Monday, October 18, 2010

Red-hot Muckrakers club The Guys

CONCORD -- To quote from the great K.C. and His Sunshine Orchestra, “shake shake shake, shake shake shake, shake your bootie, shake your bootie .... ”

Whoopsies, no, not that one. Let’s try:

“That’s the way, uh-huh uh-huh, we like it, uh-huh uh-huh.”


Whatever song you choose, the Muckrakers made it the right selection on Thursday, excelling in all phases off the game in an 8-2 dispatching of The Guys on Field 4.

Looking good, and feeling good, whether it be hitting, fielding or pitching, the ‘Rakers added all kings of good things to their ledger. They boosted their Fall League mark to 3-1, going two games above .500 for the first time since who knows when. And the Mighty Men of Muck won back-to-back ballgames for, again, who knows when, and if you do, please speak up because we’d love to speak to you.

After sporting a couple of exotic lineups in its past two games, Muckraker Nation went more old-school in this one. Welcome back Dave Alcorn at third base, and welcome back Brian Kroll behind the plate.

The more-traditional look produced some traditionally good team performances from Your Heroes, both on offense and defense.

The Guys slammed the ball at many a ‘Raker, but in each case the Muckster defender was up for the task, fielding the ball cleanly and doing the proper thing with it. Second baseman Mike Yurkus was a busy lad all night, flawlessly gloving Guys hotshots as well as taking throws from infielder left-siders Alcorn and Randy Striegel.

‘Raker outfielders tracked down everything hit their way, although Manager Chris Wagnon was a bit lonely in right -- but he was ready if called upon.

In all, The Guys were limited to two hard-earned runs -- both in the fifth inning -- on the evening, and you just don’t win softball games scoring two runs. You just don’t.

On the offensive side of things, the Mucksters got all their scoring done in innings two through four. Rick Browning doubled with one out, and Don Dennler followed with a single to bring him home.

All that was prelude to the big third inning that saw six ‘Rakers cross the plate and basically put this one away. Luke Abbott drove one to left center that went for a triple, driving in Yurkus. Matt Knauff went Abbott one better, driving one to the same spot, just even deeper and even farther over The Guys outfield. Knauff’s shot was good for a two-run homer, but the Muckity-Mucks weren’t done yet. Bob Brindley, Striegel and Wagnon all singled to load the bases and each of them came around to score on RBI contacts from Browning, Dennler and Kroll.

The Muckies tacked on another one in the fourth, when Yurkus flashed his newfound power by pulling a deep drive to left that went for a triple. Abbott followed with a sacrifice fly (good situational hitting, that) to extend the lead to 8-0.

After that it was up to the defense to hold off the young and joyless Guys for the next three innings, and the ‘Rakers were more than up to the task.

Thus the playoff push continues and thus the Rakesters continue to discover that if they do well in the game’s three key areas, much fun and good things inevitably follow.

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