Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wolcott? Yes. Walk-off? Ouch

CONCORD -- Win by the walk-off, die by the walk-off. Sure, it’s a dull, dreary, cliché-infested way to start off a recounting of a D-league softball game, but at least it’s not you having to type this drivel -- it’s me, me, and only me, and besides, you get what you pay for, and as far as I know, no shekels are exchanged in this blogger-bloggee thinga-ma-jig transmitted digitally via the World Wide Internets.

Which gets us .... where exactly?

Oh, yes, the Muckrakers, last Thursday night, on rarely tread-upon Field Five. There they were, minding their own business, taking a 10-9 advantage going into the bottom of the seventh, when the Benchwarmers went and messed things all up by scoring a pair of runs and going home with your basic 11-10 victory, which if nothing else helped usher in the start of Noah Hurd’s third birthday celebration-fest. Strawberry-chocolate cake: priceless.

But the ‘Raker have been skating on a thin margin for weeks now. Their last three ballgames have been decided in the very last half-inning, and the previous two have gone to the good side. Last Thursday, not so much.

Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be Muckrakers.

It was not a defensive keepsake for your gloved ‘Rakers, who have had many, many better games in the field. But it was a credit to the Boys in Black & White that they were able to remain competitive throughout on an evening when there were a few holes in the D-fence. What the hey, it happens.

Any game that features Mike Wolcott’s return to competition is just all right with this reporter. Wolcott was hard on himself, but that’s what happens when the nearly 50-year-old sets the bar so high.

“I should have stayed home and played with myself,” he opined.

But no, he came out and played with others -- yes! -- often to good effect.

The Mucksters had some outstanding bar-raisers up and down the lineup. Let’s recount the first inning, when after a Chris Wagnon single cleanup hitter Bob Brindley went oppo, blasting a two-run home run. The following batter, Matt Knauf, went all left-center on the ‘Warmers, thus delivering a rare Muckraker back-to-back home run treat.

A Wagnon single and a Randy Striegel sac fly added two more runs for the good guys in the second inning, and the ‘Rakers added three in the fifth (thanks largely to Knauf’s two-run hustle-double) and two in the sixth (RBI singles from Dave Taxier and Mike Yurkus). There was no ‘Raker scoring in the top of the seventh, so a slim one-run margin was going to have to suffice in the bottom half.

The narrow advantage didn’t hold, drat it. But afterward there was cake, and also beverages provided by SuperFan Joe DeLoach. Was that so bad? Cliché or no cliché, the answer is most positively no.

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