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Published: Sunday, June 17, 2018 @ 11:33 AM
DeGRAFF — Former NASCAR Cup driver Sterling Marlin has seen his share of tracks in his racing days.
Shady Bowl Speedway, though, left an impression on Marlin. And his No. 114 late model.
While local driver Josh Smith was holding off the field for his fourth late model feature win, Marlin was trying to hold his car together.
The two-time Daytona 500 champion smacked the wall during a Friday practice session. Then on Saturday, Marlin got together with two other cars 10 laps into the 72-lap Bobby Korn and Lil’ Bobby Korn Memorial.
“(Shady Bowl is) different from anywhere I’ve been at,” Marlin said of the Bowl’s unique 3/10-mile paved oval with a backstretch that dips coming out of turn two and rises into turn three. “You can’t use all the motor. The car skates and slides. We just missed on the (set up).”
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Marlin finished 19th in the 20-car feature. While his night was done early on the track in front of the packed Shady Bowl stands, he continued to pose with fans for photos and sign autographs at his hauler in the pits.
“I had a lot fans come out and I signed a lot of stuff,” said Marlin, who made the nearly seven-hour drive from Columbia, Tenn., to Shady Bowl. “It’s pretty neat to see people from 25 years ago. … I had a good time and I thank everybody for having us up here. I’ll come back sometime.”
Smith, meanwhile, stalked front-runners Mike Ward and Nic Burnside as they traded the lead in the early laps. Smith worked past Burnside following a restart after 21 laps. He caught and passed Ward coming out of turn four to lead lap 26. He never lost the lead, though Jim Lewis Jr. caught up to Smith’s bumper with 10 laps to go and even pulled up to Smith’s back quarter panel albeit briefly.
“I could hear him back there so I knew he was close,” Smith said. “We have some work to do. We’re always trying to get this car faster.”
Smith was fast enough Saturday to claim the $1,720 win. It didn’t hurt that Lewis scraped the wall coming out of turn two in a last-ditch effort to get alongside Smith. The win kept Smith in the late models points lead. He won the late model championships in both 2014 and 2015.
Smith, from nearby Quincy and sponsored by C&E Auto Reconditioning in Springfield, credited his father and crew chief, Jerry, for getting him to victory lane again.
“They’re never easy to win. It’s a testament to my crew,” the younger Smith said. “They work their tails off on this car day in and day out. It makes my job easier. … I’m grateful for every race we win.”
Smith said he and his crew offered to help Marlin get his car repaired after banging the wall Friday.
“He’s a super nice guy,” Smith said. “You can never underestimate those guys. They’ve got a lot of resources. They know a lot of smart people. He had some unfortunate events this weekend, but it’s always good. It draws in a big crowd.”
Marlin brought a special trophy to share with Saturday’s winner. Smith was awarded a small red paddle with the Confederate flag painted on it with the words, ‘I spanked their butts at Shady Bowl.’ Marlin’s major race sponsor Saturday was Sons of Confederate Veterans.
Lewis Jr. finished second, Ward third, Brian Reeser fourth and Scott Sullenberger fifth.
Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 12:08 AM
CINCINNATI — In his first All-Star Game at-bat, Cincinnati Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett saved the National League — for one inning.
Gennett’s two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth tied the 89th All-Star Game at 5-5, but two Houston Astros, Alex Bregman and George Springer, hit back-to-back home runs in the 10th and the American League addded one more run to win 8-6 Tuesday at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.
The AL has won six straight All-Star Games. Bregman was named the game’s MVP.
Gennett’s home run was the third game-tying home run in the ninth inning or later and the first since Fred McGriff’s in 1994. The only other was hit by Ralph Kiner in 1950.
Gennett also became the first Red to hit a home run in the All-Star Game since Dave Concepcion in 1982.
With that streak over, Joey Votto hit a home run in the 10th inning to draw the National League within one run. That was Votto’s first hit in an All-Star Game. He was 0-for-12 in six games after starting this game 0-for-2.
An error by Votto almost cost the National League the game in the eighth inning.
Votto dropped a foul pop off the bat of the Seattle Mariners’ Jean Segura. It wasn’t the easiest play. Votto was about to run into the rail by the dugout. He still received an error.
Segura hit the next pitch into the stands in left for a three-run home run, giving the American League a 5-2 lead.
Votto and another Reds All-Star, third baseman Eugenio Suarez, entered the game in the top of the sixth. This was the first All-Star Game for Suarez, who ranks second in the National League with 71 RBIs. In his first at-bat in the seventh inning, he was hit by a pitch. He struck out in the ninth.
Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 3:43 PM
I’m going to change things up a bit as we tee up golf’s third major championship at Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland this week.
Even though Dustin Johnson is the betting favorite to win The Open Championship, the world’s top-ranked player is not on my list.
Johnson faded on the final day at Shinnecock Hills, and although his game seems to suit most courses on the PGA Tour, I’m going to look elsewhere for a winner.
Let’s start with the best player to never win a major — Rickie Fowler. Ye, he shot an 84 in the third round at the U.S. Open, but he still finished 20th and he warmed up with a top-10 finish last week in the Scottish Open.
Speaking of the last major, Tommy Fleetwood almost stole the U.S. Open with a remarkable 63 on the final day. The Englishman will be in the hunt on Sunday.
Here’s one that might be off the radar a bit. Tony Finau owns top-10 finishes in both the Masters and the U.S. Open this year. He makes a lot of birdies and that’s never a bad thing.
Henrik Stenson won with a record 20-under par total two years ago at Royal Troon. That alone gives him a chance to do some damage at Carnoustie.
And finally, Justin Rose is going to win another major sooner than later, although his best finish the Open was the first one he played back in 1998 as an amateur — a tie for fourth.
Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 10:15 AM
— Looks like Michigan football will count a player from the Miami Valley to be among its senior leaders on defense for the second year in a row.
At least that’s one thing that can be gleaned from Tyree Kinnel being among the Wolverines’ representatives at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago next week.
Kinnel, a fourth-year player from Wayne High School, earned All-Big Ten honorable mention last season when he had 70 tackles, including 5.5 for loss, and defended nine passes.
The 5-foot-11, 201-pound safety was named the team’s most improved player on defense for his efforts.
Joining him in Chicago will be running back Karan Higdon and defensive end Chase Winovich.
Ohio State will be represented by receiver Parris Campbell, defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones and offensive lineman Isaiah Prince.
Last year, Mike McCray II was among the prominent faces of the Michigan defense.
The senior linebacker from Trotwood-Madison was the only returning starter.
Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 5:08 PM
DAYTON — Former Dayton Flyers point guard Scoochie Smith always felt he could play in the NBA. He showed he deserves a chance with his performance in the NBA Summer League.
Smith spoke to the Dayton Daily News on the phone from Las Vegas, Nev., on Tuesday as he prepared to leave town after playing seven games in 11 days with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
While Smith had confidence about his ability to play at the next level, he said, “Sometimes you’ve got to reassure the people. That’s what happened.”
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Smith earned an invitation to training camp with the Cavaliers and said while he would probably accept it, he hasn’t made up his mind yet. He’s keeping his options open in case other teams express interest in him.
Smith averaged 8.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 16.9 minutes per game in Las Vegas. His role grew as the Cavaliers advanced past the preliminary round into the Summer League tournament.
Scoochie doing Scoochie things in the second half. pic.twitter.com/l4WHznE1si— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) July 17, 2018
Smith, who finished his Dayton career with 1,289 points in 2017 and ranks 28th in school history, said he learned to be more aggressive and stay in attack mode.
“I think that will help me a lot,” he said.
In a 112-109 double-overtime loss to the Lakers on Monday in the semifinals, Smith had 14 points, five rebounds and a team-high five assists in 27 minutes. He made 4 of 12 shots from the field.
Smith’s best performance came Saturday in the second round of the tournament. He scored 15 of his 17 points in the last seven minutes in a 92-87 victory over the Houston Rockets.
“I was just waiting on my moment,” Smith said. “I was fortunate enough it came during that Houston game, not right at the end of the tournament. I still got to showcase some more.”
Smith said the Cavaliers were happy with his play, and he thought they were maybe a little surprised by how well he performed.
“I think they learned a lot about me,” he said.
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This was Smith’s second experience in the Summer League. He played with the Boston Celtics in the Summer League a year ago but saw limited playing time.
“They drafted about four guys, so it was kind of tough for me to find an opportunity,” Smith said. “Staying positive and doing what I did in my first year (in pro basketball) helped me get the opportunity this week.”
Smith started his professional career last year in Australia and played in 27 games for the Cairns Taipans, averaging 10.2 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.