Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Warriors in golden state after barely beating Muckrakers

CONCORD -- The Muckrakers shook off some unsettling developments of their own making last Thursday and nearly pulled off the upset of the D League season, just falling short to the Warriors (6-1) by a 12-11 count on Field 3.

Things got off to a rocky start hours before the game even started, when interim manager-player Dave Taxier unfortunately decided to rhyme “swing those bats” with “feed those cats” in the traditional Muckraker game-day headcount e-mail. The shaken ‘Rakers, not taken with Dylan-esque imagery, were understandably thrown off their game.

Pair that unfortunate incident with the fact that Taxier, for no apparent reason -- OK, there was a reason (he lamely did not know the run scoring was the game-decider) slowed down the outfield throw to the plate that could have retired what turned out to be the winning, walk-off run in the bottom of the sixth -- and you had a team yearning for the return of manager Chris Wagnon.

And yet, for all the setbacks, the Muck-N-Ators continued their run of strong play, delivering their third solid effort in a row. The second-place Warriors were lucky to escape with the victory, and every man-jack among them knew it.

The Muckrakers continued to flash impressive leather on defense and, yes, swing those bats. Matt Knauff excelled once again in center with his rangy catches and accurate throwing. And speaking of throwing, third baseman Dave Alcorn beaned one Warrior attempting to score. The poor Warrior was so wobbly as the result of Alcorn’s fastball that he neglected to touch the plate and was called out.

Meanwhile, the Muckrakers sprayed 16 hits for the six-inning contest, with 11 ‘Rakers spanking safeties and five having multiple-hit games. Your Heroes did most off their damage in the fourth inning when they put across eight of their 11 runs. Knauff, Taxier, Brian Kroll, Steve Breslin and Mike Yurkus all drove in runs in the big inning, which propelled the Men of Muck into the lead and allowed visions of upset enter their blessed brains.

Luke Abbott gave the ‘Rakers their first lead of the evening when he singled home Yurkus in the top of the first. And the ‘Rakes tacked on a couple more scores in the fifth on singles by Knauff, Enos and Taxier.

The bottom of the sixth was not a pleasant one for any resident of Muckraker Nation, but even in defeat, the ‘Rakers sounded the message: This team is playing good ball, and you overlook it at your peril. D League, you’re on notice.

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