Friday, October 26, 2007

Muckrakers freeze out Benchwarmers in regular-season finale

CONCORD -- Now that’s more freekin’ like it.

The Muckrakers returned to their old-school ways and played Raker Ball in turning back the Benchwarmers 9-2 in the regular-season finale Thursday on a frigid Field 4.

Staring down a two-game losing streak, the Mucksters concocted a formula of steady defense and timely hitting and are now able to advance to the playoffs on something of a win-enduced euphoria.

The Mucksters’ time-proven concoction was so reminiscent of their past ways that Mike Gale even made a nostalgic return to the leadoff spot in the lineup. The speedy Gale didn’t disappoint (2-for-4, a run scored).

In actuality, this one could have been much worse. Baserunning was an adventure all night -- name a base, and a Muckraker got thrown out at it. But the heady Rakers compensated in other areas and went to 5-2 for the regular season.

The Rakers stroked 22 hits vs. the Benchwarmers -- twice as many safeties as they had in their previous game. Rick Hurd continued in his blistering ways, going 2-for-3 including a smash over the right fielder’s head in the third for a two-run triple. Dave (Mr. Consistency) Alcorn churned out a 2-for-3 game, Dre Thurston kept rallies going or started rallies in his 3-for-4 outing, and Randy Striegel (2-for-3) Luke (Sometimes Floppy Hat, Sometimes Not) Abbott (2-for-2, sac fly) and David Morrill (3-for-3) enjoyed successful outings. And the ‘Rakers gladly welcomed back Mat Petersen, who made himself playoff-eligible while hitting the ball hard during his 1-for-3 night, which including driving in the lone ‘Rakers run in the first inning.

The Rakers defense made sure that nine runs would be plenty. Manager Chris Wagnon made two fine late-game snags in right-center on a tough night to be an outfielder. Thurston, in left-center, also made a shoestring catch to deny a Benchwarmer.

Now the Muckrakers are back on familiar ground -- the land of the postseason. And if this season’s playoffs go anything like the summer’s, we’re all in for a doozy of a time.

Why, I’m already tingling in anticipation. Aren’t you?

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