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SCRANTON - Jack Keihl stepped into new territory last week when he began preparation for coaching his first all-star game when he leads the City against the County in the 76th annual Dream Game July 28 at Scranton Memorial Stadium.
Easing the process will be familiarity with three Meteors, who have been a big part of the program in recent seasons. Offensive lineman/defensive end Bryan Castrogiavanni, two-way back Dalton Smith and quarterback Rob Volk are on the City roster.
“All three have been three-year starters for me,” Keihl said. “Bryan and Dalton have played many different positions along the way.
“I’m sure we’ll be able to find a spot for them.”
Both coaches in the Scranton Lions Club-sponsored football all-star game for graduated high school players have quarterbacks familiar with their systems. Keihl has Volk, while County coach Jeff Wasilchak has Ryan Kiehart from his Lakeland team.
The skills that helped land the 6-foot-5 Volk at Sacred Heart University, a Football Championship Series (formerly Division I-AA) program, led Montrose to revamp its offense. Keihl said the City will run the same type of offense Montrose used during Volk’s career.
“We’re going to do what we tried to do at Montrose the last two years,” Keihl said. “There’s a good chance Robbie will play a lot of quarterback.
“We’ll try to throw the ball around and have some fun.”
Keihl also has Michael Paddock of Holy Cross and Matt Smith of North Pocono available at quarterback.
This is the second straight year that a Susquehanna County coach will lead the City team. Susquehanna’s Dick Bagnall coached last year’s game, which was won by the County.
“I talked to Dick Bagnall about a couple of things,” Keihl said. “We talked about conditioning.”
The team met for the first time Thursday and began practice Friday at Memorial Stadium. It planned practices Tuesday through Friday this week then again the two days priors to the game. At that point, the team has to be ready to plan on what is often a hot summer night.
“It might not be like double sessions, but it’s not going to be a cakewalk,” Keihl said of the workload at practice. “We’ll do the best we can, but also try to keep it fun.”
Two-way end Chris Kimble is the only Susquehanna player on the City roster.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Jonathan Albaladejo has the most saves in all of minor league baseball this season.
Now, Albaladejo has one from the biggest exhibition game in the minors as well.
The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees relief pitcher retired the side in order in the ninth inning Wednesday to lock up a 2-1 victory for the International League over the Pacific Coast League in the Triple-A All-Star Game at Coca-Cola Park.
Albaladejo, who already has a franchise-record 29 saves this season, struck out one.
Two other Yankees played in the game.
Shortstop Eduardo Nunez started, batted third and went 0-for-2. Catcher Jesus Montero came off the bench, was behind the plate when Albaladejo finished the game and was also 0-for-2.
In the Eastern League All-Star Game, Binghamton Mets right hander Josh Stinson pitched a scoreless inning for the Eastern Division in a 10-3 loss to the Western Division.
Stinson struck out one and did not allow a hit or a walk.
Kirk Niewenhuis started in right field and went 0-for-2 with a strikeout.
Mike Nickeas came off the bench to play first base and catcher and also went 0-for-2.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
Edwards Bangs By Keselowski For Win
MADISON, Ill. - Carl Edwards prevailed over Brad Keselowski in a wild green-white-checkered finish to get the win in Saturday night’s Nationwide Series race.
"I just couldn't let him take the win from me," said Edwards. "My guys work way too hard for that.”
The fireworks-type finish was set up on the restart of lap 198 of the 200-lap race. Keselowski was on the pole and Edwards was on the outside. After one lap, Edwards was slightly ahead of Kesleowski, but Keselowski drifted up and into the rear of Edwards No. 60 right after the white flag was given.
Carl Edwards celebrates his Nationwide win.
Furnished by NASCAR.
“We had a great restart,” continued Edwards. “We came here to win and he took it from us there in Turn 1.”
Edwards regained control and the two drivers raced side-by-side for most of the final lap. With Keselowski edging ahead as the cars approached the stripe, Edwards turned Keselowski's Dodge, igniting a multicar pileup on the frontstretch.
“I had to do what I had to do,” said Edwards. “Maybe one day he’ll learn he can’t do things like that and get away with it.”
Keselowski’s take on what happened was entirely different.
“He turned left into me and wrecked me on purpose,” Keselowski said. “I gave him the lane, and he still wrecked me. … I figured out a way to beat him. He wasn't happy with me, so he wrecked me. Wrecking down the straightaway is never cool, whether it's at 200 mph or 120. I'm sorry that's the way it had to end.”
Nationwide Series director Joe Balash attributed the final-lap crash to hard racing.
“I think at the last lap there was a lot of hard racing going on,” Balash said. “There was some movement on the racetrack. It was a tough finish for a really great race.”
Reed Sorenson finished second.
“I really couldn’t see what happened,” said Sorenson. “We’re all racing for the win. The 60 car (Edwards) got into the right-rear of the 22 (Keselowski). I couldn’t tell what was going to happen, I just was hoping I could beat them to the finish line.”
Polesitter Trevor Bayne ran third, Paul Menard came home fourth, followed by Steve Wallace. Brian Scott, Colin Braun, Josh Wise, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Tony Raines completed the top 10.
Top-10 points leaders after 19 of 35: 1. Keselowski-3042, 2. Edwards-2874, 3. Allgaier-2545, 4. Kyle Busch-2486, 5. Harvick-2434, 6. Menard-2367, 7. S. Wallace-2204, 8. Gaughan-2127, 9. Logano-2108, 10. Leffler-2088
HARVICK IS TRUCK WINNER
Kevin Harvick rolled to his third Camping World Truck Series victory in four starts this season, winning the CampingWorld 200.com at Gateway International Raceway on Saturday.
He now has seven victories in his past 12 Truck Series starts dating to 2008.
Top-10 points leaders after 11 of 25: 1. Bodine-1715, 2. Almirola-1614, 3. Sauter-1519, 4. Peters-1510, 5. Skinner-1456, 6. Hornaday-1454, 7. Dillon-1434, 8. Crafton-1418, 9. Starr-1390, 10. White-1369
KENSETH NEEDS THE RIGHT ANSWERS
Frustration. Disbelief. Disappointment. These are just a few of the emotions swirling through the minds of Matt Kenseth and his No. 17 Roush Ford teammembers.
The 2003 Cup champion is having a terrible year, and needs some good answers.
After winning the first two races of the 2009 season, Kenseth’s season went downhill. He wasn’t one of the 12 Chase drivers. Instead, the team that once carried the banner for Roush Fenway Racing, in its quest to knock off its rivals at Hendrick Motorsports wasted the strong start, collapsing amidst a career-worst slump.
The lackluster performance and 14th-place finish in the standings might be easier to take if you could glance at the stat sheet and see one glaring problem, like repeat mechanical failures or bad luck getting caught up in wrecks. But other than two engine issues, that wasn’t the case with Kenseth.
During the off last season, the team dug deep to find the solutions.
But the answers haven’t arrived, yet.
“I’m disappointed, but we just haven’t performed,” Kenseth said. “Yeah, there were some mistakes here and there, and there were some points left on the table, but you can say that every year. Basically, we didn’t perform, and we need to figure out why - because none of our cars really run the way they should.”
Is it Kenseth, his crew chief, race team, or make of car?
In an order to end the 53-race winless streak, Kenseth’s team is now on their fourth crew chief in less than two years.
Chip Bolin, Drew Blickensderfer, Todd Parrott, and Jimmy Fennig are rated among the best crew chief’s in the business.
Not only is Kenseth and his team frustrated, but Ford is equally frustrated. The only Ford wins this season were by Carl Edwards and they came in the Nationwide Series.
So if it isn’t Kenseth, his crew chiefs, or Ford, just what is the problem?
“I think that if Jack (Roush) had the answer, he’d fix it,” continued Kenseth. “I don’t think any of us have the answer right now. We all have our different ideas and theories. The people running the place don’t like mine, so we will just keep going the way we’re going and hope it gets better.”
I’m betting that before long, Kenseth, Roush, Ford and whoever the crew chief is will stumble upon the right combination, and Kenseth will be back on top.
I say that because, I believe Kenseth and the Jack Roush organization are top notch and are capable of coming up with the right solution.
Weekend Racing: It’s on to Indianapolis for all three NASCAR series’. The Nationwide and Truck teams race on the .686-mile Indy Raceway Park, while the Cup cars are at the 250,000 seat, 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
In 1994, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing made its debut at IMS. That contentious early rivalry spawned what has turned out to be the happiest of unions. The inaugural Brickyard 400 hosted the largest crowd ever to witness a NASCAR event, and has now become one of the most highly anticipated events of the entire racing season.
The winners’ list includes names like Earnhardt, Jarrett, Gordon, Elliott and Stewart. This year, a new name could join that list of notables, or a repeat winner could once again lower his face to those bricks to kiss his gritty but beautiful bride. Who knows?
Fri., July 23, Camping World Trucks AAA Insurance 200, race 12 of 25; Starting time: 8 p.m. ET; TV: Speed.
Sat., July 24, Nationwide Kroger 200, race 20 of 35; Starting time: 8 p.m. ET; TV: ESPN2.
Sun., July 25, Sprint Cup Brickyard 400, race 20 of 36; Starting time: 1 p.m. ET; TV: ESPN.
Racing Trivia Question: Who was the winner of the inaugural Brickyard 400?
Last Week’s Question: What color is Todd Bodine’s hair? Answer. He has no hair, because he keeps his head clean shaven. He did tell me that as a boy he had black hair.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at: email@example.com.
Jon Sibio was largely responsible for keeping the boys’ game competitive at the eighth annual UNICO Scranton Soccer Cup.
From his spot as a center midfielder, Sibio made sure the Northern Tier kept the game almost equal in terms of field position and ball possession before eventually falling, 3-0, to the Southern Tier in an entertaining contest at the University of Scranton's Fitzpatrick Field.
Sibio, a three-time Lackawanna League Division 3 coaches’ all-star while at Forest City, led the entire Lackawanna League in scoring as a senior last fall. In last month’s UNICO game, he easily led the Northern Tier in shots, earning selection as June’s Susquehanna County Transcript Athlete of the Month.
“It was a good game,” Sibio said. “It was pretty evenly matched.
“They just got a couple of looks at the goal and put them in.”
The game fit well into Sibio’s summer. He is finding as many soccer games as he can at two schools and the Riverfront Sports Dome in Scranton while preparing to play on the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II level in the fall at Lock Haven University.
“You want to keep the ball on your feet as much as possible,” Sibio said.
After playing center midfield in all four years as a starter for the Foresters, Sibio is preparing for a possible position change at Lock Haven.
“I might get moved to outside mid or up to left outside forward,” Sibio said.
The all-star game for graduating seniors represented the end of a brilliant high school career for Sibio. He was part of four straight division championship teams, three of them with unbeaten records.
Although Forest City lost just one league game in his career, Sibio has a favorite memory from last season’s District 2 Class A playoffs.
“We won our first playoff game in 20 years for our school,” he said.
Sibio also started on the volleyball team as a senior and was a substitute on the basketball team in his sophomore year.
Jon is the son of Bill and Lori Sibio of Uniondale.
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