Friday, June 25, 2010

'Rakers Clean Up On Dirtbaggers For 2nd 'V' Of Season!

CONCORD -- It's gotta be the pants. The orange, orange pants.

And if there was ever an evening for the famous orange pants of Mike Wolcott to be broken out, last Thursday was it. Setting the scene thusly: It was a dark and blustery night, a 9:30 start of Field One with weather more resembling Candlestick Park at its worst than usually balmy Concord, CA.

And, oh yes, your Muckrakers were going into this game dreadfully shorthanded against a Dirtbaggerteam that had beaten it by eight runs in the first encounter. Not only that, but the Men of Muck were coming off a dispiriting 17-2 loss to the Brown Sox in the preceding game.

It would have been easy for the mighty, mighty Mucksters to have checked out early in this one, but this is a team that doesn't do easy. All the 'Rakers did was turn back the Dirtbaggers 17-11 for win No. 2 of the Summer League circuit.

To work this upset special, the Muckrakers dipped deep into their past and recalled a 'Raker of the past in good standing with the ballclub. And Wolcott did not disappoint, donning the legendary orange pants once again. The jolt of Agent Orange served him and the team well, as he went 2-for 3, doubled in his first at-bat in the second inning, and played a steadfast first base on a blustery night.

But the really neat thing about this affair is that the heroes were not limited to Wolcott and his fashion sense. There was center fielder Matt Knauff, who of course made all the plays in the outfield and meanwhile was huge at the plate, going 4-for-5 and driving in six runs, including a blast of a home run in the fifth when he found the right fielder playing laughably shallow.

There was manager Chris Wagnon, breaking out his biggest 'Raker game of the season, going 3-for-5 and plating five runs. There was left fielder Chace Bryson, getting comfortable with the No. 2 hole and finding his right field stroke (3-for-4, two runs, two RBI). There was Rick Browning, ably manning shortstop. And let us please not ignore third baseman Dave Alcorn (3-for-5) and catcher Kroll (2-for-4).

Considering the cold and win, the 'Rakers may have played their best overall defensive game of the season, if not of their lives.

This one was a nip-and-tuck affair until Yer 'Rakers provided themselves some breathing room with a six-run rally in the sixth inning. The biggest blows in the frame were a double by Knauff that drove in a pair and an all-hell-breaks-loose double from Wagnon that cleared the bases.

The Mucksters retired the D-Baggers in the bottom of the seventh without too much damage being done, and they had themselves a nifty little victory. This was a night when the 'Rakers could have taken the easy way out, but instead they collectively rolled up their sleeves and got the job done. Gentlemen: Mission accomplished.

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