Friday, September 14, 2007

'Rakers unsnap RL Superbras in opener

CONCORD -- Showing the rest of the softball world that the playoff magic has yet to wear off, the mighty Muckrakers opened the 2007 Fall campaign with a convincing 13-2 thrashing of the intriguingly named Red Legged Superbras on Field 2.

This one had all the earmarks of the ‘Rakers’ magical late-season play of summer league of yore. The Rakersters managed to pile on the runs early then left it to the defense to preserve the the lead, and needless to say the defense was very much up to the task.

But before one mutters “ho-hum, another ‘Rakers win, what else is new” before trundling off to the grocery store to buy more beer, there were some interesting new developments. Raker Nation welcomed two new citizens to the roster, Dave Morrill and Jose Carlos Fajardo. And both said “happy to be here” by swinging lusty bats.

All Morrill did was triple to right field to drive in two in his very first ‘Raker AB, and he went on to have a 3-for-4 game, all this while playing under the weather with a cold. And Fajardo again proved his knows his way around a Superbra by equaling Morrill for team-high hit honors by going 3-for-4 from the 10-hole in the lineup.

But the old reliables were heard from as well. Dre Thurston was up to his old tricks in the first, clubbing a two-run homer, plating Dave Alcorn. Thurston also came through with a clutch two-run single in the fourth, when the Rakers pretty much sealed the deal with their five-run uprising to make it 10-2.

But it was in the field where the ‘Rakers truly stood out in this one. They ended the first two innings with double plays, and the infield turned in three twin-killings for the game. Mike Gale, Chris Wagnon, Thurston and Fajardo tracked down everything hit their way in the outfield. Alcorn was his usual rock at third, Randy Striegel turned a 6-3 double play, Mike Yurkus was a wizard at second, both covering the bag and taking in grounders, and the tie-dyed 6-foot-7 Luke Abbott was a force and an inspiration at first base.

Dave Taxier pitched and neglected to strain a muscle or pull a hammy --- it’s all good.

The Mucksters are experienced enough in the ways of D League softball to know that tougher times lay ahead. But, on a smooth-running opening night, it was good to know that remnants of the magic still linger.

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