Friday, September 10, 2010

Rusty 'Rakers Off To Slow Fall-Season Start

CONCORD -- The Mighty Muckrakers shook off the offseason rust and played a hell of a final three innings against AMR All-Stars on Thursday night on Field 2.

Sadly, softball is a seven-inning game, and the first four innings were not much to write -- or even blog -- about, and Yer 'Rakers were vanquished 10-6 by the so-called All-Stars in the '10 Fall League D/E campaign opener.

It was the type of game that could have been better, could have been worse. There the Muckrakers were, trailing 9-0 after four innings. A lesser team would have cried sad-clown tears, but the Rakesters, being made of sterner stuff, opted opted to get it going and start playing some serious ball in their first game back after having shut operations down since the end of Summer League.

Matt Knauff, coming off his Summer-League MVP stint, found the gap in the All-Stars outfield defense in leading off the fifth inning with a triple. Bob Brindley, making a much-appreciated Bay Area appearance, grounded out to second but drove Knauff home in the process for the Muckrakers' first Fall run.

Randy Striegel extended the viability of the rally by singling, and Manager Chris Wagnon following with a base hit. Rick Browning (3-for-3) hustled his way to a double to drive in another run, further cutting into AMR's advantage.

That was all the damage the 'Rakers could do in the fifth, but they came back even stronger in the sixth. Mike Yurkus and Chace Bryson each hit their way on base with one out, and Knauff plated Yurkus with a sacrifice fly. Brindley followed up with another RBI, a triple to score Bryson, and Stiegel raced his way to a double, scoring Bobby-B. Striegel scored on Wagnon's contact for the fourth run of the frame, which was all the scoring the Men of Muck would do on this day.

This was a slow-starting bunch of Muck-Men, as they treated the softball as a foreign object early on, and had a little trouble shaking the cobwebs off their bats in their first couple of go-arounds.

Yet the take-away from this game for the Rakers is that they proved themselves to be a highly competitive outfit once they got it in gear. And the Mucksters welcomed back into their midst Don Dennler, one of the flock that had been away so long, so long.

Welcome back to Muckrakers one and all. While the final result could have been a tad better, it was damn fine to see the gang back doing what it does so well.

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