Wednesday, July 15, 2009

'Rakers slam, lose to Local 302, then party on

CONCORD -- Children frolicked on the banks of the creek, adults enjoyed beverages on the shady, grassy knoll as night descended, a lone shopping cart rested mutely like a modern sculpture on Concord’s finest waterway.

It was a postgame scene fashioned from seasons of experience by your Muckrakers, who’ve made competitive softball and attendant after-party a midsummer tradition since the early ‘00s.

Your ‘Rakers can play hard and party hard, as evidenced before, during and after a 20-8 loss to Local 302 on the “Pixieland” Field 4 last Thursday.

The Men of Muck did most of their partying early in this one. They threw a scare into this largely C-league concoction by tallying three times in the first inning to take a 3-1 lead, then piled on five more scores in the second frame for an 8-2 advantage. That the Rake-N-Ators did not stomp home plate again, thus sending the team’s postseason chances crumbling down like a ton of bricks, slowed the party down not a whit.

That could be because Le Grande ‘Rakier earned its opportunity to shake a festive booty. It was a five-hit first inning for the Mucksters, with Mike Yurkus (2-for-2, two runs scored) singling then scampering home on sturdy legs on Matt Knauff’s sacrifice fly.

The Mucksters outdid themselves in the second, as Tony Hick and the inevitable Yurkus each drew two-out walks to spark the nascent rally. Things looked even better when Chace Bryson (2-for-3, two runs, one ribbie) singled to load the bases. That’s when Knauff came through big-time, launching a blast to left that cleared the bases for a grand slam, the ‘Rakers’ first of the year and one of the few in their celebrated history, giving the team a six-run cushion.

No, the lead wouldn’t last, as ‘Raker rallies over the next four frames fell short of satisfaction. But did it crimp Muckraker style, in the way they’ve come to know? We are pleased to report that no, it did not. Party on, folks, deep into the summer months and beyond.

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