Monday, April 25, 2011

Muckrakers bopped by Bay Sluggers

CONCORD -- Despite a continued dose of heavy hitting, the Muckrakers took one on the chin Thursday on Field 4, falling just short to the Bay Sluggers 17-16.

The valiant Men of Muck lashed 20 hits, their second-consecutive 20-hit outing of the season and have scored 33 runs in two games but still managed to fall to 1-1 in the nascent campaign.

You could look near and far for contributing reasons for the cause of the 'Rakers sustaining their first setback '11. Perhaps the first appearance of Marley the dog somehow triggered a disturbance of the 'Raker force. Personally, we discard this notion as Marley, by all appearances, is a sweet and contented pooch, not prone to force-disturbing.

Then again, it could be that the team stumbled a bit when Chace Bryson had to depart for a bit to attend to his car alarm, which was sounding off at an inappropriate time.

But this theory too is easily debunked, as Bryson was stellar in the Muckraker season debut, going 4 for 4 and showing his opposite-field stroke was in midseason form.

No, the sad truth of the matter is the Mucksters did not always play the standout defense that has been the hallmark of so many victories throughout the ages.

And let's give some credit to the Bay Sluggers, who didn't brandish a ton of power but were able to produce single upon single upon single as the situation called for it. Well played, sirs.

But Yer Muckrakers flashed some glory of their own. Perhaps most outstanding was Chris White, playing in just his second 'Raker game. All he did was go 3 for 3 with an eye-popping seven RBIs, four of which came on White's fourth-inning grand slam.

Likewise, Reed Johnson, in his second 'Raker game, collected three hits in three at-bats. Randy Striegel, playing hurt, went 3 for 4, doubling twice. Matt Knauff continued his impressive long-ball showing by going yard in the third inning as the 'Rakers pounded two round-trippers for the second game in a row. Rich Browning, who supplied Marley was an excellent box seat just to the right of the dugout, continued his hot start to the season by going 2 for 2 and drawing a walk.

All of this could have been the magic formula for victory, and it almost was. The 'Rakers went into the final inning down 17-14, and cut into that margin as leadoff man Dave Alcorn and Bryson each singled, and each eventually came around to score, with Johnson plating a run with a base hit and White driving in one with a sacrifice fly.

But the Muck-N-Ators were a bit of a day late and dollar short, which is how D-League sometimes crumbles. Next Thursday presents another opportunity to get back on the good side of the ledger.

NOTE: The Muckrakers' hail-out in Week 2 has been rescheduled for Thursday, May 5 at 6 p.m., when the opponent will be The Guys on Field 1.

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