Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rockin' 'Rakers cool off Benchwarmers

CONCORD -- Beware, D League. If you don't look out for the Muckrakers, you just might get stomped on.

Oh, yeah, you umpires, too.

The Muckrakers helped solidify their bid for the postseason Thursday by grinding out a surprisingly low-scoring 6-3 win over the Benchwarmers, earning a nifty little bit of revenge in the process.

It was the very same Benchwarmers, you see, who handed the 'Rakers their only loss of the fall league, a 12-11 splattering on Sept. 18.

But your Muckrakers made a better accounting of themselves the second time around, thus boosting their record to 4-1. It was a nice one to get, considering only two games remain in the regular season.

The 'Rakers' bats were a little less lusty than they were the previous time out, but they were good enough on a day when the 'Warmers could manage just three runs. Solid defense was played all around, especially on the left side, where third baseman Dave Alcorn seemed to have several line drives directed his way, and where shortstop Randy Striegel used his gold glove to good effect.

In fact, the two teamed up for the last out of the game, as both rambled toward the fence to track down a foul pop. Striegel called for the ball, but somehow Alcorn, with inside position, managed to make the catch.

On offense, the 'Rakers lacked getting that one big hit that would have blasted the game wide open. That's not to say they were unproductive. Luke Abbott had a three-RBI game, driving in runs in the first, third and seventh innings. He and Striegel combined for back-to-back triples in the seventh (behind Alcorn's double). Striegel sent a hot shot up the first base line and legged out a three-bagger, and Abbott's following drive found the gap in right center in the Benchwarmers' three-man outfield.

Bob Brinley drove in two runs during his 2-for-3 game and Aris Garcia also had a two-hit game.

What may have been a highlight -- or an unfortunate incident -- or both -- came when a hapless base umpire was cleated by Striegel as the shortstop went for a pop-up. Somehow the ump was watching the ball, not Striegel, and got cleated.

Let that be a warning: never take your eyes off the Muckrakers. They have places to be and would rather you not get in their way.

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