Saturday, June 21, 2008

'Rakers knock off Blockheads in a shocker

CONCORD -- There are wins, and there are wins. The Muckrakers didn’t just win on Thursday -- they stunned the world and rendered useless all we knew about the D-league East division in the process.

In a contest that could have major postseason repercussions, the Muckrakers (5-4) continued their strong playoff push by handing the Blockheads their first loss of the season, 7-5 on Field 1.

And yet, was this really so unexpected? The Rakers are simply continuing their recent torrid ways, which have seen them win three games in a row, four of their past six.

On the other hand, this one has to be considered a crown jewel in the sterling ‘Raker renessainse. The Muckrakers had lost to the Blockheads 14-10 the first time around, and the previously unbeaten first-place team looked a tad stunned as it shook ‘Raker hands after being handed the unexpected setback.

This one was a taunt defensive struggle, played at 6:15 on a warm evening that seemed to sap the energy of the two offenses.

The Muckrakers took advantage of batting first by putting a quick three-spot on the board. Randy Striegel’s sacrifice fly drove in Mike Yurkus and Mat Petersen followed with a two-RBI single to plate Dave Alcorn and the helmeted Bob Brinley. But the Rakers went scoreless over the next four innings -- but their defense made those runs stand up.

Again, the Muckrakers’ infield was rock solid, and the outfield caught most everything hit its way. Chace Bryson dealt with the bad sun in left, Mike Gale patroled left-center like a champ, and Brinley and manager Chris Wagnon held down the right side of the outfield.

Finally, Our Heroes broke through for four runs in the top of the sixth. Bryson touched off the uprising with a leadoff single, and Jimmy Durkin also singled in the inning that saw the Men of Muck take advantage of three Blockhead walks and one Blockhead error.

That put the Rakesters up 7-2, but the Blockheads responded with three runs in the bottom half of the sixth to tighten things up.

But the un-rattled ‘Rakers set down the Blockheads in scoreless fashion in the bottom of the seventh, Brinley making the catch for the final out of the game, and there’s your ballgame, there’s your shocker.

Except the Muckrakers weren’t shocked at all. They knew they had this caliber of softball in them all along.

No comments: