Friday, April 23, 2010

'Rakers' glass half-empty in loss to Here for Beer

CONCORD -- A dubious effort against one of the loop's better ballclubs is no formula for victory, as the disheveled Muckrakers discovered in a 14-3 loss to undefeated Here for Beer on Thursday on Field 1.

This one was a case of two squads headed in different directions. HFB retained its first-place status in D League West play, while the Muckrakers were once again sent scurrying into the parking lot, seeking beer and answers, not necessarily in that order.

No sense driving this one into the ground. The Men of Muck, while admittedly without the services of the likes of Luke Abbott and Brian Kroll, didn't particularly hit, field or pitch quite well enough to make things interesting for HFB, which spent most of the yukking it up and thoroughly enjoying itself at the expense of the visiting team.

Just one 'Raker achieved double-hit status as Aris Garcia busted out a pair of singles in his first two at-bats. Garcia's first hit leading off the third inning represented Yer Rakers' first base runner of the game. The Mucksters would score three runs in the frame with Mike Yurkis plating two with his base hit and Manager Chris Wagnon singling home another run.

That activity halfed HFB's lead to 6-3, but unfortunately for the 'Rakers, they would be done scoring for the night, thus the opposing side could continue its chuckle-fest unabated.

This is not to paper over the hightlights of the evening. The 'Rakers welcomed the addition of Joe Stiglich into the lineup and are rooting for many more Stiglich appearances from here on out. Wagnon flashed a gold glove in the outfield, even excelling in his rare self-stationing in left field. Dave Alcorn and Randy Striegel absorbed many a shot to the left side of the infield and lived to tell the tale. And several 'Rakers hit shots that had the misfortune to be directed right at HFB defenders (such as Matt Knauff's blast -- a liner that could not have been hit any harder -- which was snagged by the HFB pitcher, who fired to first to turn the whole thing into a double play.)

If these things tend to even out, then the Mucksters have quite the nine games left on their schedule. With the bye week looming, the Men of Muck have time to think deep thoughts, regroup, and re-energize for the play that lies ahead.

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