Saturday, September 29, 2007

Undefeated Muckrakers poke out Hairy Eyeballs

CONCORD -- Commander Wagnon severely warned “you’d better be ready to swing the bats” in his pregame e-mail. The dutiful Muckrakers, so warned, calmly went out and fashioned a 22-6 victory over the Hairy Eyeballs on Thursday in a chilly 9:30 p.m. affair on Field 4.

There was a bit of history here. It was the game against the HE in the summer playoffs that attached rocket boosters to the Muckrakers’ season. Sporting only eight players, the ‘Rakers found themselves down 8-1 and facing elimination. So all they did was roll up their sleeves and get down and dirty, and when the dust had cleared the Raked Ones emerged with an improbable 25-20 victory. Have the ‘Rakers tasted defeat since (excluding that nasty forfeit) that eventful game? This reporter thinks not.

Thursday’s get-together lacked similar dramatics and fell more in line with the more recent Muckraker drubbings they have administered so far in the fall campaign. In going to 3-0, the ‘Rakers have shown relentless offense and superb defense, and both those attributes were in fine display for Hairy Eyeballs II.

For all intents and purposes the Muckrakers put things away in the first two frames, coming out of the gates for four runs in the first inning and six more in the second. But they continued to fool around anyway and scored eight more runs in the third inning, just because they could.

It was their play in the field that assured that the ‘Rakers remained comfortably ahead. Commander ..... er, Chris ..... Wagnon went the distance at first base and acquitted himself there like an old pro. Striegel again dazzled at shortstop. Third baseman Dave Alcorn fielded everything that came his way, foul or fair. Mike Gale, left field. Does any more need to be said?

The defense was the star of the flip-flop portion of the game (and what is UP with that funky rule anyway? Concord, explain thyself).

For instance, there was left-center fielder Dre Thurston gunning out a Hairy Eyeball (we just can’t say that name enough) at the plate, his five-hopper nailing the base runner with steps to spare (lest anyone think Thurston has a less-than-manly arm, he explained that he slipped on the wet outfield turf while throwing). And there was catcher Rick Hurd, taking in Thurston’s throw at the dish, all the while checking with the ump to see if he needed to tag the runner or not.

And this thing was put into the books when second baseman Mike Yurkus made a tumbling catch (the Russian judge scored it a 9.9, deducting for not quite sticking the dismount) of a pop-up for the final out. Next stop: parking lot domination.

Fall league domination? That has been the Muckrakers’ story line so far, thanks to heaping portions of offense and defense.

NOTES: Ben Enos made his ‘Raker debut, contributing a pair of hits and three runs, and patrolling right-center on D. ... (Mo-) Joe DeLoach can’t take credit for this one. He was unable to make the PLD (parking lot domination), and his absence was duly and ruefully noted.

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