Thursday, November 04, 2010

Fall League ends as Muckrakers split doubleheader

CONCORD -- Everything, it seems, must come to an end. The Roman Empire crumbled, the Titanic sunk, "Star Trek" was cancelled, and Cher ... OK, bad example. Most everything that has a "born on" date has an expiration date, and so it is for the mighty Muckrakers, who came to the conclusion of the 2010 Fall League after splitting a doubleheader on Thursday, 23-9 to Lucky Us and 17-8 to AMR All-Stars.

The defeat to AMR turned out to be the knockout punch, denying the Men of Muck a spot on the D-League playoffs. But the loss couldn't deny Muckraker Nation a winning record, as it finished 4-3 for the campaign. It was the 'Rakers' first winning season in a little bit, perhaps setting the tone for campaigns yet to come.

Although Thursday proved the curtain-closer, the evening was not lacking for highlights. In Game 1, the Mucksters went out scoreless in the first couple innings vs. Lucky Us, then went all fruit-bats in innings three and four, powering across 14 and nine runs respectively. The third, in which 20 'Rakers went to the plate, might have been the most productive in all of Muckraker history. The hitting heroes were numerous, including Bob Brindley, who drove in five runs in making another welcome cameo, and Mike Yurkus, who drove in four from the 11-hole. So timely were Muckster bats that eight of the lil' devils had multiple-RBI games. For the second time this season, the 'Rakers forced the use of the "flip-flop" rule, perhaps the first time they worked that magic twice in one campaign.

Game 2 proved to be a sterner test, with AMR All-Stars serving early notice by scoring six runs in the top of the first inning, forcing Yer Heroes into comeback mode from the get-go.

Highlights abounded here as well. Shortstop Randy Striegel relayed an outfield throw home to Chris Wagnon manning the dish as the 'Rakers threw out an All-Star at the plate to end the fifth inning. Striegel also made a nifty diving catch to deny another All-Star. Luke "Box Hero" Abbott, Striegel, Brindley and Rich Browning had a pair of hits apiece but when it was all said and done, it was, well, all said and done.

Still, there were no "dad gummits," no tears, no discouraging words, just, as always, good times and cold beverages in the parking lot afterward. It's the way the Muckrakers are and how they want it. See you in the Summer League next year for heaping portions of more of the same.

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