Saturday, July 18, 2009

'Rakers walk off season in style

CONCORD -- Them Muckrakers sure know how to end a season, don’t they?

On a balmy -- thank you, Bob Brindley -- Thursday night on Field 2, the Mighty Mighty Raketones looked a three-run deficit in the eye going into the bottom of the seventh, rolled up their sleeves and got to work, manufacturing four runs without so much as making one out and concluded a non-playoff Summer League regular season with a thrilling, incredible, if-you-missed-it-you-missed-it 14-13 triumph over Super Crew, which probably hopes it never meets up with another Muckraker for as long as it shall exist.

That this would be a different kinda affair, even by ‘Raker standards, was foretold long before gametime, when Courtney Love’s even whackier older sister decided to drop in on some early evening ‘Raker beverage intake. The wackiness quotient remained high when manager Chris Wagnon opted for pull the batting order out of a hat. Literally. I mean, Dave Taxier batting second? Please.

Yet things proceeded in a fairly routine matter when the game actually began. Super Crew scored some, the ‘Rakers scored some, sometimes one team looked pretty good, sometimes it looked pretty bad -- such is life in D league.

Mat Petersen blasted a leadoff homer in the second, at Matt Knauff went yard for the second straight game with his two-run jolt in the fifth. But things got dicey for the Men of Muck when they went scoreless in the sixth, and SC surged ahead 13-10 going into the bottom of the seventh.

But what happened next is why I love me some ‘Raker.

Chace Bryson (3-for-4, three runs, two RBI) singled smartly leading off. The ‘Rakers got a further foot in the door when Knauff reached on an error in left. Petersen singled, plating Bryson, and Rick Hurd, the potential winning run, singled. With Mike Yurkus imploring “don’t strike out!” from the dugout, Brindley did anything but, ripping a double to bring in Petersen. SC opted to walk Brian Kroll to load the bases. A smart bit of strategy, except it brought Yurkus to the plate. Being selective at the plate, the batting-title-minded Yurkus found the pitch he liked and ripped it to left, the single bringing home Hurd with the winning run as the ‘Rakers erupted in joy.

Afterward, Yurkus enjoyed the special postgame beverage reserved for heroes. But Yurkus chug-a-lugged for the whole ballclub, as there was no shortage of heroes on this night of D-league nights.

Bring on the Fall League!

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