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Roundup:Baker in right place at right time for Grundy win

Just call Ricky Baker the “lurker” of Grundy County Speedway.

The previous week, the defending track champion was biding his time in fourth place in the late-model feature when two cars ahead of him collided and gave him the break he needed to move to the front.

Friday night, the Plainfield native was all settled in for a third-place finish when the two front-runners, John Nutley and Brett Sontag, collided as they were roaring out of Turn 4 for the white flag.

Nutley went around to bring out the yellow, while Sontag left the track. That left the lead to Baker, who finished off his sixth win of the season.

Baker beat Dave Gentile Jr. by 0.324 seconds. Eddie Hoffman was third, followed by Billy Knippenberg, Scott Koerner and Mark Sontag.

It was heartbreak once again for Nutley, who earlier in the night lost a heat race to Sontag on the final lap, and just two weeks ago saw a feature victory snatched away by Paul Shafer Jr. after the white flag flew.

This time, the Crestwood native beat Knippenberg at the drop of the green, and for most of the race led the pack. Sontag took second place away from Knippenberg and slowly began to reel in the leader.

Closing up on Nutley’s bumper, Sontag spent a couple of laps right behind him before making his move as they were about to take the white flag.

Matt Clemens broke a long streak of bad luck by capturing his first Mid-American feature win of the season. Clemens took the lead from Kevin Murphy on Lap 19, and eased away.

Points leader Tom Knippenberg, stuck in traffic for several laps, broke free into third place with about 10 laps remaining and swiped second away from Murphy.

At the checkered flag it was Clemens by 1.089 seconds over Knippenberg. Murphy was third, ahead of Joe Vinachi, Kevin Gentile and Luke Baldwin.

Spencer Leake claimed his third pure stocks feature win, passing Alex Clubb on Lap 10 of the 15-lap event. Leake beat Justin Mikel to the line by 0.418 seconds. Zach Sontag, Austin Blackwell, Will Shepherd and Clubb completed the top six.

A yellow-flag-filled street stocks feature saw John Senerchia pass Billy Rud via the high side on Lap 13 and go on to claim his first win. Second went to points leader Eddie Ligue, ahead of Rita Fields, Rud, Jake Bradley and Rob Scamen.


Coal City tops Wilmington: Consistent performance up and down the lineup was the key for Coal City in a recent powerlifting meet against Interstate Eight Conference rival Wilmington. The Coalers finished with a team total of 9,040 pounds in the squat, bench press and deadlift, led by Marco Alegria, who squatted 415, benched 265 and deadlifted 475. Other Coalers included Jack Dibble (425, 285, 435, 1,145 total), Matt Long (425, 315, 405, 1,145 total), Kurtis Smith (415, 225, 500, 1,140 total), Andrew Mathena (405, 265, 470, 1,140 total), Zach Montgomery (440, 280, 405, 1,125 total), Alec Leasure (435, 245, 425, 1,105 total) and Parker Czaja (385, 245, 455, 1,085 total).


Channahon goes 0-2 at Mustang 9U World Series: Channahon’s 9U Mustang baseball team ran into some very good pitching at the World Series in Walnut, California, over the weekend. Channahon dropped its opening game Friday, 13-0, to a team from Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, and then lost, 6-0, to Corpus Christi, Texas, on Saturday. In Friday’s game, Channahon managed just one hit, by Michael Roberson, and a walk, by Anthony Rizo, who also stole a base. On Saturday, Mitch Thomas and Dominic Cioni each had a hit, while Rizo, Gabriel Knowles and Alex Allen all walked. Knowles stole two bases, while Thomas and Cioni each stole one.

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