Saturday, October 13, 2007

'Rakers rubbed by Scrubs

CONCORD -- It was the postgame parking lot gathering, and Clayton Hurd, 5, was making fine sport of slicing and dicing the Muckrakers with his imaginary light saber.

Well, go with what you know, Young Jedi Knight. Hurd the Younger had already witnessed the Muckrakers get carved up for six innings and being nicked to death by the singles-happy Scrubs for a 15-11 loss on Field 2.

Was this the classic trap-game scenario playing out? After all, the undefeated-before-Thursday Muckrakers had a first-place showdown with the Heroes on tap for their next game, with the Scrubs presumably set as another mere sparring partner before the main event.

The Scrubs, however, refused to play the role of punching bag, and instead landed a few blows of their own. Not brainpan-jarring windmill blows, mind you, but lil’ stick-and-jab singles up the middle. And more singles up the middle. Followed by, well, singles up the middle.

No dummies they, the ‘Rakers responded by outfielder Chace Bryson planting himself in short center to stem the tide of Scrubs singles. Indeed, Bryson put his athleticism on center stage with a pair of tumbling catches. But the damage had been done, and the Mucksters had dug themselves too deep a hole and thus were handed their first defeat of the Fall League season.

The Mucksters weren’t completely bereft of offense, as exemplified by their four-run first inning. But in this somewhat strange game, the ‘Rakers had a bunch of small rallies but never broke through for the truly big inning. Meanwhile, the Scrubs had only one run after two innings, but rallied consistently in each frame after that, a formula that provided them with the well-earned upset victory.

Unfortunately, three-hit games from David Morrill, Dave Alcorn, Dre Thurston, Dave Taxier and Jon Madden went for naught. After that, it was their fate to suffer a thorough light-sabering at the hands of The Birthday Boy. One can only hope the Muckrakers can put all the pieces back together again in time for their confrontation with Heroes.

May the force be with them.

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