiah Thursday, are 11-5 and fourth in the 11-team conference where six qualify for the postseason.

Mowry is batting .447 with a team-high 35 runs after starting in all 40 games. She has four doubles, a triple, a home run and 14 RBIs. She is 17-for-19 to rank second on the team in stolen bases.


The District 2 spring championship season gets started Tuesday, May 4 with the team boys’ tennis championships at Kirby Park in Wilkes-Barre.

Montrose, which is 6-2 in Division 2 of the Lackawanna League, is still in contention for one of the four spots in Class AA.

In high school baseball, Blue Ridge is at Mountain View in a game between two of the three teams currently tied for the division lead.

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

Third Overtime Is A Charm For Harvick

TALLADEGA, Ala. - For the first time in NASCAR history there were three attempts at a green-white-checkered finish in a Cup race, and Kevin Harvick came out the winner, Sunday at Talladega.

“Everything played out perfect of us today,” said Harvick. “We had a plan to ride in the back until 50-laps to go and really push forward after that. It worked perfect.”

Kevin Harvick, Talladega Cup winner.

Harvick was in the third spot at the beginning of the third and final restart. He made it to the rear of leader, Jamie McMurray’s bumper and pushed him around the track until the third turn of the last lap, before giving McMurray a little sideways bump, causing McMurray to lose momentum.

Harvick then moved under McMurray’s No. 1 and beat him to the finish by 0.012-seconds, or about a yard.

The win was the first Cup win for Harvick since the 2007 Daytona 500.

McMurray had the lead twice on green-white-checkered restarts when cars wrecked behind him.

The first time he was leading Greg Biffle and teammate Juan Pablo Montoya when Joey Logano got into the back of Ryan Newman, collecting nine cars..

There were a total of 22 cars that were wrecked during the three green-white-checkered restarts.

Jeff Gordon was one of those. His teammate Jimmie Johnson forced him to go below the yellow line and he lost momentum. A few seconds later, Jeff Burton crashed into the outside wall and came down on Gordon.

“I don’t know what happened, but I got collected,” said Gordon. “We got a huge push down the back straightaway and I was running probably 10-miles an hour faster than the others.

“The 48 (Jimmie Johnson) is testing my patience. It takes a lot to make me mad and I am pi**ed.”

Gordon dropped from 5th to 10th in points.

The remaining top-10 finishers: 3. Juan Montoya, 4. Denny Hamlin, 5. Mark Martin, 6. David Ragan, 7. Clint Bowyer, 8. Kurt Busch, 9. Kyle Busch, 10. Mike Bliss

Dale Earnhardt Jr. led several laps, and each time he came by the grandstands as the leader, you could hear the applause from his fans. Talladega is definitely Earnhardt country.

Top-12 Chase contenders after 9 of 36: 1. Johnson-1323, 2. Harvick-1297, 3. Biffle-1237, 4. Kenseth-1224, 5. Kyle Busch-1163, 6. Martin-1154, 7. Kurt Busch-1146, 8. Earnhardt-1142, 9. Hamlin-1138, 10. J. Gordon-1130, 11. Bowyer-1086, 12. Burton-1082


Top-10 finishers of the Aaron’s 312, run Sunday at Talladega: 1. Brad Keselowski, 2. Joey Logano, 3. Kevin Harvick, 4. Jason Keller, 5. Johnny Borneman, 6. Clint Bowyer, 7. Tony Raines, 8. Paul Menard, 9. Brian Vickers, 10. Brian Scott

Top-10 Nationwide leaders after 8 of 35: 1. Keselowski-1324, 2. Harvick-1264, 3. Kyle Busch-1220, 4. Allgaier-1171, 5. Edwards-1111, 6. Menard-1085, 7. Logano-1078, 8. Scott-876, 9. Biffle-864, 10. Lagasse-854


“It’s time to do something different,” said James Finch, owner of Phoenix Racing.

Finch’s driver Brad Keselowski won last year’s Talladega race, but after his 2010 Cup sponsor, Miccosukkee Indian Casino, backed out, Finch said his entire racing operation is up for sale.

For a price, the new owner would acquire a 70,000 sq. ft. building complete with 35 race cars, all the machinery and two houses on nine acres in Spartanburg, S.C.

“I've had a real good time,” Finch continued. “But it's time to do something else. Offer me a fair price, then give me half and we'll have a deal.”

Finch fielded cars for a variety of drivers in NASCAR's Cup and Nationwide Series as well as ARCA. He won 12 NNS races with six different drivers on nine different tracks. But his most coveted win came at Talladega last year as Finch provided rookie Brad Keselowski with an opportunity to earn his first Sprint Cup victory.

According to Fox sports, Finch took his entire share of the $312, 075 purse and offered it to Keselowski for his parents, lifelong racers who campaigned in ARCA and NASCAR with their family-owned operation.

Keselowski made his NASCAR debut behind the wheel of the K Automotive Ford truck in 2004 at Martinsville. “I did some cool things for my parents with that,” Keselowski added. “I was proud to be able to help them out financially because they're going through some hard times. It's cool to be able to be there for them.”

James Buescher is Finch's latest protégé. The 20-year-old from Plano, Texas, finished the last two races of the season for Finch in the NNS and is currently 19th in the point standings. His best finish this season was eighth at Daytona.

Aric Almirola had been scheduled to run a partial Cup schedule before Miccosukkee pulled out.

Many times in the past, Finch pulled out his wallet to help small, struggling driver that didn’t have money to make certain races.

James Finch, you’re a good man. It saddens me to know you’re leaving NASCAR. You deserve better.

Rumors circulating in the garage area have it that Richard Childress and Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 Cup car are close to dissolving their relationship. If it becomes reality at the end of this season, Harvick would be the top free agent driver on the market.

His preferred destination is Stewart-Haas Racing, where he'd have Hendrick equipment. Tony Stewart is on the record as wanting to expand to three cars next season, dependent upon sponsorship. With Harvick to sell to sponsors and the broad range of commercial possibilities available through the team's partner-like association with Hendrick, Stewart-Haas would have no problems finding a sponsor for Harvick.

However, there has been speculation that Kasey Kahne's decision to join Hendrick Motorsports might put him in a Stewart-Haas car in 2011.

We’ll have to wait and see how this shapes up, but either way, Stewart-Haas would have another capable and marketable driver.

Weekend Racing: The Cup and Nationwide teams will have night races at the .75-mile Richmond, VA track while the Trucks race on Sunday at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway.

Fri., Apr. 30, Nationwide Series, race 9 of 35; Starting time: 7 p.m. ET; TV: ESPN2.

Sat., May 1, Sprint Cup Crown Royal 400, race 10 of 36; Starting time: 7:30 p.m. ET; TV: Fox.

Sun., May 2, Camping World Trucks, race 5 of 25; Starting time: 12:30 p.m. ET; TV: Speed Channel.

Racing Trivia Question: What series did Jimmie Johnson race in before moving to the Cup series?

Last Week’s Question: Who is the oldest driver to ever win a Cup race? Hint: It happened March 20, 1993 at Atlanta. Answer. Morgan Shepherd won the 1993 Motorcraft 500 at the age of 51.

You may contact the Racing Reporter at:

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Sarah Ficarro All-American

Sarah Ficarro, a SUNY Fredonia freshman from Owego, New York became a two-time All-American at the NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving National Championships held March 17-20 in Minneapolis, MN.

Fredonia State assistant swimming and diving coach John Crawford, left, with freshman Sarah Ficarro after she finished second in NCAA Division III women’s 1-meter springboard diving Thursday at Minneapolis, MN.

On Thursday, Ficarro came in second place in the women’s 1-meter springboard diving event scoring 457.30. Trinity (Texas) senior Lindsay Martin won the event with 472.25 points. She and Ficarro staged a back-and-forth fight for the lead throughout the evening. On Saturday, Ficarro finished sixth in the 3-meter springboard diving finals. She scored at 433.45 points after a preliminary score of 490.50 Saturday afternoon. Earning her top-eight finishes earned Ficarro the distinction of NCAA Division III All-American.

Sarah is the daughter of Jay and Jerry Ficarro, Owego and granddaughter of Vi and the late Joe Ficarro, Susquehanna.

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