Thursday, November 15, 2007

Fall season ends as 'Rakers win once but not twice

CONCORD -- All good things must come to an end ... even Muckraker playoff runs, evidently.

Playing gamely into the penultimate day of the season, the Muckrakers pulled off one win but couldn’t pull out two, and thus saw their Fall League playoff season come to a not-so-sudden halt.

The double-barreled evening of softball action got off to a promising Field 2 start as the Muckrakers had it all going on in dispatching Boodissy 18-5, allowing the ’Rakers to advance to the quarterfinals. But those heroics took them only so far at the next level, as Our Lads met their match in falling to the Silky Johnson Rods 17-6 and were eliminated.

Perhaps it is best to dwell on what when right on this playoff night, and there was a lot right about Game One. The Men of Rake laughed in the face of playoff pressure, launching themselves out of the gate and putting up a crooked number -- 7 -- in the first inning. Muckraker Nation’s foremost citizens rapped out nine hits in the opening stanza, all singles except for the minor detail of Mat Petersen’s three-run homer.

The Rakesters went scoreless in the second but regrouped to score twice in the third and five more times in the fourth to break this puppy wide open.

This was a game in which the playoff-savvy Rake-N-Nators did all the little things right. Their defense was spotless, the offense timely. It’s no wonder deep playoff runs are becoming a Muckraker tradition.

You want timely hitting? Take Luke Abbott’s four-RBI night, which is what happens when you go 3-for-4 with a triple. Mike Yurkus, Randy Striegel and Mike Gale also struck for three hits, and the Muckrakers pounded out 24 overall.

Game Two wasn’t nearly as much fun. Especially not in the third inning when the Silky Johnson Rods put up a 13-spot on the Muckrakers to see the outcome, for all intents and purposes. The Mucksters -- Yurkus, Kevin Schuler and Chris Wagnon -- had two-hit games, but those were about the offensive highlights. But hey, these weren’t some stumblebums the Muckrakers lost to. Silky Johnson Rods made it into the finals, where they were beaten for the title by the Delinquents. So it took a tournament finalist to bring the Muckrakers down. So there.

All in all, it was a successful and enjoyable winter campaign that saw the ‘Rakers rack up an 8-3 mark under Wagnon’s leadership. Couple that with an outstanding summer league showing, and the Muckrakers are showing the world just what the Raker Way is. The world trembles.

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